Paradise, Spring of 1860. (from www.mendonutah.net)

A small group of men from Draper, consisting of Joseph George Crapo, Alvin Monteith, William Smith and Barnard White (a lumber merchant from Ogden), decided to look for another home-site where the opportunities were better. The possibilities of Cache Valley were being talked of a good deal at this time and many new settlers were planning to settle there. This group became interested and decided to come to Cache Valley and look it over. They arrived in the Valley in April 1860 and went to the southern most part where no one had settled.

Irrigation water always being as essential as the land on which to put it, the little cove where Avon is now situated appeared very attractive and had a number of natural advantages over the other settlements. It was at the forks of East Creek and Little Bear River, so that plenty of water was available. The party was satisfied and immediately returned to Draper for their families. They interested David James at Salt Lake City and other friends who came later.o put it, the little cove where Avon is now situated appeared very attractive and had a number of natural advantages over the other settlements. It was at the forks of East Creek and Little Bear River, so that plenty of water was available. The party was satisfied and immediately returned to Draper for their families. They interested David James at Salt Lake City and other friends who came later.

The little colony returned soon to Cache Valley and located where Avon is now situated and commenced to build their log houses, break up the land and put in their crops. The utmost vigilance was necessary to protect themselves and their property from the Indians. The location for the settlement had its disadvantages as it was so far away from the larger settlements in the Valley and was one of the chief camping grounds of the Indians on their way to the south and east. It was right at the forks of the Indian trail through East Canyon that connected with points in Wyoming and with the trail to Ogden, Salt Lake City and other parts of Utah. Chief Washakie and his tribe, as well as other tribes, must have traveled a good deal in and out of the Valley over these routes. Therefore, the site served as a junction and was a suitable camping place for the Indians. The fishing and hunting were exceptionally good as several canyons with streams of water were so near at hand. Because of these conditions the place was not the best for a settlement at this time.

The settlers built their log houses and some dugouts in the usual fort formation, a short distance from the present meeting house in Avon. Every precaution was taken to protect themselves against the many Indians who camped in the river bottoms near by and were on their tours in and out of the Valley. Guards were stationed at all times just outside the fort to give warning when necessary. The regular public corral with its strong, high pole fence, was built and the cattle and horses were kept in it for protection.

An old trapper by the name of Post, but more often called “Stump” had build a log cabin just south of the fort in the river bottoms before the first settlers arrived. He fished and trapped a great deal along the streams but was not a member of the colony. He lived by himself. The Indians attacked the trapper and killed him and burned his cabin. The settlers found the charred bones and buried them. This act naturally excited the people and caused them to be more cautious than ever. The guards were maintained night and day at the fort, and the men always went in groups, well armed, to the field to put in and look after their crops and in the canyons for logs and wood.

During the summer several families arrived, among whom were David James and family of Salt Lake City. The settlement at that time was in Box Elder County and was not settled under the Cache Valley organization. But there was a natural barrier, being a range of mountains between the settlement and Brigham City, it was thought best to organize under the Cache Valley authorities. Apostle Ezra T. Benson and Bishop Peter Maughan were therefore asked to organize the settlement which they did in February, 1861. Mr. David James was chosen as bishop. Apostle Benson previously was so impressed with the beautiful little cove with its surrounding hillsides covered with timber and the fine meadow lands in the river bottoms and with the magnificent view of the valley to the north, that he exclaimed, “This is like a paradise.” He suggested the name for the settlement and it was unanimously adopted.

At the next session of the Territorial Legislature, the county lines were changed and Paradise was brought into Cache County. Others who arrived in 1860 were:

Paradise Settlers of 1860
William WoodheadJerome RemingtonLeonard Crapo
James LofthouseWinslow FarrEdward Davenport
Enoch RawlinsJames BishopJohn Sperry
Elijah TamesAlbert CrapoCharles Rawlins

Enoch Rawlins, Jr. was the first child born in the settlement.

As usual, the first meetings were held in the log houses of the settlers until a small combination meeting and schoolhouse, built of logs, was constructed.

Being some distance from the other settlements, flour and other articles at times were difficult to obtain. On one occasion, some of the settlers were compelled to eat pig weeds, cooked wheat and milk for six weeks.

In 1861, J. G. Crapo and H. C. Jackson built a small sawmill near the fort on the East Creek, and here the first timber was sawed with an upright saw. A little later this mill-site was converted into a gristmill and the sawmill moved farther up the creek, where a considerable logging business was done. The flourmill was finally moved to Hyrum by a Mr. McMurdie.

Others who arrived at Paradise and should be considered as the early settlers and who had lots in the old fort are as follows:

H. C.
James D.
H. Edward
John P.
John F.

Van Luven
George D.
John H.
Henry H.

     They were able to get a crop planted that year which they irrigated from springs on the east side of the Muddy or Little Bear River and they had a good harvest.  Four homes were built on one side of a small road and four homes on the other side of the road in fort style.  The following families spent the first winter on their chosen location either in the fort, small cabins, or in dugouts: David James, Joseph G. Crapo, Alvin M. Montierth, William Smith, Barnard White, William Woodhead, James Lofthouse, Enoch Rollins, Charles Rollins, Edward Davenport, John Sperry, Jerome Remington, Winslow Farr, Jr., James Bishop, Elijah Tams, Leonardis L. Crapo, Prince Albert Crapo, and Dr. Ellis.

     Before the settlers arrived an old trapper by the name of Post, but more often called “Stump,” had built a log cabin just south of the fort in the river bottoms.  He lived by himself, trapping and hunting.  He never joined the colony.  Indians attacked the trapper, killed him, and burned his cabin.  The settlers found his charred bones and buried them.

     As choice as the area was it had its disadvantages.  The settlers were not aware the location they had chosen was one of the main camping grounds of the Indians on their way to the South and East.  Every precaution was taken to protect themselves from attacks of any kind.  They did follow President Young’s advice of feeding the Indians rather than fighting them.  Feeding them at times became a hardship as food was scarce and it meant that their families would have to go without.  They remained in the fort until 1861 after an irrigation canal was completed and then they moved out onto the land to establish their farms.

John P. Wright and his son, John F. Wright, moved from Logan to Paradise in 1862 and took a prominent and leading part in helping to build up the first, as well as the second settlements of Paradise. They were among the first who helped to settle Logan in 1859.

Due to the Black Hawk War in southern Utah in 1867-1868 and as the Indians appeared to be becoming somewhat hostile in northern Utah and Idaho, it was deemed advisable by the Cache Valley authorities to give greater protection to the outlying settlements such as Franklin, and especially Paradise. As previously mentioned, Paradise was well located for Indian attacks and depredations, so Apostle Ezra T. Benson and Peter Maughan held a meting with the settlers and advised them to move their settlement three miles north where the present settlement of Paradise is now situated. Here the country was more open and the settlers could protect themselves better. It was decided to make the move, so early in the spring of 1868 all the houses and equipment were moved to the new location. County Surveyor James H. Martineau had laid off the townsite and it was prepared for settlement. Ten and twenty acre plats of land were also laid off. The settlers each received the same amount of land and lots as they owned at the old location. Bishop David James gave out the lots and land to the people and they commenced at once to build their log houses on their city lots and break up the land and put in their crops.

It was a considerable sacrifice for the settlers to commence a new settlement so soon, under the conditions, but in the end it proved the best thing to do as there was more land available and a larger settlement could be made. A canal was taken out of East Creek at the old location and extended to the new site, and furnished irrigation water for the new farms. This was a difficult task but the ditch was completed in due time for the crops. A few of the settlers still held onto their farms at the old location but they lived in the new Paradise.

A small group of people form Wellsville had previously settled in the fields just west of the new Paradise or the present home of John Thomas, and it was called Petersburg; but these people were induced to move to the new location and not start another settlement in such close proximity. Among these were Thomas Obray, Samuel Obray, William Thomas and Samuel McMurdie. Being somewhat isolated, the settlers were compelled to co-operate to the fullest extent and it meant much to them in every way. A Co-op store, a branch institution, was organized in 1871 by Bishop David James at a capital of $450.00, in $5.00 shares. All who could purchased stock and became interested in the business. It had a rapid growth and paid several good dividends to the shareholders. A new store building and granary were built and it was the leading business institution in the settlement for years.

The log building for the meeting and schoolhouse was located just east of the store building and Henry Shaw was the first schoolteacher. He was also the first teacher at the old Paradise location. This became the center of all the social and public activities. Later a very substantial rock building was erected for a meeting house, on the public square. A dramatic company was formed with John P. Wright as the leader, and Mrs. Monteith, Henry G. Williams, Mr. and Mrs. Henry Shaw, Mr. and Mrs. William Humphries, Bishop David James, James Bishop and others, taking part. “Stranger,” “Rent Day” and other old plays were presented and with the dances were all took part, furnished delightful entertainment for the people during the long winter months.

Most of the families raised a little sugar cane and had a few sheep. The cane was taken to Hyrum and made into molasses at the Haight or the Anderson Mills, while the wool was taken to Wellsville to be carded.

Samuel Haight built a small shingle and lath mill in the north part of the settlement and this, with the sawmill previously built in East Canyon by Crapo and Jackson and being so near the timber sections in the canyons, created quite a lumber business for Paradise.

–More Paradise History, from the history written by E. (Betty) Allen

     The settlement was not settled under the Cache Valley ecclesiastical organization.  It was soon deemed wise to organize the settlement under the Cache Valley authorities.  Apostle Ezra T. Benson and Presiding Bishop, Peter Benson, gave the place the name of “Paradise.”  He also selected David James to serve as the first Bishop of Paradise.

    The visit by Benson and Maughan points up one of the difficulties of the Paradise location.  They were geographically part of Box Elder County but yet were part of the Cache Stake.  On occasion the Box Elder County Court failed to recognize that there was a town in their county named Paradise.

     On January 17, 1862, the Territorial Legislature passed a bill changing the Cache County boundaries to those of today.  Finally, Paradise was a part of Cache County.  But the Cache County Court did not pay much attention to Paradise – any more attention than Box Elder County.  On August 11, 1862, precinct officers were elected as follows: Jerome Remington, Magistrate; Winslow Farr, Jr., Constable; James Bishop, Pound Keeper; Joseph G. Crapo and Enoch P. Rollins, Fence Viewers.  It was not until February 9, 1863, that Paradise was made an election precinct.

     During 1861, meetings were generally held in the large and commodious house erected by Alvin M. Montierth.  In the fall of 1861, the first Meeting/School House, a small log building, was erected.

     In March of 1864, Ezra T. Benson ordered an official survey be made of Paradise.  James H. Martineau completed the survey on March 29, 1864.  The streets were laid off running north and south, east and west.  There were seventeen blocks with eight building lots in each block.  The center block was reserved for the Tithing Office.  In 1864, a new Meeting House, a log building 18 x 27 feet was erected.  Part of this building was subsequently moved down to the new location in 1886, and was used as part of the new Meeting House.

     In 1861, Henry C. Jackson arrived in Paradise.  He immediatly set to work putting in a sawmill.  Until that time all homes were the typical log houses, which were chinked and daubed with clay.  The roofs were made by putting a thick layer of willows over the poles that were laid up over the cross logs and then a heavy covering of clay was added.  The sawmill allowed the settlers to upgrade their cabins and even erect new ones.

    In the latter part of the summer of 1866, great clouds of grasshoppers flew upon the town and fields surrounding it and commenced feeding upon the crops of the gardens and fields.  The grasshoppers also laid their eggs in great quantities.  The following spring, insects had hatched from these eggs and destroyed practically all the crops that had been planted.  Thus, it continued alternately for six years.  This because known as the “Grasshopper War” and the setters were unable to improve their situation.

     On December 25, 1867, the settlement numbered about fifty families and the dayschool numbered fifty students under the able instruction of Henry A. Shaw.  One remarkable feature of the little settlement was the fact that eighteen members of the ward had been members of the Shrewsbury (England) Branch of the LDS Church.

     In 1867, the Church authorities decided that on account of Indian troubles, the first location, Old Paradise, was considered unsafe.  It was decided that the settlement should be moved farther north down the creek.  James H. Martineau surveyed the new town site.

     A few families moved from the old location to the new one in the fall of 1867, but the general move took place in the spring of 1868, when about fifty families vacated Old Paradise and moved to the new town site.  They brought with them their water rights and other privileges.  A new ditch tapping the Muddy lower down was then commenced and constructed under rather distressing circumstances.  They were not successful in getting the new ditch ready in time for early irrigation and nearly the entire crop of grain was burned up in the sun.

     Also in 1868, a new Meeting and School House, 26 x 40 feet, was built at the new location.  The new town of Paradise absorbed the original Petersburg settlement where four families had spent several years alone.

     Bishop James brought a large load of fruit trees from Salt Lake City, in the early 1870’s, and this was the first beginning of fruit growing to any considerable extent in Paradise.  The settlers strove to develop every worthwhile industry within the confines of the community, and a small cooperative store was organized in 1871.  It was owned by a cooperation of laboring men.

     On April 26, 1875, the inhabitants of Paradise petitioned the Cache County Court for the organization of an Irrigating District within the precinct of Paradise.  The Court had previously organized an Irrigating District that embraced the precincts of Paradise, Hryum and Wellsville.  The Court ordered that so much of said district as was within the precinct of Paradise laying East of Little Bear River be organized with a separate Irrigating District with the proportion of water already granted to said precinct except the right-of-way for Hyrum canal running through the same.

In 1897, construction was started for a new three-room brick school building.  School was held in the new building in 1897-1898.  An addition of three rooms and two restrooms was added to the building from 1911-1912.

The old three-room Red Brick School House, built in 1897
(located on the town square, where the forestation is now)

     Paradise continued to prosper and progress.  By the turn of the century the population numbered 739 people.  They continued to upgrade their homes and an addition was added to the existing Meeting House.  A new brick tithing office was constructed in 1901 for the purpose of receiving and storing tithes and offerings of the Church members.  The residents submitted a petition to Cache County on March 5, 1900, requesting a town corporation, but the town was not incorporated until seven years later, April 16, 1907.  The first President of the town board was Samuel Oldham.

The old tithing office, which was later donated to the Daughters of the Utah Pioneers to use as a museum- then and today.

     In January 1909, the town board first considered the feasibility of lighting the town with electricity, but they had to wait until 1917, when a contract was awarded to Utah Power and Light to bring electricity to the town.  By November 24th, the poles and wire were ready, and the following week the houses were connected and meters installed.

     The town was also concerned about the welfare and social life of its citizens.  In 1914, the Town Board secured by purchase a building suitable for a city hall.  In connection therewith a jail with suitable cells was constructed for the accommodation of prisoners.  By 1912, the Town Board felt it was no longer necessary to maintain a city jail and the old building was turned over to the Paradise Ward Social Advisory Board.  The building was remodeled and properly fitted for use as a gymnasium.  Boys and girls athletic clubs were organized and a social movement began.  Basketball games, boxing, programs, and dances were held in the building.  In 1931, the old School House was also turned over to the Athletic Club to be used for amusements.

     On January 3, 1910, the matter of putting in a water system for the town was discussed, but it was not until September that the first definite proposal was made, and it failed outright.  The people were not ready for it.  For nine long years the idea was kept alive and presented to the people at every opportunity.  In 1919, financing began to take place and on September 29, 1919, a contract was signed for the construction of the water system.  On December 20, 1920, the system was completed and the residents of Paradise received drinking water.

The Red Brick School was added onto in 1911, and the original tower was later removed.

     No major improvements were made to the system until the summer of 1961, when a well was drilled in the northeast part of town.  In 1963, a second well was dug in the northwest part of town.  A third well was drilled in 1979, located on the town square.  In 1980, the town began to enlarge and replace the distribution system, reservoir and transmission lines.  In 1984, a replacement and enlargement of the upper transmission line and redevelopment of the spring took place.

     In 1997, a fourth well was drilled in the mouth of Hyrum Dry Canyon, east of the East Cache Fault Line.

     Along with other Valley residents, the residents of Paradise fell prey to the Spanish Influenza in the fall of 1918.  They complied with all rules and regulations in regard to the disease.  People were not allowed outside their own communities without wearing a mask.  By December 18th, six people had died from the influenza and funerals were held outdoors.  All indoor meetings had been discontinued early in October.  It wasn’t until February 1919, that indoor public meetings were held once again.

     In September 1940, work began on the new school gymnasium/auditorium.  The structure consisted of a combination gymnasium/auditorium, a stage, fully equipped kitchen, banquet room, a town office, and dressing and shower rooms.  The structure became the center for all social activities for the community.

     With the bombing of Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, America entered WWII, and the town became involved in the activities connected with the war.  Many young men and women from Paradise and Avon have served their country over the years, and we are deeply proud of them.

     In 1948, streetlights were installed in the town, and in 1964, Paradise was connected to the Mountain Fuel natural gas system.  With the completion of the Porcupine Reservoir in 1963, Paradise was blessed with additional irrigation water.  In August 1972, the Paradise Irrigation Company began installation of a new pressurized irrigation system.  The system was completed for the 1973 irrigation season.

     The Cache County School District initiated a school consolidation program in 1968, and the Paradise school was closed.  The elementary students were enrolled at Lincoln Elementary School in Hyrum.  The school had been the center of various types of activities throughout the years and it was a great loss to the community.  The town later obtained the old School House building and gymnasium and property from the Cache County School District.

      The town has developed two beautiful picnic areas, tennis courts, playground areas, softball fields, multipurpose courts and various soccer fields.  In 1984, they renovated part of the gymnasium for use as a fire station, and in 1985, a new city office and community room was completed in the other half.

The old gymnasium, which was built where the Old Red Brick School house once sat.
In 1984 it was converted into a fire station, and in 1985 the City offices were added.

     On August 24, 1991, a community celebration known as “Trout and Berry Days” was held and has been an annual celebration ever since.  It is held on the last Saturday of August and is an enjoyable day for everyone.  Activities have included a flag ceremony, pancake breakfast, parade, golf tournament, rodeo, commercial booths, live trout scramble, mud volleyball, berry pie eating contest, auction, trout dinner, entertainment, and more.

     The town has tried to maintain a rural atmosphere and is a peaceful, beautiful community.  The town board is always striving to improve the community in every way possible to make the community a desirable place to live and raise a family.

History of the Old Stone Church

Article: “Once upon a chapel: 133-year-old LDS church in Paradise to be razed” By Matthew K. Jensen, Apr 15, 2012, The Herald Journal

Next month, the 133-year-old church in the center of town will be leveled to make room for a new chapel that will serve nearly 1,000 Latter-day Saints in southern Cache Valley.

The pioneer-era church is one of the oldest Mormon chapels in Utah and, according to church historians, exhibits the uncommon craftsmanship employed by early settlers. The limestone rock chapel, completed in 1877, features architecture and construction techniques shared by earlier LDS churches and temples.

“Some of these early-settler builders had worked on the Nauvoo temple, and could have naturally incorporated their knowledge of temple architecture into the design and construction of the new rock church,” said Garth Norman, a contract archeologist for the LDS Church. “It is said the pioneer rock church in Paradise was being built to last forever, assuming the 28-inch-thick stone walls would endure.”

Generations later, they have. Norman said there is no evidence of cracking in the building’s hardened limestone walls.

It’s likely construction on the Paradise chapel began in 1876 with the placement of four large cornerstones. The practice, says Norman, has both practical and theological ties.

“In the temples, these stones were dedicated to Christ, ‘the chief cornerstone’ at the southeast corner and offices of the priesthood at the other three corners, all reaching out to administer the restoration of the gospel to the world,” he said.

Dig deeper and you’ll find other connections that Norman says link the Paradise building to some of the earliest church architecture. The length of the original rock church, for example, is twice its width — the same design used for the largest room of the Nauvoo temple.

With so much history built into the Paradise church, top leadership carefully considered preserving the enduring structure.

Hyrum Stake President Steve Miller, the top ecclesiastical leader over the four wards in Paradise, said the church’s First Presidency was even in on the conversation to save the building, but ultimately decided to build anew.

“They’re very concerned about preserving our heritage,” said Miller. “And they were very concerned with the feelings of the people of Paradise.”

Church engineers visited the site in recent months and determined a restoration would be impractical.

“Given the fact that the structure was in the shape it was in, it wasn’t logical to try to restore it,” Miller said.

After speaking with residents who used the building, Miller learned a majority of members preferred a modern facility given the cost to renovate the existing one. The original structure has been added onto multiple times, including major portions that were annexed in the 1950s and ’60s. The church was also recently upgraded with modern restrooms and was consistently maintained to meet strict safety standards.

How the chapel looked from about 1960-2012

(photo by David Roy, https://pbase.com/davidroyimages)
interior photo of the chapel

(photo by David Roy, https://pbase.com/davidroyimages)
detail of the paintings that once adorned the walls

(photo by David Roy, https://pbase.com/davidroyimages)

The building is not, however, in compliance with today’s seismic codes and has problems with its roof and foundation. Despite its age and impending demolition, says Miller, the church is part of the cultural fabric of Paradise and Avon.

“The building has a great sentimental attachment to many people,” he said. “They grew up in it and they were there during different phases of remodeling.”

On Monday, crews will begin removing ceiling tiles that contain asbestos and last week, contractors were inside salvaging wood and removing fluorescent lamps. Ward members were even given the chance to buy used goods in the building, including hymn books, furniture and fixtures. By Friday, little remained after dozens of faithful showed up to purchase everything from wooden pews and gym floor boards to shelving and bathroom fixtures. Even the doorknobs were taken.

One part of the building likely to stick around are the four original cornerstones.

Even before he knew they were there, Norman suspected the signature stones were buried beneath the church and traveled to Paradise from Utah County to do some digging.

“In anticipation, I excavated outside the west corners of the rock church on April 12 to check for cornerstones before demolition begins,” he said. “Both corners have big 12-inch-high stones jutting out beyond the stone walls laid on top. The northwest cornerstone measures 16 by 19 inches and the southwest stone is much larger, measuring 24 by 38 inches.”

Norman and other visitors to the now-gutted chapel have discussed the possibility of using the stones in some kind of commemorative monument at the new chapel, but LDS Church officials have made no statement about re-using the large pieces.

During upcoming construction, members of the Paradise 3rd Ward will meet in the city’s newest chapel just six blocks southeast, and 2nd Ward members will congregate at a church in Hyrum.

Miller said he and other stake leaders have asked the church’s building department if original elements of the Paradise church could be incorporated into the new design. Original rock, he said, will become part of a stone facade and the blueprints will call for a modified steeple that doubles as a bell tower, housing the original bell from the 19th century church.

Some residents wanted to see the stone chapel stay. Nick Nielsen of Paradise and his family have used the building for more than a decade and said it will be heartbreaking to see the old church go. Nielsen researched the history of the chapel for use in a proposal to the church’s building department in an effort to save the original rock portion.

“So many people around here have great memories of that building,” he said. “It’s a noble building and it’s sad to see it come down.”

Article: “Once upon a chapel: 133-year-old LDS church in Paradise to be razed “By Matthew K. Jensen, Apr 15, 2012, The Herald Journal


The new church building stands in the same spot, and was completed in December of 2012. Rock from the original church was incorporated into the facade, and the steeple now houses the original bell from the 1870 church building.

Stone from the original rock church was incorporated into the facade,
and the original bell from that church now hangs in the steeple.

(photo by David Roy, https://pbase.com/davidroyimages)

HISTORIC BARNS OF NORTHERN UTAH: click here to view/print a self-guided tour pamphlet
Several barns in Paradise are mentioned.

More historic photos of Paradise:
The Diamond M. Creamery, built in 1895 by Samuel McMurdie. It was purchased by Barnard White in 1905 and over the years was used for a creamery, a residence, turkey brooding, turkey processing plant, office and trout processing plant.
Elizabeth R. Smith’s Mercantile and Post Office, about 1907
(photo courtesy of Elizabeth Allen)
The Paradise Band (1920s?)
The first Service Station in Paradise. Built by Irvan Maddox.
(photo courtesy of Virginia O. Summers)
The Cracker Barrel, site of the old Paradise Co-Op Store

Learn more about Paradise Utah history on Wikipedia.org or CityTownInfo.com or City-Data.com