Alpine settlers worked hard and although they were very poor in worldly goods their faith was strong. They had been blessed with good crops for three years and life was beginning to look a little brighter. The crops of 1854 were very promising and they were looking forward to a bounteous harvest. One day the sky suddenly darkened. People rushed outside to see what the matter was. A cloud of swarming insects flew toward the fields, settled on the crops and began their destruction. The people tried all kinds of ways to destroy or drive the insects off. They fought until they dropped with exhaustion, but in no avail. The insects just moved slowly on, devouring nearly everything in their path. For ten years the settlers were tried with this plague of crickets and grasshoppers. It was a struggle to save enough of the crop for seed for the coming year and a meager existence for the families. Some of the people nearly starved to death and many of the animals died. Several settlers left Alpine for other locations where the insects weren’t so bad. The cattle had been able to winter out in the low hills most of the time before but, with the deep snow and intense cold, added to the lack of crops for feed, nearly all the animals died. Money was scarce and even if you had some, grain could only be bought in a very few places. Many of the men had to go away to work. Some logged, some worked on the railroad or took any job they could get. Several families had to go to other communities to live.
By 1857 there were about forty families calling Alpine home. Alpine, though still a small community facing many problems, did her share to help. The communities or wards furnished the supply of food, a little clothing, bedding and other necessities to those who were the teamsters and maybe an ox or team to make up the four head required for each wagon. Each wagon carried one thousand pounds of flour to help both the people along the way and those brought back with them. Albert Marsh also made the trip in 1863 and brought back twelve people in his wagon. During the year of 1864 not many emigrants came because of the Civil War, but a complete team and wagon and two teamsters, James Freestone and James Hamilton, made the trip. In 1866 two fully equipped wagons and teamsters Ephraim Healey and Charles Silver wood went, and in 1868 two more fully equipped wagons and teamsters Frederic C. Clark and Jacob S. Beck responded. Only fifty wagons were in this train, it being the last group to make the trip because the east and the west were then united by rail, and it was much quicker, cheaper, and more comfortable to come by train. Mountain ville, or Alpine, was granted a city charter January 19, 1855, but the first twelve years of the city’s records are missing so most of the history thus far has been taken from journals, church records, diaries, personal histories, biographies, county and state records, newspaper clippings and early settlers’ recollections. During the year of 1868, the city was farming around 650 acres of land and according to records the quality of produce was very good. Aliens had a grist mill at the mouth of American Fork Canyon, and there was a saw and shingle mill in Dry Creek Canyon. Now many people were building outside the walls of the city’s fort.
The family of Thomas Fields Carlisle had been the first to move out. He lived in the fort about six months. Not liking the confinement, he moved to the southeast part of the settlement where he owned a great deal of property. Peace having been established with the Native Americans, other people was getting anxious to return to their own property. As they continued to leave the fort, they were confronted with a serious lack of roads because some people began closing off the lanes through their property. Others had to take long detours to reach their homes from the main road. It was the responsibility of the city council to do something about the problem. For the next thirty or forty years there was a battle between land owners and council members to establish city streets. As the city continued to grow other problems emerged, one being the distinction between the city and the church. To early days it was very common for the mayor and the bishop to be the same man, and most city government was carried on with a church outlook. For example, in city minutes recorded December 18, 1867, we find: “Resolve that this council hold them responsible for the amount of wheat paid out by the Bishop for services done on the meeting house, whenever it be called for. The ward now being duly incorporated the matter of giving the Church some property was again taken up March 27, 1882, by the city council.
At the meeting held January 23,1883, Don C. Strong and the city council discussed exchanging land to permanently locate the line between Lot 1, Block 8 and said Don C. Strong, owner of Lot 2, Block 8. On motion the mayor appointed W. J. Strong, George Clark and R. E. Booth a committee to locate the corners and lines of land asked for by the school trustees. The next week their report was accepted. A deed was made, accepted by the Council, signed by the Mayor, T. J. McCullough, and the Recorder, S. W. Brown, and presented to the Trustees. At the turn of the century, the population of Alpine had increased to 520 which brought many changes and improvements. A creamery was built by the dairymen to care for the milk before hauling it to Salt Lake. Electric lights and a telephone were installed. a rural free delivery mail route was established. The Alpine Co-op Store burned down. Two new stores were built. The conflict over roads for nearly forty years was partly resolved. An Amusement hall was built in 1906. The people had been considering a culinary water system for some time which was started about 1910. The first basketball team was organized in Alpine. Additional ground was purchased for the cemetery. The land was surveyed and divided into lots and fenced. All these and probably more, as well as the usual affairs of the city, kept the city fathers busy. As the pioneers had plodded westward, they were dismayed at the lack of trees on the landscape. Word was sent back to those following to bring seeds, cuttings and seedlings which they did. In 1860 three wagonloads of cuttings and tiny seedlings were brought into Salt Lake valley from Omaha, Nebraska. Others were brought in later from California and distributed among the people. From these, other cuttings were taken and passed on, and the barren hills and valleys took on a new look.
Thus during the 1860s Alpine was landscaped with trees. All the streets in the main part of town were edged with rows of Lombardy poplar trees about six feet apart. Many division lines between properties also had rows of the stately trees, and other varieties were planted on the lots. Entering Alpine from the south or looking down from the cemetery hill or surrounding mountains was a beautiful sight to behold. By the 1940s Alpine was nearing the century mark, and its appearance was showing signs of neglect. A new generation was growing up that didn’t have the pride their forefathers had had in keeping up their premises. Many older buildings and fences were greatly in need of repair, and discarded machinery and other debris needed removing. At a meeting held May 6, 1944, the city council decided something should be done to try to encourage the citizens to clean and fix up their lots. To help in the project, the city offered to furnish the material to those who would put a sidewalk in front of their lots. Very few took advantage of the offer. Some did make attempts at cleaning up the debris and discarding or repairing the fences but with little effect. In February of 1946, the city bought their first road patrol or scraper to help keep the roads level.
It was purchased from the county but had been used in Alpine for years. All roads in the city at this time were still dirt and gravel and could become very uneven, especially during winter or stormy weather. In March of 1946, the city purchased property now known as Grove Flat, northeast of town where the bowery is located, originally homesteaded in 1864 by Joseph Bateman and called Bateman’s Grove. When the City consolidated the water, for some reason Bateman lost his water rights and was unable to farm the ground. It was later sold to the Clark brothers, and they built a large corral there for holding and cutting out their sheep. Many people felt the zoning ordinances were unfair since Alpine was such a small city and did not need regulations as did larger cities. For some reason, the ordinances were not enforced at this time like they should have been, even though books had been printed and stored in the vault at the city hall. On September 16, 1957, Lloyd Canton was appointed building inspector a thankless job because many thought it was nobody’s business what, how, or where people built. Many would not accept the fact that a building inspector was for their own protection. Problems had been building up in the city and at the first meeting, January 8,1962, the new council felt the full impact. Twenty-eight people crowded the room with requests, many involving more money than a whole years revenue. The previous council had already taken out an anticipation bond, and the city finances were nil right then. The requests were tabled with the understanding that there were more important problems which needed immediate attention in the city and these problems had to be taken care of first. The requests would be considered later. During the month of January, subdivision maps came in for parts of the town.
Not being acquainted with the good and bad points of the proposals, it was necessary for the council to hold up the building permits until information could be obtained. A new Alpine City Board of Adjustments was appointed and organized June 11, 1962, when they met under the direction of city council representative, Jennie Wild. Dewey Bennett was appointed chairman, Max Buckner, vice chairman and Joanne Beck, secretary. The appointments were set up this way so that as one person retired each year a new member was added. Their name was placed at the bottom of the list. As a result the information and workings would be carried on through the knowledge of the majority of members. The subdivision ordinance, which had been setup several years previous, had not been enforced. It was now put into effect to protect the rights and property of established citizens as well as newcomers. Strict animal control standards, temporary permits for trailer houses, development of adequately sized and shaped building lots and procedures for establishing business were enforced. This put quite a damper on the influx of people as many were coming to Alpine at that time to get away from the laws being enforced where they had been residing. Not understanding the situation, many local citizens accused the council of hindering progress. Had the council not acted when they did, Alpine could have quickly and easily turned into a very undesirable city. During 1962, a city library was established and a recreation committee appointed. The newly organized Lion’s Club provided a big, fat, jolly Santa Claus who toured the city on the bright, red fire truck and ended up at the city hall with treats for the kiddies. This made a happy climax for the year. People from Highland and individuals from some large subdivisions between Alpine and Salt Lake County tried to get Alpine to furnish them culinary water. Since the city was already having trouble keeping the higher elevation areas supplied with water during the summer, the council notified the Utah County Surveyor, that the City did not intend to sell water outside the city limits. With only one marshal for Alpine, and he having to make a living out of town, the city council members were deputized to act as peace enforcement officers in the Marshal’s absence. This had its funny side. Some of the few offenders that were approached didn’t think the council had the authority to make an arrest or enforce the law. Somewhere along the line the offenders had not been educated that even a citizen can make what is legally termed as a “citizen’s arrest.”
The Alpine beautification program was launched in 1965, with a city population of 904, under the direction of Utah County, Joel C. Barlow, and Mayor Ronald Strong with Councilman Ronald Devey, Jay Singleton, Van Burgess, Eldredge Warnick and Councilwoman Jennie Wild. William Devey and Valere Hegerhorst were chosen by the council to co-chair the program, which in its first year accomplished a tremendous improvement. An estimated number of five hundred residents turned out on two separate weekends, with many out of town companies furnishing their equipment to demolish burn and clear away old homes, barns and sheds. Fences were rebuilt, dead trees removed, vacant lots cleared of debris. The sides of the streets were cleaned of litter and then mowed. The economy of Alpine, UT employs 4.25k people. The largest industries in Alpine, UT are Retail Trade (508 people), Health Care & Social Assistance (485 people), and Professional, Scientific, & Technical Services (482 people), and the highest paying industries are Professional, Scientific, & Technical Services ($78,824), Professional, Scientific, & Management, & Administrative & Waste Management Services ($73,229), and Transportation & Warehousing, & Utilities ($72,222).
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