Log Cabin in the Mountains

 

Old Castle Dale City Street

 

Waterwheel in Castle Dale City

 

Antique Wheel Serves as a Gate

 

History

 

Human habitation of the Emery County area dates back thousands of years and includes the people of the Desert Archaic Culture. This prehistoric culture was followed by the people of the Fremont Culture, who inhabited present-day Emery County from about A.D. 500 to about A.D. 1300. Evidence of both these cultures can still be found in artifacts and the numerous pictograph and petroglyph panels that are found at Temple Mountain Wash, Muddy Creek, Ferron Box, Black Dragon Canyon, Buckhorn Wash and in hidden canyons throughout the county. In historic times, Ute Indians occupied sites in what is now Castle Valley, and travelers on the Old Spanish trail marveled at the "castles" of Castle country as they passed through present day Emery County to and from California.

 

It wasn't until 1875 that ranchers from Sanpete County recognized the settlement potential of the region. In the fall of 1877, young Latter-day Saint families were directed by Brigham Young to move into Castle Valley and take up homesteads in what would become the settlements of Huntington, Ferron, Castle Dale, and Orangeville.

 

Although livestock and farming remained the mainstay of the county's economy throughout most of its history, two related events affected the region's economic stability: the completion of the Denver and Rio Grande (D&RG) Railroad through Emery County in 1883, and the establishment of coal mines at Scofield, Castle Gate, and Sunnyside in Carbon County by the mid 1890s. The railroad provided transportation to other parts of the state and nation for locally grown produce and livestock, and the miners provided a booming local market for animals and vegetables. The mines also provided an opportunity for these early residents of Emery County to diversify their economy by working in the mines during the winter months and farming in their own fields during the summer. The D&RG also led to the establishment of the town of Green River in Emery County's beautiful San Rafael Swell country. The history of this region can be followed in the John Wesley Powell Museum located in historic Green River.

Riding the crest of national economic growth during the 1970s Emery County's population grew significantly as a result of the construction of large coal-fired power plants in Castle Dale and Huntington by Utah Power & Light Company (PacifiCorp) and the expansion of coal mines to fuel these important power plants.

 

Today's Emery County offers an affordable, comfortable place to live and retire, a cornucopia of adventures to the vacationer, and unlimited opportunity to entrepreneurs astute enough to grasp its full potential.

 

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