Lehi, Utah, is located 12 miles north of Provo and 23 miles south of Salt Lake City. Lehi was originally settled by the Mormon Pioneers in 1850. Historical names for the City have included: Sulphur Springs, Snow’s Springs, Dry Creek, and Evansville. The City’s name was changed to Lehi City and incorporated 1852. Lehi is named after a Book of Mormon Hebrew prophet who led his followers to the promised land in the western hemisphere [c. 600 B.C.]. It is Utah’s sixth oldest town, and the northernmost community in Utah Valley. Lehi experienced monetary boom in 1858 as a result of the establishment of the Utah Expeditionary Force at nearby Camp Floyd, the largest military establishment in the United States, at that time. The local economy skyrocketed again in the 1890s with the establishment of the Utah Sugar Company’s first factory at Mulliner’s Mill Pond. The Overland Stage Coach Route, Pony Express Trail, and Transcontinental Telegraph all crossed the Jordan River at nearby Indian Ford.
Agriculture (producing wheat, oats, barley, and alfalfa) and animal industries (cattle ranching, sheep raising, dairying, poultry raising, fisheries, and mink ranching) have made a profound impact on the economic history of the community. With the establishment of the Utah Sugar Company’s first plant in Lehi in 1890, the sugar beet became the town’s most important cash crop and remained so until after World War I.
Important early industries in Lehi included Mulliner’s Grist Mill (1856-90), the Lehi Banner newspaper (1891-1914), Lehi Cereal Mill (1922-74), Lehi Stone, Marble, and Granite Works (1897-1930), and the Standard Knitting Factory Company (1904-09).
A wide range of companies continue to maintain offices in Lehi in the today.
Historical sites and points of interest in the area include the best-preserved portion of the Pony Express Trail in Utah (at the Point of the Mountain). Just west of town you can find Indian Ford at the Jordan River and Dugout–a Pony Express and Overland Trail station. Seven people’s co-op buildings, once part of the ZCMI chain, still remain in Lehi. The two most significant of the co-op buildings were recently recognized by ZCMI, which installed two replicas of the 1869 ZCMI sign on the building fronts.
Other important Lehi institutions include Broadbent’s (since 1882), Lehi Roller Mills (since 1905), the Lehi Free Press (since 1932), Hutch’s (since 1946), the Lehi Cafe (since 1958), La Casa Supper Club (since 1964), Porter’s Place, named for the notorious Porter Rockwell (since 1971), and the Colonial Manor (the 1913-built Smuin Dancing Academy). The Colonial House, originally Racker Mercantile, is now a beautifully restored reception and hosting center.
The Lehi Memorial Building, the first municipal structure in America specifically erected to honor the memory of World War I veterans, is the home of the Hutchings Museum, which has won state and national accolades for the depth and variety of its collection.
Lehi City municipal offices are housed in new facilities. The city also boasts a new public library, senior citizens complex, and public safety building. In addition to one of the finest culinary water systems in the state (a $3.74-million lead-free piping system, installed in 1989), the entire town is serviced by a pressurized irrigation system which was completed in 1990. Lehi’s power collection and distribution system, the city’s greatest single source of revenue, has been a boon to the community since 1964. At that time, City officials signed a long-term contract to purchase power from the Intermountain Consumer Power Association.
“Lehi is a good place to live,” has been the community’s official slogan since 1911. In addition to a safe, quiet, family-oriented environment, the town offers recreational opportunities such as Saratoga Resort to the southwest, Wines Park, Willow Park, the local Olympic-size swimming pool, Veteran’s baseball park, Heritage Theatre, and the world-famous Lehi Roundup rodeo, which for the past half-century has continually drawn top cowboys from all over America.
See: Richard S. Van Wagoner, Lehi: Portraits of a Town (1990); Lehi Centennial Committee, Lehi Centennial History 1850-1950 (1950) which includes the 1913 History of Lehi written by Hamilton Gardner.
Richard S. Van Wagoner
Info courtesy of Lehi Website