Utah History to Go
Southern Utah's First High School
Change and Creativity
Struggle for Statehood
Struggle for Statehood Chronology
In 1895 Utahns Wondered When Statehood Would Come
A State is Born
Party Politics and Utah Statehood
The Constitutional Convention is Called
Constitution Was Framed in City and County Building
African American Community and Politics, 1890-1910
The Broad Ax and the Plain Dealer Kept Utah's African Americans Informed
Clarence E. Allen Was Utah's First Congressman
How Utah Lost One of Its U.S. Senate Seats in 1899
Salt Lake Native Was Interred in the Kremlin Wall
The Shooting of Arthur Brown, Ex-Senator From Utah
Convict Labor Helped to Build Utah's Road
Strawberry Valley, 1st Federal Reclamation Project
Women's Suffrage in Utah
Woman Suffrage Dominated Politics in Utah
Kanab Residents Chose Women to Run Their Town, 1912
Ruth May Fox, Forgotten Suffragist
Soren Hanson's "House That Eggs Built"
Utah Arts Council
Utah State Historical Society
The Beginning of Public Support For Libraries
The Pasta King of the Mountain West
Celebrating the New Year in Salt Lake's Chinatown
Electrifying Utah-Engineer Lucien L. Nunn
A Brewer-Sportsman's Prairie Style Home in Ogden
Saltair Village Was a Unique Place to Live
Boxing Fans Take the Plunge at Saltair
Castilla Hot Springs Attracted Many Visitors
Minstrel Shows
Utah State Capitol
Utah in the Spanish American War
Captain Richard W. Young and Spanish-American War
A Soldier's Life at Fort Douglas in the Early 1900's
Methodist Women Missionaries Worked Hard in Utah
Flour Mills
Guano Sifters on Gunnison Island
The Lehi Beet Sugar Factory
The Salt Industry Was One of the First Enterprises
From Free Salt to a Major Industry
Hospitals and Health Crazes in the Late 1800's
The Myths and Legends of Butch Cassidy
Butch Cassidy
Would the New State of Utah Go Metric?
A Look at Working Women in the Early 20th Century
Jobs in 1900
Explosion of Pleasant Valley Coal Company
The Lucin Cutoff
Southern Utah's First High School
Life Was Precarious in Turn-of-the-Century Utah
Salt Lake City Had Its Typhoid Mary
Vaccinations in Wasatch County
Promoting Physical Fitness
Woman's Home Association Tried to Help the "Fallen"
Juvenile Delinquency Posed Problems For Utahns
Traveling Gypsies Brought an Exotic Lifestyle to Utah
The First Large Factory in Utah
The Rise and Fall of Ogden's Packing Industry
Newsboys Claimed Their Street Corners in Downtown
The Bamberger Electric Railway
The First Cars in Two Small Towns
A Bicyclist Challenges the Great Salt Lake Desert
Daredevils of the Sky-Early Aeronauts in Utah
Ogden Defeats Salt Lake City in a War of the Wheels
Utah's Immigrants at the Turn of the Century
Boys' Potato Growing Clubs
Joe Hill and the I.W.W.
Socialist Women and Joe Hill
A Bit of Polynesia Remains
Justice Zane and Antipolygamy
The Salt Lake Valley Smelter War

Becky Bartholomew
History Blazer, May 1996

In 1883 Fort Cameron, which had been established a short distance from Beaver, Utah, primarily to protect white settlers from Indian raids, was abandoned. John R. Murdock, president of the Beaver LDS Stake, purchased part of the property from the US Army in hopes of locating an academy on the site. According to one account, he was assisted by Philo T. Farnsworth, bishop of the Beaver Ward, Kent Farnsworth, and other local citizens.

The $15,000 purchase price was a bargain, constituting only about one-eighth the value of the land and structures. It was another of the economic windfalls Fort Cameron had brought to the community. For their money the buyers obtained ten acres, eleven substantial stone buildings, a stable, and outbuildings.

These owners held onto the property for fifteen years. They allowed it to be used for summer schools and pleasure excursions while they lobbied Mormon officials in Salt Lake City for a church academy. Such a school was sorely needed--there being no secondary schools south of Provo--so that southern Utah families ambitious for their teenagers to obtain a real education would not have to send them away.

In 1897 the Utah House of Representatives considered a proposal for the state to buy and establish a comprehensive normal school on the Murdock property. Proponents argued that the state owned many buildings in northern Utah but few in the south. But statehood had just been obtained, and others felt Utah's coffers were too spare to support this $30,000 effort. The measure was defeated.

Thus it was up to Beaver citizens to make a local academy a reality. Among others, Sarah Maeser, member of the local Woman Suffrage Association and wife of the town's first principal, took up the cause. Her interest no doubt had something to do with her being the mother of Karl G. Maeser, head of Provo's Brigham Young Academy. Interestingly, men as well as women were affiliated with the local suffrage group, and many of them doubled as academy supporters along with John R. Murdock.

Citizen efforts were effective. In 1898 the Mormon church acquired 240 additional acres from the US government and turned the Fort Cameron site into the Beaver Branch of the Brigham Young Academy. A procession marked the opening of the school, attended by two Mormon general authorities and followed by a public concert and ball. Despite its official name, the school was always known locally as the Murdock Academy after its chief patron.

For ten years the Beaver Stake operated the school, offering high school preparatory classes in addition to ninth and tenth grade courses. In 1908 the LDS church headquarters assumed total control over Beaver Academy and introduced a full high school curriculum. How important LDS leaders considered the education of their youth is indicated by the addition of a $100,000 classroom building to the campus in 1908.

Finally catching on to the need for public education beyond grade school, the state legislature in 1922 passed a law requiring all Utah counties to maintain tuition-free high schools. After 25 years, Beaver Academy was closed. Much of the land was sold and the equipment donated to the new Beaver High School.

From 1937 to 1938 Fort Cameron once again housed young men from all over the country, this time assigned to the Milford Civilian Conservation Corps. The CCC dismantled the remaining buildings. The stone was used for a new Milford chapel and the Minersville town hall.

Today only the laundress quarters remain. Old Fort Cameron was recently surveyed for possible listing in the National Register of Historic Places.

Sources: Thomas G. Alexander and Leonard J. Arrington, "Utah's Military Frontier," Utah Historical Quarterly 32 (1964); Metta Hutchings White, "Fort Cameron," in Heart Throbs of the West (Salt Lake City: Daughters of the Utah Pioneers, 1941), vol. 3; Lisa B. Bohman, "A Fresh Perspective: The Woman Suffrage Association, Beaver and Farmington, Utah," Utah Historical Quarterly 59 (1991).


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