Adapted from “An overview of Alpine’s History, 1850-1980,” and “10 fun facts about Alpine that you may not know.” Daily Herald. April 26, 2018.
The city of Alpine is located in the northeastern portion of Utah county. In 1850, several families, led by William Wordsworth, decided that conditions on the north end of Utah valley were ideal for settlement and raising cattle, and the settlement known as Mountainville was born. Agriculture in the valley got off to a rocky start. After an initial poor harvest, the settlers had several good growing years, until swarms of crickets and grasshoppers arrived in 1854 and plagued crops in the settlement for a decade. With movement in and out of the area, the insects, and fears of Native Americans, Mountainville grew slowly.
The name of Mountainville was changed to Alpine in 1855, when the city was granted a city charter. Many poplar trees were planted in the 1860s, part of a larger effort to add trees to the Utah landscape. Alpine’s main streets were full of trees, which added beauty to the landscape of the town. Most of these poplar trees had died by the end of 1920s, but city residents planted others to take their place.
Several factors in the 1940s led to a period of dilapidation in Alpine. First, older structures fell into disrepair and were not restored by residents. Secondly, a turkey farm was built near the city’s main water supply. Many of the turkeys reacted to a mold in the oak trees and died. The die-off and the dust from the farm created health hazards for city residents, and the city banned poultry raising on the site, and in 1946 bought the land where the turkey farm had been.
In the 1960s, the city council faced challenges as they attempted to regulate the small town and keep it beautiful. Part of the challenge was that many people were moving to Alpine in an attempt to avoid similar city ordinances in the towns they came from. In 1965, however, residents caught the “Clean Up, Paint Up, Fix Up Campaign” vision of the First Lady, Ladybird Johnson. The city of 904 residents repaired fences, cleaned up debris, and generally spruced up the city. The energy and effort of Alpine residents earned them a special award of merit from the county, and a national distinguished achievement award from Washington D.C.
Today, Alpine is very different from the farming community it used to be. The population is now over a ten thousand, a large increase from less than a thousand in 1965.