Hooper, Utah: Pioneer Settlement, from Muskrat Springs to Incorporation
Welcome sign from the Davis County side of Hooper. HOOPER, Weber County, Utah, has been the brunt of many a joke over the years.
Hooper, correctly pronounced: "Hup-er," NOT "Hoop-er," was one of the key settlements in early Northern Utah.
For decades after the Mormon Pioneers settled in Utah, you went from Ogden west to Hooper and there was nothing in between.
All the other cities in between came later.
Fur trappers probably visited the Hooper area as early as 1826, but the first verifiable visit was by explorers John C. Fremont, Kit Carson and others on their way to the Great Salt Lake.
In September 1843, Fremont and company passed down the Weber River in a boat, through what is now the Ogden Bay Bird Refuge and into the lake, en route to Fremont Island.
In pioneer days the area was known as Muskrat Springs, for an artesian well where the critters were plentiful. It was also used by Capt. William H. Hooper and others as part of the "Weber Herd Ground." Hooper had cattle there, and his herdsmen built Hooper's first house, a two-story abode, in 1854.
Today's community is named after Hooper, Utah's first delegate to Congress, though he probably only visited the area occasionally. Hooper was also the original director of ZCMI and later its second president, succeeding Brigham Young.
(Many places around the Soda Springs, Idaho, area were also named after Mr. Hooper because he used that area for his summer home site.)
James Hale started Hooper's first business in 1863 when he built two dugouts on the shores of the Great Salt Lake and gathered salt to sell in evaporated sloughs (except when rising lake water forced him to temporarily move out).
By 1876 several settlers had moved in, most of whom have descendants who still live in Hooper - Belnap, Hull, Read, Parker and Cox. These new settlers petitioned to have many of the cattle moved out, so Hooper moved his cattle to the Skull Valley, west of Grantsville.
The area was subsequently known briefly as "Hooperville," until that name was shortened to Hooper.
Sugar cane and corn were Hooper's first crops. Alfalfa and fruit trees also soon became important crops.
By 1877, Hooper ranked second only to Ogden in land area and population (about 100 families) in the Weber-North Davis area.
Hooper became an incorporated city in Weber County on Nov. 30, 2000. Its boundaries technically go west across the Great Salt Lake and include Fremont Island.
Some of "Hooper" (as defined by tradition) includes a section in Davis County towards West Point City. However, all of that land will surely one day end up as part of West Point City, since no one else can annex it.
-(Expanded from a Deseret News article by Lynn Arave on May 3, 1989.)
-NOTE: The author, Lynn Arave, is available to speak to groups, clubs, classes or other organizations about Utah history at no charge. He can be contacted by email at: firstname.lastname@example.org