Friday, January 31, 2014

A century ago: Bears, lions, rattlers regularly killed in haste

                              "Old Eph's grave, south of Logan Canyon, Cache County.

By Lynn Arave

IT was wildlife beware, about 100 years ago, as even women were usually well armed in the outdoors and there seemed to be a shoot first and ponder actual dangers later attitude among the public.
Of course it was a different time then, not long after the pioneer era.
“Four women had a long tramp. Became bewildered in the mountains east of Ogden. Wore the soles off their shoes …” was a headline in the June 29, 1909 Standard-Examiner.
Four married women made a long, 16-mile hike up Waterfall Canyon to Malan Heights (Basin) and then returned through Taylor Canyon.
“An early start was made and the trip was a decided and glorious success until the invading army was assailed by a battalion of rattlesnakes,” The newspaper reported. “The ladies held a council of war and then attacked the enemy with hatchets and guns scoring a victory and slaughtering the reptiles.”
Later, spotting the tracks of an enormous bear spooked the women, who then vowed never to do such a hike again without their husbands.
“Grizzly bear in Ogden Canyon” was a Nov. 13, 1911 headline in the Standard. A group on a pleasure trip up Ogden Canyon came face-to-face with the grizzly, who frightened their horses, near Coldwater Canyon.  J.T. Hughes had a target rifle and shot and wounded the bear, who limped away.
Earlier, on Sept. 19, 1904, the Standard reported that two miners had their cabin in the same Coldwater Canyon raided by a black bear. They tracked and found the animal with their bread still in its mouth and shot and wounded it, before it got away.

                                          A water snake along the South Fork of the Ogden River.                        

“Young girls killed a big rattlesnake” was an Aug. 8, 1908 headline. Myrtle Stone and Blanch Leavitt were fishing with Stone’s father. He left them alone temporarily and soon a large snake approached the girls. Stone reached for her father’s shotgun, but it was empty. So, she hit the rattler with a rock and then the gun handle, killing it.
“Mountain Climbers meet a grizzly” was an Aug. 3, 1914 story in the Standard-Examiner. William Critchlow, heading back down into Ogden Canyon after a hike to Mount Ogden, had temporarily left his group. He reported seeing a bear “as big as a bull” and fired three shots at the beast.

                          The bear at Ogden's Prairie Schooner Restaurant.

“Bear killed in Ogden Valley” was an Oct. 19, 1908 headline in the Standard, while “Bear weighing 900 pounds killed by herder” on the South Fork of the Ogden River was a Sept. 14, 1918 headline.
A few years later, a man driving his truck up Ogden Canyon saw a black bear by the river. He stopped, shot it and hauled it back to town.
In those days, a bounty for killing a bear was from $10-$25 and bear meat was also very popular. The increasing use of forest land for sheep grazing was also escalating human-animal conflicts.

Indeed, it was August of 1923 when Old Ephraim, a legendary marauding, gigantic grizzly in the Cache National Forest, was killed by a sheepherder near Logan Canyon.
“Bearing disappearing from this state” was a Nov. 20, 1914 headline in the Standard. Two bears were killed in Weber County during 1913 and 49 state-wide.
“Lion killed in Ogden Valley” was a July 3, 1911 Standard headline. Known as “The Terror of the Mountains” for many years, the mountain lion was said to measure 10 feet from nose to tail and killed many livestock.
A “monster mountain lion” had been killed in 1904 in Magpie Canyon, near South Fork.
However, according to “Remembering My Valley: A History of Ogden Canyon, Eden, Liberty and Huntsville,” by LaVerna Burnett Newey,  the last bear living in Ogden Valley itself was not killed until 1968. This was an old, almost blind bear, who was found four miles south of Huntsville.
”Throw away your hunting outfit” was a March 21, 1914 headline in the Standard. In that era, the Chief Game Warden of the United States said increasing numbers of reckless Americans had no idea how to handle firearms. He promised prosecution for the needless slaughter of wildlife, especially game birds – no matter what state hunting laws allowed.

(-Originally published in the Ogden Standard-Examiner by Lynn Arave on Jan. 31, 2014.)
NOTE: There is a modern group, the Wild Aware Utah program (WAU), a non-advocacy conservation program working through collaborative effort to provide proactive education to minimize conflict between people and wildlife. Its Web site,,  seeks to prevent human-wildlife problems today in Utah, similar to those talked about above.

-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:  

Friday, January 24, 2014

When fines for ‘Fast Autoing’ (7 mph-plus) were equal to $588

“Speeding” hasn’t always been the term for driving over the lawful speed limit. In the early days of automobiles a century ago, “Fast Autoing” was the term, at least in Northern Utah.
A May 4, 1911 Standard-Examiner article stated: “For exceeding the speed limit in an automobile, T.S. Amussen of Salt Lake City was fined $20 in the (Ogden) police court this morning.
A $20 fine in 1911 was simply huge, equaling some $470 today, according to a government inflation calculator.
And what was the speed limit back then? It was a surprising 6 mph at the corner of Washington Boulevard and 21st Street, where this ticket was issued. (That’s jogging speed.)
The next ticket mentioned in that 1911 court story was issued to Harman Peery, who broke the speed limit at Grant Avenue and 24th Street.
(Peery, age 19, would go on to become Ogden’s “Cowboy Mayor,” from 1934-1939. At this time, he was the Hupmobile Auto Dealer for Weber and two other counties.)
The Standard report concluded by stating that both young men had reduced fines of only $20, instead of the standard $25 fine (equal to some $588 in today’s dollars), because it was it was their first offense and neither “was considered an aggravated case of ‘scorching.’”
“All violate the speed law” was a June 1, 1911 headline in the Standard.
“That every automobile owner in Ogden violates the speed ordinance every day was the contention of Judge J.D. Murphy,” the story stated. The Judge said he believed that if every violator of the speed ordinance were brought into court, then the courtroom would be filled with prisoners every day.
“He deplored the unavoidable impartiality of the law in that one man is arrested for an offense of which so many escape punishment,”  the story said.

Another drawback of the police a century ago was that, of course, there was no radar.
According to a May 30, 1911 Standard story, “officers do not always know how fast a machine, or other vehicle, is moving.”
Weber County Sheriff Harrison, in that story, warned the public not to speed in Ogden Canyon especially. He proposed having an officer on a motorcycle equipped with a speedometer in the canyon. An officer would tail an automobile, “so there can be no question as to how fast the pursued car travels.”
And, it wasn’t just cars that were speeding back then. A June 11, 1912 letter to the editor by Edward Walker in the Standard stated that motorcycles were breaking the law too and something needed to be done about these “speed fiends,” who are a danger to the public.
Walker stated that recently a buggy load of women were thrown from their carriage when their horse was frightened by a speeding motorcycle.
The first autos in Utah had arrived about 1906.
By 1909 Utah's 370,000 residents owned only 873 cars and trucks. Not until 1913 did Henry Ford perfect the assembly-line production of his famous Model T, making cars affordable for the average American.”
So, many, many more cars hit Utah’s roads a few years later.
 But, perhaps a $90 speeding ticket today isn’t so bad, considering the almost $600 equal cost of such tickets a century ago.

(-Originally published in the Ogden Standard-Examiner on Jan. 24, 2014, by Lynn Arave.)

-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:  

Friday, January 17, 2014

When German spies/bombers invaded the Ogden area

             The mouth of Ogden Canyon today.                                        Photo by Whitney Arave.

By Lynn Arave

THE Ogden area suffered a pair of serious bomb planting incidents almost a century ago during the final stages of World War I.
“Attempt made to blow up water system of Ogden, Bomb discovered at 8:30 last evening by Watchman at City Reservoir –Six sticks of giant powder with fuse attached, placed near water main – Horse tracks indicate dynamiter had ridden to scene,” was the key headline in the Aug. 14, 1917 Ogden Standard-Examiner.
The bomb was placed so that if it would have exploded, it would have cut off Ogden City’s entire water supply. Then, the water main could not have been turned off, except from up Ogden Canyon, at Coldwater Canyon – and by then, at least an hour later,  “untold damage would have been wrought,” according to the newspaper report, by flooding water.
Police officers noted that a crimp in the fuse had been taken out, making the powder burn unevenly, as the only reason why the rather simple bomb had not gone off.
While some Ogden residents believed the bomb was simply an effort “to stir up the guards at the reservoir and create some excitement,” others feared it was the work of an agent of a foreign government.
Ogden officials responded by adding searchlights to the water reservoir property, on the city’s east side, plus more guards.
While no later newspaper reports ever indicated the bomber was ever found, a separate article in a different newspaper – less than a month later – reveals a probable connection.
“Dancing master proves to be spy; Man who taught dancing at The Lagoon tried to blow up pavilion on Soldiers’ Day,” was the headline in the Sept, 7, 1917 Davis County Clipper.
“The professor who had been teaching dancing at Lagoon has turned out to be a German spy,” that article stated.
Luckily, that bomb didn’t go off either.
It was reported that the professor disappeared, but was later captured and imprisoned in the prisoner’s camp at Fort Douglas.
The newspaper stated that rumors were also circulating that the spy had already been convicted and executed.
The article also reported that another German, who had been living with a family in Centerville, had also been arrested as a spy and sent to Fort Douglas.
A century ago, there was apparently no correlation reported between the two bomb-planting incidents, but it does appear likely the same German spy, or spies, could have been involved in both incidents.
Later, in December of 1917, another bomb with a fuse, was reported found near Ogden. In May of 1918, “Five bombs discovered in carload of coal prove to be harmless when saw is used” was another Standard-Examiner headline, about the Ogden rail yard.
A year later, in May of 1919, the Ogden Post Office was on the lookout for bombs in packages, after federal warnings were received. In this same era, a bomb went off in the Avenues of Salt Lake City and nationally the U.S. Congress was looking to make bomb materials less easily purchased by criminals and terrorists.
None of these bombing incidents seem to be documented in local history books, again showing the brevity of their reach.

(-Published Jan. 17, 2014 by Lynn Arave in the Ogden Standard-Examiner.)

-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:  

Friday, January 10, 2014

From Magpie to Skull Crack Canyon: Ogden Valley Area Place Names

                           The top of Wheeler Canyon.                    Photo by Whitney Arave.

By Lynn Arave

"PLACE names in some respect are like historic moments. They are windows through which we can see the history of an area,” the late William W. Terry, an Ogden-area historian, wrote in his book, “Weber County is Worth Knowing.”
Here is a list, not intended to be comprehensive, of selected place name origins in the Ogden Valley section of Weber County. (More name origins in Northern Utah will be explored in future articles):
Causey Creek/Dam: Named for Thomas Causey, an early settler, who operated a saw mill there. (The dam was built from 1962-1966.)
Chicken Creek: This moniker is derived from all the wild chickens, who roamed this area in Liberty’s early days.
Dairy Ridge: So called by a rancher who had dairy cattle roaming in the Monte Cristo area.
Dog Pen Ridge: Called after the pens of dogs kept there by area sheepherders.
Dry Bread Hollow/Dry Bread Ponds: Levi Wheeler built an early road in the Monte Cristo area, but he and his crew ran out of provisions and only had dry bread to eat until the project was completed. The ponds were originally called Elk Ponds, since so many elk watered there.
Eden: So named by Washington Jenkins, a government surveyor, who thought the area was beautiful and that the town deserved the Biblical name of Eden. (North Fork Town was its prior name.)
James Peak: Titled for James Davenport, who cut timber in the area for the railroad.
Lightning Ridge: So named after a bolt of lightning struck some trees there during a storm.
Magpie Campground, Creek, Canyon and Flat: Named for Bryon Fifield, who was nicknamed “Magpie” and was one of the first Ogden Valley settlers to enter the South Fork area, searching for wood. There is also a nearby Magpie Canyon and that was perhaps the first reference to Magpie in the area, as the campground came afterward.

     Today's Pineview Dam. The old Pineview Hotel was located in that area.
                                                                            Photo by Whitney Arave.

Pineview Reservoir: Named by Eudora Decker Wilcox, who operated the historic Pineview Hotel, campground, cottages and way station with her husband, Moroni Edward Wilcox. This hotel, a rival of the Hermitage, was located at the edge of Wheeler Creek in upper Ogden Canyon and disappeared when the Dam was built.
Shanghai Creek/Canyon: Named after the historic pioneer bridge of the same name that at one time crossed the Ogden River at the west end of Ogden Valley. This area is now under Pineview water.
However, where did the Shanghai name itself came from?
"The Shanghai Bridge, situated a little east of where Wheeler's Creek emptied into the river, was long and narrow, standing about fifteen feet above the water. It had no railings on the sides and was approached by a curve in the road which made it an extremely dangerous place especially on a dark night." 
The bridge was also known for having loose boards at times.  --This is a historical excerpt from the history of Martha Ann Bronson (found on:
She lived in Eden from the 1850s ,until her death in 1926.
One can then surmise the bridge earned its name perhaps from pictures seen of other risky, narrow bridges in the Shanghai area of China and this early bridge was reminiscent of them.
The first reference to Shanghai Bridge was May 19, 1881 in the Ogden Standard-Examiner, where it stated that the new bridge, just opened, has a "high name." Apparently, area residents built the bridge on their own, after losing patience with the  government.
Skull Crack Canyon: Received its unusual title after James Slater and Marinus Johansen were hunting in what would become the Causey Dam area. Johansen hit one of his unruly mules with his gun barrel and cracked its skull.
Snowbasin: The area was originally named Wheeler Basin for Levi and Simon Wheeler who operated a saw mill there. The Ogden Chamber sponsored a “Name Wheeler Basin” contest in the summer of 1940 to herald the coming ski resort. Geneveve Woods (Mrs. C.N. Woods) won the contest with her Snowbasin name submission, officially announced on Aug. 2, 1940.
Trigger Gulch: No gun connection here. The name came from a shingle mill in the area that had a trigger used to move a large blade up and down that cut pines into shingles.

 The South Fork of the Ogden River is a popular tubing area today, thanks to Causey Reservoir and its control of the runoff water.

Wheat Grass: The title simply came from all the tall, wild grass that used to grow in the Causey Dam area.
Wheeler Creek/Wheeler Basin: Their name came from Levi Wheeler, an early settler who operated a saw mill where Pineview Dam is now.
Wolf Creek: No definite answer here. Either it was named for a large gray wolf who roamed the area in pioneer times, or it was for a man named “Wolfe.”

-Ant Hill Flat: On the dirt road from the top of South Fork to Hardware Ranch. Its nickname is "Piss Ant Flat," but that's an unofficial name that has never been on any maps I've seen. Presumably, a lot of ant hills were found in that area.

SOURCES: Ogden Standard-Examiner, June 6, 1918 and also June 29, 1975; “Utah Place Names,” by John W. Van Cott.

(-Originally published by Lynn Arave in the Ogden Standard-Examiner, Jan. 10, 2014.)

-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:  

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Ogden's old artesian well park gone, but its waters still flow ...

(From "History of Ogden, Utah in Old Post Cards," by D. Boyd Crawford, used with permission.)

By Lynn Arave
WATER has always been a centerpiece of Ogden Valley.
Before the days of Pineview Reservoir (pre-mid-1930s), at the west end of the valley there were green meadows and many flowing artesian wells.
When the pioneers arrived in force in the 1860s, cattle would roam the area and ranchers noticed cool waters bubbling up from the ground, likely near where the west end of Pineview Reservoir is today.
In 1889, the first artesian well was drilled 84 feet down. It provided 40 gallons a minute.
Between then and 1935, a total of 51 wells were drilled, with 48 of them flowing. Average depth of the wells was 135 feet, but the deepest went some 600 feet down.
Ogden City drilled the wells to augment its water supply. Ogden was already receiving water from the Weber and Ogden rivers, plus from Taylor, Waterfall and Strongs canyons.
In 1925, there was a temporary sand problem in one of the new wells drilled.
However, the 1920s heralded the artesian wells as a new tourist destination each summer. The July 16,1924 Standard Examiner reported scores of inquires a day to Ogden City from all over the nation about its artesian well park.
Indeed, that summer, the Ogden Chamber of Commerce would regularly shuttle tourists to the wells. It also mailed out some 10,000 booklets that summer on the wells all over the country as a promotion.

  The west end of Pineview Dam, near where the old Artesian Well Park likely would have been.
                                                                                                                  Photo by Whitney Arave.

“Take a cool ride through Ogden Canyon stopping at Hermitage Inn and Park Pineview and Artesian Wells” was part of an advertisement in 1926 in the Standard-Examiner.
Even before the first deep well was drilled, there were some types of simpler water fountains there. The Standard-Examiner on March 25, 1888 reported: “It is worth the pains of the trip (up Ogden Canyon) to get a drink from these fountains and enjoy the fresh, invigorating mountain air.”
The city planted grass, trees and shrubs in 1922 at the well park and used cement to create standard circular fountains there. You didn’t visit Ogden Canyon,or Ogden Valley without taking a cool drink from one of the flowing wells.
The artesian wells soon provided 811,000 gallons a minute, or 16 million gallons of water a day. The water was piped to Ogden in a redwood pipe, used for some 50 years.
The artesian wells soon formed Artesian Well Park, a refreshing summer spot for residents and tourists.
August of 1933 was the only dark side to the artestian wells, as some sort of contamination plagued the well water part of that summer.
When Pineview Reservoir was filled in 1937, the artesian wells were capped and piped out to Ogden Canyon, to continue to supply drinking water to area residents.
By 1956, two-thirds of Ogden’s water, some 20 million gallons a day, were from the artesian wells.
However, it was realized in April of 1968 that after three decades, the 70-foot-deep reservoir water and accompanying pressures had damaged the piping and caused untreated Pineview water to seep into the drinking water pipes. This turned the water red and created slime and odor problems with the water.
All the Pineview water was then chlorinated for health reasons in that emergency, though that also killed most of the trout in the waters.
Pineview Dam was then drained and the old artesian wells were capped. From December of 1970 to May of 1971, six new and larger artesian wells were dug above the high water elevation of the reservoir – all about 260 feet deep – and funneled into a 36-inch pipe that goes beneath Pineview Reservoir and into Ogden Canyon.
These supplied about as much water as the old 48 wells.
According to Justin Anderson, Ogden City Engineer, this newer artesian well field provides for 67% of the drinking water demand to Ogden City today. During peak use, water from the Water Treatment Plant (just west of the base of Pineview Dam) is used to supplement the demand.
Along the Wasatch front it is not unusual for drinking water utilities to utilize well fields,” Anderson stated. “The amount of water extracted from Ogden’s well field is relatively large when compared to surrounding water systems. “
Anderson also noted that the water rights associated with Ogden City’s wells are some of the oldest in the surrounding area. 
So, although the original artesian well park has been gone for almost eight decades, refreshing waters from the same vast underground source in Ogden Valley still dominate Ogden’s drinking water supply.

(-Written by Lynn Arave and originally published in the Ogden Standard-Examiner on December 27, 2013.)

-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: