“Davis County’s rough roads” was a July 27, 1911 headline in the Standard-Examiner.
The increasing use of the automobile was demanding smoother, better roads. The article said that Ogden and Salt Lake were taking good care of their highways, but that Davis County’s routes were almost impassible.
“If Davis County continues to remain indifferent to the demands of better roads and the necessity for a good highway between Ogden and Salt Lake, the county (should) be divided by annexation to Weber and Salt Lake counties,” was the outcry of some key Weber County residents.
The article also claimed that Davis County’s main highway to Salt Lake was “rougher than a newly made road through a growth of heavy sagebrush.”
A few years after that proposal to do away with Davis County entirely was made, a variation also came out: That Salt Lake County would take a strip of Davis County that was two miles wide. According to a May 18, 1914 Standard article, this meant that the county line would move northward to the southern boundary of Bountiful City.
“There are only about thirty voters and property owners in this section and it is said a majority of these have signed the petition,” the Standard story stated. In that era, St. Joseph’s Road House, was about the only thing of note in the area.
(North Salt Lake City was not created until 1946. If this had been accepted, it would have meant that North Salt Lake City, if it still would have been created, would have actually been in Salt Lake County, as its name seems to convey.)
Strangely, the northern part of Davis County had an even more significant proposal for it. The same petition asked that Clinton, South Hooper and South Weber all be given to Weber County, to create a large and uniform Hooper area in a single county.
None of these proposals ever happened and it is likely a good thing, as Davis County was already, by far, the smallest county of Utah’s 29 counties.
--Here are a few other random, but intriguing snippets from Northern Utah history in the early 20th Century:
-“Day-dreaming Salt Lakers” was an April 9, 1901 Standard-Examiner headline. Residents of Salt Lake were still trying to induce the Southern Pacific Railroad to move the proposed Lucin Railroad Cutoff to their territory, in the south end of the Great Salt Lake. All this, despite the engineering and plans already made for the Lucin route. (Of course the route never changed.)
-Besides problems with speeders in automobiles in the early 20th Century, there were other challenges too. “Autos without the state number are stopped” was a July 19, 1915 headline in the Standard.
The story stated that W. Adams from Layton rode his motorcycle up Ogden Canyon the day prior and he was arrested, because the machine was not registered. He received a $5 fine. Others with unregistered vehicles were also fined.
-“Farmer digs up Indian skulls” was a Feb. 17, 1912 headline in the Standard. John Byington of Hooper caused considerable excitement while plowing his field and finding four Indian skeletons. Rumors of murder abounded, but authorities believed them to be Indians, buried there at least 50 years ago. Byington’s mother said her late husband had also found Indian remains in that same area 29 years earlier. However, those remains were better preserved and wrapped in buffalo robes. Bows and arrows were also found in the same area.
-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