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MODIFICATION OF THE EARLY UTAH FARM VILLAGE Jos. A. Geddes Utah Agricultural Experiment Station, Logan, Utah Virtually all of the early villages of Utah were farm villages. The first form of settlement was the fort village, in which the houses were built along the inside walls of the fort. Men took their guns with them to work. Guards were on duty at night. Some of the settlements, however, were established without forts. The fort villages did not last long. With the decline in power of the Indians, the typical farm village became the dominant type. These Mormon farm villages had the following characteristics: 1.Wide streets running parallel, north-south and east-west, usually 6 or 8 rods in width. 2.Square blocks containing either 5 or 10 acres. The 5-acre blocks were divided into 4 lots of 1% acres each. The 10-acre blocks originally contained 20 lots of V4 acre, each and were designed for urban conditions. AU the inhabitants, both farmers and non-farmers, lived in the village. 3.One full block near the center of the village was reserved as a public square on which recreation centered. 4.Trees were planted around the public square and on the outside line of the sidewalks where a small ditch of irrigating water ran to supply the shade trees and as a source of water for the gardens, orchard trees and lawns within the lots. 5.On or near the public square were the church and the school, with the store not far away. 6.Extending from the village to the nearest mountain stream was the canal or canals which carried life-giving water to the farms around the compactly settled area. A rather rigid system of land ownership was set up which aimed at equality among the members of a community. The Mormons were slow to accept the inequalities of capitalism which have now become so strongly entrenched. Equality in land ownership was sought, ( 1 ) by making 1 34* acre lots available to each home owner; ( 2 ) by dividing the land in 20-acre farms; and (3) a share in the regulated use of the common pasture. Later, when a 20-acre farm was found to be too small for a large family or families it was difficult to purchase an adjoining plot. Hence, a farmer, particularly if he lived in a village, owned farm land scattered in a number of places. Separation of land still plagues the farmers of these communities. In early days the Mormon bishop was the real leader of the community. Farmer and non-farmer mingled together in a society in which strong social solidarity existed and in which cooperative effort was seasoned and effective. Religion was the pervasive and generative force that penetrated all fields of action. The farmer was dominant in the community. He and his sons traveled to the farm near the periphery of the square blocks, but in the evening and on Sunday he collaborated with the storekeeper, the school teacher, the carpenter, and the mason in matters pertaining to worship and comr munity needs. It was many years before the clearing of the sagebrush, the building of the schoolhouse and church house, the construction of canals 15 16Yearbook of the AssociationVol. 8 and the strengthening of levees permitted the direction of community effort toward surfaced roads, culinary water, and, much later, toward concrete sidewalks. In origin the Utah farm village is of course not entirely new. It resembles in some respects the farm village of ancient times. It has certain resemblances to the New England town. But the New England town is irregular in shape rather than nearly square as in the Utah villages, and its streets are not as wide or definitely patterned. The New England town was not subjected to the compelling influences of irrigation. The Utah villages are really modeled after the "plat" of the City of Zion which was worked out in Kirtland, Ohio, by Joseph Smith and others in 1833. (Fig. 1 ). Utah villages were "little Zions" rather well adapted to Great Basin conditions . Some of them, particularly smaller villages, followed the Nauvoo, Illinois, modification of the Zion plan. In Nauvoo the streets...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1551-3211
Print ISSN
0066-9628
Pages
pp. 15-22
Launched on MUSE
2014-10-01
Open Access
No
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