American Fork, Utah

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American Fork is a city in Utah County, Utah, United States, at the foot of Mount Timpanogos in the Wasatch Range, north of Utah Lake. It is part of the ProvoOrem, Utah Metropolitan Statistical Area. The population was 21,941 at the 2000 census, while the 2008 estimates placed it at 27,064.[4]It has been rapidly growing since the 1970s.

Contents

History

The area around Utah Lake was used as a seasonal hunting and fishing ground by the Ute Indians. American Fork was settled in 1850 by LDS pioneers, and incorporated as Lake City in 1852. The first settlers had been Stephen Chipman (grandfather of Stephen L. Chipman, who was a prominent citizen around the start of the 20th Century), Arza Adams, Ira Eldredge, John Eldredge and their families.[5]

The first settlers of American Fork had lived in scattered conditions along the American Fork River. However, by the 1850s, tensions between the settlers and Native Americans was increasing. In 1853, Daniel H. Wells, the head of the Nauvoo Legion (the Utah Territorial Militia at the time), instructed settlers to move into specific forts. At a meeting on July 23, 1853 at the schoolhouse at American Fork, Lorenzo Snow and Parley P. Pratt convinced the settlers to follow Wells' directions and all move together into a central fort. A fort was built of 37 acres (150,000 m2) to which the settlers located, although only parts of the wall were built to eight feet high, and none were built to the original plan of twelve feet high.[6]

Settlers changed the name from Lake City to American Fork in 1860. It was renamed American Fork after the American Fork River which runs through it. They also did this to avoid confusion with Salt Lake City. Most residents were farmers and merchants during its early history. By the 1860s, American Fork had established a public school, making them the first community in the territory of Utah to offer public education to its citizens.[7] In the 1870s, American Fork served as a rail access point for mining activities in American Fork Canyon. American Fork had "a literal social feud" with the town of Lehi due to the Utah Sugar Company choosing Lehi as the factory building site in 1890, instead of American Fork.[8] There were also several mercantile businesses in American Fork, such as the American Fork Co-operative Association and Chipman Mercantile. For several decades in the 1900s, raising chickens (and eggs) was an important industry in the city.

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