Pioneers of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints began settling Utah in 1847 when they arrived in the Salt Lake Valley. In the following decades, church leaders sent settlers to various locations throughout Utah to form settlements, including what is now known as Springville, a small town just south of Provo. In 1849, William Miller, James Mendenhall, and 200 volunteers travelled from Salt Lake to the Provo River to relieve a fort that was under siege by a group of Utes. After rescuing the fort, Mendenhall and Miller explored the area and fell in love with the Hobble Creek. Miller reported his findings to Brigham Young, the president of the church, who agreed to settle the area. Aaron Johnson’s pioneer company of 135 wagons arrived in the Salt Lake in September of 1850. Upon their arrival, Young sent eight of the company’s families, including Johnson, down to the Hobble Creek where they founded Springville, Utah.
The group’s first tasks included gathering hay for the teams and building a fort to house and protect them all through the winter. That fall season the women and girls gathered berries. By Christmas, several other families had joined the original eight, including James Mendenhall, who had helped discover the site with Miller. With a growing population, noteworthy events occurred more regularly. Spicer Crandall and Sophia Kellogg tied the knot in the town’s first marriage ceremony. On November 21, 1850, Franklin A. Crandall became the first child born there. Cyrus Sanford and Phoebe Miller taught school. The settlers also held dances and played games. The first court session was held on March 3, 1851, where Henry Myers was charged with stealing horses. On July 24, 1851, Springville residents gathered in celebration of the fourth anniversary of the Saints entering the Salt Lake Valley. All were dressed in their best attire. William Miller, as the master of ceremonies, was one of the best dressed. “His trousers were of white linen, fit for a Broadway swell, vest of white, beautifully figured, and a shirt with an embroidered front.” They danced and played their way through the entire day.
Springville citizens continued marrying, starting families, and celebrating as the city developed over the years. Today it is a growing city with a population of 31,000 residents. With a popular art museum and statues dotting the city, Springville claims the nickname “Art City” on its town website. The art culture and the surrounding mountains help make Springville one of the unique and beautiful cities of Utah.