The Artesian Wells
Before Pineview reservoir was constructed, there was the Artesian Park. At its peak, the park had 48 wells pumping water to Ogden. The first well was dug in 1889 by Jame Ririe and had a depth of 84 feet, pumping 40 gallons of water per minute. As Ogden grew in population and importance, more wells were needed. There were fifty-one wells dug from 1889 to 1935. Three of which were capped leaving 48 wells. The deepest well was 600 feet and the wells pumped a combined 811,000 gallons per minute or 16 million gallons a day providing water to over 40,000 Ogden residents.
The first “railroad car” that went up Ogden Canyon was developed in 1883 and driven by mules. In 1889, the mules were replaced by steam engines and, in 1891, those were replaced by electric streetcars. The tracks were extended to Huntsville in 1913. In the winter of 1919, school boys cleared the track of ice and snow so they could ride the streetcar to school in Ogden. The boys did so because the company refused. It took a week to completely clear the tracks. In the winter of 1924, the tracks were buried under thick snow which stopped the streetcars. It took 100 men two days to uncover the tracks, which they did voluntarily. In 1924, for five cents, the Union Station announced they would be making trips every twenty minutes up the canyon to the Artesian Park because of its popularity.
Mountain Park became a tourist attraction starting in 1915 when twenty-four wells were dug that year. By the 1920s, it was a must-see tourist attraction for northern Utah. There was even an ice cream shop right where the Pineview dam stands today. With its fifty acres and gushing water Utahns regularly made the trip up Ogden Canyon to have a picnic in the scenic area.
When the area was first becoming an actual park, the Ogden Standard Examiner exclaimed: “No one thing accomplished by the city administration promises more for Ogden than the development of the Artesian Wells and the making of plans to have Artesian Park one of the most beautiful outdoor spots in the Rocky Mountain region.” The Artesian Park was important to the progression and development of Ogden, Utah. It gave northern Utahns a leisure place and showed tourists the beauty of Utah.
A study published in 1937 by the Department of the Interior showed that between September 1933 and October 1934, almost four billion gallons worth of water came from Artesian Park. In 1937, the Pineview Dam was filled and the artesisan wells were piped to Ogden for drinking water. By 1970, the Artesian Park was closed and six new, larger artesian wells were dug and the older 48 were capped. Yet, the same waters provide the majority of water for those in Ogden Valley today.