Mountainville to Alpine
History of a Utah Hometown
Located in Utah’s high desert, Alpine, Utah was originally settled as Mountainville in 1851. Named after a city in the Swiss Alps because the magnificent views and spectacular scenery were reminiscent of the famous village.
Early settlers drawn to what we now know as the Utah Valley were members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in search of rangeland for the church member’s livestock. Men sent by church president Brigham Young set out to explore the valley in 1849.
Sagebrush, greasewood, rich bunch grass and meadow grass grew in abundance. Cattle and other livestock were sent to roam and grow fat in the beautiful valley guarded by about 50 men sworn to protect them from nearby Indians. With waterways and fertile soil, many of the men found the northern part of the valley ideal for a settlement.
Shortly after a group of pioneers discovered a perfect place for their new development, the U.S. Census recorded a total of 29 residents including 14 males and 15 females ranging in age from 1 to 60. Residents had begun to build a recorded six cabins at the time of the census. The homes were to be built of logs from the canyon nearby. Winter came fast and hard in 1950 and many found themselves living in wagons and dugouts on the side of the knoll that year.
In 1851 a school house was built for the town’s sparse population of children. In 1852, the church organized the Mountainville Branch in February and a ward in September. The fear of Indians was fierce and in 1852 Wordsworth Fort was built to protect the stalwart residents there.
Although the soil was rich, water was abundant, and the climate was favorable for the settlers’ crops, the area was riddled with insects that made it nearly impossible to harvest once hearty plants that promised food for the winter. In 1854, a plague of crickets and grasshoppers destroyed most of the crops there. Families battled the war with crop-eating pests for a decade after.
In 1855 the name of the town was changed to Alpine at the request of the Mormon President Brigham Young and a larger fort was built there to protect more people. In 1866, what is now known as the Moyle Tower was built to further protect the town’s residents from natives.
By 1868, the settlers and Indians began to come to an understanding and live amicably. People began to move outside the fort. In 1870 the population was recorded at 208. Thirty years later, the population has grown to 520.
In 2016, the population was approximately 10,361. Today, Alpine remains one of the fastest growing cities in the state. Ridge at Alpine features some of the last developable residential property in the majestic community.