Native American History
The Timpanogos Utes were the most recent inhabitants of Heber City and the Wasatch County area but left a rich cultural heritage behind. The Utes were nomadic tribes who ranged throughout the Wasatch Mountains and into Wyoming during the summer months in search of food, water and shelter. They also gathered materials to create hunting, gathering, and labor tools.
The arrival of Mormon pioneers to Heber Valley ultimately changed the course of history for Native Americans in the region. In the late 1800s, Mormon settlers began to take over land from Native American tribes and re-establish it as their own. The original Timpanogos Utes were eventually forced to relocate and, as a result, a lot of their cultural heritage was lost.
Mormon Pioneers and Settlement
In the mid-1800s, Mormon pioneers from England and Denmark arrived in Heber City with dreams of settling on land that could be farmed. In 1859, a group of LDS converts from Great Britain founded a town north of present-day Heber City called "London." Utah County Deputy Surveyor, Jesse Fuller, surveyed the townsite in June of that year. The initial point of his survey was established at the end of Heber City's Main Street. When Wasatch County was created in 1862, the townsite was renamed "Heber City" to honor the settlers' mission leader, Heber C. Kimball. As the largest settlement in the area, Heber City was chosen as the county seat.
Heber City quickly became a thriving community as the settlers developed the land for farming and ranching. They also built roads to connect with other settlements in Utah Valley, and by 1869 Heber Valley was connected to Salt Lake City by rail—the first connection of its kind in Northern Utah. With easy access to goods from Salt Lake City and the growing production of crops, Heber City blossomed into a center for commerce.
The city continued to grow steadily throughout the years. In 1903, it became a popular tourist destination for outdoor recreation and the arts. The area was home to several well-known theaters, a swimming pool, and even a small amusement park. In the 1950s, Heber City shifted towards an agricultural economy focused on dairy farming and beef production.