Discover the hidden beauty of Sanpete Valley, nestled between majestic mountains and picturesque plateaus. This stunning valley boasts a unique geography, with the Wasatch Plateau to the east and the San Pitch or Gunnison Plateau to the west. As you explore this enchanting landscape, you'll be captivated by the sight of Mount Nebo, standing tall in the distance.
But Sanpete Valley isn't just a feast for the eyes - it's also rich in history. This land was once home to the Fremont-Sevier agriculturalists, who mysteriously disappeared around A.D. 1300. Archaeological findings have revealed fascinating structures and artifacts from their time, showcasing their ingenuity and way of life.
The Ute chief Wakara also left his mark on this land. Enslaving the local San Pitch Indians, he utilized the abundant marshes and canyons for sustenance. The Utes were known for their adaptation of Plains Indian Culture and their vast range, which extended even to Sanpete County.
The arrival of Mormon settlers brought both opportunity and conflict. Wakara initially welcomed them, recognizing the potential resources they could bring. However, tensions escalated into a bitter war in 1853-54, resulting in the abandonment of towns and a period of fortification. The Black Hawk War of 1865-68 further disrupted settlement, leaving its scars on the county.
Manti, Utah is where the first Mormon settlers arrived in 1849. They were drawn to this area for its natural resources and fertile lands. Over time, Scandinavian immigrants added their unique culture and humor to the community.
Sanpete County has a diverse landscape, ranging from 9,000-foot mountains in the eastern part of the county to wide expanses of desert in the western portion. Its namesake San Pitch River runs through the valleys and canyons leading up to Utah Lake. It is also home to numerous reservoirs and lakes, including Palisade Reservoir, Sterling Reservoir, and Gunnison Reservoir.
The county is mostly rural, with seven small incorporated towns including Ephraim, Fairview, Fountain Green, Manti, Moroni, Mount Pleasant, and Spring City. It also has several unincorporated communities such as Chesterfield and Wales.
Places of Interest
Fairview Museum of History
Fairview Museum of History is one of the most popular attractions in Sanpete County. This small but comprehensive museum chronicles the history of the area through photographs, artifacts, and other memorabilia. The museum also features a reconstructed log cabin from 1876 and an original stagecoach used by settlers.
Casino Star Theatre
The Casino Star Theatre in Manti is the only theater of its kind in Utah. It was built in 1912 and has since become a beloved local landmark. The theater hosts live music, plays, movies, and other events throughout the year, making it an excellent place for entertainment.