Motorists driving through Cottonwood Heights may notice new brown and white signs proclaiming certain locations as “Historic” sites. Thanks to the effort of the city’s Historic Committee, signs have been placed at several locations that were significant to the early years of the community.
City Councilmember Mike Peterson said the districts and landmarks were selected for their significance in the history of those pioneers who settled in the area, originally called Butlerville. That settlement celebrates its anniversary on July 24 each year, the same as Pioneer Day when Mormon settlers first reached the Salt Lake Valley.
Signs appear in eight areas—Danish Town, Butler Bench, Butler Hill, Colebrook/Brown’s Hill, Pepper’s Hill, Will Dyer’s Road, Union Fort Road and Colebrook Center.
“They are a nice addition to our city,” Peterson said. “This Historic Committee began talking about it as we thought about our 10th anniversary of incorporation. They bring back a lot of memories to those who’ve been living here for decades.”
The 24 x 36-inch signs were installed in January, and were paid for by donations to the Historic Committee. Peterson said that when the community was first settled, there were few roads, and what roads there were did not have official names. So in order to give directions to their residences, settlers used locally named landmarks, roads and areas to identify locations.
The following is a little background on the signs posted and the areas they represent, courtesy of the Cottonwood Heights Historic Committee:
Butler Bench was the high area south of Big Cottonwood Canyon Creek, from the mouth of Big Cottonwood Canyon west to the top of the hill at about 2700 East. It is literally a geological bench on which the main part of the city, which was known as Butler, was located.
Danish Town was the area that encompassed the current Danish Road area and included the area from about 3500 East, west to the top of the hill above Little Cottonwood Creek.
The first road off of the Butler Bench was built in the early 1870s for the ore haulers from the mines in Big Cottonwood Canyon to take their ore to smelters in Sandy and Midvale. It wasn’t until a few years later that the road was moved by the county to follow closely to today’s Ft. Union Blvd.
Pepper’s Hill was the hill starting at the bridge over Little Cottonwood Creek on today’s Creek Road. It was called by that name because William and Florence Pepper built a house at the bottom of the hill on the east side of the creek about 1915.
Sometime after 1885, Amasa David Brown and his wife Kate built a home about halfway up on the west side of the hill on today’s 2300 East between Bengal Boulevard and Fort Union. It became known as Brown’s Hill.
Will Dyer’s Road
The road between 2600 East and 3500 East, part of today’s Bengal Blvd., was called Will Dyer’s Road because he was the only one living along that stretch of road.
Union Fort Road
The Union Fort Road ran from the Danish Town road to the fort in Union. It followed close to today’s Creek Road.
About 1884, Charles Colebrook and his wife Sarah McGhie settled on what would become the southwest corner of 20th East and 70th South, (it is now the southwest corner of Highland Drive and Ft. Union Blvd).