Davis County, Utah
A Brief History of Davis County*
The dominant geographical features of Davis County are the Wasatch Mountains on the east and the Great Salt lake on the west. The mountains provide a source of water and help ensure a remarkably uniform growing season. Not surprisingly, Davis County has always been a rich agricultural area. It was attractive to people even before the time of permanent white settlement. The resources of Davis County were likely used by prehistoric populations beginning as early as 11,000 years ago.
The county's great agricultural potential was recognized quickly by the Mormon pioneers, and during their first winter in Utah (1847-48) several of them moved livestock into that area for winter forage. By 1850 a number of farms dotted the south half of Davis County. By the 1870s the county was clearly the garden spot of Utah. In addition to producing bounteous harvests and prize-winning livestock, Davis County farmers led out boldly in experimenting with new crops, such as sorghum and alfalfa, new equipment, such as headers and threshers, and new methods, such as dry farming and irrigation management.
Economic prosperity, built on this farming base, followed Davis County into the 20th century. By 1910 the county sported two gristmills, two nurseries, eight irrigation companies, and six canning factories. Five years later it also had a sugar factory. A great variety of crops, fruit, and livestock was raised. New schoolhouses, chapels, stores, and other structures popped up on the landscape. Three railroads served the county's transportation needs.
During and immediately after World War II, significant changes began to appear in Davis County. Farming, while still important, began to lose its position as the economic leader. Defense installations it the Clearfield-Layton area, such as Hill Air Force Base and the Naval Supply Depot, began to employ large numbers of people. When the navy depot closed, industry and related enterprises purchased the buildings in 1963 and developed the site into the Freeport Center, a bustling manufacturing and distribution center. Suburbs to meet housing needs developed around the Freeport-Hill hub and also in the southern part of the county for people who commuted to Salt Lake City. Service industries, to support this growing population, started to become prominent in the county's economic make-up.
Although the state's smallest county in size, Davis is one of the fastest growing in population. The number of residents doubled between 1910 and 1950, doubled again by 1960, doubled again by 1975, and is expected to double again by 1996. It is presently Utah's third most populous county.
*Used by permission. Beehive History 14: Utah Counties. 1988. Utah State Historical Society, 300 Rio Grande, Salt Lake City, UT 84101-1182, 801/533-3500.
- About Davis County - Visitor and Relocation Guide
The Davis Chamber of Commerce has provided a Relocation Guide for companies, families, and individuals moving to the Davis County, Utah area. The guide provides useful links to local governments, schools, universities, libraries, malls, attractions, and hospitals as well as statistical information about crime, taxes, growth, wages, and cost of living.
- 2010 Utah County Fact Book
The information in this book describes the economic, demographic, public safety, and financial characteristics of each of Utah’s 29 counties. Published by the Utah Association of Counties (UAC). Previous versions are available from UAC as well.
- Census 2000 Demographic Profile: Davis County
General population characteristics, social characteristics, economic characteristics, and housing characteristics for the county. From American FactFinder, the U.S. Census Bureau.
- Davis County Facts
Labor force, economic and wage information from the Department of Workforce Services County and Statewide Information.
- Davis County Profile
Census, demographic, genealogy & vital records, crime, educational, economic, government, and county data. From ePodunk.
- Davis County QuickFacts
Find quick, easy access to facts about people, business, and geography from the U.S. Census Bureau's State & County QuickFacts.
- Economic Profile: Davis County
Information on county industry and employment. From the Economic Development Corporation of Utah (EDCUtah).
- Religious Membership Report: Davis County
Religious denomination for the county. From the Association of Religion Data Archives (ARDA).
- 2002 Census of Agriculture County Profile: Davis County
Census data on farms, crops, and livestock. From the Census of Agriculture, the National Agricultural Statistics Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).
- Davis County Agriculture Profile
Data on land ownership, crops, and livestock. From the Utah State University Extension.
- Davis County Clipper - Archives
Available issues from Utah Digital Newspapers: 1892-1959. Search all newspapers, select a specific newspaper or browse by county. This project was funded by the Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) and digitized at the University of Utah.
- Davis County Clipper - Current Issue & Archives
Online version of the Clipper. Searchable from 2004 to present.