Utah History Encyclopedia
HOME ABOUT PREFACE

FARR WEST CITY

By Brian Taylor
Farr West City, a city of the third class, is located on the north end of Weber County. It is bordered on the east by Pleasant View and by Harrisville, on the south by Slaterville, and on the west by Plain City, and was first settled by Mormon pioneers. In 1858 Joseph Taylor settled in the area that later became Farr West. In 1868 the area was included as a part of Harrisville when a precinct was organized. On 30 November 1890 western Harrisville was organized into a separate LDS ward and given the name Farr West in honor of Lorin Farr, former president of the Weber LDS stake, and Chauncy W. West, who had served as presiding bishop of Weber County.

The earliest settlers engaged in agriculture for their livelihood, and it received a great boost when the sugar beet industry was introduced in 1898. In 1923 further benefits were available to farmers when the Utah Packing Corporation installed a pea viner to help process field-grown peas.

Early settlers had to be quite self-sufficient. They primarily raised hay and grain and kept a few farm animals for work and for food. As the population grew, some farmers furnished milk and butter to customers in the city. Later, farmers branched into dairy or poultry operations to augment family income; a few raised cash crops like onions, tomatoes, and potatoes. Since World War II, most of the local small farms have gone out of business and only a few large farms specializing in dairy or beef production remain in operation. In the early 1990s, only one farm raised garden fruits and vegetables on a commercial basis. Irrigation for farming is still obtained through the western Irrigation Company Canal, constructed in 1858 and enlarged in 1884. The Willard Bay Canal, constructed through Farr West in 1965, may in time serve part of the community.

Education has always assumed a vital role in community life. The first frame school building in western Harrisville was built in 1872. It was replaced in 1880 with a new red brick schoolhouse. In 1914 a yellow brick school building was erected in the center of town. Through the consolidation of area schools, this building was taken out of service in 1938. In 1941 the Walquist Elementary School began serving the public and in 1950 was converted to a junior high school. The new Farr West Elementary School began operation in the northwestern part of the community in 1983.

The first LDS church building was completed in 1891, serving as the center of church and community activities for fifty-three years until it was destroyed by fire in 1944. Other LDS chapels were constructed in 1926 and in 1981.

The growth of services in the community has significantly affected life in Farr West. In 1900 the first post office was established in Farr West. Rural free mail delivery began in 1905. Also in 1905, phone service was brought into the community. Electricity was made available on 29 May 1916. The Farr West Sewer Improvement District was established on 4 January 1968. Natural gas was brought into the community in August 1958. Bona Vista Water Improvement District provided culinary water in 1958; Pine View Water Systems brought a secondary water system to the area in 1982.

The earliest business in Farr West was built in 1862. It was called the Prairie House, and was a tavern that primarily served travelers who were on their way to the gold mines in Montana. In 1869 the Union Pacific Railroad laid a line through the eastern part of Farr West, a line later called the Ogden Shoreline. In 1874 William Rawson opened the first general merchandise store in the town. For many years, new businesses remained in operation only a relatively short time. Only in recent years have more permanent business activities become established. At the end of 1992 the city had issued licenses to sixty-one business, which range in size from the large Smith and Edwards variety story to small businesses operating from home sites.

Road improvements have had a significant impact on community development. The earliest unimproved roads were dusty in dry weather and filled with ruts and difficult to traverse in bad weather. Applying gravel to the roads improved their condition markedly, but asphalt and concrete were not used in local roads until around 1930 (the year West Harrisville Road was paved).

Farr West residents have exhibited intense interest in controlling the various influences on community growth. Before incorporating, the community elected a town planning committee in 1962, and then elected a town committee in 1972. These groups worked with the Weber County Planning Commission to effect a desirable growth pattern in the community. However, town residents became increasingly fearful that they would lose the ability to effectively convey their desires to the county planners. The concern eventually led to incorporation of Farr West City in 1980. Becoming the twelfth city in Weber County, it began formal operation on 1 January 1981. Jimmie Papageorge was elected as the first mayor. City officials operated out of their homes until city offices were constructed. The first meeting was held in the new town hall on 4 November 1982.

At the time this history was prepared (1993), Farr West City boasted one of the nicest community parks in the county. Yet it was not developed without great effort and planning. Property for the park was bought for a token payment of ten dollars from the Weber County School Board in 1939. Approximately four years later, arrangements were made with the Weber County commissioners to have the land leveled, using county graders. Reported efforts were made to get grass established on the sandy soil. Only after a well was dug and a sprinkling system installed did the grass begin to do fairly well. A bowery and a fireplace were erected, picnic tables were built, trees were planted. After the city was incorporated, a softball diamond complete with bleachers for spectators was set up, and finally a concessions stand was erected. The park is the site where Farr West's annual Freedom Festival is enjoyed by residents each Fourth of July.