Kaysville is located between the foothills of the Wasatch Mountains and the shore of the Great Salt Lake. The first city in Davis County to incorporate and the sixth incorporated city in Utah, Kaysville is 16.6 miles from Ogden and about the same distance from Salt Lake City. Its elevation is 4,294 feet.
In 1847 Hector C. Haight built a herdsman cabin northwest of where the Lagoon resort stands today. He is credited with being the first settler in Farmington and Kaysville area. The second settler was Samuel Oliver Holmes, who settled northwest of the Haight cabin.
In the fall of 1849 Edward Phillips and John Hyrum Green tried to travel between Salt Lake and Brown's Fort (Ogden). They were turned back by heavy snows and wind; but they returned in the spring, with their families and the William Kay family to settle permanently in the west Kaysville/Layton area. By 1851 there were more than 300 settlers in the area.
The Kays LDS Ward was established in September 1851 with Kay as bishop and Phillips and Green as his counselors. The boundaries of the ward went from Farmington on the south to the Weber County line on the north. Few people lived outside of the immediate area around the city center of present-day Kaysville.
As part of its missionary movement, the Presbyterian Church established a church and school in Kaysville in 1881. The church continued until 1917, although the school closed in 1909. The Presbyterian chapel is still standing, the only example of an early Protestant church remaining in Utah.
With the formation of fort districts in 1854, many settlers living in outlying areas moved into the area's fort, thereby establishing the business and residential districts of Kaysville. Although the businesses have changed over the years, Kaysville still has an attractive city center.
The incorporation of Kaysville on 15 March 1868 helped solidify the small-business climate. General merchandise stores lined Main Street from the mid-1860s until the Great Depression. One was ZCMI, an LDS cooperative store. The names of other local merchants included Williams, Sheffield, Burton, Stewart, Barton, and Bowman. The Bowman family still operates a grocery store in Kaysville. Barnes Banking Company, another business that is still functioning, was founded by John R. Barnes in 1891. He also was instrumental in founding the Deseret Milling Company (which is still in operation), Inland Printing, and the Kaysville Canning Company.
Brickmaking, an early local industry, began in 1866 and continued until the economic decline of 1918. Several brick companies operated in Kaysville, the most notable being the Ward Brick Company that produced soft red bricks that are found in many of the older homes of Kaysville and Layton. William Allen, a local folk architect, built many of these homes.
Kaysville was a typical farming community. Besides hay, grains, and cattle, farmers raised truck vegetables and fruits for the Salt Lake and Ogden markets and for local canneries. Sugar beets were also an important crop.
Davis County Central High, located on the north/south center point of Davis County, opened in the fall of 1914. In 1978 the Davis Area Technical College opened on a large campus just east of Davis High School.
Clover Club Potato Chip Company was established by Newell ("Hod") and Clover Sanders in 1938. Although the company was recently sold to Borden Foods, the plant continues to operate, providing jobs for many Kaysville residents.
While Kaysville was becoming an established community, a smaller city, Fruit Heights, was developing to the east. Known for its cherry orchards, Fruit Heights incorporated in 1939 to enable the people living in the unincorporated parts of the county to bond for a water system. Today Fruit Heights has a population of more than 4,300 people.
With the beginning of World War II and the establishment of Hill Air Force Base and the Naval Supply Depot, a demand was created for housing in Kaysville, Layton, and Clearfield. Kaysville began to change from an agricultural community to a suburb. This steady urban growth pattern has continued to the present time.
An adequate water supply has always been a priority for local government leaders. The main breakthrough in securing a water supply came in 1881 when the Davis and Weber County Canal Company was organized. In the 1960s Kaysville secured additional water from the Weber Basin project. The secondary water system expanded in 1992 with the completion of a Davis and Weber County Canal Company reservoir. Kaysville City is entirely serviced with secondary water.
The 14,000 current residents of Kaysville are generally well-educated, and a large percentage of them work in professional jobs. The city-owned business park is beginning to attract light manufacturing industries, thereby expanding the economic base. Kaysville is the only city in Davis County to operate an independent library system, and is one of only a few cities in Utah to own a municipal power system.
See: Carol Collett, Kaysville, Our Town (1976); and Kaysville-Layton Historical Society, Layton, Utah: Historic Viewpoints (1985).
Doneta MaGonigle Gatherum