Salem City

  • 30 West 100 South
  • Salem, UT 84653
  • (801) 423-2770

Between Spanish Fork and Payson, off of State Highway 198, lies the small rural farming community known as Salem. Salem was once known as "Summer Spring" by the Indians, and "Pond Town" by early settlers. The town was finally named after the birthplace of Lyman Curtis to honor his contribution to the community. There is a counterclaim that the community was named for Salem (Jerusalem) of biblical note. Early Native Americans in the area discovered a local spring which bubbled up through sandy soil in a a tree-shaded hollow year-round. In the spring of 1851 David Fairbanks and David Crockett discovered this same precious asset. Fairbanks had settled on nearby Peteetneet Creek, where he was to become the local bishop of the LDS church. The two men continued to explore the area and found a large, clear stream flowing from the spring. They realized that by damning the stream they could utilize the water that would otherwise flow out into the swamplands. They soon moved their families to the stream and built a dam, assisted by others from Payson who sought additional farmland. Some of the first crops in the area were harvested that year. Winter and the threat of hostile Indians caused the families to return to Peteetneet, but "Pond Town" had begun on the dammed stream. In 1852 the settlers built a second and more secure dam, but by the next year the new settlement was abandoned. Settlers from nearby Palmyra, fleeing drought and alkali salts in the soil, decided to start over at the abandoned Pond Town. George Wilson and his brothers, along with eight other families, moved to the area in 1856. During that same year one of the original company of pioneers to enter Salt Lake Valley, Lyman Curtis, joined in the new settlement with four of his sons. In the next few years additional settlers had moved in to build homes next to the fort (as a protection against the Indian attacks). After 1870 more settlers began moving into town, building their homes and barns inside the town with fields outside the town. This was a common practice throughout Utah. Popular crops grown were wheat and other grains. Tomatoes and peas were later grown for the Del Monte food-processing plant. Sugar beets were also grown extensively for the factories throughout Utah Valley.On the second Saturday of August each summer, Salem hosts Salem Days. This is a wonderful opportunity for the residents of this community to celebrate their own "City of Peace". Salem is governed by a mayor and five city council members. (Information courtesy Salem City, UVEDA, Utah History Encyclopedia)