Draper, mile post 782.6 on the old LA&SL mainline from Salt Lake City to Provo, has had many different railroads, in name, coming thru town. For a list, Click Here. The former D&RGW mainline, now UP, passes by the western border of Draper at Riverton, mile post 728.6. Draper is now my home base. My reasons for moving here are various. I was living in So-Cal and wanted to get out of the Rat Race. I wanted to move to a place where there were railroads nearby. I also wanted a fairly mild climate, no month long 100+ degree in summers and 0 degree winters. I also wanted a low humidity level. Other criteria included a nearby VA Hospital and no wind 24 hours a day 365 days of the year. It is also only 90 miles to Helper, home of a large group of D&RGW SD40T-2's.
There is no other place quite like Draper. Though it is only 25 minutes from downtown Salt Lake City, Utah, it possesses all of the benefits of a quiet country town with a very sophisticated population. Farmers and factory workers, doctors and lawyers, musicians and teachers, entertainers and business people create a diverse mix of old timers and newcomers drawn to this town by the common desire to achieve a safe haven for their families, away from the rat race and urban sprawl. Draper is nice to come home to.
Sure, the town is changing. Within the next few years, Draper's population is poised to double, and then to double again: all the more reason for old timers and newcomers alike to identify what makes our town special and to work hard to keep it that way.
Originally known as South Willow Creek, the small growing city of Draper lies nestled in the southeast corner of the Salt Lake Valley. Settled in 1849 by Ebenezer Brown, his wife Phoebe, and their five children, the area was recognized as good pasture land where cattle could be raised and fattened to sell to the emigrants on their way to the gold fields further west.
Around 1854, a postoffice was established inside the Draper Fort, the home of the Browns, and the name was changed to "Draperville Post Office", later shortened to Draperville, in honor of William Draper, the first Presiding Elder of the LDS Church.
Although all evidence of it has now vanished, a fort was built in 1854 and the settlers spent the winter of 1855-56 within its walls. In the spring, they returned to their homes and began constructing houses, digging irrigation systems, planting trees, raising families, and building a community.
The citizens of Draper have always valued the arts, culture, and education. In 1861 while on his way to the West Coast, Dr. John R. Park stopped to find temporary employment in Draper. Recognizing his talents and abilities as a teacher, leading townsmen concerned with education offered Dr. Park a position teaching at the local school, which he accepted. Students in this beloved teacher's village school ranged from small children to grown adults.
In 1869, Dr. Park left Draper and went to Salt Lake City where he became the first president of the University of Deseret, which later became the University of Utah. Historic Draper Park School, built in 1912 and located in the heart of the City, is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and was named in honor of Dr. Park.
Located near the Point of the Mountain was a Pony Express Station and Halfway House which was kept by Orrin Porter Rockwell, famous for his role as bodyguard to the Mormon prophets. Businesses such as the Draper Poultrymen and Draper Egg Producers have flourished here, as has dairying and mink ranching. Around the turn of the century, successful sheepmen built some of the beautiful Victorian homes which still grace our streets.
The true history of Draper can only be told in the combined histories of those men, women and families who have lived, worked, loved, learned, and contributed here. Each has added a chapter, just as those of us who live here today add our own parts.
As Draper finds itself in a time of unprecedented growth, historic treasures, buildings, monuments and sites, tie us to a wonderful past while adding identity and grace in the future.
While the rugged mountain peaks and fertile valley floor create the setting, it is the people that give the city of Draper its personality and spirit.
The City of Draper was incorporated February 22, 1978.
Last Update 02/22/02
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