Historic Committee Members
M. Tom Shimizu, ChairmanCottonwood Heights' unique historical heritage is one of its most important assets. In order to identify, preserve, protect and enhance historic buildings, structures, sites, objects and districts lying within the city limits and to compile a history of our city, Cottonwood Heights has established a historic committee.
Gayle Conger, Vice-Chairman
Sylvia Orton, Secretary
Mike Peterson - City Council Liaison
The Cottonwood Heights Historic Committee has five to nine regular members and meets monthly. Members serve staggered three-year terms and must have a demonstrated interest, competence or knowledge in history or historic preservation. To the extent possible, at least two of the members are professionals from the disciplines of history, archaeology, planning, architecture or architectural history.
You can view the committee's agendas and minutes by visiting the public records page, or you can apply to serve on the historic committee.
The Historic Committee is also trying to reach out to alumni of Butler Elementary School. They hope to help raise funds to get a bronze statue placed in front of the school. You can get more information from their Facebook page here.
The History Between The Canyons: A Brief Outline of Our Legacy
Cottonwood Heights, after ten years, is still Utah’s newest city. As the ten-year anniversary is upon us, we thought we should take a look back at our historical beginnings for the area’s, growth, city’s creation, and accomplishments.
In 1849, eight families were sent to settle what would become Union. According to A Union, Utah, History by Steven K. Madsen, “Jehu Cox, the first settler of Union, donated ten acres of his farming land for the establishment of [a] fort.” “By 1854, a total of 23 homes had been built inside the fort – the population stood at 273,” Madsen continued. The population according to the U.S. Census Bureau was 484 in 1880, 602 in 1890, and 757 in 1900. Between 1848 and 1872, other settlements included Butler Bench, Poverty Flats, and Danish Town.
What was once Union is now parts of Cottonwood Heights, Midvale, and Sandy. Within the Cottonwood Heights area, Butler and Union Precincts (a basic form of county government) were established in 1877, as were Butler School District 57 and Union School District 23. The Unified Jordan School District would not be created until 1905.
Industries included the Deseret News’ Cottonwood Paper Mill; sand and gravel pits; mining; and poultry, fur, fruit, and agricultural farming.
Rural Growth to Suburban Sprawl
After World War II, the demand for housing began replacing farming and ranching in the area. In 1953-55, the first subdivisions – Greenfield Village, Cottonwood Ridge (Virginia Hills Drive), and Steffensen Heights – were built. The area’s population soared to 5,000. The next two decades saw more subdivisions and population increases. Butler Middle School and Brighton High School were built. The Whitmore Branch Library was built in 1974 on land donated by Rich Whitmore, and the children’s room added three years later.
Creation of a New City
Prior to becoming a city, the area was represented by the Cottonwood Heights Community Council, which had been established in 1952. By the late 1990s, citizens began petitions to become its own city instead of being part of unincorporated Salt Lake County.
Citizens voted for the form of city government, city name, and city logo. Citizen-driven committees helped to get the city up and running by looking for space to lease for city offices, searching for a city manager, and presenting those and other options to the newly-elected mayor and city council. Finally on January 14, 2005, Cottonwood Heights incorporated. The first elected officials included Mayor Kelvyn Cullimore, and city councilmen included Gordon Thomas, Scott Bracken, Don Antczak, and Bruce T. Jones.
Liane Stillman was hired as the first City Manager. Our city officials quickly established city offices; and appointed the first City Planning Commission, Board of Equalization, and Architectural Review Committees.The city played a role in the creation of the new Canyons School District in 2009.
For the community, the city holds Butlerville Days, which grew from 10,000 participants in 2005, to an estimated 18,000 in 2014. We have volunteer organizers to thank for Bark in the Park, 5K Walk/Runs, Bike Rides, a pet cemetery, and more for the citizens participation. We have CERT/Emergency Prep and Neighborhood Watch volunteers.
The Historic Committee serves to identify, preserve, protect and enhance historic buildings, structures, sites, objects and districts lying within the city limits and to compile a history of our city. They began by creating a record of the city’s legacies (including recorded interviews, photographs, and information about historical sites and buildings) and unveiled the historic trail markers in November 2013.
The Arts Council was formed to “organize engaging cultural events to promote community interest, involvement and education in the arts.” Their first production was “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dream Coat” in August 2009 and they have recently formed a community orchestra. Soon after, community culture included writing workshops and photography contests.
The Youth City Council (YCC) provides “the youth of our community an opportunity to get involved with the city government and to provide opportunities for service and education.” The YCC also oversees the Easter Egg Hunt each spring and in March 2013, they visited Washington, D.C.
Today our population is 34,238. The city has received numerous local/national awards and recognitions including several Best of State and financial awards. In 2011, Cottonwood Heights was an All-American City finalist. We created our own police department in 2008 and became the first city in Utah to privatize our Public Works by using Terracare Associates. In January 2013, John Park became our new City Manager. Looking forward, Cottonwood Heights is building a city complex on the northwest corner of Bengal Blvd. and 2300 East.
Under the guidance of our elected officials and city staff, we are among the most progressive cities in Utah with our vote-by-mail; financial oversight (we have never raised our taxes); viable home to corporations and small businesses; and according to Money Magazine in 2007, #100 of its Best Places to Live list for a small city.
Submitted by the Cottonwood Heights Historic Committee, 2014