Garland City is located in a beautiful setting 18 to 20 miles south of the Idaho border, on the east bank of the Malad River and to the foothills on the west. This places it in the middle of the Bear River Valley, about twenty miles north and some west of Brigham City and twenty five miles west of Logan. It is enclosed by mountains on three sides. Garland lies on the bottom of what was once Lake Bonneville, and people who live there enjoy the rich soil that was deposited.
Most of western Utah including the territory all around the Great Salt Lake was the hunting grounds for the Sevier Fremont Indians. A great drought led to the downfall of this culture in 1300 A.D. In later times, the Shoshoni Indians used northern Utah as their fishing and hunting grounds. They wintered on the foothills west of Garland, particularly at Point Lookout. In the 1820's trappers came through this area to trap and explore. Among them were Etienne Provost, Jedidiah Smith, Kit Carson, and Jim Bridger. In 1844, Captain John C. Fremont and his party consisting of Americans, Delaware Indians and French Canadians explored this area.
The first permanent settlements that were made in the Bear River Valley were along the foothills and east of Garland-Bear River City, Collinston, Fielding and Plymouth. Here they used springs coming from the Wasatch Mountains. Livestock was grazed in the valley, but they soon found that the soil was better and easier to cultivate where they had access to natural spring water. Some ploughing was done and some water was diverted from the Malad River to irrigate the ground, but the undertaking didn't prove successful and was given up. By 1889 the western part of the valley began to attract those in search of homes who felt the urge to use their homestead rights. Land could be obtained either by homesteading or by purchasing from the railroad or the Corinne, Mill, Canal and Livestock Company. The railroad had been given every other section of ground on both sides of the railroad for twenty miles. This was done to encourage completion of the line.
The water from the Bear River has had a profound effect on the history of Garland. During this early dry farm period, work consisted of ploughing, harrowing, drilling, or broadcasting and heading. Many people including the settlers had long dreamed of what could be if only the water from the Bear River could be diverted onto the land. Excavation on a dam began in September of 1889 at the site of the old power plant at Wheelon. A diversion dam was built in the Bear River just east of the Cache divide. The dam was 375 feet long, 18 feet deep and 100 feet thick. Two canals were then dug. The one on the north side of the canyon would water the land on the west side of the valley and was known as the West Canal. The other canal, the East or Hammond Canal, would take water to the east side of the valley.
When it was learned that the Bear River Valley would soon have irrigation water, the interest in the area rose sharply. Land agents in the east were promoting the valley, and people from places in Utah came to settle. At first the families settled in North Garland. They came from Farmington, Cache Valley, and even Japan. The settlement in and around Garland was called Sunset. Mail was delivered by horse and carriage from Hessville. Some of the leading citizens of Sunset met to see what they could do to get a post office, and it was decided at this meeting to change the name of Sunset to Garland in honor of William Garland who was the contractor, builder, and at one time, the owner of the canal. Mail was picked up at Collinston and delivered to the people until the railroad reached Garland in 1901.
The first school was built in Garland in 1889. It was one mile north of the main intersection in Garland. A tithing grainery was built and a Relief Society grainery was constructed. When the Sugar Factory was built in 1903, the Sugar Company bought 40 acres, surveyed it into town lots and recorded it as Garland Plat B. North Garland was Plat A. The company then proceeded to build homes to house their workers. The homes were placed along Factory Street and in the blocks south of Factory Street. Business and the post office were soon moved into Garland proper. On Saturday, February 10, 1906, the first publication of the Garland Globe, a six page weekly, came off the press. In 1906 and 1907 issues of the Globe there are ads from and articles about 57 different businesses that had already located in Garland. The sugar beet industry, which has its beginning through Napolean Bonaparte in France in 1811 and spread to Utah through Mormon missionaries at the time of Brigham Young, had a tremendous impact on the growth of Garland. In 1891, the Utah Sugar Company was established and a sugar beet factory was soon built in Garland which was in operation until about 1977 when the sugar beet industry declined. Garland currently has a population of approximately 1,600 residents who enjoy the rural, quiet setting of country living while working at nearby industries.