Perry History
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Perry History


Perry, located directly south of Brigham City, is bordered on the east by the Wasatch Mountains and on the west by the Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge.  It is an area about nine square miles with a population of 1600 in 1906.

In 1851, the same year that Box Elder (now Brigham City) was being settled, the Rockwell brothers, Orrin and Merrill, laid claim to some land lying about two-and-one-half miles southwest of the center of Box Elder.  It was adjacent to a large spring known to this day as Porter Springs.  Early in the spring of 1853, Mormon Pioneers began to settle the area.  Three Mile Creek was the name given to early-day Perry because it was just three miles from the center of Box Elder to the small stream which furnished water for the settlers.

The first brick school building in Box Elder county was built in three Mile Creek in 1874.  It was erected ostensibly for a meeting house, but was used for school purposes also.  In 1899 a new two-story meeting house was erected.  The building was 32 X 60 feet, with a tower and large double doors on the west.  Several additions were made to the building.  When a new LDS meeting house was built in 1974-75, it was sold to a theatrical group and is now home of Heritage Theater.  Live productions delight people through northern Utah each month.

Lack of water kept Three Mile Creek from growing.  In the fall of 1894, a reservoir was partially completed at the head of Three Mile Creek Canyon.  Before the project was completed, frost stopped the work and winter set in.  The next year no work was done to complete the dam-but being a low-water year, nothing happened.  In June 1896 before the snow all melted, a rain storm caused a heavy flow of water into the reservoir which resulted in a terrible flood.  Homes were lost and farms were covered with mud, gravel, and trash, but no lives were lost.  In 1923 a series of cloud bursts caused a second flood out of this same canyon.  Damage was not quite as great this time.

When the railroad passed through the western part of Three Mile Creek in 1868-1869, residents hauled timber for telegraph poles from the canyon.  Some men made as much as $30 a day.  The name of Three Mile Creek was changed to “Perry” in May of 1898 in honor of O.A. Perry.

In the spring of 1905, residents of Perry built their own electric company.  They erected their own lines and strung their own wires.  The company was purchased by the town in 1912.  In the winter of 1950, it was sold to Utah Power and Light.

In 1902 the Three Mile Creek Irrigation Company piped water from the mouth of the canyon for irrigation purposes.  Agriculture consisting of family dairies, cattle, and fruit orchards was the leading industry in Perry.  When the Pine view canal was built in the mid 1930’s from Ogden to Brigham, farmers again increased their orchards and planted row crops.  In 1910 a cannery was established to take care of the bounties of summer harvest.  Shipping facilities were also established.  A culinary water system was put into operation in 1911.  The water came from mountain springs and later from wells.

Population in 1958 was 500 and at this time Perry City’s growth began.  Orchards gave way to housing areas and dairy farmers became fewer in number.  The character of the town changed from a rural community to a suburban community whose residents commuted to Ogden, Brigham City, Thiokol Corporation in Promontory, and to other areas for employment.

With growth, the small, three-room school house built in about 1910 was enlarged.  In 1961 six classrooms, along with a multipurpose room and kitchen, made it a modern school.  Perry City is a progressive community, looking to the future in its development.  In 1973, a sewage disposal plant was begun, and 1981 an addition was made to accommodate the growth.  The city has three parks, one with a ball diamond, and bowery, one with a children’s play area and small boweries.  The third is a nature park with a horse riding arena, and in the winter an ice skating rink.