Riverside, a small, rural community in northern Box Elder County, lies on the west side of the Malad River and is located about twenty miles north of Brigham City. It is bounded on the south by US Highway 30 leading to the city of Logan, and on the west by I-15 along the foothills. Old Highway 191 cut through Riverside but is now known as State Highway 13. The Union Pacific Railroad runs along the west side of Riverside by the back country road which was the original road to Garland. Along the hills to the west of Riverside runs a trail which was followed by many early travelers. Early Indians camped nearby and used a prominent rock outcrop to survey the valley.
The townsite was surveyed in 1894, and in 1894 when the L.D.S. Church reorganized the Plymouth and South Plymouth Wards and formed the new wards of Fielding and Riverside, Riverside community being located close to the river was named “Riverside” by two apostles. By January 9, 1895, seven families were living in Riverside. Many families came from the Farmington and Centerville areas. By 1905, some families found a livelihood in the sugar industry which was established in the area at the turn of the century, with the surrounding farms furnishing sugar beets to the factory in Garland. The farms of the Riverside area were located on the outskirts of town.
The highlight of the valley was the building of the canal which came out of the Bear River Canyon. The ditch was divided into two branches and continued south between the Bear River and Malad Rivers to water that part of the valley. The other branch crossed the Malad River bottoms high up on the hill rim in a huge, tresseled flume and watered the west valley. This meant irrigated farms for Riverside. The irrigation system was being developed to enable farmers to plant sugar beets. The sugar industry also meant work in the winter for the men and some women at the new sugar factory in Garland. The sugar factory also brought a new highway, and the new road soon became the main road south of Riverside. The factory provided livelihood for many until it closed after the last sugar beet “campaign” of 1978-1979.
Each family had its own well for culinary use until 1973, when a culinary water system was provided for the town. Fresh, clean water was brought down from a deep well on the hill at Plymouth, Utah. Seventeen miles of pipe were laid to supply families.
The first meeting house was built by members of the L.D.S. Church in 1895. The building was also used as a school, and religion classes were taught once a week by the schoolteacher. The Relief Society lot was north of the church house until it was sold in 1909. A tithing lot was in the northwest quarter of town. A new church building was dedicated on February 11, 1917. The community tried to use the old Riverside Church as a town center for activities, but after a number of years, they found it too hard to maintain. This meeting house was demolished in 1959. A new church building north of Riverside was dedicated October 24, 1965.
On September 8, 1930 grades five through eight were taken to Garland School. One teacher was left in the Riverside School to teach grades one through four. About 1946, all students began to travel by bus to the Garland School, and the old schoolhouse was torn down. The grounds became a park, with development funded by local women’s clubs.
Mail went from the Riverside Post Office to Collinston for the first time on January 18, 1896. In 1905 wires were strung on electric light poles through Riverside. They were put in the middle of the roads which were muddy in wet weather. Later, the poles were moved to the sides of the roads which were graveled every spring by the men of the town. In 1960-1961, the streets were hard-surfaced. Telephone service came to Riverside in 1906.
Over the years, the population of Riverside has increased and the source of income has shifted from agriculture to employment at Thiokol Corporation who manufactures missiles and also boosters for the space shuttle, La-Z-Boy furniture factory in Tremonton, and the Nucor and Vulcraft steel plants.
Riverside has been a progressive town and contributed much to society in our valley and in the world. When you see a yellow-breasted Meadow lark sitting on a barbed wire fence, listen closely to the song he sings: “Riverside is a pretty little place.”