of Duchesne is located just above the junction of the Strawberry and Duchesne rivers in the Uinta Basin of northeastern Utah. It was first
identified as a potential town site by Father Escalante when the Dominguez-Escalante expedition camped near the present-day town 18 September 1776 while
on their epic journey. Duchesne is strategically located not only due
to its location at the junction of the rivers but it is also at the
mouth of Indian Canyon, the major route into the Basin through the Tavaputs
Plateau from Price.
The town came
into being in 1905 when the United States government opened the region
to homesteading under the Allotment Act. The land that forms all of Duchesne County and western Uintah County had formerly belonged to the Ute Indians as part of their reservation. A.M. Murdock, an Indian trader
at Whiterocks, obtained permission from the government to set up a trading
post at the site that became Duchesne City. With the assistance of several
other men, he set up a large circus tent for a general store and trading
post. Government surveyors laid out the streets and the survey was accepted
by the government on 18 October 1905. Other settlers soon pitched their
tents and built pioneer dwellings that were replaced over the next months
and years with more modern buildings for homes and businesses.