When the Mormons arrived in the Great Basin in 1847, they welcomed the opportunity to
shape a virgin land into the Kingdom of God, and they pursued an aggressive
colonization pattern. Heber Valley in the Wasatch
Mountains, forty miles southeast of Salt Lake
City and twenty-eight miles northeast of Provo,
could not be settled until there was a wagon road through either Parley's
or Provo canyons. The first attempt to build such a road, however, was
delayed by the Utah War and the Move South. Once Johnston's Army was
settled at Camp
Floyd near Utah Lake, Brigham Young responded to appeals by residents of Provo to build a road up the canyon.
By 1859 a road linked Provo and Heber Valley and newcomers who were
looking for land settled the little valley communities of Heber
City, Midway, Charleston, Center Creek,
Daniels, and Wallsburg.
John Crook, the first historian of the area, most of the initial settlers
came from England and had been converted by Heber
C. Kimball. To honor Kimball, they decided to name the valley and
the first settlement after him. The residents harvested their first
crops in 1859 but then returned to Utah Valley for the winter. The next
year they returned to make permanent homes. They initially built a fort
for protection from Indian raids. Once fear
of raids ended, they started to build homes in the surveyed townsite.
The settlers built using locally quarried red sandstone as well as adobe
and brick. The sandstone was also shipped and used in buildings in other
parts of the state.