the southern end of the Salt Lake Valley, Riverton is located on a low
plateau west of the Jordan River approximately twenty miles south of Salt Lake City. For most of its history Riverton was an agricultural
community, but widespread residential development that began in the
late 1960s has largely transformed it into a bedroom community.
area settlers lived in scattered dugouts and primitive log houses bordering
the river on the bottomlands. Archibald Gardner was the first person
to live in Riverton, and early settlers paid tribute to his pioneering
efforts in the mid-1850s by calling the area Gardnersville. The size
of the settlement long remained small because water was available for
the bottomlands only near the river. Begun in 1870 as a local cooperative
undertaking, the South Jordan Canal, when completed in 1876, opened
up the benchland to farming and settlement. The community expanded again
when the larger Utah and Salt Lake Canal, financed wholly by Salt Lake
County, was finished in 1881. Construction of these canals, which are
still in use, was undertaken with only basic tools and contracted manual
under the jurisdiction of the West Jordan Precinct in its early years.
In 1867 the settlement politically became part of the South Jordan Precinct.
A judicial precinct was established locally in 1879, and the name of
the small settlement, boasting little more than a hundred people, was
officially changed from Gardnersville to Riverton.