Weber County has long been the crossroads of Utah and the
Intermountain West. Its eastern boundary is the spine of the
Wasatch Mountains with their towering peaks and sharp valleys.
It extends west into Great Salt Lake.
Both mountains and flatlands are laced by the Ogden and
Weber rivers and their tributaries.
Nomadic Shoshone, Ute,
and prehistoric Indians favored the area for centuries,
hunting in the mountains and foothills and fishing in the streams. Mounds near the
confluence of the Weber and Ogden rivers contain remains of their camps.
American and British mountain men entered the area in the early 1800s, trapping beaver
and trading with the Indians. In 1824 Jim Bridger became the first white
man to report sighting Great Salt Lake. Peter
Skene Ogden traversed the high valley just behind the Wasatch Front
in 1825 and is remembered in the name of the area's largest city--although
he never visited the actual site. The first accurate maps of the area
were drawn by John C. Fremont,
after he visited the mouth of the Weber River in 1843.
began in 1843 when horse trader/trapper Miles Goodyear built a fort
and trading post on the banks of the Weber River, near where it meets
the Ogden River. Late in 1847 he sold his claim to James Brown, a veteran
of the Mormon Battalion, for $1,950
in gold coins, and the property became Brown's Fort, also known as Brownsville.
Within three years the community had 1,141 residents and its name was
changed permanently to Ogden and the surrounding area designated as
Weber County.Growth accelerated in 1869 when the nation's first transcontinental
railroad was completed on 10 May at Promontory
Summit, sixty miles northwest of Ogden; the junction for transfer
of rolling stock, passengers, and freight was quickly moved to more
conveniently located Ogden, nicknamed "Junction City." Other industries
established included woolen mills, canneries, livestock yards, flour
mills, breweries, iron works, banks, hotels, and telephone, telegraph,
and power companies. Ogden inventor John M. Browning patented in 1879
a _blank, single-shot rifle--the first of more than 100 firearms developed
by the Brownings and sold all over the world.
next sizeable population explosion came just before and during World
War II when the military built
Defense Depot Ogden in northern Weber County and
Hill Air Force Base and the
Naval Supply Depot in nearby Davis County. DDO and Hill continue to provide
many jobs for Weber County residents. The war also placed increased
demands on the transportation network, and as many as 150 regular and
special trains moved through Ogden's Union Station on many days in 1944.
Weber County has definitely entered the space age. A number of aerospace industries
have offices and other facilities here, and manufacturing plants produce
powerful, miniature, jet engines for aircraft and missiles and Jetway
loading bridges for airports worldwide. Weber State University (with
some 13,000 students), the U.S. Forest Service regional headquarters,
the IRS Service Center, and the McKay-Dee
and ***St. Benedict's hospitals are among the
county's major employers in the 1990s.