Enterprise Reservoir Dam Under Construction by Pioneers

Paul Reeve compiled a history of Enterprise, the first 100 years. It was published in 1996.  The following is an excerpt from the preface to that book:

“Nestled in a cove of mountains on the southern rim of the Great Basin lies the small agricultural community of Enterprise, Utah. It is surrounded on three sides by such local landmarks as Old Flat Top, E-Hill and Pilot Peak.   On the north, the Escalante Desert stretches out for hundreds of miles toward the Great Salt Lake. In relation to larger commercial centers, Enterprise rests near the junction of two roads, one leading from St. George, about forty miles to the south, the other from Cedar City, over forty-five miles to the northeast. Although close to the Iron County line, Enterprise is located at the northwest corner of Washington County. At an altitude of 5,400 feet, its climate is more akin to that of the cooler county to the north.

            Historically, however, Enterprise is more closely linked to Washington County settlements. It was from St. George that the earliest colonizers came to the Shoal Creek region, near Enterprise, to graze cattle from the Cotton Mission. As cattle ranchers, the initial inhabitants of the area prospered. But opportunities for expansion were limited and a few settlers began searching for something better. Specifically, they wanted a new town with a reliable water source to sustain widespread agriculture. Thus, Enterprise’s genesis, around the turn of the century, depended upon the success of an ambitious reservoir scheme that many skeptics dismissed as impossible. Enterprise pioneers proved the naysayers wrong; they built a dam with very little capital and a lot of hard work. The town of Enterprise is the result.

            The first colonizers arrived at Enterprise in March 1896, two months after Utah obtained statehood…. Following their arrival, the town’s initial inhabitants were too busy grubbing brush, digging wells, and building homes to be concerned with events of a broader scope. While statehood was an important and long anticipated milestone for the territory of Utah, Enterprise inhabitants were just beginning their journey into community building. Many milestones lay ahead, as they struggled to subdue a small portion of Utah’s yet untamed frontier.”

When Mr. Reeve came to Enterprise to do research for his book, he made the following observation:

            “I sensed that almost wherever we went in Enterprise we would be met by the same familiar welcome. It was a pleasant thought that created in my mind a picture of Enterprise as a friendly “hometown” whose residents hold no illusions of grandeur. Instead, they seem justifiably content with the comfortable corner of the world they have carved out of the desert and beautified.”

Enterprise History Books may still be available at the Enterprise City Offices ($20).