Settlement of Canyon Rim

The Big Canyon

Indians came down “Obekokechee” (The Big Canyon) before the pioneers arrived. Many tribes came for the treasured salt, and probably walked and camped in this area.

1848: Golden Road Toll

In 1848, Parley P. Pratt began construction of a toll road down The Big Canyon believing rightly that Parleys Canyon would become a major route for the pioneers. 

This toll road was called the “Golden Road” and tolls were:

  • 1 cent per head of sheep
  • 5 cents per head for loose cows, horses or pigs
  • 10 cents for each additional animal
  • 50 cents per conveyance drawn by one animal
  • 75 cents per conveyance drawn by two animals

Pony Express & Overland Stage

Opening the canyon also made it possible to haul lumber down from the mountains. Coal was discovered in the Coalville area and that too was brought down the canyon. The Pony Express and the Overland Stage used the canyon with a stop at Dudler’s Inn and Saloon. 

By 1888 a narrow gauge railroad ran through the area to Park City and Coalville transporting coal and passengers.


As the pioneers settled in the Salt Lake Valley, irrigation became an essential. Parleys Stream became part of a system which included irrigation as well as many mills. A remnant of this irrigation system, the stone aqueduct, can be seen in Parleys Historic Nature Park. The aqueduct carried water from the reservoir which was built near Suicide Rock. 


Many mills sprang up in the area. One of the first was a flour mill established in 1848. Other enterprises included lumber mills, tanneries and grist mills. Pioneer families settling in the area included the Fishers and Osguthorpes.

Peach & Apple Orchards

Around that same time, a successful farmer from Acron, New York, arrived in the valley and brought with him shoots from his peach and apple trees. He planted the first orchard in Salt Lake and brought to market the first peaches ever grown in Utah. Many orchards were developed in the Canyon Rim area.

Veteran Interest

This area also was attractive to soldiers returning from World War II. In 1947, 118 veterans formed an association to buy land in the area. They subdivided it into 118 lots and build homes on the self-help, community-help plan. The veteran settlers not only improved the area, but stabilized it-and many remain as residents today. 

This was the beginning of the conversion from an agricultural community to a residential suburban community. Locals dubbed the area “Veteran Heights.” The name Canyon Rim came into use in the 1950’s as homes were built along or near the rim of Parley’s Hollow.

Ever Growing Community

With additional growth, several churches, schools and parks were built to serve the community. Commercial areas were built along the north side of 3300 South. Original small businesses included an outdoor theatre, grocery stores and a hardware store.