Enterprise, Utah is located in northwest Washington County on the south rim of the Great Basin. It is about 40 miles north of St. George on State Road 18. This town is approximately a mile high in elevation and is surrounded on three sides by mountains. Enterprise is one of the few towns in Washington County that still has an economy based on agriculture and farming.
Enterprise had its beginnings in a dream of Orson Huntsman and a few others. He filed on 320 acres of land where the town now lies. In 1891 he hired Isaac C. Mac Farland, the county surveyor, who with C.S. Fackrell’s help laid out a town site of 120 lots.
The town was called Enterprise because of the daring nature of the enterprise that a handful of people were taking in building the reservoir on their own. Stock had been sold to dam the floodwaters of Little Pine Valley fourteen miles to the east at a natural dam site behind the Narrows of Little Pine Valley above Shoal Creek. The estimated cost of the dam and canal project was nearly $32,000. With this harnessed body of water they hoped to replace the gray sagebrush desert to the north with green fields.
In July 1891 twenty of the stockholders met to choose their lots. Mr. Huntsman had the first choice then the other lots were numbered and each man drew a slip with a number on it out of a hat. Each man paid $2.50 toward the $9.00 purchase price of the lots. One man said, “It took years to pay for them there lots.” Not all of the participants made permanent homes in Enterprise.
Enterprise is known for its wonderful gardens and flowers. The first settlers certainly began this tradition by bringing in trees and shrubs from Provo and carrying water from their wells to keep them alive. They also had to keep the rabbits away because the ate the bark and killed the trees. The women tended the gardens, chickens, etc. while their husbands worked on the dam, freighted, etc. Many times the women had to chase away coyotes who tried to get the chickens as they fed them or they had to kill rattlesnakes that sometimes even got into their homes.
On November 17, 1902 there was an earthquake in the area. This caused a lot of destruction in the nearby settlement of Hebron, nearly all of the rock and brick buildings were damaged. This along with drought, discouragement, and other problems proved to be the undoing of the settlement of Hebron and upon recommendation of church officials the people sold their water stock to the Enterprise Reservoir and Canal Company and moved into Enterprise. Hebron became a ghost town at this time.
The capstone was placed on the dam on October 26, 1909 after 16 years. The town continued to grow at this time and a Ward Meeting House was begun in 1912, each family donated labor and money for the project. With the building of this new chapel and the reservoir finished, Enterprise became established. The reservoir has indeed changed the gray sagebrush with green fields of alfalfa, grain, and potatoes. The people of Enterprise are still reaping the abundant crops of the desert and many are descendants of those first hardy pioneers.