This thirty-six box collection contains the papers of the Union and Jordan Irrigation Company.
Utah State University. Special Collections and Archives Manuscript Collection
Merrill-Cazier Library Utah State University 3000 Old Main Hill Logan, UT 84322-3000 Phone: 435 797-2663 Fax: 435 797-2880 Email: email@example.com
Material in English
In 1877 the Union and Jordan Irrigation-Ditch Company was founded in Cottonwood, Utah, with James Winchester appointed as the company's first Water Master (the name given to the president of the company). The Company's first project was to install ‘divide gates’ that allocated water through a series of ditches, which diverted water to or from Little Cottonwood Creek. The Little Cottonwood Creek flowed down Little Cottonwood Canyon to the Jordan River Plain and irrigated farms in parts of Salt Lake County, including such cities as Union, Midvale, Murray, West Jordan, and Sandy. Because the Union and Jordan Irrigation Company had access to regulate water from the Little Cottonwood Creek, it allowed the Company to economically flourish and hold a position of strength within local communities and business.
During the 1870s and 1880s various mining and smelting corporations built smelters in Murray, Midvale, and Sandy. These operations required large volumes of water to facilitate the refining process. By 1895 the Mingo Smelter Company had contracted with the Union and Jordan Irrigation Company (U & J) to furnish one-tenth of the Little Cottonwood Creek's flow for use in Mingo's operation. This gave the U & J the money it needed to expand and readjust financially.
In 1893 a dispute arose when the U & J reallocated local water rights without consulting county officials or farmers ‘down stream.’ These actions were deemed illegal by various area farmers and city officials causing the U & J to come under public scrutiny. In response to such complaints the Company contacted a Salt Lake City lawyer and the local Justice of the Peace, and organized an official allocation of water rights.
In 1901 the U & J began working in conjunction with local cities to supply adequate water amounts for town culinary water systems. In 1914 the U & J finalized an agreement to sell the city of Sandy water from the Little Cottonwood, which in turn provoked the city of Sandy to grant the U & J control of the town's water rights from other water sources, giving the U & J a 25 percent increase of water control in the area. Thereafter the U & J began purchasing canals and water rights from other canal companies, such as from the East Jordon Irrigation Company. These new acquisitions diversified the U & J's holdings and increased the complexity of the Company's involvement with the surrounding communities and businesses. This business expansion burdened the Company with financial problems and legal obligations, and various legal suits were brought against the Company. Over time the Company slipped into debt in attempt to maintain its holdings. Over the course of the next half century however the U & J continued to operate and was involved in numerous irrigation projects, canal constructions, and other similar ventures.
By the 1960s the Company was working to keep itself from internal collapse due to share owner dispute. Although the U & J appeared to be in good fiscal shape, some of its shareholders doubted its future. In a stockholder meeting held in February 1968 the president of the U & J stated that the company was worth $2,000,000 dollars, but a share owner angrily arose and questioned the honesty of such a statement. By 1969 the Company was exploring ways to disband. In the early 1970s the U & J began selling its holdings and redistributing funds to shareholders. In December 1974 U & J officials met for the last time and the Company was officially dissolved.
This thirty-six box collection contains the papers of the Union and Jordan Irrigation Company. These papers span the period of 1877 to 1974 and consist of meeting minutes, correspondence, legal papers, financial papers, blueprints, reports, and other similar papers. The materials in this collection document the entire lifespan of the Union and Jordan Irrigation Company, a near one-hundred year period of irrigation evolution.
At the time this collection was donated, most of its original order had become jumbled. A preliminary attempt to process the collection took place after its initial donation. A final, more detailed processing took place in 2003. At that time an attempt was made to preserve whatever remnant of original order that still existed while placing related segments of the collection together. The materials in this collection have been organized into seven Series.
Collection at a Glance
Series 1: Minutes/Records
Series 2: Business Records, Financial Documents, and Reports
1. Agreements and Amendments
2. Water Rights
3. Sandy City Records
4. Financial Records
6. Miscellaneous Records
Series 3: Balance Sheets
Series 4: Public Service Commission
Series 5: State Tax Commission
Series 6: Business Correspondence and Financial Records
Series 7: Stock holders/ Stock certificates
Series 8: Plats and oversized materials
Use of the Collection
Restrictions on Access :
No restrictions on use, except: not available through interlibrary loan.
Restrictions on Use :
It is the responsibility of the researcher to obtain any necessary copyright clearances.
Permission to publish material from the Union & Jordan Irrigation Company Papers must
be obtained from the Special Collections Manuscript Curator and/or the Special Collections
Preferred Citation :
Union & Jordan Irrigation Company Papers USU_COLL MSS 253,
Box [ ]. Special Collections and Archives. Utah State University Merrill-Cazier Library. Logan, Utah.
Following Citations:USU_COLL MSS 253,
Arranged in subject headings.
Processing Note :
Processed in January of 2006
Acquisition Information :
The materials that comprise this collection were donated to USU Special Collections & Archives by John and Mary Crawford in 1994.
Bibliography : Sources
Alexander, Thomas G.,
"Interdependence and Change: Mutual Irrigation Companies in Utah's Wasatch Oasis in an Age of Modernization, 1870-1930,"
Utah Historical Quarterly, Vol. 71, No. 4 (Fall 2003). (USU SC&A call # 979.206 H629)
Union & Jordan Irrigation Company Papers, Coll MSS 253, Box 3; Minutes 1941-1974.
Detailed Description of the Collection
Series 1: Minutes/Records, 1877-1974
(3 boxes, 9 folders and 12 books)
Early Company Papers
Stock Holders Meeting Minutes
Director Meeting Minutes
1913 January to 1914 January and 1954 December to 1958 December