Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News

According to the Encyclopedia of Mormonism, Brigham Young issued instructions for establishing Salt Lake City as soon as the pioneers arrived in the valley. His plans specified that each block would be the same size and contain eight lots, 1.25 acres in size. All the streets would be 132 feet wide, with houses on each block facing alternate streets and set 20 feet back from the sidewalk.

Other cities founded during the colonization of the West reflect Young's city outline, Richard Jackson wrote in the encyclopedia.

"Though differing in details, Mormon towns were characterized by large lots, wide streets and large blocks, features that still distinguish these communities of America's Intermountain West," he said. "This expansive pattern later enhanced urbanization, providing space for four lanes of traffic and for large-scale downtown development."

Ogden, 1848
Utah Historical Society

According to an article on, Ogden was originally settled by a mountain man named Miles Goodyear, who helped convince the Mormon newcomers to settle elsewhere. They ultimately ended up in the Salt Lake Valley. In late 1847, Captain James Brown purchased Goodyear's land for $1,950, and Brownsville was established. The area officially became known as Ogden City in 1851.

Tooele, 1849
Mike Terry, Deseret News

In 1849, Brigham Young directed the settlement of Utah Valley, Sanpete Valley and Tooele Valley, Leonard J. Arrington wrote in "Brigham Young: American Moses." Tooele County, originally known as "Tuilla," according to, was one of six counties created in January 1850. Settlers herded livestock in the area before a permanent settlement began in 1849.

Provo, 1849
Ravell Call, Deseret News

After settlements were established in the Salt Lake Valley and along the Weber and Ogden rivers, new settlements in Utah Valley were opened up, including Provo and Nephi, Leonard J. Arrington wrote in "Brigham Young: American Moses." Provo grew to become the second largest city in the territory until Ogden became a major railroad hub and claimed the title in the 1870s, according to Brigham Young Academy opened in 1875, and later became Brigham Young University.

Fillmore, 1851
Ravell Call, Deseret News

As part of Brigham Young's plans to settle the entire territory of the proposed state of Deseret in the 1850s, Fillmore was established as the territorial capital. The central location of the city helped spur the move, with it falling in the center of Utah and midway between the Sierra and Colorado Rockies, reports. A party of settlers laid out the boundaries for the city, outlining the locations and plans for square blocks, streets, houses and public buildings.

Cedar City, 1851
Ravell Call, Deseret News

According to an article by Leonard Arrington at, Brigham Young directed the establishment of settlements for different and specific purposes. These purposes included temporary places of gathering and recruitment, centers for production, centers for proselytizing and assisting Indians, and places for settling newcomers. Cedar City, Arrington wrote, was a center for production, with a focus on iron.

San Bernardino, California, 1851
Associated Press

San Bernardino was founded in 1851 and became the principal LDS settlement in California along the "Mormon Corridor" of settlements connecting Utah to the West Coast, the Encyclopedia of Mormonism said. The area was intended to serve as a gathering place and way station for immigrants from the Pacific. LDS gold miners also lived there, and by 1856, about 3,000 people lived in the area. In 1857, Brigham Young instructed settlers in San Bernardino and outlying areas to return to Utah, the article said. A little more than half complied.

Las Vegas, 1855
Andrew Zarivny /

According to Leonard J. Arrington's book, "Brigham Young: American Moses," Las Vegas was founded as a mission hub for missions to the Indians. Other mission hubs included Harmony, in Southern Utah, and Lemhi, Idaho.

Logan, 1859
Deseret News Archives

In the book, "Brigham Young: American Moses," historian Leonard Arrington wrote that nine families obtained Brigham Young's permission to move from the Tooele Valley to the southern end of Cache Valley in 1856. Five settlements were established in the Cache Valley in 1859 after the initial settlers "found the climate delightful and were able to raise a 'good crop' of grain the next summer."

St. George, 1861
Samantha Clemens, The Spectrum

St. George, according to the Utah History Encyclopedia, was the largest of the town founded during the 1861 LDS Church Cotton Mission. In October 1861, church authorities called 209 families to settle in areas where they could raise cotton. In 1863, the city became the county seat for Washington County, and in 1871, work began on the St. George Temple.

Snowflake, Arizona, 1877
Scott P. Adair

Mormons like William Jordan Flake, who purchased the land that would become Snowflake, Ariz., were among the first white settlers in the territory, The Arizona Republic's Ron Dungan wrote at

Although much of the region was still Indian territory and unsettled, Young's goal to establish LDS communities to serve as trade routes and lines of travel helped spur settlement, Dungan wrote. In Snowflake, Ariz., pioneers overcame lack of water, outlaws, failed crops and hard wind to begin new lives.

"There's a joke my mother told just last night," Lois Waterman, the great-grandaguther of the first bishop of Snowflake, told Dungan. "When the pioneers came here, the wind was blowing really hard, and they said, 'We'll just stay here until the wind quits blowing.'"

Afton, Wyoming, 1885
Laura Seitz, Deseret News

According to the 1901 book, "History of Wyoming, Volume 1," Mormons were responsible for founding the first cities in Star Valley — "one of the most beautiful (valleys) of the entire Rocky Mountain system."

The first settlers arrived in 1858, and a directive to colonize the area was issued in 1879, reported. In 1894, Church official George Goddard quoted Elder Moses Thatcher as saying, "A fine tract of bench land on the eastern portion of Afton will afford a beautiful site for a temple hereafter to be built." Plans for the Star Valley Wyoming Temple were announced in October 2011.

Kelsey, Texas, 1901

Although Kelsey, Texas, was one of only a handful of LDS settlements established outside the larger sphere of Latter-day Saint influence, the town stil exhibited many of the characteristics of a planned Mormon village," Richard Jensen wrote in the Encyclopedia of Mormonism.

According to an article on the Texas State Historical Association website, the population of the town had dwindled to 50 by 2000.