Among the first people to dwell in the North Ogden area were Native American Indians. Most of these people were Shoshone, belonging to tribes such as the Paiutes, Utes, Shoshones, Goshutes, and Bannocks. These bands led a nomadic lifestyle with their annual movements driven by the availability of water, edible vegetation, and wild game. The Shoshone called the area “Opecarry,” which translated to “stick in the head.” Their trails connected the North Ogden territory with areas now known as Liberty, Huntsville, Eden, Ogden, and Cache Valley, Utah.
European Americans first visited the North Ogden area in the early 1820s. They were primarily trappers who were more interested in the rich harvest of beaver furs than in establishing permanent settlements. The first record of a visit to “Ogden Hole” (now known as North Ogden) was in 1821 by a trapper named Etienne Provost, who farmed the area along with others until about 1844, when trapper Miles Goodyear purchased most of the land from Ogden Canyon to North Ogden Canyon. The Ogden name derived from Peter Skeen Ogden of the Hudson Bay Company, who was once thought, incorrectly, to be one of the first trappers in the area.
In 1848 Miles Goodyear sold his land to Captain James Brown of the Mormon Battalion. The purchase price was $3000 and the area acquired extended from the Wasatch Mountains on the east to the Great Salt Lake on the west, and from the Utah Hot Springs on the north extending 20 miles to the south.
Jonathan Campbell Jr. and his nephew Samuel Campbell were among the first settlers in North Ogden, as well as John Riddle and his son Isaac. They moved north from Ogden in the fall of 1850, but retreated to Lorin Farr Fort when tension escalated with Native Americans. Returning in the spring of 1851, the Campbells and Riddles planted crops and established farms. They were followed by about 18 additional families by October, 1851. In 1852 the Weber County Court established a civil government in North Ogden, with Jonathan Campbell as supervisor, Crandall Dunn as justice of the peace, and Franklin G. Clifford as constable.
As disputes with Native Americans continued, Brigham Young directed the North Ogden residents to build a rock wall around the town for protection. Eventually, peace was made before the wall was completed. In 1856, the Utah territory was threatened by the U.S. Army, which was commanded to “take over the territory and wipe out the Mormons and their heathenistic practices.” Brigham Young ordered the people to leave their homes to help protect the Salt Lake area. North Ogden residents traveled south to Spanish Fork until Brigham Young negotiated a peaceful settlement with the army.
During the fall of 1855, most of the crops were wiped out by a plague of crickets, leaving the settlers short of food. Winter set in early with unusual intensity, which killed most of the livestock. The livestock were fed tree branches and the straw from mattresses, but many perished. People resorted to gathering thistles and lily bulbs for their own survival.
Early settlers in this desert region were forced to construct irrigation systems to divert water to their agricultural lands. In the 1800s and early 1900s, many North Ogden residents grew crops for commercial resale as well as for personal consumption. They raised livestock, chickens, bees, fish, and planted large orchards and gardens. A processing and canning plant was built for the sugar beet industry. A spur from Ogden’s railroad system (The “Dummy Line”) was constructed to transport the beets, fruit and crops to sell on the interstate market.
A grist mill was constructed on Cold Water Creek in 1854. The lumber industry started in 1856, a cane mill was constructed in 1863, and the mercantile industry began in 1863. Brick making and the freighting industries also started during the mid-1800s. A lime kiln operated near Cold Water Canyon. Many families worked mines during the winter months after crops were harvested. Other industries included well drilling, blacksmithing, and with the development of automobiles, service stations were common along 400 East.
After the Great Depression in the early 1930s, the area began to change as the population increased. Pioneer farmlands and orchards disappeared as residential and commercial properties developed. North Ogden was incorporated as a town in 1934, electing David G. Randall as the first mayor. The first Cherry Days celebration was held on July 14, 1932, with the intention of expanding the cherry market throughout the states. The celebration became a yearly tradition afterwards, with dances, ball games, horse-pulling contests, parades, and free bags of cherries.
North Ogden was officially proclaimed a city in 1950. During the following decades, city council members and residents actively pursued the goals of encouraging family-oriented living. North Ogden was one of the first cities in Utah to appoint a planning commission and adopt a master plan. Municipal buildings and facilities have been constructed and improved throughout the years with a library, swimming pool, parks, senior center, museum, and nature trails. Schools have been constructed, improved, and enlarged. “The Stump” has been reconstructed in Centennial Park, offering free, refreshing, artesian well water for all to enjoy.
Many businesses thrive in North Ogden, including restaurants, banks, supermarkets, convenience stores, exercise facilities, dry cleaners, hairdressers, health and dental clinics, and more. Roads have been developed for easy access to highways, freeways, and the Frontrunner. Many homes have been constructed over the years, some single-family homes and some condominiums and apartment buildings.
Demographic Trends and Characteristics
North Ogden’s population shows a modest increase over the past ten years. In 2010 the population of the city was estimated at 17,357 by the U.S. Census Bureau, an increase of 15.5 percent since 2000. North Ogden is the third largest city in Weber County. Only Ogden and Roy have larger populations. Demographic growth in North Ogden has been slightly lower than the countywide demographic growth rate.
Other demographic characteristics of North Ogden include:
The population of North Ogden is getting older. The median age has increased from 29.5 years to 32.9 years.
In 2010 nearly 40 percent of the population of North Ogden was 19 years or younger, much higher than the statewide share of 34.8 percent. In Weber County those 19 years or younger comprise only 32.9 percent of the population.
The number of households in the city in 2010 totaled 5,569, an increase of 26 percent in ten years. The average size of households declined from 3.4 to 3.11, another indication of the growing share of older, smaller families.
The minority population of North Ogden has also increased significantly. In 2000 the minority population in the city totaled 576 individuals. By 2010 the number of minority individuals in the city had increased to 1,029, an increase of 78.6 percent. Despite this increase the minority population in the city is still relatively low. Only 5.9 of the population in North Ogden are minorities.