A Brief History of Rocky Ridge Town, Utah
The Town of Rocky Ridge lies just south of the gentle pass connecting Utah and Juab Valleys, through which Interstate 15 now passes. When they crossed this pass on September 27, 1776, the Spanish explorers Father Dominguez and Father Escalante, named it the Puerto de San Pedro or, the Gate of St. Peter.
Parley P Pratt’s 1849 exploration party of Mormon Pioneers recorded at 73-1/2 miles south of Salt Lake City, ”Rocky Spot. Here you descend into Yohab [Juab] Valley,” an obvious reference to Rocky Ridge, the name later given to the unique geological ridge covered with rounded, black lava rock that juts out into the valley from the north.
In 1971 when the Marvin Allred family bought 225 acres of farm and hillside property in this area of the Juab Valley it was covered by not much more than dry-farm wheat fields and sage brush with an intermittently spaced Pinyon-juniper tree. Wildlife such as coyotes, jack rabbits, mule deer, horned lizards and rattlesnakes roamed freely. It was all that remained of the town of York, an old but once thriving, settlement founded in 1875 at the terminus of the Utah Southern Railroad.
Marvin Allred and his family moved onto the property in the summer of 1972 after drilling a small well and partially completing a house on the western side of the valley, giving them a grand view of majestic, 11,000 foot-high Bald Mountain in the Wasatch Range. To access the house from Old Highway 91, a mile-long dirt road skirting the wheat fields was etched into the grass-covered clay soil. Because of the severity of the winter of 1972-73 and the resulting difficulty faced in traversing the road through the deep ruts and slimy mud in an effort to get the school children out to meet the bus on the highway, the officials of Juab County came to the aid of the family and created a much more passable county road using bank-run gravel. This road proved a great blessing to the residents and now forms part of Rocky Ridge Road, the main road providing access to the town from Old Highway 91.
Later, additional adjoining land was purchased, other families built homes on the property and businesses were started. The lack of water proved to be a great handicap and when one of the homes caught fire there was nothing that could be done beyond just watching it burn, in spite of the best efforts of neighboring city fire departments. In 1987 the primary business, a cabinet shop run by Quality Craft Wood Works, Inc., also burned to the ground and everything was lost.
Due to county ordinances being passed that only allowed for one house to be built per 160 acres, those desiring to build homes in the area petitioned the County and received approval to subdivide some of the land. As a result, the population increased enough to meet the Utah State requirements for a township and in 1996 the Town of Rocky Ridge was incorporated, keeping the name by which the area had been known for many years. Marvin Allred became the town’s first mayor.
Since its incorporation, the population of Rocky Ridge has increased to an estimated 800 people as of this writing (2019), a central park has been developed, and successful businesses have been established, a greater supply of water has been obtained, and a volunteer fire department has been organized which now operates as part of the larger Juab County Special Service Fire District. Those residing in the peaceful, rural conditions found in Rocky Ridge hope for a bright future and expect that the town will continue to grow as long as resources and the providence of God will allow.