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A bountiful assortment of local histories on tap

SHARE A bountiful assortment of local histories on tap

Bountiful's first establishment for the vending of frozen dairy treats was Lucy Thurgood's Ice Cream Store, according to the book "The City Bountiful," by Leslie Foy.

Rob Harrison was "one of Centerville's greatest bowlers," who got his first perfect score on May 6, 1966, according to "The City In-Between," by Mary Ellen Smoot and Marilyn Sheriff.Eight sets of twins lived on Woods Cross' Sorrento Drive in 1976, according to "Woods Cross: Patterns and Profiles of a City," by Arlene Eakle. Speaking of twins, Lloyd and Marie Paget of West Bountiful had two sets of them, and they were all born on Friday, Dec. 13 - one set in 1957, one in 1963 - according to "West Bountiful," by LaRue Hugoe and Edith Deppe.

These are just a few of the tidbits you can pick up by browsing through the histories of Davis County communities. Every town has one.

The histories vary widely in size and scope. Some, like those of Fruit Heights and West Point, are one-page to-the-point affairs. Others, like the 700-page whopper devoted to South Weber's history, are a bit more involved.

Homes are a big theme for the histories. Almost all of them devote a goodly portion to old, historic homes and the families who lived in them.

"The City In-Between," for example, tells the history of the very visible white stucco house on the corner of Main Street and Parrish Lane that Joel Parrish originally built as a two-room stone cabin. His descendants kept building on, building on, adding rooms, stuccoing, until it turned into the large landmark it is today.

Joan Furner, Joel's great-granddaughter, and her husband, Blair, were the last of the family to inhabit the house. They sold it a few years ago.

Some of the histories have been printed and bound into lush, professional hard-cover books. West Bountiful may have only 5,000 inhabitants, but it boasts a 548-page hard-bound history, compiled in 1989. Residents can buy a copy at City Hall for $20.

When they commissioned the work, city officials overestimated the number of residents who wanted their own copy. There are "many, many, many, many" copies still hanging around city offices, said city recorder Beverly Haslam.

Here's what you're missing if you haven't picked yours up: Out of all the histories, West Boun-tiful's is probably the only one to report on a curiously high number of unusual deaths of residents - drownings, train wrecks, that sort of thing.

"That's really an interesting section," Haslam said.

The history of Syracuse can be found in a $25 hard-cover titled, "The Community of Syracuse." No need to rush - city officials say they have several hundred copies left.

Most city histories go through a single printing of 2,000 to 4,000 copies, which usually eventually sell out. They can then be found only at the Davis County Library.

"From our point of view they are an irreplaceable resource," said library director Pete Giacoma.

Want to learn more about the old Beck's Hot Springs resort or the old Bamberger railroad? Check out "City of North Salt Lake," completed last year by Susan Day. Or how about Center-ville's first basketball hoop, made by blacksmith Henry Rampton at the urging of local boys and hung on the side of Harold Smith's barn? It's there in "The City In-Between."

Many of the histories were completed in conjunction with the 1976 U.S. bicentennial. Others were done for local anniversaries - North Salt Lake's history came out last year in time for the city's 50th birthday.

While the histories' authors are usually people who are already interested in their city's beginnings, even the crudest compilation represents many hours of work in interviewing, collecting photo-graphs, writing and editing, often with little or no pay. North Salt Lake Mayor Clare Jones characterizes the authors as "brave hearts."

The Associated Press contributed to this story.