In 1914, a group of more than 100 Russian migrants moved from California to Park Valley, a rural area in Utah’s western Box Elder County, to protect their culture, religious beliefs and start a new life.

Unfortunately, drought conditions and a series of tragic accidents led most of the Molokan Russians to abandon the settlement after only a year. Some moved to Cache Valley but most returned to California. All that remains today are a few decaying foundations and a cemetery with two Russian gravestones.

The obscure piece of diverse Utah history is among many such histories being featured in a new website and mobile app called Intermountain Stories, a platform dedicated to highlighting places and people who helped shape the history of the Intermountain West, according to a news article on

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Using the website or app, users can navigate a GPS-enabled map with photos and short histories to learn about more than 400 settlements across Utah, Idaho, Nevada and Arizona.

The project was developed by Brenden W. Rensink, a Brigham Young University history professor and associate director of the BYU Redd Center, and is accessible to all in timing with Utah’s Pioneer Day.

“I wanted to create a resource that curated well-researched and easily digestible histories that could be readily accessed by the public” Rensink said in the article. “Something that could be used as tool to guide someone to interesting places and provide information about unique historical stories right in their town.”

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