The region under study in this report consists of Daggett County, Utah, the northwestern section of Moffat County, Colorado, and the southwestern area of Sweetwater, Wyoming. It is an area about fifty miles in length and seventeen miles in width, with a population of some four hundred and fifty persons in 1950. The economy was based upon agriculture which prevented the growth of large towns and determined a characteristic of a sparse population living in a comparatively large area. Isolated from Utah by a huge mountain range, the people of Daggett County were closer, in many respects, to the affairs of Wyoming, than of their parent state.
A region which was one of the earliest to be visited by white Americans, it remained frontier country, even into the twentieth century. The earliest settlers were ranchers, who situated themselves along the creeks where water would be available for their stock. They, in turn, were followed by the Mormon colonists at about the turn of the century, who founded the hamlet of Manila, which was to become the center of education in the region.
Schools in the area began about 1869, with a total of some thirty institutions in session at different times over the ninety years since. The sparseness of population, coupled with a lack of adequate roads, prevented the consolidation of smaller districts. Other schools were so completely isolated, that a school had to be maintained as a matter of practical necessity.
Because of the isolation of the entire region from association with school districts in their respective states, most of the schools tended to have the same general characteristics in regard to administration, finance, curriculum, equipment, and school plant facilities, wherever their location.
With the advantage of consolidation, increased state equalization, and a larger population grouped in one area, the Manila schools developed more rapidly than the schools in Wyoming and Colorado located near the Daggett County boundary. Having the only high school in the entire region tended to attract students from the Wyoming schools to Daggett District. When the new school plant was erected in 1955, and increased allocations were made by the state of Utah, the Manila School became the center of public education in the region.
The development of the Flaming Gorge Project resulted in the building of a community in Daggett County with a population larger than all of the hamlets in the region under study, combined. With it has come a new problem, that of providing school facilities for a tripled school enrollment.
Daggett District, perhaps more than any other area in Utah, has benefited from the program of state equalization. Without it, the district could not hope to maintain a program to the extent that it is doing at the present time.
College and Department
David O. McKay School of Education; Educational Leadership and Foundations
BYU ScholarsArchive Citation
Baxter, Donald Weir, "The History of Public Education in Daggett County, Utah, and Adjacent Areas" (1959). Theses and Dissertations. 4514.
Education, Utah, Daggett County Region, History, Public schools