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Superlatives: What Layton was first in …

Article Published 01/22/2014

It is a historic occasion when the first superlative in a category, or area comes along. Here’s a list of some of the important firsts that happened in Layton City.

-Layton had the first reservoir in Utah and probably the entire Intermountain region: Elias Adams started backing up the waters of the north fork of Holmes Creek, in what would become today’s Layton City, in 1852, to lengthen the irrigation season. The earthen dam was enlarged in 1863, but washed out in 1864. Adams then reinforced his dam and others imitated his work on other streams.

-Layton boasts one of the state’s oldest roads: Portions of today’s Highway 89 through Layton City was among the earliest paths in Utah, also used by Native Americans. First known as “Mountain Road,” this was also a popular Indian trail from north of Farmington to Weber Canyon and used by emigrants and settlers. It was eventually rerouted somewhat and became a paved, four-lane highway in 1960, far ahead of future traffic demands.

-Layton received Utah’s first electric gas pump in 1919, at the Layton Auto Company, 52 N. Main. This business opened in 1916, but was remodeled in 1924 to become North Davis County’s first motion picture theaters, Latona Hall.

-Layton opened the state’s first public library, on Feb. 28, 1900. However, it only remained open a few months for lack of patronage. In 1929, Layton Elementary School opened a public library. A librarian wasn’t added until 1933. By 1946, Layton had a temporary library in Verdeland Park. Layton received a limited branch of the Davis County Library System from 1957-1975. Its own permanent branch of the Davis County Library, today’s present facility, opened in 1988.

-Layton became Davis County’s largest city in total land area in 1957, with the annexation of Laytona.

-Layton surpassed Bountiful as Davis County’s most populous city in 1985, with 36,000 residents.

-Layton had the North Davis County’s first traffic signal installed at Main and Gentile Street in 1943.

-Layton received its first drive-in theater and the only one in the county, the Davis Drive-In in 1945. It closed in 1992 and now Kohl’s and other businesses occupy its former space.

SOURCES: Deseret News Archives, and “Layton, Utah” history book, by the Kaysville-Layton Historical Society.