Agency History #746


Orderville, settled in March 1875, was the most successful and longest-lived united order community established during the united order movement promoted by Brigham Young in the 1870s. As part of this experiment in communal living, Young organized orders in many Southern Utah communities including Kanab and Mt. Carmel in Kane County. When these orders floundered for lack of unity, members who were anxious to continue the experiment selected a new site and established a new community especially dedicated to the establishment of a united order. Members of Orderville's order not only owned all things in common, but for several years ate in a common dining hall where food was served from a common kitchen. Orderville's united order initially prospered, but challenges arose during the decade of the 1880s and the order was discontinued in 1890. Orderville became an incorporated town in 1935.


Utah municipal governments perform numerous functions, including maintaining law and order, guarding public health and sanitation, providing for elections, providing public services and utilities, licensing businesses, maintaining roads and infrastructure, levying taxes, and promoting community development. The Orderville town board initially focused on developing a culinary water system. At incorporation the town liquidated the Orderville Water System Company and borrowed money to build a new water works. Maintaining the water system has continued to be a major ongoing function for the Orderville town board/council. The town built a new water storage tank and made general improvements in 1948. The town made additional upgrades to the system in 1961, 1969, 1981, and 1995. In addition to the recurring need to update the system, the council has had responsibility for installing and maintaining water pipes and meters, collecting water bills, and keeping the system uncontaminated.

Maintenance of roads and bridges has been another ongoing and important responsibility. Early councils kept roads graded and graveled. Street lights, fire hydrants, cement sidewalks, and curbs and gutters were installed in the 1940s. In the early 1960s the council paved most of the town's roads. The Virgin River runs through Orderville, providing irrigation water, but also necessitates a number of bridges and culverts. Repair and maintenance on these bridges has been an ongoing challenge. Occasionally bridges in disrepair have remained closed for lack of funds to fix them.

Shortly after incorporation, the Orderville town board planned to build a municipal power plant and incorporated the Orderville Power and Light Company. By 1940 the board had decided to dissolve the Orderville Power Company and contracted with GarKane Power Company for the community's electrical needs. The council installed gas lines and signed a franchise for natural gas in 1966.

Also, shortly after incorporation the town inherited the Orderville cemetery from the LDS Church. Because donation of the cemetery carried the stipulation that anyone could be buried there free of charge, funds were not available for maintenance. In 1964 the council discussed trying to create a record of burials in the cemetery. In 1970 the council responded to complaints about the poor condition of the cemetery and the sand buggies that were tearing up the graves. The town harrowed the weeds and planted grass. The town council first requested donations for the cemetery, but later used tax assessments to pay for cemetery upkeep.

In addition to issues related to the water system, roads and bridges, and the town cemetery, the Orderville town council has heard a number of repeated complaints. Residents have complained about pollution and heavy equipment in town because of the operation of a local gravel pit. They have complained about the stench of animal corrals, trash accumulation in private junk yards, open sewers, and unrestricted dogs. The council has worked hard to address these concerns. In addition to asking specific individuals to clean up yards or corrals, the council sponsored an extensive fly control campaign in 1948, asking all residents to spray DDT. The council began sponsoring clean up days in 1964. Solid waste disposal was more satisfactorily addressed in 1977 when Orderville and neighboring communities began negotiating with the BLM for a dump site. The town council collaborated with the nearby Glendale council to plan a sewer system that would serve both communities. The Long Valley Sewer Improvement District was organized in 1980.

Orderville has pooled resources with the neighboring communities, Alton, Glendale and Mt. Carmel to help accomplish other goals as well. Since the early 1950s Glendale, Orderville, and sometimes Alton, have coordinated law enforcement efforts, appointing a common marshal or otherwise making agreements for common police protection. In 1975 a jointly created Long Valley Fire Department began providing fire protection for Glendale, Orderville, and Mt. Carmel. The fire house in Orderville served jointly as a center for senior citizens.

The Orderville town council has traditionally provided annual July 4th celebrations, sometimes coordinated with Glendale. The council has also traditionally decorated a town Christmas tree. In the 1990s the council began sponsoring Santa parties. The Orderville town council sponsored homecoming and going-away dances for World War II soldiers, and centennial celebrations in 1947 and 1996. The Orderville council has hosted the annual Kane County Fair since ca. 1950. The Glendale and Orderville councils began organizing joint summer recreation programs in the 1960s, and the Orderville council has supported Little League, 4-H clubs, Boy Scouts (eagle projects), and high school programs such as Close-Up.

The Orderville town council initiated additional community improvements in the 1980s and 1990s. The town built a tennis court in 1981. A new town office building serves doubly as a community clinic where residents can see doctors coming weekly from Panguitch or Kanab, and the area around the office is a public park. Since the adoption of a zoning and subdivision ordinance in 1981, several residents have developed subdivisions and Orderville has annexed additional property. Most notably, in 1993 Orderville annexed Mt. Carmel and Mt. Carmel Junction, an unincorporated community two miles south and the homes and businesses at the crossroad leading from Highway 89 to Zion National Park. The council has obtained additional resources for making community and residential improvements from Community Development Block Grants.

In 1996 Orderville became part of a Kane County special service district for recreation and transportation. The Orderville town council participated, in 1998, with other Kane County communities to develop and adopt a general county-wide plan, which focuses on building Kane County through the tourist industry. The Orderville council would like to find ways to increase revenues by marketing the town's heritage.


A mayor and town council provide leadership for Orderville. Originally these officers were called town board president and board of trustees. The mayor, who is elected by general municipal election, is the chief executive officer. He presides over council meetings and supervises all other city affairs. He signs city ordinances and official contracts on behalf of the city. The council functions as a legislative governing body and is responsible for all aspects of community management, such as appointing officials, levying taxes, establishing a budget, providing for elections, maintaining public services and utilities, licensing businesses, and regulating activity within Orderville. At incorporation the Orderville town board drafted and adopted a set of ordinances as a basis for municipal government. The council published complete sets of revised ordinances in 1944, 1959, and 1977; and adopted a zoning ordinance in 1981. The council adopted a general plan in the 1990s and updated it in 2001.


The city council appoints a number of town officers and defines their responsibilities. The original Orderville town board appointed a clerk/treasurer, a justice of the peace, a town marshal, a dog catcher, and a town attorney. By 1943 the town had a health officer and a water master. The council appointed a beautification committee in 1974. In 1977 when the town council decided to hire one person to serve as school crossing guard, town maintenance man, and clerk/treasurer, the council decided to separate the functions of clerk and treasurer. A council member became town treasurer. In 1993 the council created a planning and zoning commission.

M. A. Holgate 1934, Mar - 1935, Dec
Alfred R.Meeks 1936, Jan - 1939, Dec
Hans Chamberlain 1940, Jan - Dec
Binnie H. Sorensen 1941, Jan - Dec
Heber C. Covington 1942, Jan - 1943, Dec
William C. Heaton 1944, Jan - 1945, Dec
Charles T. Hepworth 1946, Jan - 1947, Dec
Orson T. Young 1948, Jan - 1949, Dec
Warren C. Foote 1950, Jan - 1951, Sep
Arel M. Chamberlain 1951, Oct - 1957, Dec
LeGrande Heaton 1958, Jan - 1961, Dec
Earl Sorensen 1962 Jan - 1965, Dec
Arel M. Chamberlain 1966, Jan - 1969, Dec
Earl Sorensen 1970, Jan - 1973, Dec
Tone Blackburn 1974, Jan -1977, Dec
Ronald W. Heaton 1978, Jan - 1981, Dec
Jay Ramsay 1982, Jan
Scot Goulding 1982, Feb - 1997, Dec
Robert Caruso 1998, Jan - 2001, Dec
Brad Adair 2002, Jan -

COMPILED BY: Rosemary Cundiff , May 2003


Bradley, Martha Sonntag. A History of Kane County. Utah State Historical Society; Kane County Commission (Salt Lake City: 1999).

Town of Orderville. Orderville: Heart of the United Order. Homestead Publishers & Distributors (Hurricane, Utah: 1985).

Orderville (Utah). Council minutes, Utah State Archives, (24261).

Page Last Updated July 30, 2003 .