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Tooele County, Utah

Iosepa Utah was a small Latter Day Saint church owned town created for an influx of native Hawaiians that had emigrated to Utah from their Pacific Island home. They came to be near the headquarters of their newly joined religion and participate in the blessings of being near a temple. Upon first arrival, the Hawaiians were treated with racial discord and were not accepted into the Salt Lake community. By 1889, some 70  Hawaiians had arrived in the Salt Lake valley and the church began to search for a place they could call their own. After some time, the group had finally found a spot to relocate, Skull Valley, in Tooele County. The town was owned by the church and was incorporated under the name of the Iosepa Agriculture and Stock Company. The first members of the town arrived in the valley on August 28, 1889 and drew lots on home sites. The group finally had a place they could call home. Life in Skull Valley was not easy for the new residents. The valley was dry and desolate and it was a battle for them to build a new community. They built homes and irrigation canals to bring water to their new homes. Grass was planted, pigs, sheep and cattle raised as well as planting fruit and walnut trees.

Life was not easy for the Hawaiians. Besides the harsh environment that they faced, sickness and disease also plagued them. Pneumonia, small pox and diphtheria took lives as well as 3 known cases of leprosy. This on top of numerous crop failures sent the working men out of the valley to jobs in the mining community. The town had 228 residents at its peak in 1915. That same year, the church announced the building of a new temple in Hawaii itself. With this news, the community was doomed. The majority of natives returned to their homeland and Iosepa became a ghost town. Today, relatives of the original residents keep the cemetery and some of the surrounding area in pristine condition. This year on August 28th, a time capsule will be opened. The only complaint of this area was the mosquitoes. Should you go, bring some repellent.  

Fotos of Iosepa