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About Richfield

Richfield is a city in and the county seat of Sevier County, Utah, in the United States, and is the largest city in southern-central Utah. As of the 2000 census, the city population was 6,847. It lies in the Mormon Corridor, just off of Interstate 70 about 40 miles east of its junction with Interstate 15. The county can be best described as "rural diversified" due to the convergence of agricultural, retail and industrial activities.

Though not large, Richfield is remote from larger cities. One has to travel about 100 miles or more in any direction to reach a more populous town, while dozens of less populous communities are found in the general area. Its remoteness, plus its location on major transportation corridors, makes it central Utah's defacto regional capital, a shopping and "commercial capital of a vast mountain-valley region." Many people travel to Richfield to shop, bowl, golf, to attend theater, concerts, or for religious gatherings. They are also drawn to the Community College, affiliated with Snow College, and to receive medical care. Richfield is part of "Panoramaland", and is a thoroughfare to several nearby National Parks and Forests.

Settlement history

Prehistoric people occupied the Richfield area for more than 7,000 years. Fremont culture remains are found near most community sites in the Sevier area and are dated from approximately CE 1 to CE 1000. During the late 1820s, Jedediah Smith and other fur traders crossed the area. Sevier County lies on the Old Spanish Trail between Santa Fe, New Mexico and California and was used by travelers between 1830 and 1850.

In the early part of January 1864 a party of ten men under the leadership of Albert Lewis came from Sanpete County, Utah and arrived in what is now Richfield. The Mormon settlers found fertile soil, good water and wood in the nearby hills. They decided that it was a desirable site for a settlement. These pioneers made a dwelling place for all ten men, which they called 'The Hole in the Ground.' They carefully covered this hole with brush willows and other materials and made a crude chimney of rocks. This dugout was located on today's Main Street. These men spent the remainder of the winter in this dwelling, planning and preparing for the time when they could bring their families.

The early Mormon settlements were abandoned in 1867 due to the conflict known as the Black Hawk War. But, when resettled in 1871, Richfield grew to become a regional center. The coming of the Denver and Rio Grande Railroad in 1871 opened the valley for expanded agricultural commerce and mining.

In 1939, Utah Governor Henry H. Blood vetoed a proposal for a junior college in Richfield. Fifty-seven years later, Snow College opened a Richfield campus, which serves about 600 students per year.

Religion

Like most settled areas of rural Utah, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints ("LDS" or "Mormons") plays a prominent role. "The Mormons were unbelievably industrious colonizers. From 1847, when they founded Salt Lake City, until 1877," they founded 360 towns. Following direction from Brigham Young, Latter-day Saints founded the town and outlying hamlets about 150 years ago, and members of the LDS Church remain the vast majority of residents.

A writer once said that the "[s]eparation of Church and State in [Salt Lake City] is about three blocks," referring to the distance from the Utah State Capitol to LDS Church headquarters. In Richfield, and virtually all other southern Utah towns where the Latter-day Saints make up over 80% of the populace, the separation can fairly be said to be somewhat less than that.

Yet even in this heart of Mormon Country, non-Mormons and non-participating Mormons, called "less-actives," fill a percentage of elective offices. However, largely due to Latter-day Saint influence, the city and the surrounding county are heavily Republican. In the 2006 elections no city or county office had a Democrat on the ballot in the whole of Sevier County.

The Richfield Area offers 20 major denominational churches: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, St. Elizabeth Catholic Church, First Baptist Church, Sister of Holy Cross, Jehovah's Witnesses, the Church of Scientology, Good Shepherd Lutheran Church, Assembly of God and others.

Geography and climate

Richfield is located at 38°45′57″N 112°5′15″W / 38.76583°N 112.0875°W / 38.76583; -112.0875 (38.765939, −112.087638).

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 5.3 square miles (13.7 km²), all of it land. Richfield is located 5,280 feet above sea level.

The Utah Department of Transportation divides Utah up into three whole Regions (Ogden, Salt Lake, Provo) and a fourth Region which is split up into three Districts. One of these Districts is named after Richfield. Richfield is served by major transportation access - situated along Interstate 70 and within 30 minutes of Interstate 15. Richfield is located 159 miles from Salt Lake City and 164 miles from St. George.

Richfield experiences four distinct seasons. Winter high temperatures average in the 30s and 40s with many milder days; low temperatures average in the teens and twenties, with a few mornings starting near or below zero. Snowfall is common, but usually melts in a day or two; however, deeper lasting snow cover is not uncommon. Still, December and January average among Richfield's drier months. Summer days are warm, with normal July highs in the 90s and occasional hot spells that near 100 degrees. Nighttime temperatures during the summer are comfortable—usually in the 50s or 60s. July through September, "monsoonal" thunderstorms frequently form over the nearby peaks contributing to over a third of the 8.12 inches (206.3mm) of annual rainfall. Because of its low humidity and mile-high altitude, the Sevier Valley experiences its average first frost by late September and its last in late May, despite the typically warm fall and spring days. Richfield's record high is 104°F (40°C), set on July 23, 1931, and the record low is -33°F (-36°C), set on February 6, 1989.

Average January temperatures are a maximum of 41.6°F and a minimum of 14.4°F. Average July temperatures are a maximum of 90.1°F and a minimum of 52.1F°. There are an average of 41.2 days with highs of 90°F (32°C) or higher and an average of 186.4 days with lows of 32°F (0°C) or higher.

The wettest year was 1936 with 13.00 inches and the dryest year was 1976 with 4.36 inches. The most rainfall in one month was 3.28 inches in July 1936. The most rainfall in 24 hours was 2.00 inches on March 24, 1899. There are an average of 64 days with measurable precipitation. Average snowfall is 19.6 inches. The snowiest year was 1948 with 52.0 inches. The most snow in one month was 30.0 inches in April 1912.

Demographics

Historical populations
Census Pop.
 %±
1870 4  
1880 1,197   29,825.0%
1890 1,531   27.9%
1900 1,908   24.6%
1910 2,602   36.4%
1920 3,303   26.9%
1930 3,067   −7.1%
1940 3,584   16.9%
1950 4,212   17.5%
1960 4,412   4.7%
1970 4,471   1.3%
1980 5,482   22.6%
1990 5,593   2.0%
2000 6,847   22.4%

As of the census of 2000, there were 6,847 people, 2,166 households, and 1,682 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,297.4 people per square mile (500.7/km²). There were 2,327 housing units at an average density of 440.9/sq mi (170.2/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 94.41% White, 0.39% African American, 3.29% Native American, 0.26% Asian, 0.07% Pacific Islander, 0.55% from other races, and 1.02% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 2.35% of the population.

There were 2,166 households out of which 44.0% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 66.2% were married couples living together, 8.9% had a female householder with no husband present, and 22.3% were non-families. 20.4% of all households were made up of individuals and 11.3% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.97 and the average family size was 3.45.

In the city the population was spread out with 35.4% under the age of 18, 10.8% from 18 to 24, 22.7% from 25 to 44, 17.0% from 45 to 64, and 14.1% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 29 years. For every 100 females there were 97.1 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 94.1 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $36,024, and the median income for a family was $40,284. Males had a median income of $33,000 versus $20,489 for females. The per capita income for the city was $14,320. About 7.0% of families and 9.3% of the population were below the poverty line, including 10.5% of those under age 18 and 9.4% of those age 65 or over.

The city has seen a steady increase in population in every Decennial Census since 1940, at which time it was reported to have 3,584 people residing in the city.

Education

Richfield is located in the Sevier School District. There are two elementary schools (Ashman and Pahvant), one middle school (Red Hills), one high school (Richfield), and one alternative high school (Cedar Ridge). There is also a satellite campus of Snow College.

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