The History of 2nd Street
Chief Little Soldier Way
The Oldest Neighborhood in Ogden
"Second Street west of Five Points is often associated with the Business Depot Ogden. All the concrete and cars hardly reflect 2nd Street's pioneer history, but amidst the clamor of commerce, a corner of pioneer and Native American history is still intact." There are twenty-one old house enthusiasts here, some with large properties that are still irrigated with the pioneer ditches of Bingham Fort. The largest property is a 40-acre farm established in 1850 in an area of Native American encampments.
1850 Bingham/Stone Farm on West 2nd Street.; Century Farm; NW Band Of Shoshone Nation Camping Grounds; Conservation Easement with State of Utah; National Register of Historic Places.
For thousands of years, Native Americans camped in the area of 2nd Street from Wall Avenue to 1200 West. Stone's Pond that never froze, many springs, and meandering branches of Mill Creek made the area an ideal wintering location. Native American families lived in the area in peace and in a delicate balance with their earth Mother; the very provider of their livelihood. Shoshone Chief Terikee and Chief Little Soldier set a tone of friendliness towards the first white settlers in Weber County but also demanded compensation for the intrusion on their land. In 1849 and 1850 a few Mormon families arrived on today's 2nd Street west of Five Points, settling in an area that was a popular Native American camping ground. The settlers were also attracted to the available water, but in time their farms and herds destroyed the grasses and plants that the Shoshone gathered.
In 1850, there was an accidental shooting of peaceful Chief Terikee two miles north of 2nd Street. The Shoshone reacted by killing a mill worker, stealing five horses, and fleeing. It was a sad affair, and it took some time to restore good feelings on both sides. After that Mormon President Brigham Young sent more settlers from Salt Lake City to Weber County to secure the settlement. With a large wave of new settlers, surveyors laid out the land north of the Ogden River, extending to today's North Ogden, calling it "the Farming Lands"; the survey was six miles square. 2nd Street was officially laid out at this time and was first known as Bingham's Lane and later as Bingham Fort Lane; the number of settlers on 2nd Street west of Five Points increased year by year. The Shoshone camped in the same places every year and resented the white intrusion; the whites acknowledged that they were interlopers; both groups strove for mutual respect.
In July 1853, due to Indian and settler fighting in central Utah, Brigham Young ordered the people in the Weber settlements to “fort up” for security. Erastus Bingham supervised the gathering of settlers from the areas of today's Harrisville, Slaterville and Marriott to West 2nd Street where they laid out a fort 80 rods square, an area of 40 acres. In a year the population of the fort was so large that another 20 acres were added to the east. The fort straddled W 2nd Street and extended approximately from today's Wall Avenue to Century Drive. Each family that came to the fort was assigned to build a certain portion of the walls; some completed their assignment and some didn’t, a sign that the natives and settlers were not in violent conflict here. In fact the Shoshone often camped in the open space in the center of the fort. It was called Bingham Fort.
In the winter of 1854-55, the Shoshone were destitute for food. Instead of begging, they gave up their guns and moved into the fort full time to work with the settlers and to earn their food (See Chief Little Soldier for details). All over the Utah Territory, new settlers and emigrant trails had destroyed the plants, grasses and animals that the Shoshone gathered for food, and everywhere the Shoshone were in danger of starving.
In time Bingham Fort became more of a town than a fort with two schools and three mercantile stores. In December 1854, the population of the fort was 562 people, the largest fort among the twenty-one forts on the Wasatch Front. Wilford Woodruff came from Salt Lake City and spoke at the fort schoolhouse and reported the population of the area to be 750.
Knowing that Brigham Young was coming to visit in June 1855, Isaac Newton Goodale and his crew worked for the first twenty days of June to complete the east gates of the fort, and on June 20th they "raised the gates" completing the fort structure. On June 24, 1855, Brigham Young held a conference and advised Bingham Fort residents to abandon this fort that was becoming a town and move to Ogden to help build a city at that location. He stated that if the Bingham settlement continued to grow as fast as it had done, it would soon be a large city, and it was his plan to build Ogden first.
Bingham Fort slowly disbanded in 1856; the mercantile stores left and a farming village remained with a school house and a molasses mill. In a few years a post office, a saw mill, an adobe mill, a brick mill and a photo gallery were established in the village.
In 1864 the 2nd Street community boundaries were enlarged and organized as the Lynne Precinct, extending from the mountains westward to 1200 West, and north/south from North Street to 7th Street, with 2nd Street as the heart of the community. There were 20 to 25 cabins on 2nd Street from today's Wall Ave. to 1200 W., a distance of 1 ½ miles. Between the pioneer cabins were Native American encampments. The Native Americans spent the winter here always camping in the same locations. Of course there were huge cultural differences, but here in the 1850s and 1860s the relationship between the settlers and natives was mostly positive. It was a time when the white men acknowledged that the land first belonged the Native Americans. It was the Mormon way to foster brotherhood, encourage Native Americans to farm and to share their crops with them. The Shoshone shared meat, native berries and medicines for healing. Both settlers and Shoshone became sort of bilingual and there was a pleasant mixing of their distinctive cultures.
In the early 1860s, standing on 2nd Street, fascinated settlers could peer into Native American encampments, and on certain days, see the natives as they drilled their young men and warriors. The braves would paint their faces with different colored clays, put on their war attire, race their ponies in different maneuvers, ride bare back, shoot their bows and arrows at different targets, and yell their war cries.
Also in the early 1860s, fascinated young braves liked to come to the school house and watch the white settlers at their weekly dances that lasted until 4 am. The Waltz, Turkey in the Straw, the Virginia Reel and even the Minuet were popular. Sometimes the braves tried to dance with each other or with a white boy but never with the white girls. However, there was one exception. A young fiddler, Art Stone, taught one of the braves how to dance, and he came with Art to the dances handsomely dressed in white doe-skin, heavily embroidered and fringed. The white girls liked to dance with him as he could dance as many fancy steps as any of the white boys. Art Stone's 1863 rubble-rock house still stands at 159 W. 2nd Street rear, the oldest house in Ogden.
The Oldest House in Ogden, 159 West 2nd Street rear., built in 1863. Shoshone natives visited here. Ogden Register of Historic Places.
In the Territory as the white settlement increased, it became harder to preserve Shoshone camping and hunting areas. In 1869 the transcontinental railroad arrived in Ogden and even crossed West 2nd Street and ran by Stone's Pond. The expansive railroad rapidly increased commerce, industry, and the white population, pushing the Native Americans off their land by the mid-1870s.
On 2nd Street in the 1880s an influx of Italian immigrants began settling in the old fort. In 1889 Ogden City annexed Lynne Precinct and the area was now called Five Points. The Gentile Mayor Kiesel wanted to “Americanize” Ogden to prepare for statehood, and he renamed streets in 1889, changing the name of Bingham Fort Lane to 2nd Street. In the 1890s Five Points grew so rapidly that some thought it would become the largest business district of Ogden. On January 4, 1896, Utah became the 45th state in the United States of America.
By the late 1890s there were many Italian families on 2nd Street, particularly in the confines of old Bingham Fort; the fort became a gathering place again for a group of poor immigrants, not unlike the immigrants that gathered in Bingham Fort forty years earlier. At this time 2nd Street west of Five Points was dubbed “Little Italy”.
Little Italy/Pioneer Era house at 152 W 2 nd St.
Little Italy house at 136 W. 2 nd St; Ogden Register of Historic Places.
Most of the Italians were farmers, living side by side with the Mormon farmers that were already there, forming a vibrant community that shared horses, planting and harvest work. The Golden Age of the family farm extended from about 1906 to 1940. In the 1940s wartime demand gave way to surpluses and prices fell. Approximately 1,139 acres of land was taken from the 2nd Street farming community for the Defense Depot Ogden and many farmers on 2nd Street were forced to leave.
Journals, family histories, and the History of the Lynne Ward provide information on the Bingham Fort era, the Little Italy Era and the Golden Age of the Family Farm. In 2022, the forty-acre 1851 Bingham/Stone Farm where the Shoshone camped is still here in a conservation easement with the State of Utah. Houses that the Shoshone entered in friendship still stand on 2nd Street; some of these houses date to the 1860s. The farm and houses and the former Shoshone presence make 2nd Street "the Oldest Neighborhood in Ogden".
In 2021, the Bicentennial of Little Soldier's birth, Ogden City Council approved an honorary road name for West 2nd Street: Chief Little Soldier Way, to honor the last chief of the Weber Northwestern Shoshone and to acknowledge West 2nd Street and surrounding area as Native American camping grounds.
Honorary road name Chief Little Soldier Way extends for four blocks on West 2nd Street where Bingham Fort once stood and where the Shoshone lived for the winter of 1853-54 with the white settlers.
Meet the Shoshone: Katie Nelson of Weber County Heritage Foundation holds a microphone for Rios Pacheco giving a blessing in the Shoshone language on the celebration August 7, 2021 on the Bingham/Stone Farm on W. 2nd Street. Rios is an elder and a board member of the Northwestern Band of the Shoshone Nation.