Smithfield was settled on the banks of Summit Creek in October, 1859 by Seth Langton and Robert and John Thornley. The wide green grassland of Cache Valley spreads miles to the west, south and north, while the rocky, forested Wasatch Mountains rise thousands of feet above the valley to the east. Being a Mormon settlement, John Glover Smith was called to be the Mormon bishop and the settlement was named after him.
The streets of Smithfield are laid out on a north-south, east-west grid with wide streets, as is typical of Mormon settlements. The trees in the city make it distinguishable from the surrounding farmland at a distance. Being close to Logan, urbanization is affecting the city, and businesses are cropping up along the highway between the two cities.
Today (as of 2010) the population of Smithfield is 9,495. U. S. Highway 91 passes through the city on Main Street, heading south to Logan and north to Preston, Idaho. Utah Highway 218 crosses Cache Valley westward from Smithfield, accessing the rich farmland, and crossing the Bear River in the middle of the valley.