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About Piute County

In 1868 gold was discovered near Marysvale which brought in a rush of prospectors who settled mining camps including Bullion, Webster, and Alunite. 240,000 ounces of gold came out of Piute County between 1868 and 1959, most of it from lode mines in the Tusar Mountains. Marysvale is the only town remaining today from the mining era.

Piute County was organized on April 21, 1869, and is one of the smallest in Utah in both population and in area. In the year 2000 the population was 1,435, and has dropped to an estimated 1,365 as of 2005. It was named after the Piute Indians. The original county seat was Bullion, but it was moved to Junction, where a historic courthouse was built in 1902.

The Sevier River is the most significant geographic feature of Piute County. It flows into the county from the south through Circleville Canyon, and past the towns of Circleville, Kingston, Junction and Marysvale, exiting the county to the north through Marysvale Canyon. Fed by snows in the mountains of southern Utah, it is a major source of irrigation water. Two major valleys are found in Piute County, the one along the Sevier River, and the other further east, called Otter Creek Valley (or Grass Valley). Otter Creek joins the East Fork of the Sevier River, which then joins the Sevier River near Kingston. Circle Valley is part of the Sevier River Valley, being the largest and flattest area in the county, and so named, no doubt, because of its shape.

The Piute County Courthouse was placed on the national register of historic places in 1975. In a new county courthouse was built and the old one is preserved today as a bed and breakfast.

Piute County was originally settled by Mormon Pioneers in 1864, but the settlement was abandoned due to conflicts with Indians. As mining declined in importance, Mormon settlers became the stable influence in the county, settlings all the towns that exist today other than Marysvale.

Mountains cover most of Piute County. The Tushar Mountains line the western boundary, reaching as high as 12,173 feet at Delano Peak. East of the Sevier River Marysvale Peak reaches to 10,940. The town of Junction itself is 6,000 feet, and the lowest point in the county is where the Sevier River leaves, being just under 5,800 feet. Alpine forest, meadows and lakes are found in the mountains. U.S. Highway 89 roughly follows the Sevier River, while State Highway 62 crosses over to Otter Creek Valley. State Highway 153 starts at Junction and crosses the Tushar Mountains, reaching Beaver further west. Piute County includes 1,983 square miles.

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