Discover One of the Oldest Towns in Utah

Written by Justin Zipprich
Updated: November 9, 2023
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Key Points

  • Fillmore is the oldest town in Utah, dating back to 1851 when it was settled by covered wagons.
  • The town was named after President Millard Fillmore and served as the capital of the Utah Territory from 1851-1856.
  • Fillmore is located in central Utah, surrounded by the Pahvant Mountain Range.
  • The town is home to a diverse range of wildlife, including amphibians, fish, birds, mammals, reptiles, and various plant species.
  • Visitors to Fillmore can enjoy its rich history and explore attractions like the Territorial Statehouse State Park Museum.

Though Utah was one of the last states to be added to the union, it’s still quite old, dating back to 1896. A state that started over 100 years ago is bound to have many ancient towns, and today, we’ll talk about one of the oldest towns in Utah: Fillmore. Let’s learn about one of the oldest cities in Utah, including the people who call the area home, and the animals you could see during a visit.

The History of One of the Oldest Towns in Utah

Though there were other settlements in Utah dating back to 1846, such as Fort Buenaventura, today, we’re talking about one of the oldest towns in Utah, which is Fillmore. Before it became a state, the Territorial Legislature of Utah and the governor of that time, Brigham Young, passed a resolution on October 5, 1851. It provided for the settlement and organization of Millard County, and the seat of government in the country was to be called Fillmore City. There was some drama when the Native Americans of that time believed they owned the land, but Young was able to negotiate peace and a land agreement. The town is named after the president of that time, Millard Fillmore. 

The town of Fillmore is located in central Utah in the Pahvant Valley at the base of the Pahvant Mountain Range.

In that same month, two companies of covered wagons went out to begin the settlement. It only took 15 days for them to create the first-ever building, a school that they constructed out of cottonwood logs. One of the main colonizers of the town was Anson Call, who settled much of Fillmore. They soon built other buildings, including a grist mill and sawmill. 

Since Fillmore was meant to be the seat of the government, the colonizers started construction on the statehouse. However, all they were able to complete was one wing. Although it wasn’t finished, it was still used for legislative sessions during 1855 and 1856. In total, Fillmore was the capital of the Utah Territory from 1851-1856. After that, the capital of Utah was moved to Salt Lake City. That original wing of the statehouse still sits as the oldest government building in the state. Today, that wing has become the Territorial Statehouse State Park Museum, where visitors can learn about the state’s past.


There were 304 people in the town of Fillmore when it was getting started in the early 1850s. By 1930, there were 1374 residents. As of the 2000 census, the town had grown to 2,253 people in 732 households. In 2020, the town had increased a bit more to 2,592. The median age at this time is 36.1 years old, and the median household income is close to $72,000 per year.

Where Is Fillmore Located on a Map?

The town of Fillmore is located in central Utah in the Pahvant Valley at the base of the Pahvant Mountain Range. It’s about 162 miles north of St. George and 148 miles south of Salt Lake City. The city is located 5,135 feet above sea level. The city is made up of about 5.8 square miles, which is all land.

Wildlife You’ll Find in Fillmore

Black Bear by the river fishing

Fillmore is home to many amazing animal species, including black bears!

©Mark Caunt/

The town of Fillmore and the greater Millard County area is a hotbed of activity for many different animal and mammal species. 


Fillmore is home to many salamander, toad, and frog species, including the great basin spadefoot, Woodhouse’s tool, the American bullfrog, and the northern leopard frog.


If you go near the streams and rivers in Millard County, you’ll see many fish species, including the common Molly, European carp, rainbow trout, catfish, mottled sculpins, and more.


There is a wide variety of bird species in Fillmore with everything from the common rock pigeon and snow goose to the great horned owl, white-crowned sparrow, and wild turkeys.


Travel around Millard County, and you can come across many varieties of bats, squirrels, and mice. There are also many more exotic animals around Fillmore, such as the American bison, bobcats, mountain lions, and black bears.


There are many different reptiles in Fillmore, including many snake varieties, including the gopher snake, North American racer, striped whipsnake, and the Arizona mountain kingsnake. Many lizards also call Millard County home, with the plateau fence, long-nosed leopards, and short-horned lizards taking up residence.


Finally, walk through the forests and woodland areas in Millard County, and you’ll come across many exciting plant species, including Gooseberry Leaf Globemallow, green ephedra, cushion buckwheat, sagebrush cholla, and more.

Things to do in Fillmore 

A visit to Fillmore offers a lot of history and some great entertainment. Consider some of these hotspots during your next visit:

  • Cave Fort – It’s a fort from 1867, where your whole family can learn a lot about the area.
  • Hermit’s Cabin – A famous cabin built by a veteran of World War I.
  • Little Sahara Recreation Area – Visitors who love driving all-terrain vehicles can stop by this park to ride the hills.
  • Meadow Hot Springs – You can soak in one of three heated pools that hover around 100 degrees. Don’t forget to bring your swimsuit.
  • Pahvant Mountain Range – Take a hike up the mountain and take in the picturesque views.
  • Iceberg Drive-In – Utah’s famous chain restaurant with the best shakes, burgers, and fries.

When you decide to visit Fillmore, pack for the weather. It’s hot during the summer, with temperatures in the mid-90’s to 100s. Winters are very cold. The temps are usually around the 20s and 30s.


We hope you enjoyed this history lesson on Fillmore, one of the oldest towns in Utah. This great city laid much of the foundation for the state. It continues to be an interesting area to this day. Consider a visit!

The photo featured at the top of this post is © Jeremy Christensen/

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About the Author

Justin Zipprich is a writer at A-Z Animals, where his primary focus is travel, state facts, pets, and mammals. Justin has been writing and editing animal content for over 7 years, though he holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Instructional Technology from Western Illinois University, which he earned in 2005. As a resident of Texas, he loves discovering local animals and spending time with his wife and two kids.

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