Located in the southern end of Salt Lake Valley, the first people to live in the area that is now Riverton settled in the mid-1850s. These early settlers lived in a widely scattered condition along the river bottom in crude dugout homes. Although the early accounts disagree, Archibald Gardner may have been the first to live on Riverton land. The town was originally referred to as “Gardnerville” prior to changing its name to Riverton. Riverton's initial growth was slow because of the lack of water for irrigation. When more water became available, the town began to grow. Eventually three canals were built to extend water from the nearby Jordan River to the benchland areas, providing irrigation for agricultural uses to the larger area.
By the beginning of World War I in 1914, with its additional irrigation water and influx of people, Riverton prospered as an agricultural community. Its thriving business district was also evident at this time.
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