Adapted from: Holzapfel, Richard Neitzel. A history of Utah County. Salt Lake City: Utah State Historical Society, 1999; “Historical Events.” https://www.fairfieldtown.org/copy-of-history. Accessed April 30, 2020; “The Tiny Town in Utah Where Time Stands Still.” https://www.onlyinyourstate.com/utah/fairfield-ut/. Accessed April 30, 2020.
Unlike many of the towns in Utah county, Fairfield has not bloomed from small town to huge city in recent years. However, the town’s small population of around 150 belies its colorful history. The town started like many other towns in Utah. It was settled in 1855 by a few Latter-day Saints. It was named for its fair view (fair), and after Amos Fielding, one of the settlers (field).
The town was turned upside down with the arrival of Johnson’s army in 1858. Johnson established Camp Floyd across the river from Fairfield. The population of Fairfield skyrocketed, reaching about ten thousand residents that matched the less reputable images of the wild west, including cattle rustlers, gamblers, and prostitutes. Both the Latter-day Saints and the officers found the town problematic. The Latter-day Saints residents of Utah county referred to the town as the Sodom and Gomorrah of the Great Basin, and even the soldiers felt it was necessary to carry a weapon there to feel safe.
When the Civil War broke out, the army packed up and left, and the boom town of Fairfield quickly evaporated. Fairfield has since remained a small town, with its population dipping from 279 in 1910 to 99 in 1950, and back to about 150 today. The town today embraces its history, holding an annual Civil War encampment reenactment and special tours in its old school house.