Welcome to our Town
As any rural community does, Manila struggles daily with the battle between growth demands and the desire to stay a quiet and small community. The History of Manila and Daggett County have dealt with this ever since construction of the Flaming Gorge Reservoir began. Prior to this time, the region was known more for its heritage in ranching, agriculture, mountain-man rendezvous’ and hideouts for renegades of the old west like Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. Recreation is now an important part of Manila’s future, as is the balance with preserving the regions immense heritage. This includes elements now used by recreationalist including vast geographical formations, the abundance of wildlife, and those precious star lined skies that people have been enjoying since even before Lewis and Clark made their expedition down the Green River, originally naming what we all now know as the Flaming Gorge Recreational Area.
History of our Town
The Town of Manila was settled in 1898, the same year Admiral Dewey captured Manila Philippines. So they named the town ‘Manila’ after this action, and later became the County Seat when Daggett County was formed in 1918. Today the “Lucerne Valley” is made up of different communities including the town of Manila, Utah and the Town of Washam, Wyoming.
The Town of Manila remains the significant link to future growth and development within the Lucerne Valley Region of Daggett County. Though many of its citizens and frequent travelers will hope that its size remains small, growth remain inevitable for this valley. Manila is positioned to gain the most from this growth and as a leader in the region has a responsibility to protect the history and heritage that made Manila and Lucerne Valley what they are today. Manila’s original homes were log cabins of only one or two rooms. Four numbered streets ran east and west. Each block was divided into ten lots, and domestic water hauled from the central tank. The town suffered growing pains from the influx of workers associated with the Flaming Gorge project. Sudden increases in population created problems in water, sewer and construction standards. Now spurred by recreational development, Manila’s growth continued in a separate direction from its roots as part of an agriculture and ranching community. Recreation would then bring in more trailer parks and even a movie theater called ‘The Flame’. Stores and cafes sprang up, and the Manila ward of the LDS Church built a new chapel.
In 1963 Manila became an incorporated town, and with their growth saw the need to construct a new water and sewer system. In 1965, the town organized a volunteer fire department. In 1978 the existing courthouse was moved brick by brick, making way for the newly dedicated Daggett County Courthouse. These improvements have built a base for the Manila we enjoy today. Manila and its leaders have worked very hard over the last few years to improve the experiences of both residents and visitors. Roads have been re-paved, a new sewer lagoon is in operation, the town has unified the valley’s water system and added new storage. The creation of a cell based landfill, improved volunteer fire department, and long range planning have also been implemented.
The Town of Manila welcomes challenges of the future in a controlled environment of smart growth practices that will allow for the desired amenities of its visitors while preserving the core elements that make this a wonderful community to live in.