unique-way-captionIN THE 1840S SETTLERS IN THE WEST were typically separated by miles of open fields, leaving individuals and families isolated and unprotected. The pioneers, however, did not follow this settlement pattern when they gathered together in Utah.

Rather than dividing the land into a conglomerate of farms, the pioneers established communities. Ideally, the communities were laid out in a grid of 10 – 1 acre blocks. Each member of the community received one or one half-acre plot on which they built a home and kept a garden. At the center of the community, the pioneers built schools, churches, and commercial buildings. All farming was done on greenbelts located outside the town. This meant that farmers had to travel a few miles to care for their animals and tend to their fields.

Though not ever fully implemented, this unique settlement pattern (often referred to as the “Plat of Zion”) allowed for greater cooperation among the pioneers and provided access to what Joseph Smith identified as the “benefits of society.”