Daniel Buckley FunkDANIEL BUCKLEY FUNK WAS AN INDUSTRIOUS AND INNOVATIVE CITIZEN of early Sanpete. He owned a mill, ran a farm, made shoes and drums from animal hides, and served in the military. Daniel had an entrepreneurial spirit. Throughout his life, he ventured into several avenues of business, but his attempt to build a man-made lake in a bone-dry valley would prove to be Daniel’s most successful and innovative endeavor.

Bringham Young University Lee Library L. Tom Perry Specials Collections; MSS P 1

Daniel homesteaded a piece of land six miles south of Manti. The bowl-shaped property was dry and barren, but Daniel saw an opportunity to create a piece of lakefront property. He built a levy at the south end of the property and surveyed the area for water. The townspeople and Native Americans thought Daniel was foolish because no springs bubbled from the parched earth, and the nearest creek was far below Daniel’s property line, which meant Daniel would have to make water run uphill in order to fill the valley.

Unafraid of the challenge, Daniel knew that the creek that ran below his valley originated from a spring at a higher elevation, and he engineered a way to capture the water. By 1873 water poured into Daniel’s property, and his lake began to take shape. The lake took two years to fill and grew to cover 75 acres.

Daniel called the lake Eagle Park. He planted 65,000 trees near the lake and stocked the water with fish. He built a bowery, a private beach with dressing rooms, dance pavilions, and rowboats in order to create the pleasure resort he had envisioned. When the preparations were complete, he invited the surrounding communities to come and enjoy the recreational area, now known as Palisades Park.

Photo courtesty of Society Daughter of Utah Pioneers