You might have noticed the mature fruit trees dotting the hillside and older neighborhoods of our city. These rugged trees stand as monuments to a once-thriving fruit industry that existed in Pleasant View. As the years passed, the large orchards and gardens, one by one, yielded to the changing economy that eventually took them. At this time of the year, the pioneers of Pleasant View’s past would have spent nearly every hour of sunlight working to put away the food needed to survive the fast-approaching winter. Root cellars would have been stocked, bottles loaded and sealed, and meat carefully dried. Extra food, not needed for survival during the coming seasons, would be packed and traded or sold to the local store. Additionally, what could not be grown or made by hand could be purchased or traded there as well.
The first store in Pleasant View was located on the southeast corner of Pleasant View Drive and 1000 West. The original structure was built in 1878 by Willard Cragun, although the property was leased and managed by a local merchant named James Jensen. Besides selling the needed wares of the time, the store was used as a place of shipping and a makeshift post office with pigeonhole slots that worked like mailboxes for town residents. Mail was retrieved from the train depot at the Hot Springs and brought into town by William M. Wade, June Wade, and Ephraim L. Jensen. For this and other reasons, the store was called the Jensen-Wade Store. In 1893, the store caught fire and was completely destroyed along with $1800 worth of merchandise. While a new brick store was being built in its place, the front room of Susan Mower Cragun’s home, located at 1049 W. Pleasant View Dr., served as a temporary location for locals to buy goods and collect their mail.
After the fire, James Jensen did not return to the store. Instead, Willard Cragun traded the spot on the corner to his brothers, Wilson and Wiley Cragun. The pair opened a new business they named Cragun Brothers.
Cragun Brothers saw an opportunity with the hillside farms located so close to the Oregon Short Line Railroad. The brothers began shipping local fruits, vegetables, and grain from the area to surrounding states and even as far as the Eastern U.S. Whether they knew it or not, consumers around the nation were buying and eating Northern Utah produce. Eventually, the business grew and the brothers relocated in Ogden at 347 E. 23rd St., which today is the current location of the Megaplex Theater at the Junction. From that location, the business prospered to become one of the largest fruit shippers in the West, shipping hundreds of thousands of pounds of produce each year.
The old Cragun Brothers store stood on the corner of Pleasant View Drive and 1000 W. for nearly forty years. With each passing year, it became more and more of a landmark in the town, and 1000 West even came to be known as Cragun Store Lane. Eventually, by the early 1930s, the store had seen its day and was torn down. The property was later purchased by the Bailey family. Elmer K. Bailey and his wife Melba cleaned and used the brick and lumber from the store to build their first home at 999 W. Pleasant View Drive. Elmer went on to build many more houses in the area, and his posterity has followed in his footsteps.
Once a hillside covered in orchards, Pleasant View is now a hillside covered in beautiful homes. A change has occurred, but just as time brings new elements to the landscape, with change comes new friendships and stories to be shared.