Women's Month Feature: First Female Vineyard Mayor 03

Vineyard Mayor Julie Fullmer poses for a portrait Tuesday, March 6, 2018, at the Vineyard Public Safety Building. Isaac Hale, Daily Herald

As we welcome newcomers into Vineyard, we explore our heritage that tells a story about where we are going from where we have been.

Vineyard’s heritage stretches back in time when the land was solely home to Native Americans, southern Numic speakers (Utes and Shoshones) who called themselves “Nuche,” meaning “the people.”

We often think of ourselves as “the people” of Vineyard, but what does that mean, and when does that term become a part of us? When do we extend that term to others?

The Nuche lived in family clusters and bands along the lake and streams. Fish was eaten raw, dried and cooked. Sacks of dried fish were buried for storage and it’s estimated 30% of local Native diet was fish.

Vineyard’s human history begins with the Fremont Indians who lived here until about 1300 A.D. The Fremont people were possibly absorbed or relocated by the incoming Numic speakers, the Utes and Shoshones (Nuches), around 1000 A.D. In 1776, documentation of Utah Lake was recorded by Fray Francisco Dominguez and Fray Silvestre Velez de Escalante. The Spanish called the indigenous people “Yutahs.” By 1847, Utah Valley was being colonized, and for a time, the different groups of people were living together and living off the land. A religious migratory population that belonged to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints entered Utah Valley in 1849, and for a time, the different groups of people interacted together and lived off the land.

While some natives remained, most were displaced. Oral family history of some of the current pillar families that helped establish what Vineyard is today say that their grandfather, a member of the religious migratory population, founded their home in Vineyard, and lived outside of Fort Utah, dwelling among the indigenous people as an outsider to the settlement. Though the Nuche were removed, he and his family remained, and the land became full of a heritage of farming and settlement.

Over generations, these Vineyard families had built up a close-knit community and took part in cultivating the land when it was part of the Geneva Resort, where people came to dance, go boating, do water sports and vacation with their families.

In 2010 there were 139 people. Looking back in history, there were more than 20,000 native people in the area along the lake. Vineyard city today is populated with modern houses instead of bulrush homes.

Vineyard’s heritage is deep, it’s connected, it’s full of stories, it belonged to different peoples. This affection for Vineyard and stewardship has passed to our new residents. When you come to Vineyard, you feel it, and there is no turning back from wanting to be a part of making this place great, preserving its heritage and forging what’s to come — a coalescence of rich legacy and the innovations of a growing populous.

The people of Vineyard are descendants of the people who originated from this land, as well as those who settled this land, and those who have migrated newly to our city in only the last few weeks. While different, with different stories, in different houses, or parts of the city, with different reasons for living here, we all still belong to Vineyard.

Thirty years ago, the first mayor of Vineyard, J. Rulon Gammon said, “As we continue to enjoy the comforts of life in this quiet community, the age-old thought comes to mind that ‘we all drink from wells we did not drill, and we all cross bridges we did not build.’ May we cherish the sacrifices, the hard work, and the blood, sweat and tears of those hardworking families that have helped to provide what we enjoy here today.”

We are all experiencing change. Per capita, Vineyard is the fastest growing city in the nation today. For Vineyard, the census bureau’s records are already out of date from their recent count, as we’ve already grown another 5,000 people since that time.

Vineyard has four freeway accesses, a state highway, a FrontRunner station near completion in the heart of Vineyard’s downtown and is a two-minute drive from another FrontRunner station across the street from the south end of Vineyard. It has a planned light rail connection, bus routes and autonomous vehicles. Vineyard has bike paths in all of our streets and trails. These connected trail systems are planned from the south end of Vineyard through the entire city to the very north end of Vineyard. Planned infrastructure makes Vineyard the ideal place for these industries.

A year in Vineyard is so different. Entities and people looking to become a part of the community can not look at five- and 10-year plans, or even two, but must work from the pattern the city does to maintain change, and that’s day-to-day, month-to-month, year-to-year. So much of this has to do with our size and what we offer here.

We have big areas of land that are conservation areas, agriculture and open space. People are drawn here for affordability, business, recreation, our transit options, multimodal hub and access to the freeway, varying housing types and its natural beauty that we are preserving in our area. Utah Valley has always been a pull in the Great Basin area. Today, the roots of the past, and the forward steps of the Silicon Slopes pull people back to the area.

I’ve had the opportunity to live here since there were only 140 residents, and have been a part of welcoming in the 14,861 that moved in after me, and I can personally say our residents are second to none.

The people of Vineyard stay connected and we work day-in and day-out together as staff members, council, commissioners and residents to improve our community. People ask, how are we keeping up with the growth? It is in no small part due to these people and their hard work, innovative systems and planning, and those that came before us. Great things are continuing to happen in Vineyard as we work together. There is a Ute proverb that goes, “Don’t walk behind me; I may not lead. Don’t walk in front of me; I may not follow. Walk beside me that we may be as one.”

It’s not one idea, but many ideas that make us what we are today, and what we will be in the future.