The Beaver Utah Stake, originally organized in 1869 as the seventh stake in Utah, was the oldest stake in the Church that had never been divided until Jan. 31. On that date, Elder Dennis B. Neuenschwander of the Seventy and president of the Utah South Area created a second stake, the Milford Utah Stake.
This was not merely the oldest, undivided stake in the Church, said Beaver Utah Stake President B. Noal Robinson who was released during the re-organization, "but truly one of the finest stakes in the Church."
Some 1,700 members gathered in the stake center to participate in the dividing of the stake that was originally created by then-Elder George Albert Smith on March 12, 1869, 131 years ago.
In most respects, the communities comprising the 12 wards of the former Beaver stake are like many other communities, adapting to changes and adding modern updates as they have come along.
But in other respects, members living in this southwestern county comprising the Beaver stake live a similar agricultural lifestyle as their ancestors.
"Most are involved in farming or ranching," said President Robinson. "It's as fine a place as anywhere on earth. There are none finer than the faithful, hardworking, honest members of this stake who love and serve their neighbors and live unpretentious lives."
The Beaver stake was divided as a result of gradual growth during the past nine years, said President Robinson, who is a lifetime resident of Beaver.
In recent years, the area has grown as the result of the expansion of industry and, as the result of retirees moving to the area.
The city of Beaver played an important, and sometimes colorful, role in the early days of the Church. As a crossroads between mines in the county, as well as the midway point between Salt Lake City and St. George, Beaver became something of a commercial center with a thriving co-op store and woolen mills in the latter 1800s.
The Church flourished during these early years requiring the construction of a log cabin in 1856, and later, a tabernacle in 1868 that became the largest building in the area and a place for civic as well as religious gatherings.
The Beaver Utah Stake now includes the six wards in the city of Beaver and the ward in Greenville. The new Milford Utah Stake, the 2,543rd stake organized in the Church, includes three wards in Milford and two in Minersville.