The first Pioneer Day in Utah was held at Silver Lake at the top of Big Cottonwood Canyon in 1857.
William and Catherine Brighton homesteaded Brighton in 1879. They built a rustic hotel that hosted hundreds of visitors to enjoy the canyon scenery and cool summer days.
Timber to build Salt Lake homes and businesses was an important export from the canyon, as we silver ore during the mining boom of 1872-1892. The Cardiff Mine was the largest and last active mine in the canyon. It closed in 1961.