Cedar Hills is built upon an alluvial fan, or bench, created thousands of years ago when it was a shoreline of Lake Bonneville. Early settlers referred to the area as “the Bench.” Because of the growth of cedar trees (later becoming Manila’s source of Christmas trees), the area was later referred to as Cedar Hills. The bench provides a beautiful view of the surrounding mountains, Utah Lake, and Utah Valley. Cedar Hills was established as a community in 1977. The surrounding cities such as Pleasant Grove and Alpine were settled in 1849 and 1850.
Various forms of wildlife flourished in the area. Coyotes prowled along the bench. Wild cats, red foxes, bears, deer, skunks, and rabbits also lived in the area. Some deer, skunks, and rabbits can still be seen around Cedar Hills.
The dry bench upon which Cedar Hills is located provided little attraction to Native Americans. They preferred camping near streams, such as in American Fork Canyon. Several Native American artifacts were found upon the bench, however, including an Indian bowl (found by Paul Adams and currently on display at a Brigham Young University museum) and numerous arrowheads. The arrowheads were probably dropped during skirmishes between the Utah Valley Indians and the Shoshones.
Between 1849 and 1850, early settlers began to make their homes in settlements around Cedar Hills. A large portion of Cedar Hills was used for dry farming, which proved to be unsuccessful. A few planted plots existed among the sage brush. Much of the area was used to pasture livestock. Other forms of livelihood among early settlers of Cedar Hills included trapping and turkey farming.
The bench became a turkey ranch. The David Evans Company Advertising Agency, advertiser for the National Turkey Federation, would take pictures of the Adams turkey ranch because of its impressive background. In 1939, the National Poultry Congress in Cleveland, Ohio, displayed photographs of turkeys raised on the beautiful bench upon which Cedar Hills is now located. And, as NBC ran a news story about turkey farming on the bench, the photographer was taken back by the beauty of the bench and continued to say, “beautiful, beautiful.” In 1962, the Saturday Evening Post also ran stories about turkeys living upon the bench.