In 1911, the Jewish Agricultural and Colonial Association of Philadelphia purchased 6,085 acres of land and water rights from the Utah State Land board for the agricultural experiment that they would name Clarion. Members of the association tasked with selecting a site for the future colony reported to their friends and neighbors in Philadelphia, Baltimore, and New York city that the soil was fertile, that a new source of irrigation, the state-built Piute Canal, would soon be completed, and that in all respects this site would meet the needs and aspirations of the would-be farmers.
Clarion was to be settled in phases, beginning with the arrival of twelve men who would work collectively to prepare the land for planting and irrigation. Thereafter, the land would be divided into family farmsteads with equipment shared by the settlers. Families would arrive 50 at a time, from year to year, until all of the Association members had been relocated from the East.
Unfortunately, the Clarion settlers found that life in arid Utah was quite different from the promises made by their back -to the-soil leaders and Utah state officials. The soil proved to be very poor and only productive with extensive irrigation. While the success of the colony depended on a reliable supply of water for both irrigation and domestic needs,
construction of the Piute
Canal, intended to be completed before the arrival of the colonists in 1911, was not even finished until 1918, two years after the demise of Clarion. The limited water that was available was insufficient to meet the needs of the colony and the requirements of the land itself to become fully productive.