Orderville was established at the direction of LDS Church president Brigham Young in 1875 specifically to live United Order, a voluntary form of communalism defined by Joseph Smith. Orderville was settled primarily by destitute refugees from failed settlements on the Muddy River in Nevada. The extreme poverty of these settlers likely contributed significantly to their devotion to the principles of the United Order.
Although the United Order was practiced in many Utah communities during the late 1870s, Orderville was unique in both the level of success it experienced under the communal living style, and in the duration of the experiment. In the course of a few years, Orderville grew into a thriving, self-sufficient community. The success and relative wealth of the community attracted more settlers and Orderville grew to about 700 people. Orderville not only provided for the needs of its population, but produced a significant surplus for sale to other communities, which was used to purchase additional land and equipment.
The Order continued in Orderville for approximately 10 years. During the early 1880s, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints lost interest in the experiment, but Orderville attempted to continue it. In 1885, the enforcement of the Edmunds Anti-Polygamy Act of 1882 effectively ended the Order by jailing many of the Order's leaders and driving many of the others underground.