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Salt Lake City History

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Salt Lake City History Information

The oldest inhabitants of the Salt Lake Valley ere prehistoric Indians. The Northern Shoshone and the Ute Indians also came into the area for hunting, fishing and gathering of food. White men did not come here until at least 1524-1525 when William H. Ashley and his trappers arrived.

More modern history began in 1847 when the first Mormon pioneers arrived via Emigration Canyon. The train included all men with the exception of three women. An advance company planted the first crops on July 23rd so be assured of food in the coming Spring. Under the direction of President Brigham Young, the area was explored and surveyed. Cabins were built as well as a fort for safety. The first school was opened in October of 1847 by Mary Jane Dilworth, a 17 years old woman who used a tent as her schoolroom. Trials and tribulations were the norm for the hardy pioneers with the most prominent events being the invasion of the crop-eating crickets and the settlers eventual salvation in the form of the seagulls from the Great Salt Lake.

Wheeler Historic Farm

Today Wheeler Historic Farm is a representation of 20th century farming. The purpose of the farm is to provide demonstrations of the past for the present generation. The farm no longer is a large-scale producer of crops, milk, and ice, but produces on a small scale to provide examples of what farming was like in the early 1900’s. Throughout the farm one will encounter small gardens, a pumpkin patch (that provides pumpkins for the Scarecrow Masquerade), a corn patch, and orchards.

Wheeler Historic Farm is also an educational facility. Granite School District is home of the Agriculture class that is held at Wheeler Historic Farm. High School students enrolled in this course use the farm as their classroom to learn modern farming techniques.

Utah Museum of Natural History

The Utah Museum of Natural History illuminates the natural world and the place of humans within it. As Utah's state museum of natural history at the University of Utah, they:

    Foster an understanding of science as a journey of discovery and wonder.
    Promote the preservation of biological and cultural diversity.
    Preserve collections in trust for future generations.
    Encourage new perspectives on and inspire passion for the natural world.
    Celebrate Utah's native peoples and cultures.
    Showcase Utah's unique and extraordinary environments.
    Create knowledge through innovative research.
    Demonstrate the myriad links connecting the past, present and future.
    Transcend scientific disciplines to reveal the networks inherent in nature.
    Serve as a center for science literacy, acting as a bridge between the scientific community and the public.
    Empower people to make thoughtful decisions about the future.

Utah History Timeline

  • 1896
    Utah becomes the 45th state on January 4 and Heber M. Wells is inaugurated as the first governor.
  • 1906
    Open pit copper mining starts in Bingham Canyon.
  • 1909
    Discovery of Rainbow Bridge.
  • 1911
    Strawberry Reservoir is completed.
  • 1914
    Auto racing begins on the Bonneville Salts Flats near the Great Salt Lake.
  • 1915
    State Capitol is completed.
  • 1919
    Zion National Park is created.
    First Salt Lake Chapter of the NAACP founded.
  • 1928
    Bryce Canyon National Park is established.
  • 1942-1945
    Topaz (Japanese-American Relocation Camp) operates near Delta.
  • 1943
    Geneva steel plant begins operation in Utah County.
  • 1952
    Six-mile Duchesne Tunnel is completed for irrigation.
  • 1953
    Ansel Adams creates a photo essay on the Mormons in Utah for Life Magazine.
  • 1956
    Congress creates Colorado River Storage Project.
  • 1957
    Utah Division of Thiokol is opened on October 17; it is later called Wasatch Division.
  • 1958
    Glen Canyon National Recreation Area recognized.
  • 1963
    Flaming Gorge Recreation Area recognized (is turned over to the U.S. Forest Service in 1968).
  • 1964
    Flaming Gorge Dam on the Green River is dedicated. Arizona's Glen Canyon Dam creates Lake Powell the nation's second largest artificial lake.
  • 1965
    Canyonlands National Park is opened.
    Golden Spike National Historical Site recognized.
  • 1971
    Capitol Reef National Monument gains National Park status.
  • 1977
    Utah firing squad makes Gary Gilmore first person executed in the United States for almost ten years.
  • 1978
    Arches National Monument gains National Park status.
  • 1979
    New Orleans Jazz move to Salt Lake City and become the Utah Jazz.
  • 1981
    In H.L. vs. Matheson, the U.S. Supreme Court approves a Utah parental notification law in regard to abortion. The law requires an abortionist to notify the parents of a minor girl who is still living at home as her parent's dependent when an abortion is scheduled.
  • 1982
    Barney Clark receives the first permanent artificial heart at the University of Utah and it functions for 112 days.
    Jon M. Huntsman forms Huntsman Chemical Corporation in Salt Lake City.
  • 1984
    Record snowfall causes spring flooding and State Street becomes a river for weeks while the Great Salt Lake overflows its shores, destroying crops and covering roads and highways.
  • 1985
    Jake Garn, is first U.S. Senator to fly in space.
  • 1990
    The population of Salt Lake City is 159,936.
  • 1995
    Salt Lake City is announced as the site for the 2002 Winter Olympics.
  • 1996
    Overcrowded highways along the Wasatch Front force the governor and Legislature to address raising taxes to pay for rebuilding of I-15 in northern Utah in time for the 2002 Winter Olympics.
    Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument is created by President Clinton.
    Utah celebrates its 100's birthday of Statehood. The year is filled with parades, balls, county histories and other activities to celebrate Utah´s entrance into the Union.
  • 1997
    Utah celebrates its Sesquicentennial anniversary (150 year) since the Mormon pioneers entered the Salt Lake Valley. This event included a variety of local activities plus the reenactment of the pioneer wagon trail from Winter Quarters to the Salt Lake Valley.
    The $1.325 billion bid is awarded to Wasatch Constructions to reconstruct 17 miles of I-15, the main corridor around Salt Lake City.
    10,500 seat E Center opens as the home of the Utah Grizzlies.
  • 1998
    Sen. Bob Bennett, R-Utah is named chairmen of the new Senate Select Committee on the Year 2000 Technology Problem.
  • 1999
    On August 11 a tornado ripped through downtown Salt Lake City doing over $100 million of dollars in damage.
  • 2002
    In February the Winter Olympics takes place in Utah venues.

Utah State Historical Society