An important hub for industry and commerce within the area.

History of West Valley City

Independent municipality

West Valley City, a suburb of Salt Lake City and the second largest city in Utah, is situated along the Wasatch Front. First settled in 1848 by Mormon pioneers, West Valley has grown to become an important hub for industry and commerce within the area.

Today, West Valley City has a population of 135,947 as of 2020. The city was initially part of neighboring Kearns Township, but in 1980, it became its own independent municipality and has since grown in size and population.

Native American History

West Valley City's roots can be traced back to over 3,000 years ago when tribal communities inhabited the region. Evidence discovered at 7200 W and 3500 S points to the location being used as a temporary camp during the Archaic Phase. Moreover, the discovery of materials indicating the presence of stone tools suggests that another Archaic campsite was established near SR-201 and 5400 West. Centuries ago, the Mormon Pioneers landed in the Salt Lake Valley, only to find that the Ute and Shoshone people had already established their presence in the future home of West Valley City.

Mormon History

Brigham Young, the Mormon prophet, foresaw a bustling community on the west side of the Jordan River. He predicted that more people would live there than on the east, with large manufacturing and storage facilities built. Young even estimated that over three million people would eventually call this area home and that the Jordan River would flow through the center of Salt Lake City.

Although his predictions may have seemed unlikely in the past, they have come true in the present. The valley's west side is thriving with a growing population, bustling commerce, and vibrant activity.

Incorporating West Valley City

Utah's second largest city, West Valley City, may be young in comparison to other established communities such as Ogden, Salt Lake City, and Provo, but its origins date back over a century. in 1848 Joseph and Susanna Harker led the first pioneers "over Jordan", with many families following suit in 1849.

The city's early settlers developed farming communities in what was originally known as Granger, later evolving into thriving suburbs. Many of these pioneering families have descendants who still reside in the city today, including the Rasmussen, Hemenway, Parks, and Holmberg families.

Thanks to the construction of canals in the 1870s and 1880s, which brought water from the Jordan River, the area of Hunter was developed by families such as the Rushtons, Hansens, and Days.

Despite its lack of deep civic traditions, the people of West Valley City have always been a dedicated and passionate community.

As suburbia expanded, farms dwindled or vanished. Businesses sprouted up along key routes like 3500 South and Redwood Road to satisfy the growing community. But the development was disorganized, and officials in Salt Lake County allocated an excessive amount of multi-family residences to the region. Additionally, little attention was paid to enhancing the appearance of business signs, improving street infrastructure, or addressing the need for parks and recreation amenities.

West Valley City's early years were fraught with challenges. Just a week after new city leaders were sworn in on July 1, residents considered a disincorporation vote. This uncertainty made it impossible for the city to secure a bank loan, leaving Mayor Hank Price and Commissioners Renee Mackay and Jerry Wagstaff to pay for police car gas out of their own pockets.

West Valley City Today

Affordable housing in West Valley City has made it a top destination for immigrants moving to Salt Lake Valley. From refugees following the Vietnam War to LDS Pacific Islanders seeking proximity to Mormonism's center, minority groups have consistently felt comfortable and diverse in this city. In fact, by 2010, West Valley City had become Utah's most diverse city, with 45% of residents representing various ethnic backgrounds.

West Valley City has a vibrant community, where pride runs deep. Residents cherish a city that offers everything they need, from exceptional local services and amenities to welcoming neighborhoods and convenient transportation. Not just a good place to live, West Valley City is rapidly transforming and growing in exciting ways. Crime rates are dropping, the shopping mall and high school are being rebuilt, and plenty of new jobs are being created.