Native American History
Native Americans were the first inhabitants of what is now Sandy, Utah. Before the arrival of European settlers, the area was home to Ute Native American tribes, including the Timpanogos band and the Uintah Band. These tribes lived in what is now known as Utah Valley for millennia before their displacement by white settlers.
As early Mormons began settling in the area, tensions between them and local Native American tribes became increasingly common. In 1851, these tensions culminated in what is known as the Battle at Fort Utah which resulted in the death of several Mormons and Ute Native Americans. After this battle, Ute tribes in Utah were rounded up by military forces for relocation to reservations further west.
In the 1860s, Sandy welcomed its first settlers to an area roughly one square mile in size, stretching along the Jordan River's eastern bank, parallel to the Wasatch Mountains. At first, Sandy was a sparsely populated farming community, with only a few homes dotting the landscape. But everything changed when silver mining kicked off in nearby Little Cottonwood Canyon and the railroad arrived in the 1870s. Suddenly, Sandy became a bustling mining boomtown, with explosive growth that included 17 saloons, several hotels, and even a ZCMI Co-op. Today, Sandy's rich history lives on as a testament to its resilience and transformation over time.
Sandy's prime location attracted mining-related industries such as sampling mills and smelters that offered young men numerous, yet unsafe, job opportunities. Sandy was established as a prominent smelting center in the region with three major smelters- Flagstaff, Mingo, and Saturn.
Despite the initial boom, Sandy's economy eventually dwindled due to the depletion of resources and failed silver mines. As a quiet agricultural town, Sandy's population was just over 1000 in 1893 when it was officially incorporated. Arthur J. Cushing was elected the first mayor, and the town passed its first laws and established its first council.
Sandy's history is marked by two significant periods of growth. At the start of the 20th century, the community saw a decline in saloons and an increase in home and building construction as residents chose to stay in town. Sandy's reputation for producing successful crops like beets, alfalfa, and peaches also solidified during this time. Although this pace continued for more than 60 years, by the 1960s, Sandy experienced a massive growth spurt. Its population increased from around 3,300 to over 75,000 between 1960 and 1990, overwhelming City Center and surprising City leaders. As pockets of neighborhoods sprung up outside of City boundaries and annexation became a staple topic for City Council meetings, Sandy expanded its borders from 1 to 23 square miles. Today, with an estimated population of over 95,000, Sandy is the sixth-largest city in the state.