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.