Joseph Harker and his family journeyed over the Jordan River in 1848, settling in the area known as West Valley City. Following Harker’s wake, further pioneer families departed Salt Lake City to move “across Jordan.” There, they established the agricultural settlements that would later become known as Granger, Hunter, Redwood, and Chesterfield.
Granger High School opened in 1958, the Granger-Hunter Chamber of Commerce was established in 1961, and 3500 South was paved in 1918. In 1949, Granger-Hunter Improvement District was established.
In 1956, the community got its first bank.
In 1958, Granger High School opened. In 1961, the Granger-Hunter Chamber of Commerce was established. In 1980, the residents of the villages came together to form what is now known as West Valley City.
West Valley City continued to progress, and in 2002, during the Winter Olympics, the city hosted the Olympic hockey competition. As a direct consequence of the Olympics’ impact on the local economy, the E Center, now known as the Maverik Center, and the whole neighborhood immediately next to the arena were subjected to extensive renovations.
The officials of West Valley City have made it clear that they consider economic development a top concern. Companies such as Verizon Wireless, Frito Lay, Backcountry.com, United Parcel Service (UPS), and Discover Card all have their corporate headquarters, regional offices, and worldwide distribution centers located in business parks such as Lake Park Corporate Center, West Ridge Commerce Park, Decker Lake Business District, and Metro Business Park. Valley Fair Mall is now undergoing a comprehensive renovation, and an entirely new transit-oriented development called Fairbourne Station is currently under construction in the very Center of the city.
For a very long time, West Valley City has recognized the variety of its ethnic backgrounds. The population of people who are not white was predicted to make up roughly 35 percent of the total population in the 2010 Census Report. In 2002, the city of Salt Lake City began construction on the Utah Cultural Celebration Center, realizing the ambition of former Mayor Gerald L. Wright. Mr. Wright envisioned a place where people of different cultures could come together to celebrate.
Since its doors opened, the Utah Cultural Commemoration Center has been the site of hundreds of different cultural events. Some of these events include Native American Pow Wows, Scottish Festivals, the Utah Polynesian Festival, and an annual Day of the Dead celebration. The Center also organizes yearly music series throughout the summer and winter, many educational events, and art exhibitions by world-renowned artists. Additionally, the Center is home to one of only three Olmec Heads, which was a gift from Mexico to the United States.
In West Valley City, there is an abundance of choices for recreational pursuits. The 96,000-square-foot Family Exercise Center and the Harman Senior Entertainment Center offer recreation and fitness activities for people of all ages. Additionally, two golf courses and more than 20 parks provide adequate green space.
West Valley City is now the second biggest city in Utah, with a population of about 145,000, making it the largest town behind Salt Lake City. West Valley City is undoubtedly living true to its slogan, “Progress as promised,” from founding Harker’s first camp on the Jordan River’s banks to developing a thriving hub for commerce, pleasure, and entertainment.
Prehistoric Communities & Pioneer Settlement
Archaeological evidence suggests that tribal tribes may have lived in the region that is now West Valley City as far back as 3,000 years ago. Materials discovered at around 7200 W, and 3500 S are thought to have been part of an Archaic Phase temporary camp. Additionally, it seems that another Archaic encampment was created close to SR-201 and 5400 West based on the finding of evidence indicating stone tools.
According to historical documents, a Ute and Shoshone presence in the region would eventually become West Valley City when the Mormon Pioneers arrived in the Salt Lake valley decades later. Brigham Young told William Armstrong that “large places of manufacture and storage will be built over 3 million people would live west of the Jordan River, and the Jordan River will flow through the heart of Salt Lake City. Armstrong anticipated that more people would live on the west bank of the Jordan River than on the east.
Such predictions would have seemed unlikely in the middle of the nineteenth century, much alone in the middle of the twentieth. The area of the valley west of the Jordan River is still bustling with activity at the dawn of the twenty-first century.
“OVER JORDAN” & THE EVOLUTION OF A COMMUNITY
Despite being the second-largest city in Utah, West Valley City is still a relatively new settlement. The town, incorporated in 1980, lacks the rich civic traditions of established Utah towns like Ogden, Salt Lake City, or Provo. However, the absence of City Hall formalities does not imply that decent people did not live throughout the region for more than a century before its incorporation into West Valley City. The first pioneers “across Jordan” were the family of Joseph and Susanna Harker in 1848, and more families quickly followed in 1849.
A flood of new immigrants began to arrive in what was then known as Granger starting in 1866, creating agricultural settlements that would eventually expand into suburbs, while many of these original families migrated farther south to what would become Taylorsville. With names like Rasmussen, Hemenway, Warr, Parks, Holmberg, Bess, Turpin, Todd, Wallace, Barton, Nebeker, Hill, Bawden, and Bangerter, many of these pioneering families still have descendants in the city today.
Canals were built across the west side of the valley between the 1870s and 1880s, delivering water from the Jordan River that was crucial for irrigation. This made it possible to migrate farther west, and families like the Rushtons, Hansens, and Days were established in the Hunter region.
The Turn of the Century
Churches, schools, and mills had been erected in the rural settlements of Hunter and Granger by the year 1900. According to the census, Hunter had 354 inhabitants, and Granger had 617.
An interurban train connection that linked Magna on the west to Salt Lake City on the east brought paved roads (the first being 3500 South in 1918), vehicles, more significant expansion, and more development. The Mormon meetinghouse was still the Center of social life, and most families still lived by the rhythms and rituals of farm life.
Post-World War II
After the Second World War, the locals came together to form the Granger-Hunter Improvement District to provide modern sewage and potable water facilities. This company, founded in 1950, offered the region the capacity to supply a community with water, enabling new subdivisions to become a reality and igniting the housing boom.
As suburbia spread, farms either vanished or became smaller. Businesses began to spring up along busy thoroughfares like 3500 South and Redwood Road to meet the demands of the expanding neighborhood. Although the expansion was somewhat unplanned, Salt Lake County’s political leaders didn’t think twice about putting a disproportionate number of the valley’s multi-family residential units there, for instance. Additionally, they paid little attention to the aesthetics of commercial signs, neighborhood street infrastructure, or the requirements for parks and recreation.
After World War II, the townspeople established the Granger-Hunter Improvement District to offer up-to-date sewage and potable water infrastructure. This business, which was established in 1950, allowed the area to provide a community with water, permitting the creation of new subdivisions and sparking the housing boom.
Farms either disappeared or shrunk as suburbia grew. Businesses increased along important roads like 3500 South and Redwood Road to satisfy the region’s expanding requirements. The political officials of Salt Lake County didn’t hesitate to locate a disproportionate percentage of the valley’s multi-family dwelling units there, for example, even though development was partly unplanned. In addition, they gave little thought to the aesthetics of business signage, neighborhood street infrastructure, or park and leisure needs.
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