1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Salt Lake City
SALT LAKE CITY, the capital city of Utah and the county-seat of Salt Lake county, in the N.W. part of Utah, immediately E. of the Jordan river in the Salt Lake Valley, near the base of the Wasatch mountains, at an altitude of about 4350 ft., about 11 m. S.E. of the Great Salt Lake, about 710 m. W. by N. of Denver and about 930 m. E. of San Francisco. Pop. (1860) 8236; (1900) 53,531; (1910 census) 92,777. Area, 51.25 sq. m. Of the total population in 1900, 12,741 (nearly one-fourth) were foreign-born, including 5157 English, 1687 Swedes, 965 Danes, 963 Germans and 912 Scotch; 35,152 were of foreign-parentage (one or the other parent foreign-born); 278 were negroes, 214 Chinese, 22 Japanese. Salt Lake City is served by the Denver & Rio Grande, the Union Pacific, the Western Pacific, the Oregon Short Line, and the San Pedro, Los Angeles & Salt Lake railways; it is also a terminus of shorter roads to Ogden, to Los Angeles and to Mercur, a mining town in the Oquirrh mountains (S. of Great Salt Lake) whose ores are reduced by the cyanide process. The Oregon Short Line and the San Pedro, Los Angeles & Salt Lake have a union railway station (1909), and the Denver & Rio Grande and the Western Pacific also have a large union railway station (1910). The street railway system is excellent; electric cars were introduced in 1889; and the street railways were reorganized by E. H. Harriman, who bought a controlling interest in them.
The situation of the city is striking, with views of mountains and of the Great Salt Lake, and the climate is dry and salubrious. The city is the headquarters of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (see Mormons). The streets are laid out, according to the plan of Brigham Young, with city blocks of 10 acres each (660 ft. sq.) and streets 132 ft. wide, and well shaded with trees planted along irrigating ditches, fed by mountain streams. Brigham (or South Temple) Street is a fine boulevard running 3 m. from the Temple to Fort Douglas. Most of the streets are numbered and named “East” or “ West,” “North” or “ South,” from their direction from the centre of the city, the Temple Block. State Street is the official name of First East Street; and East Temple Street is called Main, and South Temple Street (east of the Temple block) is called Brigham. The only developed parks are Pioneer and City Hall, both small, and Liberty Park (110 acres), in which Brigham Young built a grist mill in 1852 and which was bought from his estate by the city in 1880. There are bathing parks on the shores of Great Salt Lake, 11.15 m. W. of the city—the best known being Saltair, which has a Moorish pavilion; and 5 m. S. is Wandamere (formerly Calder's) Park (64 acres). Three miles E. of the city is Fort Douglas, established as Camp Douglas in 1862 by Colonel P. Edward Connor (1820–1891), afterwards prominently connected with the development of the mineral resources of Utah; the fort overlooks the city, being more than 4900 ft. above sea-level. In the city there are medicinal and thermal springs, and water at a temperature of 98-104° F. is piped to a large bath-house (1850) in the N. part of the city. The most prominent buildings are those of the Church of Latter-Day Saints, particularly, in Temple Square, the Temple, Tabernacle, and Assembly Hall. The great Mormon Temple (1853–1893) has grey granite walls 6 ft. thick, is 99 × 186 ft., and has six spires, the highest (220 ft.) having a copper statue of the angel Moroni. The elliptical Tabernacle (1870) has a rounded, turtle-shell shaped roof, unsupported by pillars or beams, seats nearly 10,000, and has a large pipe organ (5000 pipes). The Assemby Hall (1880), also of granite, has an auditorium which seats about 2500. In 1909 a bishopric building, with many of the business offices of the church, was built. Other buildings connected with the history of the Mormon church are three residences of Brigham Young, called the Lion House, the Beehive (the beehive is the symbol of the industry of the Mormon settlers in the desert and appears on the state seal), and the Amelia Palace or Gardo House (1877), which is now rivately owned and houses an excellent private art gallery. Three blocks E. of the Temple is St Mary's, the Roman Catholic cathedral (1909, 100-200 ft.; with two towers 175 ft. high). Other large churches are: St Mark's Cathedral (1869, Protestant Episcopal) and the First Presbyterian Church (1909). There is a large city and county building (1894), built of rough grey sandstone from Utah county; it has a dome on the top of which is a statue of Columbia; over its entrances are statues of Commerce, Liberty and Justice; its balconies command views of the neighbouring country and of the Great Salt Lake; the interior is decorated with Utah onyx. Other buildings are: the Federal building; the Packard Library, the public library of the city (1905), one block E. of Temple Block, which housed in 1910 about 40,000 volumes; and several business buildings. Typical of the city is the great building of the Zion's Co-operative Mercantile Institution, a concern established by Brigham Young in 1868—there are several large factories connected with it, and its annual sales average more than $5,000,000. A monument to Brigham Young and the Utah Pioneers, crowned by a statue of Brigham Young, by C. E. Dallin, was unveiled in 1897, at the intersection of Main and Brigham Streets. The city has numerous hospitals and charities, and there is a state penitentiary here. In the S.E. part is the Judge Miner's Home and Hospital (Roman Catholic), a memorial to John judge, a successful Utah miner.
Salt Lake City has a good public school system in the city is the University of Utah, chartered in 1850 as the University of the state of Deseret and opened in November 1850; it was practically discontinued from 1851 until 1867, and then was scarcely more than a business college until 1869; its charter was amended in 1884 and a new charter was issued in 1894, when the present style of the corporation was assumed; in 1894 60 acres from the Fort Douglas reservation were secured for the campus. In 1909–1910 the university consisted of a school of arts and sciences, a state school of mines (1901), a normal school, and a preparatory department. Other institutions of learning are: the Latter-Day Saints University (1887) and the Latter-Day Saints High School, St Mary's Academy (1875; under the Roman Catholic Sisters of the Holy Cross), All Hallows College (1886; Roman Catholic), Gordon Academy (1870; Congregational), Rowland Hall Academy (1880; Protestant Episcopal) and Westminster College (1897; Presbyterian). There is a state Art Institute, which gives an annual exhibition, provides for a course of public lectures on art, and houses in its building the state art collection. The city has always been interested in music and the drama: the regular choir of 500 voices of the Mormon Tabernacle (organized in 1890) is one of the best choruses in the country, and closely connected with its development are the Symphony Orchestra and the Salt Lake Choral Society. Brigham Young was an admirer of the drama, and the Salt Lake Theatre (1862) has had a brilliant history. There is a Young Men's Christian Association (organized in 1890). The principal clubs are the Alta, University, Commercial, Country, and Women's. There are a Masonic Temple and buildings of the Elks and Odd Fellows.
Salt Lake City is the great business centre of Utah and one of the main shipping points of the West for agricultural products, live stock (especially sheep), precious metals and coal; and the excellent railway facilities contribute greatly to the commercial importance of the city. In 1905 the value of the factory products was $7,543,983, being 76.3% more than in 1900 and being nearly one-fifth of the total value of the factory products of all Utah. There are three large steam-car repair shops in the city. Among the more valuable manufactures are: newspapers, books, &c. ($924,495 in 1905), malt liquors, confectionery, flour, foundry and machine-shop products, dairy products, salt, knit goods, mattresses, sugar, cement, &c. Electricity is largely used in the newer factories, the power being derived from Ogden river, near Ogden, about 35 m. away, and from cataracts in Cottonwood canyon and other canyons.
The city is governed under a charter of 1851. The government is in the hands of a mayor, elected for two years, and of a unicameral municipal council, consisting of 15 members, elected from the five wards of the city for two years or for four years. The municipality owns the water works. In 1909 the assessed valuation, real and personal, was $52,180,789; the tax levy was $677,411; and the city debt was $4,399,400 (exclusive of $1,528,000, the bonded indebtedness of the city schools).
The history of the city is largely that of the Mormons (q.v.) and in its earlier years that of Utah (q.v.). The Mormons first came here in 1847; an advance party led by Orson Pratt and Erastus Snow entered the Salt Lake Valley on the 22nd of July. President Brigham Young upon his arrival on the 24th approved of the site, saying that he had seen it before in a vision; on the 28th of July he chose the site for the temple. In August the city was named “the City of the Great Salt Lake,” and this name was used until 1868 when the adjective was dropped by legislative act. In the autumn the major body of the pioneers arrived. The first government was purely ecclesiastical, the city being a “stake of Zion” under a president; “Father” Joseph Smith was the first president. The gold excitement of 1849 and the following years was the source of the city's first prosperity: the Mormons did not attempt to do any mining—Brigham Young counselled them not to abandon agriculture for prospecting—but they made themselves rich by outfitting those of the gold-seekers who went to California overland and who stopped at the City of the Great Salt Lake, the westernmost settlement of any importance. On the 4th of March 1849 a convention met here which appointed a committee to draft a constitution; the constitution was immediately adopted, the independent state of Deseret was organized and on the 12th of March the first general election was held. In 1850 the city had a population of 6000, more than half the total number of inhabitants of the Great Salt Lake Valley, which, as well as the rest of Utah, was largely settled from Salt Lake City. In January 1851 the general assembly of the state of Deseret chartered the city; and the first municipal election was held in April of the same year; the charter was amended in 1865. Immigration from Europe and especially from England was large in the earlier years of the city, beginning in 1848. Salt Lake City was prominently identified with the Mormon church in its struggle with the United States government; in 1858 it was entirely deserted upon the approach of the United States troops. Since the Civil War, the non-Mormon element (locally called “Gentile”) has steadily increased in strength, partly because of industrial changes and partly because the city is the natural point of attack on the Mormon church of other denominations, which are comparatively stronger here than elsewhere in Utah.
See the bibliography under Mormons and under Utah; and particularly E. W. Tullidge, History of Salt Lake City (Salt Lake City, 1886), the famous descriptions in Captain Stansbury's report (1850), and in R. F. Burton's The City of the Saints (1861), and H. H. Bancroft, History of Utah (San Francisco, 1890).
- The early Mormon missions in England were very successful, and many of the leaders of the church and those otherwise prominent in Salt Lake City have been of English birth.