The New International Encyclopædia/Salt Lake City

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Edition of 1905.  See also Salt Lake City on Wikipedia, and the disclaimer.

SALT LAKE CITY. The capital of Utah and the county seat of Salt Lake County, near the Jordan River and 12 miles southeast of Great Salt Lake; 676 miles west by north of Denver (Map: Utah, B 1). The Union Pacific, the Rio Grande Western, the Utah Central, and other railroads enter the city. Salt Lake City holds a unique place among the towns of the United States as the headquarters of the Latter Day Saints, generally known as Mormons (q.v.). It is situated in a spacious valley, more than 4300 feet above the sea, and surrounded by mountains. To the east is Fort Douglas (q.v.), a United States Government military post, with an extensive reservation. There are hot sulphur springs in the vicinity, and on the shores of Great Salt Lake (q.v.) are several bathing resorts, of which Saltair and Garfield Beach are the most popular. The city has an area of more than 51 square miles. It is laid out on a grand scale, the streets being broad and regular, and pleasantly shaded. Irrigation ditches line the thoroughfares. Lawns and gardens add to the general attractiveness. Many of the wards contain public squares. Liberty Park has an area of 110 acres.

Near the centre of the city is the Temple Block (square), containing the Temple, the Tabernacle, and the Assembly Hall—all together forming the official seat of the Mormon Church. The Temple, the most beautiful of the imposing edifices erected by the Mormons, was begun in 1853 and was finished in 1893 at an estimated cost of $4,000,000. The structure is of granite, 186 by 99 feet, and each end is surmounted by three lofty towers. The highest spire supports a figure of the Mormon angel Moroni. The Tabernacle is an elliptical building, 250 by 150 feet, having a roof similar in shape to a turtle-shell. It is noted for one of the largest self-supporting arches in the world and for its great organ. Its acoustic properties are superb. The auditorium seats several thousand persons. Among other buildings connected with the Mormon Church are the former residences of Brigham Young, the Lion House, the Beehive House, and the Gardo House, the tithing storehouse, and also the large establishment of Zion's Coöperative Mercantile Institution, whose annual sales are said to amount to more than $4,000,000. A monument in honor of Brigham Young is one of the features of Salt Lake City. The city and county building, costing $900,000, is the most noteworthy of the public edifices. Other prominent structures are the Salt Lake Theatre, the Exposition Building, the State Penitentiary, and Holy Cross and Saint Mark's hospitals. The University of Utah (q.v.) is in Salt Lake City, also a State Normal School. The private institutions for secondary education include All Hallow's College (Roman Catholic), Gordon Academy (Congregational), the Latter Day Saints' College, Rowland Hall (Protestant Episcopal), and the Salt Lake Collegiate Institute (Presbyterian). There are several libraries, of which the most important, aside from those belonging to the educational institutions, are the Public, with some 14,000 volumes, and the State Law Library, with 10,000.

Salt Lake City is the most important town between Denver and the Pacific Coast. Its interests are mainly commercial, the city being the distributing centre for a vast and rich mining, stock-raising, and farming country. The productiveness of the region is secured by means of irrigation. The city is the headquarters of several large mining companies, and has smelters and mineral mills. Its industrial importance, however, is comparatively small, the various manufactories in the census year 1900 having had only $4,049,000 capital and an output valued at $6,109,000. Among the leading establishments are car shops, breweries, confectionery factories, boot and shoe factories, foundries and machine shops, lime and cement works, saddlery and harness factories, looking-glass and picture frame factories, tobacco, cigar, and cigarette factories, lumber mills, etc. Electric power is used by many of the factories, as well as by the electric lighting and the street railway plants. The power is electrically developed from a mountain cataract some 35 miles from the city.

The government is vested in a mayor, elected every two years, a unicameral council, and administrative officials, the majority of whom are appointed by the mayor with the consent of the council. The city attorney, treasurer, auditor, recorder, and justices of the peace, however, are chosen by popular vote. The city spends annually for maintenance and operation about $790,000, the principal items being: schools, $265,000; interest on debt, $168,000; streets, $60,000; fire department, $43,000; police department, $40,000; water-works, $37,000; municipal lighting, $31,000. The waterworks, built in 1874, are the property of the municipality. The system has cost more than $4,400,000. It now comprises 150 miles of mains. The net debt of the city in 1902 was $3,505,866; the assessed valuation, $33,692,318. The population in 1860 was 8236; in 1870, 12,854; in 1880, 20,768; in 1890, 44,843; in 1900, 53,531.

The city was founded in 1847 by the Mormons under Brigham Young, who, leaving the Missouri River on April 7, arrived at this point on July 24. It was organized as a city in 1851, and until 1868 was called Great Salt Lake City. About one-third of the inhabitants now are ‘Gentiles.’ Consult: Bancroft, History of Utah (San Francisco, 1889); Jones, Salt Lake City (Salt Lake City, 1889); Powell (editor), Historic Towns of the Western States (New York, 1901). See Mormons.