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Utah (Ut): State Guide and Fun Facts

When did Utah become a state?

Who Founded Utah?
Mormons; in 1847

First Native American settlers:
Anasazi, Paiute, Ute, Shoshone, Goshute Native Americans

Square Miles:

US Rank:

State Flower:
Sego Lily

State Bird:
American Seagull

State Motto:

Capital City

Salt Lake City – Salt Lake City was founded in 1847 by a group of Mormons who were traveling westward. They named the area Great Sale Lake City. They were not, however, the first to establish farms and settlements in the area. Before the Mormons, the Shoshone, Ute and Paiute Native Americans called the area that became Salt Lake City their homes. It had been that way for thousands of years.

The area today retains a strong Mormon influence. Its economy is centralized around service industries, government, education and tourism. Utah is well known as the city that hosted the 2002 Winter Olympic Games and the skiing in the area is known as some of the best in the Untied States.


What is Utah famous for?

1. The Greatest Snow on Earth
Utah’s tourism website touts the state as having “the greatest snow on earth”, a play on words of the original “greatest show on earth”. It would be tough to challenge the claim; with world class resorts including Alta Ski Area, Beaver Mountain Ski Resort, The Canyons, Park City Mountain Resort, Powder Mountain, Snowbird, Wolf Mountain and dozens of others, Utah and its Rocky Mountains, backcountry skiing and even heli-skiing are the best of the best.

2. Great Salt Lake
The Great Salt Lake is aptly named; it is the largest salt lake in the entire western hemisphere, with a surface area of 1,700 square miles. Although that’s large, the lake used to be even larger in prehistoric times. It predecessor is referred to as Lake Bonneville, and it measured almost 23,000 square miles, about equal to the size of Lake Michigan. The lake, although it has a high content of salt, is home to a variety of animal species including brine shrimp, algae, waterfowl, ducks and geese.

3. Mormons
Mormons first arrived in what is now Utah in 1847. Their leader, Brigham Young was taking his followers on a journey away from their former location in the Midwest due to persecution for their beliefs. The Mormons moved their headquarters to Salt Lake City and spread their faith throughout the state. Today, Utah is home to the highest concentration of Mormon believers of any state in the country.

What is Utah’s economy?

1. Agriculture – Utah’s main agricultural income generators include crops such as hay, nursery products, wheat, barley, corn, apples, cherries, peaches, apricots, pears, onions, potatoes, beans, mushrooms and safflower. The state produces livestock as well including beef cattle and the production of milk. Other main livestock raised in the area include hogs, chicken eggs, sheep, honey, fish and turkeys.

2. Mining – Although mining in Utah was once more prevalent than it is now, the state still produces a high amount of petroleum, copper and natural gas. They also mine a significant amount of uranium, gilsonite, magnesium, salts, sand and gravel and clay.

3. Services – The highest income generator in the state of Utah lies within the services category. This includes businesses such as private health care, hotels, ski resorts, engineering companies, repair shops, law firms, financial companies, banks, real estate brokerage firms, wholesale trade and retail trade.


Utah Historical Landmarks

1. Bingham Canyon Mine – The Bingham Canyon Mine, located near Salt Lake City, Utah, has been continuously mined since 1906 for its copper. Today it is the deepest open-put mine in the world, measuring ¾ mile deep (and growing). Its output measures approximately 17 million tons of copper, 715 tons of gold and 5,900 tons of silver annually. In 2006, the Bingham Canyon Mine was responsible for the mining of $1.8 billion of various metals.

2. Emigration Canyon – Emigration Canyon is located near Salt Lake City in Utah and was significant to the origins of Utah because it was there that Mormons entered the Salt Lake Valley in 1847 when they decided to permanently settle in the area. Their leader, Brigham Young, told his followers “This is the right place.” And so it was. Today, the canyon is marked by a series of historic markers which tell the story of the history of Emigration Canyon.

3. Temple Square – Located in Salt Lake City, Utah, Temple Square is a large area of land which includes the Salt Lake Temple, Tabernacle Building and Assembly Hall. The compound was completed in 1853 by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. In addition to the buildings, the grounds of the square are home to carefully manicured gardens, trees and walking paths. Temple Square attracts millions of visitors annually, both Mormons and those wishing to learn more about the history of one of the most powerful religions in the world.