Think Utah, and you’ll probably picture either the Great Salt Lake or a ski slope. In reality, the state of Utah is much, much more. The name “Utah” comes from the Native American Ute tribe and means “people of the mountains,” according to 50states.com. People are often surprised to discover that the owner of around 65 percent of the state’s land is the Federal government.
History and government
The United States acquired Utah in 1848 as part of the treaty that ended the Mexican War. It’s the only state whose capital, Salt Lake City, consists of a name made up of three words, all of which have four letters each. It was originally named Great Salt Lake City but reduced to three words in 1868.
Fillmore, named after the U.S. President of the same name, served as the first territorial capitol. Although the statehouse was never completed, the first wing now serves as a state museum.
Promontory, a temporary city, marked the site of the celebration of the completion for the world’s first transcontinental railroad. This is the spot where the Central Pacific and Union Pacific Railroads met on May 10, 1869 and is now called Golden Spike National Historic Site.
During World War II, paratroopers from the 10th Mountain Regiment trained on the slopes of the Alta ski center. The state hosted the XIX Olympic Winter Games in Salt Lake City in 2002.
It took 40 years to complete the Mormon Temple in Salt Lake City. Three other Utah temples were completed first.
The Utah state symbol is the beehive, for thrift and industry. The Rocky Mountain elk is the state animal, while the state fish is the rainbow trout.
Certain portions of Interstate 70 in Utah form one of the most deserted stretches of interstate highway in the U.S. The Great Salt Lake, around 75 miles long and 35 miles wide, actually covers more than a million acres. Its average depth is 13 feet, with the deepest point at 34 feet. With 84,900 square miles of land, Utah ranks as the eleventh largest state.
The state claims five national parks: Arches, Canyonlands, Zion, Bryce and Capitol Reef. It has seven national monuments: Cedar Breaks, Natural Bridges, Dinosaur, Rainbow Bridge, Grand Staircase-Escalante, Timpanogos Cave and Hovenweep. Rainbow Bridge, which is 276 feet wide and 309 feet high, is the largest natural-rock span in the world. Utah also has six national forests.
Because of the state’s inland location, its snow is typically dry and has the reputation of being the world’s greatest powder. The average snowfall in the mountains in the Salt Lake City vicinity is 500 inches. Utah’s mountain peaks average the tallest in the U.S. at 11,222 feet.
Levan is situated in the middle of the state. Its name, which is “navel” spelled backwards, is linked to its location.
Utah’s Zions Co-operative Mercantile Institute, founded in the late 1800s, was the first department store in the country. The steam engine and 10-passenger railroad cars belonging to the Heber Valley Railroad have appeared in dozens of motion pictures. As a matter of fact, Kanab is known as Utah’s “Little Hollywood” due to the large number of movies filmed in that area. The television series “Touched by an Angel” was also filmed in the state.
Utah claims the highest literacy rate in the country. It’s also home to the NBA’s Utah Jazz.
Famous people from Utah
A great site for information on a number of famous people who were residents from Utah is located here. Representing the entertainment industry are Roseanne Barr, John Frear, the Osmond family, Marie Windsor and Loretta Young.
Sports figures include boxers Danny Lopez and Gene Fullmer, speed record holder “Ab” Jenkins and quarterback Steve Young. Politicians include Reva Beck Bosone, Utha’s first woman in Congress , and U.S. Senators Reed Smoot and Jake Garn.
Utah dentist Barney Clark was the first human to receive the plastic and aluminum Jarvik-7 artificial heart. Phil T. Farnsworth invented television when he was only 14. Perhaps the most famous individual from Utah in the business world was J. Willard Marriott, founder of the Marriott restaurant and hotel chain.