AOL Travel

Salt Lake City History

There’s a reason Salt Lake City feels so spacious. At the beginning of Salt Lake City's history, early Mormon pioneers entered a wide-open desert valley that connected a mountain range and a vast, salty lake. They built a city to match the total openness while paying homage to their ultimate purpose, to find religious refuge. Salt Lake City's streets were designed in a grid system based around Temple Square and made wide enough to allow a wagon pulled by four oxen to turn around.  Throughout early Salt Lake City history, more European Mormon settlers arrived to homestead, and in 1896, Utah became the 45th state in the Union, after the Mormon religion renounced the practice of polygamy. By 1900 in Salt Lake City's history the city had become a gateway for other explorers and gold rush and railroad workers, and throughout the 20th century, Salt Lake would continue to attract all kinds of immigrants (the city is home to a large Latino population) and modern homesteaders. The city’s skyline grew around the main temple, as did the development on the foothills, including the ever-expanding University of Utah. The city and its nearby mountain resorts took center stage during 2002, when it hosted the Winter Olympic Games, becoming a shining moment in Salt Lake City's history. Of course, mountain attractions still remain a primary draw for tourists, during the winter and beyond.