Why is Salt Lake City the Capital of Utah?

Why is Salt Lake City the Capital of Utah?
Why is Salt Lake City the Capital of Utah?





Utah is a state in the mountainous Western Region Of the United States, bordered to the east by Colorado, to the south lies Arizona, and to the West, Nevada. Utah is known for its large Mormon population, vast national parks, skiing, and the Great Salt Lake. But what is the capital of Utah?

Utah’s capital is Salt Lake City, located in the state’s central-north portion. Mormons founded Salt Lake City in 1847, and it was chosen as Utah’s permanent state capital on January 4, 1896. 

This article will discuss what the capital city of Utah is. So keep reading! We have everything you need to know about Salt Lake City, the capital of Utah. 

Where is the Capital of Utah Located?

Where is the Capital of Utah Located
Where is the Capital of Utah Located

The capital of Utah is Salt Lake City, which lies in the central-north part of the state and is the largest in Utah. The city is bordered by the breathtaking snow-capped Wasatch Range and the Great Salt Lake.

The area of Salt Lake City is known primarily as the home and religious center for the Latter Day Saints, also known as the Mormons, and many of the city’s attractions are focused on this. On top of this, it has great national parks such as Zion, Canyonlands, Capitol Reef, and Arches, some of which are full of red-walled canyons and sandstone spires.

The city was the host of the Olympic Winter Games in 2002. Around 2400 athletes from 77 nations competed in a selection of over 78 events. 

Brief History of Salt Lake City

Salt Lake City skyline Utah at night
Salt Lake City skyline Utah at night

The earliest inhabitants of what we now know as Salt Lake City and the wider Utah state were Native American tribes known as the ancient Pueblo People or the Anasazi. They had already begun building civilized communities at least 2000 years ago. 

Before the settlements of colonial Mormons, Salt Lake City was home to multiple other Native American people, such as the Weber Ute, Shoshone, and Paiute. The valley of modern Salt Lake City was the Northwestern home of some of the Shoshone tribes when the founding of Salt Lake City was taking place. 

An early expedition by Father Silvestre Velez de Escalante during the end of the 18th century is often considered the first foreign visit to the area. However, he only went as far as the Utah Valley, which lies 60 miles south of Salt Lake City.

In 1824, John Chugg was the first foreign traveler to lay his eyes on the Salt Lake Valley. He was soon followed by John C. Fremont, an Army Officer of the United States, who surveyed the Salt Lake Valley and the Great Salt Lake in 1843. 

Salt Lake City was officially founded by a group of nearly 150 Mormon pioneers in 1847. The group of Mormons was led by Brigham Young and were no doubt the first non-indigenous people to settle permanently in the Salt Lake Valley.

The story goes that as soon as Brigham Young saw the Salt Lake Valley, he told his companions that this was our new home. The Mormons came to the area searching for a haven where they could live freely and practice their religion without persecution. On the day of arrival, they began to till the soil and plant crops. 

When the Mormons first arrived in the Salt Lake Valley, it was still a part of Mexico. It wouldn’t be ceded to the United States until the following year, in 1848. By the year 1850, the Desert State became the Utah territory. 

Salt Lake began to form into a bustling city by the early 1900s. Most of its significant buildings, such as the State Capital and other historical sites, were all constructed during this era. 

When did Salt Lake City become the Capital of Utah?

Salt Lake City panoramic
Salt Lake City panoramic

The first territorial capital of Utah was Filmore serving from 1851 until 1856. The city was named for U.S President Millard Fillmore, who appointed Brigham Young, the leader of the Mormon people, as the first Governor of the Utah territory. 

Salt Lake City was chosen as the new territorial capital of Utah in 1856. Then in 1896, Salt Lake City was selected as the permanent capital of the new state, and it has remained as the capital for over 120 years.

Why is Salt Lake City the Capital of Utah?

Filmore was the original capital of the Utah territory for more than five years; however, during this time, it was decided that the location was unsuitable due to the lack of housing and adequate facilities. 

As a result, it was announced in December 1856 that the capital of the Utah territory would move to Salt Lake City. Salt Lake was always seen as the hub of activity in Utah, and its centralized location made it an excellent choice for a capital city.

Best places to visit in Salt Lake City

If you’re planning a trip in the near future to Salt Lake City, here are five of the best places to visit when you get there. 

1. Big Cottonwood Canyon

If you’re looking for breathtaking views amongst the famous Wasatch Mountains, the Big Cottonwood Canyon offers a limitless amount of hiking, biking, and outdoor activities. Hidden trails will lead you to waterfalls, lakes and the views alone are worth the visit. 

2. Natural History Museum Of Utah

If you’ve got a spare few hours some afternoon while you’re in Salt Lake City, and you’re looking for a peaceful activity, the Natural History Museum is a great option. It introduces the science of Utah’s landscape through its many exhibits, with over 5,000 artifacts on display.

3. Red Butte Garden

The Red Butte Garden is one of the largest botanical gardens in the west of the United States. Its 21 acres of luscious and peaceful gardens is a great spot to hike when you need fresh air. The garden is known for its massive collection of plant collections and themed gardens, and it is not to be missed by any nature lover. 

4. The Salt Lake Temple

The Salt Lake Temple is the original granite temple of the Mormon faith in the area. It’s a beautiful structure offering picturesque architecture and a must-see destination. Take a walk around the building and even enter into its halls to take a step back to the early years of the religion in the area.

5. Local Food Walking Tour

The Local Food Walking Tour is a great option if you are after a little bit of entertainment during your time in Salt Lake City. You’ll sit down at three of the best restaurants and taste various foods influenced by different cultures. You’ll even learn a little about the city’s history as you travel from place to place. 

See Also

Capital Cities 

Hi and welcome to my travel blog! Based in London, I work in investment banking in a quantitative field and although I am not part of the travel industry, I have a ton of passion for travel. My blog is a reference guide for my fellow travelers with the same passion as me. Hopefully the blog is easy to navigate and my aim is to bring the most relevant and interesting information before you begin your journey!