Utah has a long, rich history that reaches back way before statehood in 1896. While we learn about those early events in history class, we’ve actually lived through quite a few historic events. If you were born and raised in Utah, you might remember these 10 moments in Utah’s history.
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1. Topaz War Relocation Center, 1942 - 1945
During World War II, many Japanese Americans were relocated from coastal cities to internment camps inland, and Utah was the site of one of those camps. The Topaz War Relocation Camp was in operation from 1942 to 1945.
2. Glen Canyon Dam Completion, September 13, 1963
Lake Powell was created when the Glen Canyon Dam was completed, flooding Glen Canyon with water. It took 11 years for the lake to fill completely, and the lake has been a source of controversy ever since.
3. The Arrival Of The Utah Jazz, 1979
When the Jazz moved from New Orleans to Salt Lake City, Utah got its first professional sports team. For its first decade in Utah, the Jazz played at the Salt Palace, before the Delta Center (a.k.a. Vivint Smart Home Arena) was completed in 1991.
4. Flooding of 1983
In the spring of 1983, high snowpack, combined with unseasonably warm temperatures to create flooding throughout the Beehive State. When City Creek flooded, the water rushed into downtown Salt Lake City, and officials placed sandbags down State Street, temporarily creating a river. When a landslide dammed the Spanish Fork River, the little town of Thistle was wiped out by flooding.
5. Utah Senator Jake Garn Space Flight April 12-19, 1985
Utah Senator Jake Garn represented Utah as a U.S. Senator from 1974 to 1993. In 1985, he was chosen to fly on the Space Shuttle Discovery, and served as a Payload Operator. During his flight, he logged 2.5 million miles while orbiting the earth, and suffered from severe space sickness. Senator Garn is pictured here, on the back row in the far right.
6. Salt Lake City Tornado, August 11, 1999
Utahns were shocked when a tornado touched down in Salt Lake City on August 11, 1999. The tornado caught people by surprise as it ripped through the city, damaging homes and businesses, injuring more than 100 people and killing one man who was setting up a booth for the Outdoor Retailers Association convention.
7. 2002 Winter Olympic Games, February 8th through 24th, 2002.
When Utah hosted the 2002 Winter Olympic Games, the world was watching. New venues were built, Utahns from all walks of life signed up to volunteer during the games, a bribery scandal made world news, and more than two billion people worldwide watched the games on television.
8. The Kidnapping And Recovery Of Elizabeth Smart 2002/2003
When Elizabeth Smart was kidnapped from her home in Salt Lake City on June 5, 2002, thousands of volunteers scoured the nearby foothills for her. Billboards went up along I-15, and Utah parents were both heartbroken and very nervous. On March 12, 2003, nearly a year after the kidnapping, Elizabeth was found less than 20 miles from her home, and returned safely to her family.
9. Trolley Square Mass Murders, February 12, 2007
On the evening of February 12, 2007, 18-year-old Sulejman Talović arrived at Trolley Square carrying a shotgun, handgun and backpack full of extra ammunition. He shot nine people, killing five. An off-duty police officer was at a restaurant inside the mall when the shooting began, and he engaged the shooter until a SWAT team arrived. When Talović shot at police, he was killed. The incident was the worst mass shooting since the Mountain Meadows Massacre in 1857.
10. Crandall Canyon Mine Collapse, August 6, 2007
The Crandall Canyon Mine collapsed at 2:48 a.m. on August 6, 2007. Six miners were trapped more than three miles below the surface. During attempts to rescue the miners, three rescue workers were killed, and six were injured. The mine disaster made national headlines, and the company was eventually fined $1.85 million for its numerous safety violations. A memorial for the miners and rescue workers who lost their lives stands near the mine today.
These are just a few of the many historic events that occurred in Utah between the 1940s and 2007. What other Utah events do you remember?