Open main menu

UTAH, a State in the Western Division of the North American Union; bounded by Wyoming, Colorado, Arizona, Nevada, and Idaho; admitted to the Union, Jan. 4, 1896; number of counties, 27; capital, Salt Lake City; area 84,990 square miles; pop. (1890) 210,779; (1900) 276,749; (1910) 373,351; (1920) 449,396.

Topography.—The surface of Utah is similar to a basin surrounded by high mountains. The interior has an elevation of 4,000 feet above sea-level, and is crossed in a N. E. and S. W. direction by the Wasatch Mountains with an altitude of 12,000 feet. E. of the Wasatch Mountains are the Uintah, near the Wyoming boundary, and W. are numerous detached hills, ridges, and isolated mountains. Lofty plateaus occupy the S. E. The principal rivers are the Green and Grand, uniting in the S. E. to form the Colorado. Nearly all the others empty into the Great Salt Lake, or similar salt lakes with no outlets, which occur throughout the W. of the State. The Great Salt Lake is about 80 miles in length and has an average width of 40 miles; its waters are salty, and it has no communication with the ocean. It is connected with Utah Lake by the Jordan river. Sevier Lake, another large body, has no outlet, but receives the North Sevier river. Utah contains part of the great cañon of the Colorado, and the Great American Desert, an extensive sandy and waterless plain W. of the Great Salt Lake.


Utah - Cedar Cañon natural bridge.jpg
© Keystone View Company
A NATURAL BRIDGE OVER CEDAR CAÑON, UTAH


Geology and Mineralogy.—The rocks are mostly primitive, of Archæan origin, and showing everywhere evidences of volcanic action. Limestone of carboniferous deposit is found in many ridges. Granite, gneiss, jasper, syenite, porphyry, quartz, serpentine, gypsum, marble, calcareous spar, and sandstones occur in large quantities throughout the State. Iron ores, coal, gold, and silver, copper, zinc, salt, asphaltum, and borax form the principal mineral resources.

The production of gold in 1920 was 100,446 fine ounces, valued at $2,076,400. The silver production was 11,564,155 fine ounces, valued at $11,739,121. The production of copper in 1919 was 146,178,008 pounds, compared with a production in 1918 of 230,964,908. Utah ranked fourth among the States in 1919 in the production of copper. The coal production in 1919 was 4,570,000 tons, a decrease of 567,000 tons over the production of the year previous. Other important mineral products are manganese ores, gypsum, petroleum, sulphur, and zinc. Salt, obtained from the Great Salt Lake, is also an important mineral product.

Agriculture.—The soil is as a rule arid and sandy, and in many places so impregnated with salt as to be entirely useless. Much, however, has been reclaimed by irrigation and rendered profitably productive. In the highland portion of the State rainfall is sufficient for cultivation and the mountains and high valleys produce an abundance of fine grass, in consequence of which stock raising and dairy farming have been greatly developed. The acreage, value and production of the principal crops, in 1919, were as follows: corn, 24,000 acres, production 432,000 bushels, value $648,000; oats, 72,000 acres, production 2,448,000 bushels, value $2,390,000; barley, 20,000 acres, production 600,000 bushels, value $846,000; wheat, 304,000 acres, production 3,682,000 bushels, value $7,732,000; hay, 453,000 acres, production 938,000 tons, value $20,542,000; potatoes, 17,000 acres, production 2,397,000 bushels, value $3,284,000.

Manufactures.—There were, in 1914, 1,109 manufacturing establishments in the State, employing 13,894 wage earners. The capital invested was $71,843,000; the wages paid amounted to $10,852,000; the value of the materials used was $62,233,000; and the value of the finished product was $87,112,000. The principal manufactures were beet sugar, railroad cars, flour and grist, packed meat, printing and publishing, woolen goods, bread and other bakery products, foundry and machine shop products, preserved and canned fruits, malt liquors and leather goods. Salt Lake City is the principal manufacturing center.

Banking.—On Oct. 31, 1919, there were reported 26 National banks in operation, having $3,455,000 in capital, $3,363,000 in outstanding circulation, and $15,109,000 in United States bonds. There were also 99 State and stock savings banks with $7,240,000 in capital, and $2,862,000 in surplus. The exchanges at the United States clearing house at Salt Lake City during the year ending Sept. 30, 1919, amounted to $778,679,000, an increase over those of the preceding year of $68,314,000.

Education.—The percentage of illiteracy in the State is extremely low. There were enrolled in the public schools, in 1918, 110,193 pupils. The entire school population was 134,887, and there were in the elementary high schools 289 male and 2,115 female teachers. In the junior high schools there were 75 male and 164 female teachers, and in the high schools, 211 male and 215 female teachers. The disbursements for educational purposes during the year amounted to $5,549,398. There are a State Normal School and a Church Teachers' Summer School, maintained by the Mormons. The institutions for higher education include the University of Utah, State School of Mines, State Agricultural College, Brigham Young University, Brigham Young College, and the Latter Day Saints University.

Churches.—The strongest denominations in the State are the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints; Roman Catholic; Methodist Episcopal; Protestant Episcopal; Presbyterian, North; and Congregational.

Railways.—The railway mileage in the State in 1919 was approximately 2,447 miles. The roads having the longest mileage are the Denver and Rio Grande, and the San Pedro, Los Angeles and Salt Lake railroads.

Finances.—The receipts for the fiscal year 1917-1918 were $8,838,332, and the disbursements $8,556,750. There was a balance on Dec. 1, 1918, of $1,505,512. The assessed valuation in 1919 was about $675,000,000. The bonded debt of the State amounts to about $3,500,000.

Charities and Corrections.—The institutions under State control include a prison in Salt Lake City, Industrial School at Ogden, School for Deaf and Blind at Ogden, and the Mental Hospital at Provo.

State Government.—The governor is elected for a term of four years. Legislative sessions are held biennially and are limited in length to 60 days each. The Legislature has 18 members in the Senate, and 46 in the House. There are two Representatives in Congress.

History.—The region embracing Utah was acquired from Mexico in 1848, and the Territory was organized in 1850, comprising Utah, Colorado, Wyoming, and Nevada. The Mormons led by Brigham Young settled in Salt Lake City valley in 1847, and rapidly occupied the fertile valleys of the Territory, few Gentiles settling there till the extension of railroads made it more easily accessible. At a later period the Gentile population rapidly increased, and vigorously opposed the supremacy of the Mormons, who controlled all government positions. A bill passed by Congress in 1882 disfranchised all polygamists and annulled the act of the Territorial Legislature extending the franchise to women. In 1887 a bill was passed, which confiscated the property of the Mormon Church and the perpetual Emigration Fund, with the exception of the church buildings and parsonages, and devoted it to the support of public schools in the Territory. The Mormons renounced polygamy in 1890. For a considerable time previously efforts had been made to have Utah admitted into the Union; but this was not acceptable to Congress till after the abolition of polygamy. A bill was passed in December, 1893, making Utah a State. It was not finally consummated, however, till Jan. 4, 1896, when it entered into Statehood as the 45th State of the Union.



Collier's 1921 Utah.jpg
Copyright, L. L. Poates Eng. Co., 1921