Capital of Utah, seat of Salt Lake County, on the River Jordan, 605 km/378 mi northwest of Denver, Colorado; population (2000 est) 181,700. It is the commercial centre and world capital of the Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter-day Saints (the Mormon Church). Industries include service, government, and trade. Copper, silver, lead, zinc, coal, and iron mines are worked nearby. In 1995 Salt Lake City was chosen as the site for the 2002 Winter Olympic, and Paralympic, Games. It was incorporated in 1851 and became state capital in 1896, when Utah became a state.
History Salt Lake City was founded in 1847 by US Mormon religious leader Brigham Young and a group of Mormons escaping religious persecution. The city was named after the Great Salt Lake, which lies 18 km/11 mi to the northwest. It was laid out by Young in a grid system around the Temple Block. It passed to US sovereignty in 1848, and became the second capital of Utah Territory (after Fillmore) in 1856. Development was initially boosted by trade for people passing through to the California gold rush of 1849. During the Utah War 1857–58, US government troops established Camp Floyd, and Fort Douglas was built by the US government to discourage the Mormons from siding with the Confederates during the Civil War. The town expanded rapidly with the growth of the mining industry from 1863, and the completion of the Utah Central Railroad in 1870, which connected Salt Lake City with the Union Pacific.
Features The Family History Library houses the largest collection of genealogical data in the world (the Mormons believe in the baptism of their ancestors after death). The Great Salt Lake, lying at an altitude of 1,319 m/4,327 ft, has no outlet and a salinity of 20%; it is eight times saltier than the ocean, and the second-saltiest body after the Dead Sea. The city is also home to the Utah Museum of Fine Arts, Utah Museum of Natural History, Utah State Historical Society Museum, and the Fort Douglas Military Museum, which is housed in barracks dating from 1875. This Is The Place State Park commemorates the 1847 arrival of the Mormons and has a pioneer village.
Architecture The city is dominated by Temple Square, with the Mormon Temple (1893), the Assembly Hall (1882), and the Tabernacle (1867) (home of the 325-voice Tabernacle Choir). Beehive House (1854) and Lion House (1855) were owned by Brigham Young. The Cathedral of St Mark (1871) is the oldest non-Mormon church in the city. The State Capitol (1915), built of Utah granite and marble, is a fine example of Renaissance Revival architecture, with murals from the Depression depicting the history of Utah. The Union Pacific Railroad Depot dates from 1909. These buildings are among 207 entries on the national register of historic places.
Education The educational foundations of the city include the University of Utah (1850), a mining institute, the College of St Mary-of-the-Wasatch, Westminster Junior College, and the McCune School of Music and Art.
Winter Olympics 2002 The Federal Aviation Administration gave the Salt Lake City International Airport US$11.4 million for screening equipment that made it the nation's first airport to screen all bags for explosives. Security was increased for the event following the September 2001 terrorist attacks on the USA.
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