Beginning at the boundary line of Salt Lake and Davis counties and stretching east up the mountainside and west towards the Great Salt Lake sits the city of North Salt Lake. On its northern border the city meets Woods Cross and Bountiful.
In 1847 Brigham Young sent settlers north to find pastureland for cattle and to establish settlements. Among these people were the first homesteaders in North Salt Lake. As they left the Salt Lake area and traveled north, they found several steaming hot springs and ponds. These hot springs are still active on the southern boundary of the city. To the west flowed the Jordan River, and the land was swampy and covered with swamp grass. To the east the land slowly climbed up the tall grass-covered lower mountainsides. This grass sometimes hid a deep crevasse large enough to be of danger to cattle. Small natural springs found their way from the mountains into the grassy valley below. Many of the hillsides were rocky and sandy and not well suited for crops or cattle; however, they did produce several sand and gravel excavations.
The first homes built in the area were crude dugouts, which at least offered protection from the winter storms. Later homes were made of adobe, utilizing the natural clay deposits in the area. One of the first settlers of North Salt Lake, John Winegar, built his home of clay from deposits by the Jordan River. Because of the clay deposits, several brickyards were located in the area for a short time.
Animals of all kinds were raised in the area. A family named Schmidt raised pigs; Samuel S. Howard raised cows and in about 1879 began his own dairy, known as "Bountiful Dairy." Holbrook Dairy was later established near the Salt Lake County line and continued until the late 1950s. Products from Bountiful and North Salt Lake dairies were taken into Salt Lake City for sale.
Sarah Howard ran a store out of her home, and William Luker created a "Halfway House," a store-restaurant combination where travelers could refresh themselves. The trail along the edge of the hills and above the hot springs turned into a well-traveled road and later became U.S. Highway 89/91.
In 1895 Leary and Warren established a business called Salt Lake Union Stockyards which made cattle important to North Salt Lake. The stockyards were located near the railroad tracks. There was pastureland available and the convenience of the railroad for shipping. Cattle were shipped into the area and either shipped out again or slaughtered for market at one of the area slaughterhouses.
In 1916 Cudahy Meat Packing Company bought the Intermountain Ice Packing building on Center Street just below the railroad tracks. It became such a successful meat-packing plant that the street which is now Center Street was called Cudahy Lane. Cattle were shipped in and processed meats were shipped out to destinations all over the world. The plant was closed in 1972.
In 1930 most local residences and businesses were located below Highway 89/91. About sixty-five homes were on the hillside above. The main source of water was the natural springs that flowed out of the hillside. The area below the highway received water from the privately owned McDuff and McNeil springs located on the hills south on the Salt Lake-Davis County border.
In 1946 a developer purchased land on the hillside to build homes. In order to obtain water for his homes he made a purchase agreement with the owners of the McDuff and McNeil springs. This concerned the landowners below the highway since they were not allowed any additional water from the springs. Because of this concern, some of the citizens formed a committee to draw up a petition to form a town in order that control of the water system could be instigated.
On 3 September 1946 the Davis County Commission granted the area then designated, which was about 456 acres, status as an incorporated town. Chairman Amasa Howard of the county commission appointed Harold R. Howard, Jack Cummings, Alton Boggess, Harold T. Johnson, and David S. Betts as the town board.
North Salt Lake took its name from the name of the small post office at the railroad tracks. The old Utah Highway Patrol weigh station was purchased and used as the first town hall. There was only one political party at that time, the North Salt Lake Citizens Party. In 1949 the first election was held, selecting Ray Hatch as mayor of the town.
In 1958 a new municipal building was built on the corner of Main Street and Center Street. This building also housed a fire department for the town.
On 1 August 1961 the town of North Salt Lake became a third-class city with a population of 1,655. With a population of 6,474 in 1990, the City of North Salt Lake still foresees future growth in housing and industry. The city contains a large industrial center that stretches west of the I-15 freeway to the Great Salt Lake. In addition, residential growth is spiraling up the eastern hillside.
See: Daughters of Utah Pioneers, East of Antelope Island (1969).
Susan B. Day