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South Jordan, Utah

South Jordan, Utah
—  City  —
A prominent building inside a strip mall area
South Jordan City Hall
Two maps.  First map is a map of Utah with a colored in section in the middle representing where Salt Lake County is located.  Second map is a map of Salt Lake County has a colored in section in the southwest showing where South Jordan is located.
Location of South Jordan in Salt Lake County, Utah
Coordinates: 40°33′42″N 111°57′39″W / 40.56167°N 111.96083°W / 40.56167; -111.96083Coordinates: 40°33′42″N 111°57′39″W / 40.56167°N 111.96083°W / 40.56167; -111.96083
Country  United States
State Utah Utah
County Salt Lake
Established 1859
Incorporated November 8, 1935[1]
Named for Jordan River
 • Type council-manager
 • Mayor Scott Osborne
 • Manager John H. Geilmann
 • Total 22.1 sq mi (57.3 km2)
 • Land 22.05 sq mi (57.1 km2)
 • Water 0.08 sq mi (0.19 km2)
Elevation 4,439 ft (1,353 m)
Population (2010)[3]
 • Total 50,418
 • Density 2,278/sq mi (880/km2)
Time zone Mountain (MST) (UTC-7)
 • Summer (DST) MDT (UTC-6)
ZIP code 84095
Area code(s) 385, 801
FIPS code 70850[3]
GNIS feature ID 1432728 [4]
Website South Jordan City

South Jordan is a city in the U.S. state of Utah. The city lies in the Salt Lake Valley between the 9,000-foot (2,700 m) peaks of the Oquirrh Mountains and the 12,000-foot (3,700 m) peaks of the Wasatch Mountains and is part of the Salt Lake City metropolitan area. The Jordan River flows through the middle of the valley and the city has a 3.5-mile (5.6 km) section of the Jordan River Parkway that contains fishing ponds, trails, parks and natural habitat. Salt Lake County fair grounds and equestrian park, 67-acre (27 ha) Oquirrh Lake and 27 other parks are located inside the city. As of the 2010 Census, its population was 50,418.

The city was founded 18 miles (29 km) south of Salt Lake City along the banks of the Jordan River in 1859 by Mormon settlers. An agrarian town for most of its history, today it is a rapidly-growing bedroom community of Salt Lake City.[5] Kennecott Land, a land development company, has recently begun construction on the master-planned Daybreak Community for the entire western half of South Jordan. Daybreak could potentially double South Jordan's population. South Jordan is the first city in the world with two Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS) temples (Jordan River Utah Temple and Oquirrh Mountain Utah Temple). The city will has two TRAX light rail stops and will have one commuter rail stop on FrontRunner by 2012.




The first known inhabitants were members of the Desert Archaic Culture who were nomadic hunter-gatherers. From 400 A.D. to around 1350 A.D., the Fremont people settled into villages and farmed corn and squash.[6] Changes in climatic conditions to a cooler, drier period and the movement into the area of ancestors of the Ute, Paiute, and Shoshone, led to the disappearance of the Fremont people.[7] When European settlers arrived, there were no permanent Native American settlements in the Salt Lake Valley, but the area bordered several tribes – the territory of the Northwestern Shoshone to the north,[8] the Timpanogots band of the Utes to the south in Utah Valley,[9] and the Goshutes to the west in Tooele Valley.[10]

The only recorded trapper to lead a party through the area was Étienne Provost, a French-Canadian. In October 1824, Provost's party was lured into an Indian camp somewhere along the Jordan River north of Utah Lake. The people responsible for the attack were planning revenge against Provost's party for an earlier unexplained incident involving other trappers. Provost escaped, but his men were caught off-guard and fifteen of them were killed.[11]

  Early Mormon settlement

On July 22, 1847, an advanced party of the first Mormon pioneers entered the valley and immediately began to irrigate land and explore the area with a view to establishing new settlements.[12] Alexander Beckstead, a blacksmith from Ontario, Canada, moved his family to the West Jordan area in 1849, and became the first of his trade in the south Salt Lake Valley. He helped dig the first ditch to divert water from the Jordan River, powering Archibald Gardner's flour mill.[13] In 1859, Beckstead became the first settler of South Jordan by moving his family along the Jordan River where they lived in a dugout cut into the west bluffs above the river.[14] The flood plain of the Jordan was level, and could be cleared for farming if a ditch was constructed to divert river water along the base of the west bluff. Beckstead and others created the 2.5-mile (4.0 km) "Beckstead Ditch",[15] parts of which are still in use as of 2010.

Sunset over mountains
  Looking at the Wasatch Mountains

In 1863, the South Jordan LDS Branch was organized as a branch of the West Jordan Ward, giving South Jordan its name.[16] The Branch consisted of just nine families. A school was built in 1864 out of adobe and also served as the LDS Meetinghouse for the South Jordan Branch.[17] As South Jordan grew, a new and larger building was constructed in 1873 on the east side of the site of the present-day cemetery. It had an upper and lower entrance with a granite foundation using left-over materials brought from the granite quarry at the mouth of Little Cottonwood Canyon. The upper story was made of over-sized adobe bricks.[17] The main hall had curtains which could be pulled to section off the hall for classes. The meetinghouse also served as the "ward" school when it was held during the fall and winter months. It came to be known as the "Mud Temple", and was in use until 1908.[18]

In 1876, work was completed on the South Jordan Canal which took water out of the Jordan River in Bluffdale and brought it above the river bluffs for the first time.[14] As a result of the new canal, most of the families moved up away from the river onto the "flats" above the river which they could now irrigate. In 1881, the Utah and Salt Lake Canal was completed. It runs parallels to the west side of today's Redwood Road. With the completion of the canal system, greater acreage could be farmed, which led to the area's population increasing.[17]

  Twentieth century

In the late 1890s, alfalfa hay was introduced and took the place of tougher native grasses which had been used up to that point for feed for livestock. In good years, alfalfa could produce three crops that were stored for winter. Sugar beets were introduced to South Jordan around 1910. Farmers liked sugar beets because they could be sold for cash at the Utah-Idaho Sugar Company factory in West Jordan.[19] Sugar beet farming became so integral to the region, that the region's high school (Jordan High School) mascot was named the "beetdigger".

A big celebration was held on January 14, 1914, to commemorate the arrival of electrical power, the addition of a water tank and supply system for indoor pumping and a new park for South Jordan.[20] By the 1930s, the area needed a water tank to store water for residents living further west. The only way to get a federal grant was to incorporate and become a city.[21] Citizens voted to incorporate on November 8, 1935, and immediately issued bonds to obtain money for the water tank. The city was initially governed by a Town Board with responsibilities over parks, water and the cemetery. In 1978, the city moved to a mayor-council form of government and assumed local supervision of police, fire, road and building inspections from Salt Lake County.[22][23]

One of the worst school bus accidents in United States history occurred on December 1, 1938. A bus loaded with 38 students from South Jordan, Riverton, and Bluffdale crossed in front of an oncoming train that was obscured by fog and snow. The bus was broadsided killing the bus driver and 23 students.[24][25] The concern about bus safety from the South Jordan accident led to changes in state and eventually federal law mandating that buses stop and open the doors before proceeding into a railroad crossing.[26] The same railroad crossing was the site of many other crashes in the following years with the last deadly crash occurring on December 31, 1995, when three teens died while crossing the tracks in their car.[27] The crossing was finally closed, but not until crashes occurred in 1997[28] and 2002.[29]

Looking at a spire of a church coming up out of the trees
  Jordan River Utah Temple

In 1950, Salt Lake County had 489,000 acres (198,000 ha) devoted to farming.[30] But by 1992, due to increasing population, land devoted to farming had decreased to 108,000 acres (44,000 ha).[31] As a result of this urbanization, South Jordan's economy went from agrarian to being a bedroom community of Salt Lake City. Kennecott Land began a development in 2004 called Daybreak, which is a 4,000-acre (1,600 ha) planned community that will contain more than 20,000 homes and includes commercial and retail space.[32] In 1981, the LDS Jordan River Utah Temple was completed. In 2009, the LDS Oquirrh Mountain Utah Temple was completed and became the second temple to be built in South Jordan. The Oquirrh Mountain Utah Temple and the Jordan River Utah Temple are the only two LDS temples in the world located in the same city.[33]


A map showing the Salt Lake Valley. It shows the locations of the cities inside the valley with mountain ranges on either side of the valley.
  Map of the Salt Lake Valley

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 22.1 square miles (57 km2), of which, 0.08 square miles (0.21 km2), 0.34 percent, is water.[2] South Jordan is located in the southwestern portion of the Salt Lake Valley. The city lies between the Oquirrh Mountains to the west, West Jordan to the north, the Jordan River and Sandy to the east, Draper to the southeast, Riverton to the south, and Herriman to the southwest.

The relative flatness of South Jordan is due to lacustrine sediments of a pleistocene lake called Lake Bonneville. Lake Bonneville existed from 75,000 to 8,000 years ago and its peak some 30,000 years ago, the lake reached an elevation of 5,200 feet (1,600 m) above sea level and had a surface area of 19,800 square miles (51,000 km2).[34] The elevation of South Jordan ranges from approximately 4,300 feet (1,300 m) near the Jordan River in the east and rises gently to the foothills of the Oquirrh Mountains at 5,200 feet (1,600 m).[35] A notable exception is a bluff at the western edge of the Daybreak Community which is an old sandbar of Lake Bonneville.


Historical populations
Census Pop.
1940 869
1950 1,048 20.6%
1960 1,354 29.2%
1970 2,942 117.3%
1980 7,492 154.7%
1990 12,220 63.1%
2000 29,437 140.9%
2010 50,418 71.3%

As of the 2010 census, there were 50,418 people residing in 14,333 households. The population density was 2,278 people per square mile (880/km²). There were 14,943 housing units at an average density of 675.3 per square mile (260.8/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 91.5% White, 0.2% African American, 0.2% Native American, 2.6% Asian, 0.9% Pacific Islander, and 2.4% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 6.0% of the population. The racial makeup of Salt Lake County was 81.2% White, 1.6% African American, 0.9% Native American, 3.1% Asian, 1.4% Pacific Islander, and 1.9% from two or more races. Hispanic of any race was 16.4%. The racial makeup of Utah was 92.9% White, 1.3% African American, 1.4% Native American, 3.3% Asian, 1.5% Pacific Islander, and 3.1% from two or more races. Hispanic of any race was 17.1%.[3][36][37]

There were 14,433 households out of which 46.8% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 76.5% were married couples living together, 6.6% had a female householder with no husband present, and 14.1% were non-families. 11.0% of all households were made up of individuals and 4.3% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 3.83 compared to 2.94 for Salt Lake County and 3.03 for Utah.[36][37]

In the city, the population was spread out with 37.8% under the age of 20, 6.0% from 20 to 24, 25.3% from 25 to 44, 21.7% from 45 to 64, and 7.1% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 29.9 years. For every 100 females there were 100.4 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 97.3 males.[36]

The median income for a household in the city was $91,199, Salt Lake County was $58,004 and Utah was $56,330. Males had a median income of $65,722 versus $41,171 for females. The per capita income for the city was $28,387. About 1.6% of families and 2.7% of the population were below the poverty line, including 2.7% of those under age 18 and 2.4% of those age 65 or over. In Salt Lake County, 10.3% of the population were below the poverty line and 10.8% of the population in Utah was below the poverty line. Of those people 25 years and older in the city, 96.8% were high school graduates compared to 86.8% in Salt Lake County and 87.7% in Utah. Those attaining a college degree were 36.4% of South Jordan's population. [37][38]

There were 22,368 people employed over the age of 16 with 17,258 people working in the private sector, 2,744 in the government sector, 1,186 self-employed and 32 unpaid family workers. The mean travel time to work of 23.8 minutes. There were 4,153 people employed in educational services, health care and social assistance. There were 2,862 people employed in professional, scientific, management, administrative and waste management services. There were 2,420 people employed in finance, insurance, real estate and rental and leasing. There were 2,316 people employed in retail trade, 1,633 in construction and 2,050 in manufacturing.[38]


For the year 2010, the city had 27 violent crimes reported to law enforcement, and 1,050 reports of property crimes.[39] The violent crime rate was 48 per 100,000 people compared to a national average of 404[40] and 213 for Utah.[41] The property crime rate was 1,858 per 100,000 compared to a national rate of 2,942[40] and 3,180 for the State.[41] The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) defines violent offenses to include forcible rape, robbery, murder, non-negligent manslaughter, and aggravated assault. Property crimes are defined to include arson, motor vehicle theft, larceny, and burglary.[42]

Statistics published by the Utah Department of Public Safety's Bureau of Criminal Identification showed a steady trend in the South Jordan crime rate between 2000 and 2008. The rate for index crimes, a group comprising the combined violent offenses and property crimes stated above, was 2,269 per 100,000 in 2000[43] and 2,277 per 100,000 in 2008. The 2008 rate for index crimes in Salt Lake County was 5,290 per 100,000 and 3,529 per 100,000 for the entire State of Utah.[44]

In 2010, South Jordan had a total of 57 total law enforcement employees for a rate of 1.13 employees per 1,000 residents. City police officers made a total of 910 arrests. Total crimes reported were 3,810. Total crimes contain 22 categories that include everything from murder, rape and assault to drug offenses, larceny and prostitution.[45]

  Parks and recreation

The city has 27 municipal parks and playgrounds ranging in size from 0.39-acre (0.16 ha) Bolton Park in the north-west part of the city to the 59-acre (24 ha) Riverfront Park along the Jordan River and the 80-acre (32 ha) City Park along Redwood Road. City Park includes baseball and softball fields, football, soccer, and lacrosse fields, volleyball courts, tennis courts and a skate park. Riverfront Park includes two fishing ponds stocked with rainbow trout and catfish by the Division of Wildlife Resources and 22 acres (8.9 ha) of natural habitat. Other recreational facilities owned by South Jordan City include the Aquatic and Fitness center, Community Center providing the senior programs, Mulligan's two miniature golf and two nine-hole executive golf cources and an outdoor ice skating rink next to City Hall.[46]

Sunrise over mountains in the background and a lake in the foreground
  Sunrise over Oquirrh Lake

Two trails meander through South Jordan. The Bingham Creek Trail starts in the northwest part of the city and travels 0.5 miles (0.80 km) North-East until it reaches the West Jordan border.[47] A 3.5-mile (5.6 km) section of the Jordan River Parkway trail runs through the city from northern edge of the city all the way to the southern edge. The trail has a combined bike and jogging path, plus an equestrian path.

Salt Lake County operates the 120-acre (49 ha) Equestrian Park that sits adjacent to South Jordan City Park. The park grounds contain a horse racing track, a polo and dressage field, indoor arenas and stables.[48] The Salt Lake County Fair is held every August at the park.[49]

The 67-acre (27 ha) Oquirrh Lake sits inside 137 acres (55 ha) of park and wetlands located at the Daybreak Community. Recreational opportunities include fishing, sail boating, kayaking and canoeing. The lake has been stocked with trout, bigmouth bass, channel catfish, bluegill, and fathead minnows. Of the fish they catch, anglers can only keep trout.[50] The lake and the surrounding park land are privately owned, but open to the public, with future plans to turn it over to South Jordan City. In addition to the lake, the Daybreak community includes 22 miles (35 km) of trails, community gardens, tennis courts, basketball courts, pocket parks and community-only swimming pools.[51]

Privately owned, but open to the public, Glenmoor Golf course is inside city limits.[52] Salt Lake County-owned Mountain View Golf Course is 0.3 miles (0.48 km) north in West Jordan[53] and Sandy-owned River Oaks Golf Course borders the Jordan River in Sandy.[54]


South Jordan has a council-manager form of government. The council, the city's legislative body, consists of five members and a mayor, each serving a four-year term. The council sets policy, and the city manager oversees day-to-day operations. As of January 2012, the mayor is Scott Osborne, and the city manager is John H. Geilmann. The city council meets the first and third Tuesdays of each month at 6:00 PM.[55]

Utah is one of the country's most Republican states[56] and South Jordan follows Utah's trend with only Republican elected officials. Jason Chaffetz, a Republican, represents South Jordan as part of Utah's 3rd congressional district of the United States House of Representatives. Chris Buttars, a Republican, represents South Jordan as part of the 10th Utah Senate District in the Utah Senate. Merlynn Newbold, a Republican, represents South Jordan as part of 50th Utah House District of the Utah House of Representatives.[57]


A circular opening to a building with chairs and tables out in front of the building
  Salt Lake Community College, Jordan Campus

South Jordan lies within Jordan School District. The district has six elementary schools, two middle schools (South Jordan Middle and Elk Ridge Middle) and three high schools (Bingham High School, Herriman High School and Itineris Early College High School) serving the students of South Jordan.[58] In addition, there is Paradigm public charter high school, Early Light Academy public charter elementary and three private schools (American Heritage, Mountain Heritage Academy and Stillwater Academy).

Salt Lake Community College's Jordan Campus is located on the boundary between of South Jordan and West Jordan. The Jordan Campus offers general education classes as well as all of the college's health science courses.[59][60] Jordan School District's Applied Technology Center and Itineris Early College High School are also located on campus.[61] Salt Lake Community College's Miller Campus is located in Sandy next to the border with South Jordan and is home to the college's Culinary Institute, Miller Business Resource Center for corporate training programs, and training facilities for the Utah Department of Public Safety.[62] The private universities in South Jordan are Neumont University, which offers courses in computer science[63] and the Roseman University of Health Sciences, which houses schools of pharmacy and dentistry.


Interstate 15, a twelve-lane freeway, is located on the eastern edge of the city and provides two interchanges inside city limits at 10600 South and 11400 South. Bangerter Highway (State Route 154), a six-lane expressway, traverses the center of the city with interchanges at 9800 South, 10400 South and 11400 South. The Mountain View Corridor, an eventual ten-lane freeway, will be located on the western edge of the Daybreak Community. Work began in the Spring of 2010.[64]

A light-rail train surrounded by tall buildings
  TRAX train in Salt Lake City

South Jordan is served by the Utah Transit Authority (UTA) bus system and UTA's TRAX light rail Red Line.[65] The Red Line connects the TRAX line running to downtown Salt Lake City and the University of Utah. Two TRAX stations, with park and ride lots, are located inside the Daybreak Community. The Daybreak North Station is located at approximately 10600 South and has 400 shared park and ride spaces. The Daybreak South Station is located at 11400 South and has 600 park and ride spaces. Two other stations are located inside West Jordan at the city boundary with South Jordan, the 5600 West Station and the 4800 West Station.[66] The travel time between the Daybreak South Station to downtown Salt Lake City is approximately 60 minutes.[67]

UTA's FrontRunner commuter rail system is set to be completed in 2012. There will be a station at South Jordan's eastern edge at 10200 South. When completed, Frontrunner will extended north to Ogden and south to Provo.[68]


Electric service to South Jordan residents is provided by Rocky Mountain Power. Natural gas service is provided by Questar Corporation. Qwest Communications handles local telephone service; long-distance service is available from several providers. Comcast and Qwest offers high-speed Internet connections.

South Jordan city owns the water distribution system. Drinking water is provided by Jordan Valley Water Conservancy District. Secondary water, a non-potable water used for landscaping, is provided from the canals running through the city. South Valley Sewer District owns and bills for the sewer system. South Jordan City contracts out to Allied Waste Industries for curbside pickup of household garbage; recyclables are picked up once a week.[55]

The Intermountain Riverton Hospital, owned by Intermountain Healthcare, is a 58-bed, full-service hospital in Riverton that also includes a satellite facility for Primary Children's Medical Center.[69] Jordan Valley Medical Center, owned by Iasis Healthcare, is a 183-bed, full-service hospital located in West Jordan.

  Notable residents

Current resident Apolo Anton Ohno[70] was a short track speed skating athlete. Ohno is the most decorated American Winter Olympic athlete of all time with eight medals.[71] Current resident Edward J. Fraughton is a sculptor of western themes and inventor. Fraughton invented technology used in Automatic dependent surveillance-broadcast (ADS-B). ADS-B is used for tracking and finding aircraft positions using satellites.[72][73]

Keven Curtis is a former resident who, as of 2010, is a wide receiver for the NFL Kansas City Chiefs. Curtis graduated from Bingham High School where he played football and basketball.[74][75] Denise Parker is a former resident who is a three time Summer Olympic competitor in Archery. Parker was the youngest member of the 1988 U.S Summer Olympic team at age 14 where she won a bronze medal.[76] As of 2010, Parker is Chief Executive Officer for USA Archery, the national governing body for the sport of archery.[77]


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