Utah History Timeline

Important Dates, Events, and Milestones in Utah History


Offers a chronological timeline of important dates, events, and milestones in Utah history.

Between 600- 1300, the two Native American groups, the Anasazi and Fremont reside in the region. Corn, beans, and squash are cultivated. The Anasazi also domesticate the turkey as a source of food.

At Four Corners, in the southeast, Utah meets Colorado, New Mexico and Arizona at right angles, the only such meeting of states in the country. Utah became the 45th member of the union on Jan. 4, 1896

18th Century Utah History Timeline

1776 - Fathers Silvestre Velez de Escalante and Francisco Atanasio Dominguez seek a new route from New Mexico to California and explore Utah.

19th Century Utah History Timeline

1821 - Mexico wins independence from Spain and claims Utah.

1824 - General William H. Ashley sends trappers to northern Utah and Jim Bridger discovers the Great Salt Lake.

1826 - Jedediah Smith leads the first overland expedition to California.

1832 - Antoine Robidoux builds a trading post in the Uintah Basin.

1841 - Capt. John Bartleson leads first wagon train of settlers across Utah to California.

1843 - John C. Fremont and Kit Carson explore the Great Basin.

1844-45 - Miles Goodyear builds Fort Buenaventura.

1847 - First party of Mormon pioneers arrive in the Salt Lake Valley.

1848 - US wins Mexican War and the Treaty of Guadalupe-Hidalgo is signed which cedes Utah to the United States.

1849 - Constitutional convention proposes the State of Deseret which encompasses the entire Great Basin.

1850 -

  • US Senate passes a bill providing for the organization of Utah Territory (rejecting the name Deseret and shrinking its borders).
  • University of Deseret (later University of Utah) is chartered).
  • The Deseret News starts in June.

1852 - LDS Church authorities publicly acknowledge the doctrine of plural marriage.

1853 -

  • LDS Church begins the construction of the Salt Lake Temple.
  • The Walker War with the Ute Indians begins over slavery among the Indians.

1854 - Grasshopper plagues endanger crops.

1856-1860 - Handcarts are used by the pioneers traveling to Utah.

1857-1858 - Brigham Young is removed as governor by President James Buchanan who sends a 2,500-man military force to accompany the new governor Alfred Cumming to the territory, starting the Utah War.

1861 - Telegraph joins in Tooele County.

1861-1862 - Third movement for Statehood begins in December 1861.

1863 - Discovery of silver and lead in Bingham Canyon.

1865-1868 - Ute Black Hawk War last major Indian conflict in Utah.

1869 -

  • Completion of the world's first transcontinental railroad was celebrated at Promontory where the Central Pacific and Union Pacific Railroads met on May 10, 1869. It is now known as Golden Spike National Historic Site
  • First non-Mormon church building in Utah (Church of the Good Samaritan) in Corinne is constructed.
  • John Wesley Powell explores the Colorado River.

1871 - Dedication of First Catholic Church in Utah (St. Mary Madeleine).

1873 - Poland Act passed in Congress making it legal to prosecute Mormon for practicing polygamy.

1875 - Holy Cross Sisters open Holy Cross Hospital their first hospital in the U. S.

1879 - First telephone service established in Ogden.

1882 - Edmunds Act passed by Congress making it unlawful to cohabitate.

1887 - The Edmunds-Tucker Act is passed by Congress.

1890 - LDS Church President Wilford Woodruff issues the Manifesto ending church-sanctioned polygamy.

1891 - B'Nai Israel Temple dedicated in Salt Lake City.

1896 -

  • Utah becomes the 45th state on January 4 and Heber M.
  • Wells is inaugurated as the first governor.

20th Century Utah History Timeline

1906 - Open pit copper mining starts in Bingham Canyon.

1909 - Discovery of Rainbow Bridge.

1911 - Strawberry Reservoir is completed.

1914 - Auto racing begins on the Bonneville Salts Flats near the Great Salt Lake.

1915 - State Capitol is completed.

1919 -

  • Zion National Park is created.
  • First Salt Lake Chapter of the NAACP founded.

1928 - Bryce Canyon National Park is established.

1942-1945 - Topaz (Japanese-American Relocation Camp) operates near Delta.

1943 - Geneva steel plant begins operation in Utah County.

1952 - Six-mile Duchesne Tunnel is completed for irrigation.

1956 - Congress creates Colorado River Storage Project.

1964 -

  • Flaming Gorge Dam on the Green River is dedicated.
  • Arizona's Glen Canyon Dam creates Lake Powell the nation's second largest artificial lake.

1965 - Canyonlands National Park is opened.

1980 - The 4th Fighter Squadron at Hill Air Force Base, also known as the Fightin' Fuujins, became the US Air Force's first operational Tactical Fighter Squadron in March 1980. The squadron's nickname, "Fuujin", refers to the Okinawan god of wind.

1985 - Jake Garn, is first US Senator to fly in space.

1995 - Salt Lake City is announced as the site for the 2002 Winter Olympics.

1996 -

  • Overcrowded highways along the Wasatch Front force the governor and Legislature to address raising taxes to pay for rebuilding of I-15 in northern Utah in time for the 2002 Winter Olympics.
  • Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument is created by President Clinton.
  • Utah celebrates its 100's birthday of Statehood. The year is filled with parades, balls, county histories and other activities to celebrate Utah´s entrance into the Union.

1997 -

  • Utah celebrates its Sesequentennial anniversary (150 year) since the Mormon pioneers entered the Salt Lake Valley. This event included a variety of local activities plus the reenactment of the pioneer wagon trail from Winter Quarters to the Salt Lake Valley.
  • The $1.325 billion bid is awarded to Wasatch Constructions to reconstruct 17 miles of I-15, the main corridor around Salt Lake City.

1998 - Sen. Bob Bennett, R-Utah is named chairmen of the new Senate Select Committee on the Year 2000 Technology Problem.

1999 - On August 11 a tornado ripped through downtown Salt Lake City doing over $100 million of dollars in damage.

21st Century Utah History Timeline

February 8-24, 2002, Salt Lake City will host the XIX Olympic Winter Games. Along with more than 2,000 athletes from 85 nations, the world will share in the drama and excitement of 75 medal events in 10 different sports.

2003 - Kidnapped teenager, Elizabeth Smart, found alive in Salt Lake City, abductors arrested

2004 - Nasa space capsule, Genesis, carrying captured particles blown off Sun, crashed to Earth in Utah desert after parachutes failed to open

2007 -

  • Gunman opened fire in crowded shopping center in Salt Lake City, killed five
  •  Six coal miners trapped in collapse of mine, three rescue workers killed

2012 -

  • Canadian freestyle skier, Sarah Burke, died in training accident at Park City
  • Mormon Church apologized for posthumously baptising parents of Nazi-hunter Simon Wiesenthal

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