Book traces West Valley City's story in photos

Published June 14, 2012 10:54 am
History • Community grew into Utah's second-largest city.
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West Valley City • Incorporated in 1980, this west-side suburb is still a relatively young city, but its history stretches back for generations.

And with the two previous West Valley City histories out of print, Mayor Mike Winder decided it was time for a new book that brings the community's story into the 21st century.

"So much has happened in our city since 1990," said Winder, noting that the last history of West Valley City ended at its 10th birthday.

West Valley City, part of the Images of America series published by South Carolina-based Arcadia Publishing, is slated to be released next week. Winder and the West Valley City Historical Society are the authors.

More than 200 photos track West Valley's history from 1848, when pioneers Joseph and Susanna Harker settled west of the Jordan River, to the 2011 ongoing construction of the new Granger High School and the groundbreaking of the half-billion-dollar Fairbourne Station project.

In between, there are pictures of other settlers, homes, farms, churches, stores and other businesses, cars, fields and dirt roads that eventually became major streets as West Valley grew to become the state's second-largest city.

The people, as well as the community's ethnic diversity, are showcased. Hunter's 1940s community baseball team — consisting of brothers and cousins of the prominent Rushton family — pose for a photo. Future Utah governor Norm Bangerter rides his tricycle in a 1930s shot. Members of the Muslim faith are shown at the Khadeej Mosque at the start of Ramadan, a lion dance is performed as part of a Vietnamese New Year celebration and dancers perform at a Native American Festival.

Others making an appearance in the book include members of the Winder family at the dairy they founded; Pete Harman, owner of the world's first Kentucky Fried Chicken; Ruth Hale, a founder of the Hale Centre Theatre; Metallica at a 2003 concert at USANA Amphitheatre (band members spent more than $200 at a local Burger King afterward); then-President Vicente Fox of Mexico, on a 2006 visit; and then-New York Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, on a 2008 campaign trip to the Utah Cultural Celebration Center on behalf of presidential candidate Barack Obama.

Winder, who describes himself as a "lifelong history junkie," said Arcadia Publishing approached him about doing the book and he accepted the offer because of his deep roots in the community.

"My children are the sixth generation to live on Winder Lane by the dairy," the mayor said. "I'm passionate about my city."

Sources for the photographs included the Historical Society; the Deseret News; the Utah State Historical Society; and Kevin Conde, of West Valley City's Office of Events & Special Projects, who has taken thousands of pictures of the community.

The previous published histories — which Winder used in his research — are Under Granger Skies: History of Granger 1849-1963, complied by Rosa Vida Bischoff Black and published in 1963, and 1993's Let's Do It: West Valley City's Official Early History: 1848-1990, by Salt Lake Tribune reporter Mike Gorrell.

WalMart and Hexcel Corporation have given grants to the Historical Society so the groups can buy copies of the books and sell them as a fund-raiser.


Twitter: @PamelaMansonSLC —

New publication

P A public reception to mark the publication of West Valley City by Mayor Mike Winder and the West Valley City Historical Society will begin at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday in the lobby of City Hall, 3600 S. Constitution Blvd. (2700 West).

Winder will be at book signings from 3 to 5 p.m. June 22 at Eborn Books in Valley Fair Mall, 3601 Constitution Blvd. in West Valley City, and 2 to 4 p.m. June 23 at Barnes & Noble at Jordan Landing, 7157 Plaza Center Drive in West Jordan.

The book is part of Arcadia Publishing's Images of America series and contains more than 200 photos of the community.



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