In 1848, Joseph Harker and his family crossed the Jordan River into what is now known as West Valley City. Following in Harker's footsteps, more pioneer families left Salt Lake City to go "over Jordan" and developed the farming communities that came to be known as Granger, Hunter, Redwood and Chesterfield.
The next century was marked by many improvements to the communities, including the paving of 3500 South in 1918, the formation of Granger-Hunter Improvement District in 1949, the community's first bank in 1956, the opening of Granger High School in 1958, and the establishment of the Granger-Hunter Chamber of Commerce in 1961. In 1980, the communities gathered together to incorporate as West Valley City.
Progress continued in West Valley City, and in 2002 the city hosted Olympic hockey during the Winter Games. Economic development as a result of the Olympics resulted in the construction of the E Center (now the Maverik Center) and the redevelopment of the entire area surrounding the arena.
Economic development has continued to be a priority for West Valley City's leaders. Business parks like Lake Park Corporate Center, West Ridge Commerce Park, Decker Lake Business District and Metro Business Park include corporate headquarters, regional offices and world-wide distribution centers for companies like Verizon Wireless, Frito Lay, Backcountry.com, United Parcel Service (UPS) and Discover Card. Economic development activities in the heart of the city include a complete redevelopment of Valley Fair Mall, and an all-new transit oriented development, Fairbourne Station.
West Valley City has long celebrated its cultural diversity. The 2010 Census Report estimated the size of the non-white community at almost 35 percent. Fulfilling the dream of former Mayor Gearld L. Wright, the city broke ground on the Utah Cultural Celebration Center in 2002, creating a space where cultures could come together to celebrate with one another.
Since opening, the Utah Cultural Celebration Center has hosted hundreds of cultural events including Scottish Festivals, Native American Pow Wows, the Utah Polynesian Festival, and an annual Day of the Dead celebration. The Center also hosts annual summer and winter concert series, numerous educational programs, world-renowned art exhibits and is home to one of only three Olmec Heads, gifted to the United States by Mexico.
Recreation opportunities abound in West Valley City. Two golf courses and more than 20 parks provide ample green space, while the 96,000 square foot Family Fitness Center and the Harman Senior Recreation Center provide recreation and fitness activities for all ages.
Today, West Valley City boasts a population of more than 145,000 residents, making it the second largest city in Utah. From the establishment of the Harker's first camp on the banks of the Jordan River to the development of a bustling center for business, recreation and entertainment, West Valley City is certainly living up to its motto, "Progress as promised."