History of Tooele
About 30,000 people reside in
our community and we are prepared to meet the challenges of the
21st Century. Tooele City, a Utah community, is nestled at the
foothills of the Oquirrh Mountains. It is located about 35 miles
southwest of Salt Lake City. Even though the origin of the name
"Tooele" has been disputed for decades, everyone agrees
that we have a rich, colorful history. Four significant eras capsulize
the rich history of Tooele City:
About 100 Goshute Indians lived in Tooele Valley when Capt. Howard Stansbury surveyed the region for the U.S. Army in 1853. The Goshutes - who were said to "have no friends and few enemies" - lived primarily off of berries, seeds, jack rabbits, deer and insects. Their homes were of cedar, brushes, caves or dugouts, and their clothing was made of rabbit or deer hides.
On Sept. 4, 1849, three Mormon pioneer families settled on a small stream south of present Tooele City. A few months later four men obtained timber rights from Small Canyon (today's Middle Canyon) and Big Canyon (Settlement Canyon). Tooele City Corporation was formed in 1853. -----Tooele was primarily an agricultural community and grew to a population of about 1,200 at the turn of the century. Many of the prominent families who settled Tooele have descendants living in the area. Like their ancestors, these families play an integral role in building our community.
Tooele transformed into an industrialized city during the first half of this century and the population increased to 5,000 people by 1930. The transformation was boosted by the construction of railroads and the opening of the International Smelting and Refining Company, east of Tooele. The Tooele Valley Railroad, a seven mile line, ran from the smelter west to the Union Pacific Railroad main line. In the eastern section of Tooele, "Newtown" was built for many of the 1,000 smelter workers. Families from the Balkans, Italy, Greece, and Asia Minor lived in this area and formed their own community. Newtown included its own school, church, culture and numerous languages.