Murray, Utah facts for kids
Murray City Hall
Location in Salt Lake County and the state of Utah.
|Incorporated||January 3, 1903|
|Named for||Eli Houston Murray|
|• Total||9.6 sq mi (24.9 km2)|
|• Land||9.6 sq mi (24.9 km2)|
|• Water||0.0 sq mi (0.0 km2)|
|Elevation||4,301 ft (1,311 m)|
|• Density||3,703/sq mi (1,430/km2)|
|Time zone||MST (UTC-7)|
|• Summer (DST)||MDT (UTC-6)|
|ZIP codes||84107, 84123, 84117, 84121|
|Area code(s)||385, 801|
|GNIS feature ID||1443742|
Murray (// or local //) is a city situated on the Wasatch Front in the core of Salt Lake Valley in the U.S. state of Utah. Named for territorial governor Eli Murray, it is the state's fourteenth largest city. According to the 2010 census, Murray has approximately 46,746 residents. Murray shares borders with Taylorsville, Holladay, South Salt Lake and West Jordan, Utah. Once teeming with heavy industry, Murray’s industrial sector now has little trace and has been replaced by major mercantile sectors. Known for its central location in Salt Lake County, Murray has been called the Hub of Salt Lake County. Unlike most of its neighboring communities, Murray operates its own police, fire, power, water, library, and parks and recreation departments and has its own school district. While maintaining many of its own services, Murray has one of the lowest city tax rates in the state.
Thousands of people each year visit Murray City Park for organized sports and its wooded areas. Murray is home to the Intermountain Medical Center, a huge medical campus that is also Murray’s largest employer. Murray has been designated a Tree City USA since 1977.
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Before being permanently settled by Mormon pioneers in 1848, the area where Murray City is located was a natural area that served as the seasonal home of Paiute, Shoshone, and Bannock Native American tribes. The tribes camped along local creek banks and stream beds during their migrations. Artifacts of Native American encampments have been located along the Jordan River, including camps near Willow Pond Park.
At what was known as the “big bend” of the Jordan River (near 4984 South 700 West Street), the Goshute Indians from Skull Valley made their camp. This was made every spring on the way to their hunting ground at the headwaters of the Bear River. On their return in the fall, they also stayed for a week and traded with white settlers. Early settlers recorded that they generally traded buffalo robes, deer skins, dried meat and tallow.
A new settlement
Mormon pioneers came into the Salt Lake Valley in 1847. A pioneer group that was called the Mississippi Saints arrived one year later and began to develop a scattered settlement in the south end of the valley that fall. The area was distinguished by various names, such as the Mississippi Ward, Cottonwood, Big Cottonwood and South Cottonwood. Written history states that at least 20 families were living in the South Cottonwood area in the 1860s.
When the first pioneer families settled in the South Cottonwood area in the fall of 1848, they selected the low or bottom lands along the streams of Little Cottonwood Creek and Big Cottonwood Creek. They found an abundance of grass for their cattle and horses there. It was easy to take the water from the streams for irrigation of farm crops. The higher bench lands were covered with sagebrush and produced very little grass. Because of the labor and difficulty in getting water to them, they were left, for later settlement.
There was a strip of high bench land, completely surrounded by low land north of what is now Vine Street and 5600 South Street. Before and after the advent of the pioneers, this land was used by the Ute Indians as a camping ground. This is because water and grass could be obtained on either side of it and enemies could not approach without being seen long before coming to the high ground. This area would become the present-day Murray City Cemetery. The early settlers mutually agreed that no individual should fence or take title to it, but that it should be set aside and considered as belonging to South Cottonwood Ward.
In 1853, when teamsters commenced to haul granite rock from Little Cottonwood Canyon to the Salt Lake Temple construction site, a dirt path was made along what is now Vine Street. The east side of the road (at the northeast corner, where the Stillwater Apartments now stand) became a halfway camping ground for the teamsters. The first building in the Salt Lake Valley outside of Salt Lake City erected for the purpose of religious and educational instruction was built on present-day Gordon Lane, and is commemorated with a monument from the Sons of the Utah Pioneers.
In 1858, during the so-called Utah War, Albert Sidney Johnston’s army of the Utah Expedition passed through western Murray after camping on the "flats" above the North Jordan farms. Its large livestock herd reportedly ate everything to within an inch of the ground. General Johnston, who was crossing James Winchester’s property (now present-day Murray Parkway Golf Course), advised Winchester to pursue a homestead patent. In 1870 James Winchester entered the first homestead of the entire Intermountain West.
The Pony Express traveled through central Murray, along what is now State Street. The Utah Pony Express Station Number 9 was located near present-day 6200 State Street and was called "Travelers' Rest", but the accommodations were meager, consisting of a stable and one-room bunk house. The Overland Stagecoach later made use of Travelers' Rest during its period of operation. The Sons of Utah Pioneers erected a monument at 7200 State Street in Midvale commemorating the station.
The area remained agricultural until 1869 when a body of ore was found in Park City, Utah, and additional ore deposits were found in Little Cottonwood Canyon. Because of Murray's central location and access to the railroad, the first smelter was built there in 1870 and Murray became home to some of the largest smelters in the region over the next 30 years.
The first official post office was established in 1870 as the South Cottonwood Post Office. The area changed over time as the railroad came in, smelting expanded, the territorial road (later known as State Street) was established, and trolley transportation was developed. A business district also began to develop along the transportation corridor. (See also Murray Downtown Historic District and Murray Downtown Residential Historic District.)
The army established Camp Murray in 1885 to house several companies of the Ninth Infantry Regiment. The army camp was meant to help protect the railroad and provide training. The short-lived camp's most notable action was when General Alexander McDowell McCook and six divisions of the camp were ordered to escort Chinese nationals out of Evanston, Wyoming, due to the race riots that were happening among miners in Rock Springs, Wyoming. The camp was disbanded in the early 20th century.
The city received its present name from the post office, which had officially changed its name from South Cottonwood Post Office to Murray Post Office in 1883, after the Civil War general, Eli Murray, territorial governor of Utah from 1880 to 1886.
After a riot and fire were started by a rowdy group of smelter workers in a local saloon, a local newspaper editor began agitating for the settlement to be incorporated. The final incorporation committee drafted a petition in 1901 and created an intense campaign on both sides of the incorporation battle. An incorporation election was held on November 18, 1902. Those in favor won, and C.L. Miller was elected Mayor by a margin of three votes. Salt Lake County recognized the election results as official on November 25, 1902, and the city was officially recognized as a Third Class City by the State of Utah on January 3, 1903.
Center of industry
Murray’s central location in Salt Lake Valley made it a convenient location for industry. Construction of the Woodhill Brothers' smelter in 1869 initiated Murray's industrial history. In 1870, Murray produced the first silver bars smelted in Utah. In 1899, American Smelting & Refining Company (ASARCO) was organized by combining the Germania and Hanauer smelters. The smelters continued to dominate the local economy until the close of the ASARCO lead smelter in 1949. Business and commercial enterprise prospered along with the smelter industry. Murray's industry would later include a water plant, lighting system, canning factory, flour mills, and brickyards. Many of those employed at the Franklyn and Germania smelters were immigrants from Scandinavian countries who had joined the LDS church in their homeland and moved to Utah; most spoke little English. The Scandinavian population settled in the area west of State Street and was large enough to hold separate LDS services in the Swedish language. (See Murray LDS Second Ward Meetinghouse). The Scandinavians eventually dispersed, and with the exception of their meetinghouse, few ethnic reminders remain in this section of Murray. Joe Hill, the Industrial Workers of the World labor activist came to Murray in 1914 to rally laborers working at the smelters and nearby mines. He was arrested for a double homicide in Salt Lake City while recovering from a gunshot wound at the Murray home of Edward and John Eselius, that was located on 4800 South (then known as 17th South St.) and Plum Street.
"Bergertown", a cluster of homes south of 4800 South Street on Little Cottonwood Creek, was settled by Swiss immigrant Christian Berger prior to the town's industrialization. Simple small two-room frame houses without paint and running water characterized this side of town. Bergertown quickly became an immigrant enclave, as the population were mainly employees of the smelters. A few original homes remain among modern retail establishments.
Murray's industry suffered greatly in the 1930s depression. The smelters began to close in 1931, and major industry had nearly vanished by 1940. Murray was quick to take advantage of various federal projects to compensate for this economic loss. In 2000, to avoid designation as a Superfund site, the landmark ASARCO Smelters were imploded, and Intermountain Healthcare purchased the site for its Intermountain Medical Center. As landmarks, the smelters are remembered in Murray City’s logos and trademarks.
Post-World War II to present
With the demise of heavy industry prior to World War II, and the advent of the Interstate Freeway System in the 1950s, Murray became a major retail hub due to its central location. State Street is dominated by automobile dealerships, where auto magnate, Larry H. Miller, purchased his first dealership May 1, 1979, as Larry H. Miller Toyota.
Fashion Place Mall was constructed in the 1970s. It is now a major mercantile center which saw major renovation and expansion in the first decade of the 21st century.
Cottonwood Hospital opened in the 1960s, receiving numerous recognitions. Replaced by Intermountain Medical Center (IMC) in 2007, it spawned The Orthopedic Specialty Hospital (TOSH) in the 1990s.
As part of the construction of the Utah Transit Authority’s (UTA) TRAX light-rail line in the 1990s, three stations were built in Murray along the primary route (the Blue Line). The Fireclay Housing Project received national recognition for its use of creating development around the Murray North station as a Transit-Oriented Development (TOD). Murray’s Fashion Place West station is the junction for the Red Line (Mid-Jordan Line) light-rail spur. In 2012 FrontRunner commuter rail service was extended to the Murray Central station.
In the mid-2000s, people of the census-designated place (CDP), Cottonwood West, petitioned for annexation into Murray, increasing the population by 17,000, nearly one-third more than in the 2000 census. Murray’s eastern boundary, along 900 East, was extended as a result of the annexation to Van Winkle Expressway and Highland Drive, along the city borders of Holladay and Cottonwood Heights.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 9.6 square miles (24.9 km²), all of it land. Murray is located in the heart of the Salt Lake Valley. The city is nearly built out with a broad mix of commercial, residential and industrial uses. The topography is generally gentle, sloping westward from the nearby Wasatch Mountain Range toward the Jordan River, which is the terminal river feature in the Salt Lake Valley. Murray’s average altitude is approximately 1300 meters Above Sea Level, with the highest variation located near the border of Cottonwood Heights and lowest variation along the Jordan River near 4500 South Street.
Lying at the base of the Wasatch Mountains, and located approximately three miles to the east of Murray, in neighboring Holladay, is the Wasatch Fault. Liquefaction is a particular danger to Murray because of the close proximity of the Wasatch fault. Soil liquefaction potential, according to the Utah Geological Survey, estimates that the majority of Murray City is in either High or Moderate Liquefaction zones. City policies are in place to minimize the potential impacts on structures.
The Jordan River is the largest water feature within Murray. It traverses the western edge of Murray, where it eventually reaches the Great Salt Lake. Murray administers a trail and green area that borders the river through the whole city. Big Cottonwood and Little Cottonwood Creeks join the Jordan River within Murray City boundaries, following routes between properties, along streets, and through parks and open spaces. Significant wetlands adjoin the river and these two creeks.
Murray contains only small lakes. Willow Pond and Turner Pond are the largest natural lakes within the city limits. Willow Pond is the only lake that permits public access, and is stocked with fish. Several man-made lakes have been created in the Lynn Pett Murray Parkway and Mick Riley Golf Courses. Other lakes are small and are contained within Murray’s wetland areas.
|Climate data for Murray, Utah|
|Record high °F (°C)||61
|Average high °F (°C)||39
|Average low °F (°C)||25
|Record low °F (°C)||8
|Precipitation inches (mm)||1.58
Parks and recreation
Murray took advantage of various federal projects during the Great Depression to develop its Park System. The city actively sought federal money to refurbish its 22-acre Murray City Park and buildings and to purchase an additional twelve acres of fairgrounds. By 1939, Murray was the site of the annual Salt Lake County Fair. The county fair relocated from Murray Park, and the Fair buildings were replaced by a community recreation facility called the Park Center, with indoor swimming pools, indoor track, exercise facilities and gymnasium. Murray Park’s Ken Price Ball Park hosted the 2009 Babe Ruth League World Series and the 2012 Babe Ruth League World Series. Murray Park is adjacent to the Salt Lake County Ice Center that was utilized as a practice venue during the 2002 Olympic Winter Games.
There are several neighborhood parks, as well as the substantial Jordan River Parkway; a park system of natural trails along the Jordan River that includes pedestrian and equestrian trails, picnic areas, and canoe launches. The trails connect several significant city parks of Winchester, Walden Park, Germania Park, and Arrowhead. The parkway also has The Kennecott Nature Center, an environmental education center that is utilized by school districts.
Wheeler Historic Farm is located in Murray. Operated by Salt Lake County, the farm is a restoration of Henry J. Wheeler’s turn-of-the-20th-century dairy farm. The farm presents to the public the history of Utah family agriculture and rural lifestyle from 1890–1920, and gives historic demonstrations and exhibits.
Parks and recreation facilities in Murray
Salt Lake County managed facilities
- Mick Riley Golf Course- Two courses include an Executive and Par 3 course
- Salt Lake County Ice Center- Ice Skating and Hockey
- Jordan River Parkway- Natural trail and equestrian paths
- Woodstock Meadows Park- Natural area, pavilion, and playground
- Wheeler Historic Farm- Historical park and natural area
- Riverview Park- Tennis, shuffleboard, horseshoe pits, baseball complex
Murray City managed facilities
- Park Center- indoor pool, basketball courts, weight room, spin room, track
- Murray Aquatics Center- outdoor pool
- L. Clark Cushing Heritage Center- recreation center for senior citizens
- Lynn Pett Murray Parkway Golf Course- 18 Hole executive course
- Murray City Park- baseball stadium, softball stadium, soccer, rugby, arboretum, amphitheatre, playgrounds
- Arrowhead Park- picnic area and trailhead
- Germania Park- outdoor basketball, soccer, playground
- Grant Park- baseball complex, playgrounds
- Hidden Village Park- tennis, soccer, and playground
- Southwood Park- tennis, playground
- Walden Park- canoe launch, playground
- Willow Pond Park- fishing, baseball, soccer, playgrounds
- Winchester Park- canoe launch, natural area, playground
Murray's library exists outside the Salt Lake County library system, with which it has a lending agreement along with the Salt Lake City library system. The library started as one of the Carnegie libraries and came into existence on January 6, 1911. Murray would create an additional small library along with this one.
In 1992 Murray consolidated its two libraries into a new center that would permit it to have more books, include a small amphitheater for children, study spaces, and conference rooms. The historic Carnegie building on Vine Street would be preserved as a building for Mount Vernon Academy and be part of the Murray Downtown Historic District. The new library was further renovated in 2008, adding significant electronic media resources and Wi-Fi access throughout the building. It offers several reading clubs and children activities. In 2008 it created its "Deseret Voices" author series that brings local and regional authors to discuss their books.
Arts and culture
Murray is home to several professional and amateur performing-arts groups, notably, the Desert Star Playhouse, located in the historic Iris Theatre which is noted for its community-based plays and melodramas. The historic Murray Theatre hosts a variety of performing acts, primarily musical, throughout the year, and has hosted screenings for the Slamdance Film Festival. The city-sponsored Murray Park Amphitheatre produces plays in the outdoor setting of Murray Park during the summer.
The Murray Symphony Orchestra (MSO) is a community-based orchestra of professional and amateur musicians. The MSO is volunteer-based and receives funding from Murray City and Salt Lake County. MSO also features jazz and string combos.
The Ballet Centre in Murray features ballet performances, with training for children and adults. The Murray Arts Centre features ballroom dancing in addition to modern styles of dance on a daily basis, and has live big band and jazz combo accompaniment.
The Murray City Cultural Arts program was created in 1992 under the Parks and Recreation Department. Together, the Arts Advisory Board and the Cultural Programs Office have created year-round cultural activities including arts-in-education projects, workshops and camps, musicals, visual art exhibits and competitions involving over 5000 youth and adults annually. A summer and winter season, created together with local performing arts organizations, have been successfully operating since 1990. Murray Arts in the Park entertains over 13,000 patrons each summer.
Murray has several buildings and districts listed on the National Park Service's National Historic Register:
- Murray Downtown Historic District
- Murray Downtown Residential Historic District
- Wheeler Farm
- Murray Theater
- Desert Star Theater
- John P. Cahoon House (Murray Mansion)
- Murray LDS Second Ward Meetinghouse
- Warenski-Duvall Commercial Building and Apartments
At the 2000 census, there were 34,024 people, 12,673 households and 8,719 families residing in the city. The population density was 3,542.3 per square mile (1,367.0/km²). There were 13,327 housing units at an average density of 1,387.5 per square mile (535.4/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 91.56% White, 0.99% African American, 0.63% Native American, 1.83% Asian, 0.33% Pacific Islander, 2.77% from other races, and 1.89% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 7.49% of the population.
There were 12,673 households of which 34.1% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 53.3% were married couples living together, 11.3% had a female householder with no husband present, and 31.2% were non-families. 24.6% of all households were made up of individuals and 8.0% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.68 and the average family size was 3.24.
27.2% of the population were under the age of 18, 13.3% from 18 to 24, 28.6% from 25 to 44, 19.5% from 45 to 64, and 11.3% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 31 years. For every 100 females there were 95.7 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 92.8 males.
The median household income was $45,569, and the median family income was $51,482. Males had a median income of $35,636 versus $25,713 for females. The per capita income for the city was $21,094. About 5.5% of families and 6.3% of the population were below the poverty line, including 7.4% of those under age 18 and 4.3% of those age 65 or over.
Southern Murray contains the major interchange between Interstate 15, a ten-lane north/south freeway that divides Murray centrally, and Interstate 215, an auxiliary eight-lane freeway that roughly follows the southern boundary of the city. Interstate 15 provides two interchanges inside city limits at 4500 South (SR-266) and 5300 South (SR-173). Interstate 215 provides two interchanges at State Street (US-89) and Union Park Boulevard. State Street runs through central Murray through the Murray Downtown Historic District and passes by the main retail centers at 5300 South and the Fashion Place Mall. Van Winkle Expressway (SR-152) is a four-lane road that forms the eastern boundary of Murray, while 4500 South traverses the northern part of Murray and extends the length of Salt Lake Valley. 5400 South enters western Murray and then shifts northward one block to become 5300 South, which bears the honorary designation of Spartan Boulevard from Woodrow Street to State Street.
Historically, the railroad was vital to the development of Murray. In 1870 the railroad line was extended southward through Murray and was called the Utah Southern. The Rio Grande Western (RGW) railway came in the fall of 1881 and purchased the Alta lines which had been built earlier. RGW merged to form the Denver and Rio Grande Western Railroad which later created a depot in Murray. The Utah Northern Railway developed a key terminus in the late 19th century that connected mining operations from Park City and Bingham, and Murray’s industrial complex developed along that rail line. Utah Northern Railway and Oregon Short Line Railroad merged and were later acquired by Union Pacific Railroad.
Downtown Murray was accessible by trolley car, operated by the Utah Light and Railway, at the beginning of the 20th century. The trolley ran along State Street from downtown Salt Lake City to Murray. E.H. Harriman, president of Union Pacific and Southern Pacific Railroads, purchased Utah Light and Railway and continued its operation until the 1920s.
Murray is served by the Utah Transit Authority (UTA) bus system. Two lines of UTA's TRAX light rail serve Murray. The Blue Line connects Murray with Downtown Salt Lake City and Draper, while the Red Line connects with the University of Utah and the Daybreak Community in South Jordan. Both the Blue and Red Lines connect further north with the Green Line which provides service to West Valley City and the Salt Lake City International Airport (via Downtown Salt Lake City). Murray’s section of TRAX has three stations: Murray North Station located on Fireclay Ave (4300 South), Murray Central Station at 5200 South, and Fashion Place West Station. UTA's FrontRunner commuter rail opened for service in December 2012, extending Frontrunner from Pleasant View (on the north ) south to Provo. The FrontRunner South extension included a stop at Murray Central Station
In the media
- American Idol featured Murray and Murray High School for David Archuleta's homecoming during season 7's finale. Mayor Dan Snarr's distinctive handlebar mustache received notice from show host Ryan Seacrest.
- Tiffany filmed parts of her video "I Think We're Alone Now" at Fashion Place Mall, 49th Street Galleria and Murray Park.
- Walt Disney Productions filmed four movies at Murray High School: A few of the scenes from the wrestling movie Take Down (1978). Read It and Weep (2006), the auditorium scene of High School Musical (2006), and Minutemen (2008) Disney used the Murray High School for the 2008 reality TV show High School Musical: Get in the Picture.
Images for kids
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