West Jordan was among the first settlements in Utah, succeeding the establishment of Salt Lake City. Its early history traces back in the latter part of 1849 after early pioneers began settling in the Salt Lake valley. The first unofficial land area of West Jordan comprised of the valley on the West side of the Jordan River and some parts of the east of the State Street.
Mormon pioneers saw some substantial similarities between the West Jordan and the biblical lands, which attracted them to the area. The biblical areas and West Jordan both have freshwater lakes and dead saltwater rivers. Due to the significant geological features of the lands, the south of the valley was named the Jordan Valley. Brigham Young further confirmed the idea and renamed the Utah River into the West Jordan River. Over time, it was changed to the Jordan River.
The families of Samuel Egbert, Marius Ensign, and Thomas Butterfield were the first inhabitants of the area we now know as West Jordan. New settlers soon inhabited the area, and in 1850, Archibald Gardner, along with his brother, constructed a canal to bring water from the Jordan River. The millrace provided power for the sawmill that they established the succeeding year. Soon enough, settlers began to cluster the area, and new enterprises and establishments were built. Tannery, woolen mill, and flour mill industries began to operate in the area. Some of the early settlers made shelters near the crest of the hill. The flour mill was burned to ashes but was rebuilt.
The first non-log chapel was constructed one hundred yards to the southwest of the flour factory. The chapel took years to complete, almost seven years, and was built to commemorate Brigham Young. The establishment was soon called the Rock Meeting House. It was used not only for church engagements but also for other activities. A grand ball was held in it to help complete its roof. The building was also used for social and school events. At present, the building remains almost the same as the pioneers first built it. The city of West Jordan has acquired the infrastructure but is run by the Daughters of the Utah Pioneers. The public can rent the place and hold their activities in it.
In 1872, a large community cooperative lobbied to start the establishment of canals to bring in water for the residents of the area. This resulted in early growth in farming, encouraged new settlers, and other developments.
In 1872, a large community cooperative lobbied to start the establishment of canals to bring in water for the residents of the area.
Some of the first airplane flights in the west happened in West Jordan, which began in 1909. L.R. Culver led these experimental flights six years after the Wright brothers flew Kitty Hawk. He began to construct a glider, followed by the making of the motor that powers the airplane. Culver’s most successful flight lasted for about twenty minutes and about fifty feet off the ground.
In terms of sports, some West Jordan boxers made a name in the national and international scene. One of the most notable fighters was Gene Fullmer, who won the World Middle Weight Boxing Championship twice.
In January 1941, the town of West Jordan was incorporated with a population of less than 2,000. The region began to grow in the latter part of the 1960s. It also became of the fastest growing communities in the nation. Its population grew to over 42,000 by 1990. There has been an economic diversity and growth in the area during those years. Commercial development has boomed along with the acquisition of community parks.