Salt Lake City history begins in the year 1847 as far as the city's Mormon roots are concerned. Before the arrival of the Mormons, who migrated West to escape persecution in the Midwest, various Native American tribes inhabited the modern-day Salt Lake City area, and they maintained a consistent presence for thousands of years. The first white explorer to set foot in the area is believed to have been a mountain man and trapper named Jim Bridger, and he reportedly arrived in the year 1825. Other white explorers passed through Utah prior to Bridger's arrival, though none made any references to the Great Salt Lake and the surrounding valley. Bridger befriended a number of high profile people in the early days of the West, including Army Officer John C. Fremont, who would eventually come to survey the Salt Lake Valley between the years of 1843 and 1845.
The history of Salt Lake City Utah is a very interesting one, and as far as settlement is concerned, it was the Mormon pioneers that arrived in 1847 who first laid down permanent roots. It is worth noting that one year before the Mormon pioneers arrived in modern-day Salt Lake City, the doomed Donner Party passed through. This group of American pioneers met considerable trouble in the Sierra Nevada highlands on their way to California, and only 48 out of the 87 total members survived to make it to the final destination. As for the Mormons, they were led by the legendary figure of Brigham Young, who assumed leadership of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints after founder Joseph Smith was killed in Carthage Illinois in 1846. The Mormons were persecuted pretty much ever since the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints was established in 1830, and this led to varying attempts to find a promised land. Salt Lake City would become that promised land.
Between the years of 1846 and 1869, tens of thousands of Mormon pioneers took to what is now called the Mormon Trail in an attempt to reach the then new settlement of Salt Lake City. The trail stretches all the way from Nauvoo Illinois to the Salt Lake City Valley, and while the exact same routes weren't always taken by the Pioneers, the pre-existing tracks were most commonly used. As you might imagine, the trek along the Mormon Trail was no easy pursuit. In addition to having to walk hundreds of miles, most of the pioneers also had to deal with the elements. Dust clouds and thunderstorms were just two natural phenomena to contend with, and during the summer months, the heat was often oppressive. Many Mormon pioneers recorded their experiences along the Mormon Trail in diaries and letters, offering insight into the allegiance that they had to their religion and their leaders' ideals.
The Mormon history of Salt Lake City Utah is exhibited through a number of fantastic attractions, and there are a few museums around town that offer insight into the Mormon Church and its story. Not long after the Mormons arrived in 1847, they established the famed Temple Square, which remains the heart of the city and the base for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. Work on the beautiful LDS Temple that can be found on the square started in 1853 and didn't end until 1893.
The Mormon Tabernacle, which was completed in 1867, is one of the other main attractions at Temple Square, as is the Beehive House, which was built in 1854 and formerly served as the home for Brigham Young and his family. While it is not found downtown, another landmark that you might want to visit if you are interested in the Mormon history of Salt Lake City Utah is the This is the Place Monument. This monument at Heritage Park to the east of town honors famous Mormon figures and features a display that depicts pioneers making their way along the Mormon Trail.
Salt Lake City history sees the arrival of non-Mormon groups of people in the 1850s, thanks largely in part to the California gold rush, and from 1869 on, due to the completion of the Transcontinental Railroad. The Mormons, however, remained the dominant entity, and when the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints decided to end the practice of polygamy in the 1890s, it paved the way for Utah becoming a state in 1896. Salt Lake City was named the capital, and it continues to serve that illustrious role to this day.
Many Salt Lake City visitors come to learn about Mormon history and to see all the great attractions that relate to the Mormon Church. The city's tourism is also based largely around outdoor recreation, thanks largely in part to the nearby mountains and mountain resorts. For anyone who is interested in Salt Lake City history, it is worth noting that the city hosted the 2002 Winter Olympics. This is a testament to how good the winter sports opportunities are, and there is no shortage of fun things to do in the warmer months as well.