Sandy is located at the base of the Wasatch Mountains thirteen miles south of Salt Lake City; Sandy was a likely area for early settlement. The area was first used by nomadic bands of Paiute, Shoshone, and Bannock Indians who roamed along the base of the mountains as they traveled from their winter home at Utah Lake to their summer fishing grounds at Bear Lake. Permanent settlers first moved into Sandy during the 1860s and 1870s because of the availability of land in the less crowded southern end of the Salt Lake Valley.
The original plat was essentially one square mile, situated on an alluvial terrace running north and south along the eastern edge of the Jordan River drainage system and paralleling the mountain range. Farmers willing to try their hand at the thirsty soil that inspired Sandy’s name took up land along State Street, which stretched from downtown Salt Lake City to Point of the Mountain. But it was mining that shaped Sandy’s first four decades. When silver mining began in Little Cottonwood Canyon, entrepreneurs recognized Sandy’s value as a supply station; soon its main street was lined with hotels, saloons, and brothels serving miners ready to spend their newly earned wages. Three major smelters were located in Sandy the Flagstaff, the Mingo, and the Saturn making Sandy the territory’s most significant smelting center for a number of years. Sandy was incorporated in 1893, largely as part of an effort to combat what Mormon inhabitants considered “unsavory” elements in the town. Due to its mine-based beginnings, Sandy was somewhat of a boom town, unlike the majority of other rural Utah towns. After incorporation, it was almost as if Sandy had redefined itself. Gone were the large numbers of single, transient men. By 1900 there were only a handful of saloons and hotels, and Sandy began to more closely resemble other rural Utah towns–a place where everyone knew everyone else.
Church, farming, business, and family formed the focus of the inhabitants’ world. In the late 1960s, however, this rural town dramatically changed course with its second boom. It had always been assumed by local leaders and citizens that Sandy would grow outward from its logical and historic center the nexus of Main and Center streets. However, population growth overwhelmed the physical center as neighborhoods spread out in every direction over the land. Sandy High School students originally attended Jordan High School, which was completed in 1913. In 1962 Hillcrest High School was completed, followed by Brighton in 1969 and Alta in 1978. Sandy students attend seven middle schools and over a dozen elementary schools. The community is served by a new modern library completed in 1991. Sandy’s major employers at the present are Alta View Hospital, Becton Dickinson/Deseret Medical, Economy Builders Supply, Jordan School District, MacManagement, Sandy City, Shopko, Wasatch Building Products, Inc., Western Rehabilitation Institute, Discover Card, and the South Towne Mall. The Sandy Historic District was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2006. Portions of the content on this web page were adapted from a copy of the original nomination document.
The Sandy Historic District is located in the northeast section of Sandy, twelve miles south of Salt Lake City. The original square mile of the historic city is contained within its boundaries. The Salt Lake valley lies between the Oquirrh Mountains on the west and the Wasatch Mountains to the east. The entrances of Big and Little Cottonwood canyons with their historic mining areas are directly to the east of Sandy and those of Bingham Canyon across the valley to the west.
The UTA Salt Lake valley light rail system, TRAX, runs along a previously under-utilized railway corridor on a slight diagonal through the Sandy Historic District, and the “Historic Sandy” (9000 South) TRAX station is found in the district. The station itself is not historic but named after the oldest section of the city, the area of the Sandy Historic District. In a similar pattern to other towns in Utah, the majority of streets in the Sandy Historic District are laid out in an orthogonal grid. Sandy streets are narrower, however, and the blocks are smaller than the ten-acre blocks in Salt Lake City to the north. The street numbering in Sandy originally began at the commercial intersection of Main and Center Streets. There are four parks in the Sandy Historic District: Main Street Park, Bicentennial Park, Center Street Park, and Sandy Station Park. The Sandy Historic District runs along the east side of State Street on the west, along both sides of Pioneer Avenue (8530 South) on the north, from the north side of 9000 South on the south and 280 East to the east. To the east of 280 east, the district covers buildings on either side of the older streets of 8680 South, 8800 South and Locust Street between 280 East and 700 east. The boundaries of the Sandy Historic District have been drawn to encompass the highest concentration of historic buildings in Sandy. The Sandy Historic District is composed of residential, commercial, and institutional buildings from two primary construction phases based on the Sandy City multiple property submissions: “The Mining, Smelting and Small Farm Era c.1871-1910″ context and the “Agriculture, Small Business and Community Development 1906-1946″ context. (The historic district contexts established in this nomination vary only slightly from the MPS contexts.) There are 540 primary buildings and 170 outbuildings in the district. Single family houses constitute 92 percent of the structures with 11 or 4 percent multi-family residential buildings. The majority of the buildings in the Sandy Historic District, 266: 317 less 51 previously listed buildings), or 54%, and 135 of the outbuildings contribute to the historic character of the district. Out-of-period and altered structures are scattered throughout the area but overall the district retains its historic feeling and association. The oldest known extant buildings in the Sandy Historic District date from this era. Classical styles are found in the earliest Utah buildings from 1847 through 1890 and later. There are 14 buildings with elements of Classical styling identified in the Sandy Historic District. Their forms tend to be gabled with rectangular, symmetrical facades and smooth wall surfaces. House types associated with Classical styles are hall-parlors, cross wings and other relatively plain forms. Victorian eclectic styles were popular in Utah from 1885 to 1910 and 61 of the buildings in the Sandy Historic District use the then fashionable Victorian styles. Victorian Eclectic is the term used to describe a style that combines elements of related styles of the era such as Queen Anne, Italianate, Greek revival and Colonial Revival. They are characterized by asymmetrical facades, irregular massing, segmental arched window openings and patterned wooden shingles on the gable ends. The forms or types of the houses from this era found in the historic district are cross wings, central-block-with-projecting-bays, and central passage types. Some yards contain coops, barns or other buildings related to agricultural activities. Many small businesses built structures in this period. The Sandy City Bank (NR 7/9/1997) at 212 E. Main Street (8720 South) constructed its brick single story Second Renaissance Revival corner building in 1907.
The brick stucco-covered one-part block, historically known as Anderson’s Meat Market, at 115 E. Main Street (8720 South) has an angled recessed corner entrance, large display windows on both facades, and a stepped parapet. The Sandy Post Office at the corner of Main and Center Streets (123-9 E. Main Street) is a brick one-part block with sign panels, a stepped parapet roof visible on the sides and large plate glass display windows. Bungalows were the most popular house form in Utah in the first quarter of the twentieth century, and Sandy reflects the styling trends in the state with 55 examples of Bungalows in the Sandy Historic District. The characteristic rectangular footprint vernacular Prairie School-style Bungalows usually has a low-pitched hipped roof with wide eaves and a full-width front porch under the main roofline. There are 19 Period Revival cottages in the Sandy Historic District. They are mostly of brick with irregular, picturesque massing and steep front-facing cross gables with asymmetric facades. Period Revival styles are found in Utah from 1890 to 1940 with the greatest number of residential examples built between the wars. The World War II and post war years of the 1940s and 1950s saw the construction of World War II-era cottages and early Ranch houses in Sandy. There are 120 houses in the Sandy Historic District from this era. Most of the explosive population growth in Sandy has been outside of the historic district area although noncontributing and out-of-period buildings appear throughout the Sandy Historic District. Although there are noncontributing buildings in the district, the majority of buildings retains their integrity and contributes to the historic association and feeling of the area. There are 51 buildings within the Sandy Historic District that have been previously listed in the National Register of Historic Places. Because this was the original section of Sandy, the contexts of the historic district closely mirror those of the multiple property submission.
The district is significant because it comprises the original core of the city. The Sandy Historic District comprises the area initially laid out in 1873 as the town of Sandy, known as the “original square mile.” The history and early development of Sandy City was directly related to economic and social activities that occurred largely outside of the boundaries of Sandy City. Located twelve miles south of Salt Lake City, Sandy is at the crossroads of several mining districts, Bingham Canyon to the west, and the Big and Little Cottonwood canyons to the east. Sandy’s early history and economic development reflected the fortunes of the mining operations. Agriculture, primarily small farms, also existed in the city and, after the closing of the mines and the moving or closing of the smelters, agriculture enabled the city to survive into the twentieth century as Sandy transformed itself from a small mining-dependent town into a large suburban community at the southeast end of the Salt Lake Valley. The buildings of the Sandy Historic District are significant because they are the best concentration of historic buildings and depict the historical development of the city. The collection of buildings provides a good cross section of the architectural styles and types throughout the contextual periods. The concentration of the variety of resources of the historical plat clearly stands out in this now large city (much of the current geographic city boundary of Sandy is a result of post-1960 annexation of surrounding land). The historic district is a contributing resource to the city of Sandy. There was little settlement or civic activity in the Sandy area before the opening of the mines in the Little Cottonwood and Bingham Canyons in the late 1860s. Railroad access providing transportation for ore from the mines to smelters and sampling mills was a key to the growth of Sandy in this time period. In 1871 the Utah Southern Railroad was extended to Sandy providing a direct rail link to Salt Lake City. Due to its central location, a railroad station with rail connections to the mines of Bingham Canyon on the west and the mines of Little Cottonwood Canyon on the east was dedicated in 1873.
At that time in a survey of the 160-acre Sandy town site, the town had 60 buildings with a population of 250. The success of the mines in the 1870s and the allied operations of smelting and sampling provided industrial jobs for many in Sandy. A service economy grew up to supply the mines as well as providing housing and entertainment for the workers. There were three major smelters and three sampling mills established in Sandy in the 1870s and 1880s, making it a regional center for dealing with ore from the mines in the surrounding canyons. The Flagstaff smelter (440 E. 8680 South, demolished) and the Mingo (or Mountain Chief) opened in 1873 (demolished) and the adjoining Saturn in 1872 (demolished). Hans N. Bjork came to Sandy from Sweden with his two brothers and found a job in the Mingo Smelter. The Pioneer Sampling Mill (demolished) was located at approximately 8580-8680 South 150 East and built in 1874. One of its early managers, Arthur J. Gushing, moved to Sandy in 1880 with his wife, Ellen Major. By 1880 the population of Sandy was 488, almost doubling from the 1873 figures but presumably less than the boom in the mid-1870s. By 1900 it had increased to 1,632. Unlike other communities in Utah at the time that were predominantly Mormon, the population of Sandy included people of other, non-LDS religions. A frame Classical style Congregational Church (8831 South 220 East) was built c.1895 (demolished). The Mormons in Sandy tended to be connected with small family farms and businesses. The non-Mormons (or gentiles as they were known locally) were drawn to Sandy to work with aspects of the mining industry. The first community school was established in 1881 and the first LDS ward in 1882. By the 1890s the mines were beginning to fail and the end of that era changed the character and population of Sandy. The Mingo smelter closed in 1890 and its equipment was sold to the Germania smelter in Murray, two miles to the north. The period ended with the moving of the Bingham Canyon smelting operations to Garfield, near the Great Salt Lake, in 1906. Many of the non-Mormon population of miners and smelter workers left with the decline in the mining industry. As an example of the change in the composition of the town, by 1900 there were only four saloons left of the earlier seventeen establishments. As the mining and smelting operations failed or moved to other towns, small farms sustained Sandy. The Sandy economy diversified from its previous mining economy to that of agriculture and small businesses. The total population of Sandy changed very little between the censuses of 1900 and 1950, growing only from 1,632 to 2,095. During the 1950s the population swelled, bringing the total to 3,322 in 1960. Sugar beet and poultry production grew as well as the businesses that supported them. Local businesses turned to construction with brick, rather than frame, and a number of examples of the early brick commercial buildings are still extant. The Bateman Agriculture & Development Company built a brick early twentieth century commercial one-part block in 1910 at 198 East 8760 South (NR 8/8/96) to house its specialty store, on the site of the former Scott and Anderson Sampling Mill. Iconic photos of the store show George Bateman, paralyzed in a coal wagon accident in 1911, in his wheelchair outside the store. He was the son of the founder and managed the business, living with his family behind the store, until his death in 1938. Many residents combined agriculture and commerce, initially living on agricultural land and later moving to town. William W. Wilson, mayor of Sandy from 1912 to 1922, moved to Sandy in 1877 and had farm land to the east. He and his Swedish wife, Anna Outland, built their frame (now stucco) house in 1907 at 145 E. 8680 South. He served as vice-president and later president of the Sandy City Bank that was built the same year at the corner at 212 E. Main Street (NR 7/9/1997). The bank served businesses across the south end of the valley and showed the role of Sandy as a business center. In 1927 Wilson, after the death of Anna, built a striated brick Prairie School Bungalow for his second wife, Christine, down the street at 113. E. 8680 South. The mining industry continued to influence the population of Sandy, though providing jobs in smelters outside of Sandy for Sandy natives, rather than attracting immigrant workers. George Hansen was born here and worked as a smelter man and runner. He purchased the modest 1903 frame half-crossing at 93 East 8880 South in 1910 and lived there with his wife, Dora Goff, and family until 1919 when he sold to another smelter man, Rowland Hard castle, also a native of Sandy. Florence Marriott Radon was born in Sandy in 1882 and married Lafayette Radon who worked in the grocery and confectionery business as well as a watchman for the U.S. Smelting & Refining Company. Civic improvements helped create a community feeling for the city. The first Salt Lake City streetcar line was extended from Murray to Sandy in 1907, giving quick access to the capital city. The streetcar track came south along State Street and traveled east along Main Street. Lighting of public spaces grew as in 1913 Utah Power and Light installed over 100 streetlights. The Sandy City Post Office was brick one-part-block at 123 East Main Street built c.1914. Typical of early twentieth century commercial one-part blocks, it has a stepped parapet visible on the side walls and recessed sign panels on the facade.
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Sandy is a city in the Salt Lake City metropolitan area, located in Salt Lake County, Utah, United States. The population of Sandy was 87,461 at the 2010 census, making it the sixth-largest city in Utah. The population is currently estimated to be about 96,380 according to the July 1, 2019 United States Census estimates.
Sandy is home to the Shops at South Town shopping mall; the Jordan Commons entertainment, office and dining complex; and the Mountain America Exposition Center. It is also the location of the soccer-specific America First Field (formerly known as Rio Tinto Stadium), which hosts Real Salt Lake and Utah Royals FC home games, and opened on October 8, 2008.
The city is currently developing a walkable and transit-oriented city center called The Cairns. A formal master plan was adopted in January 2017 to accommodate regional growth and outlines developments and related guidelines through the next 25 years, while dividing the city center into distinct villages. The plan emphasizes sustainable living, walkability, human-scaled architecture, environmentally-friendly design, and nature-inspired design while managing population growth and its related challenges.