Magna is a census-designated place (CDP) and township in Salt Lake County, Utah, United States. The population was 22,770 at the 2000 census, a moderate increase over the 1990 figure of 17,829. Magna is home to the Kennecott Smokestack, the tallest free-standing structure in the United States west of the Mississippi River according to the Kennecott website.
Settlement of the area began in 1851 shortly after the Mormon pioneers reached the
One of the first Pleasant Green pioneers was Abraham Coon, who established a livestock ranch and settlement called “Coonville” in a canyon mouth at about 5400 South. The canyon is now known as
In 1897,the first LDS Ward, Pleasant Green Ward, was constructed. Prior to the construction of the ward house church was held in the homes of the settlers. The
In 1890, in response to a law requiring all children to receive a free education, a public school was built at about 4100 South 8450 West This one-room structure, and an existing brick and adobe building at 8600 West 2700 South were known as the District 47 Schools, containing all grades, and served the whole northwestern Salt Lake Valley.
In the early 1900’s, copper mining activity in the Oquirrhs began transforming the Pleasant Green area from an agricultural hamlet to an industrial community. D.C. Jackling established the Utah Copper Company, which later became Kennecott Copper Corp.
In 1906, the company began constructing its Magna Mill. He chose the name “Magna” from the Latin word meaning “great” or “superior.”
Boston Consolidated Copper constructed a second mill in the area in 1909. Two years later the companies merged and the mill was renamed as the Arthur Mill. Construction workers lived in a temporary settlement known as “Ragtown,” that was located north of the present
In 1906, the community's name was changed from "Pleasant Green" to "Magna" because postal officials were uncomfortable with the old name's similarity to Pleasant Grove, another community in
By 1909, the
At the time, automobile commuting to work was not practical, few mining workers had cars and cross valley roads were in marginal condition. Workers lived in the town and walked to the mills. Downtown Magna was scaled to the pedestrian. The area included churches, saloons, fraternal halls, and stores that met residents social, entertainment, and shopping needs. Several small neighborhoods, such as Japtown, Snaketown, and Little Italy developed around main street, all adding to Magna’s colorful history.
Many early residents were immigrants primarily from
Between 1915 and 1960, the town's fortunes fluctuated with the copper industry. During the depression, the mills shut down for a period and workers were laid off. But about 1940, there was resurgence as pending war boosted copper demand and that growth continued through the 1960's.
By the 1960s, the community was experiencing the first signs of a suburban transition. The Hercules Powder Co., once a small dynamite manufacturing firm, had begun producing rocket motors at its Baccus Works south of the Magna community. The increased jobs were one factor encouraging subdivision development in the Magna, Kearns and
In 1961, the voters in the Magna Improvement District (now the Magna Water and Sewer District) approved a bond that financed a sewage treatment plant, water storage tanks, pumps and well development. The improvements created sufficient capacity to serve more than double the population at the time and helped open the way for development.
Not only did Magna's population begin shifting southward during the 1960s, but also automobile commuting, both to work and shopping, became common. As business activity moved to other areas,
During the 1970s, as part of a general west valley suburbanization trend, the community experienced more dramatic growth. Inexpensive land south and east of the historic town center began being developed into moderate priced single-family homes. The new neighborhoods trended to attract middle-income working class couples with younger families. While the community had grown from approximately 8,900 in 1960 to 10,000 in 1970, between 1970 and 2000, population has increased to over 23,000. This increase is about double the countywide growth rate.
For many decades, Magna has maintained its status as one of
The process for Magna to become a township took over 10 years. Growth and development continue to define Magna. The west bench plan will have a major impact on the future of Magna.