Kearns is a township and census-designated place (CDP) in Salt Lake County, Utah, United States. Named after Utah's U.S. Senator Thomas Kearns, it had a population of 33,659 at the 2000 Census. Kearns came into existence 1 May 1942 as a World War II United States Army Air Force training facility known as Kearns Army Air Base (also known as Kearns Center; redesignated: Camp Kearns, 1 January 1944). Construction of the base involved building airplane runways and hangars, with several taxiways and a large parking apron and a control tower. Several hundred buildings were also constructed and quickly assembled. Most base buildings, not meant for long-term use, were constructed of temporary or semi-permanent materials. Most support buildings sat on concrete foundations but were of frame construction clad in little more than plywood and tarpaper. The thousands of soldiers and airmen stationed there temporarily made the base one of the largest cities in the state. On 15 August 1946 the Air Force inactivated the base, and turned the facility over to the State of Utah. The presence of roads and other infrastructure made the area attractive to developers. Houses and business sprang up rapidly on what had just a few years earlier been farmland. Today only two buildings remain of the former Air Base. The airfield part of Kearns Army Air Base today is known as South Valley Regional Airport.
The Utah Olympic Oval in Kearns was the venue for long-track speed skating events in the 2002 Winter Olympics. Because of its altitude, which gives it the thinnest air of any such facility in the world, and its unique architecture, which allows for close control of temperature and ice conditions, the Oval saw numerous records set during the games. It remains arguably the fastest ice surface in the world. The Oval is still in operation, hosting both competitive events and public skating. Return to Home