Sandy (officially known as Sandy City) is a city in Salt Lake County. The population hovers around 100,000, making it the sixth-largest city in Utah. The city is home to the South Towne Center shopping mall; Jordan Commons, a large entertainment complex, and is the location of the South Towne Exposition Center, which regularly hosts conventions like the annual Auto, Gun, Lapidary, Antique and Home Shows. Sandy is also the location of Real Salt Lake’s soccer-specific stadium, Rio Tinto Stadium, which opened on October 9, 2008 for the men’s (REAL soccer) and women’s professional soccer teams. The women’s team was sold in 2020 and Utah awaits another professional women’s sports team to play on any field in the Salt Lake Valley.
Located at the base of the Wasatch Mountains thirteen miles (19 km) 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. 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. The railroad was also significant in determining the course of Sandy’s history. Built in 1873, the railroad connected Sandy to Salt Lake City and facilitated the transportation of ore and other products both in and out of the area. A streetcar line in 1907 facilitated the transportation of locals to jobs in Salt Lake City; and the automobile later continued to serve that function.
When the mines failed in the 1890s, Sandy faltered, then underwent a significant economic transformation into an agricultural community. 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. Believe it or not, part of the original fort was preserved and can be found in and among the commercial buildings off Ft. Union at the ‘Ft. Union Shopping Center’. Many locals don’t even know its hidden away in there.
Most people like to think of Sandy as the community right below the entrances to the main road into Big and Little Cottonwood Canyons-and the four ski resorts there. A direct UTA bus line is set up along 9400 South each year to get skiers up the mountain faster than the summer and to help with traffic jams and pollution on a good snow day. For more information: www.sandy.utah.gov
Places to eat: Tiburon (American bistro, farm to table), Fratelli Italian, Crown Burgers, Kneaders Bakery & Café.
Zip codes: 84047, 84070, 84090, 84091, 84092, 84093 and 84094