Magna, Utah

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Downtown Magna (looking east on Main Street)
Downtown Magna
(looking east on Main Street)
Etymology: Kennecott Copper's Magna Mill;
Latin word meaning “great” or “superior"
Location of Magna within Salt Lake County and the State of Utah.
Location of Magna within Salt Lake County and the
State of Utah.
Coordinates: 40°42′6″N 112°5′9″W / 40.70167°N 112.08583°W / 40.70167; -112.08583Coordinates: 40°42′6″N 112°5′9″W / 40.70167°N 112.08583°W / 40.70167; -112.08583
CountryUnited States
CountySalt Lake
First Settled (as Pleasant Green)1868
Given Township Status2001
Incorporated as a Metro Township2017
 • Municipal AdministratorGreg Shulz
 • Total37.48 sq mi (97.07 km2)
 • Land15.11 sq mi (39.13 km2)
 • Water22.37 sq mi (57.94 km2)
4,278 ft (1,304 m)
 • Total26,505
 • Estimate 
 • Density1,783.88/sq mi (688.78/km2)
Time zoneUTC-7 (Mountain (MST))
 • Summer (DST)UTC-6 (MDT)
ZIP code
Area code(s)385, 801
FIPS code49-47290[3]
GNIS feature ID1430037[4]

Magna (/ˈmæɡnə/ MAG-nə) is a metro township in Salt Lake County, Utah, United States. The population was 26,505 at the 2010 census, a moderate increase over the 2000 figure of 22,770.



Settlement of the area began in 1851 shortly after pioneers reached the Salt Lake Valley. Early farmers settled in 1868 at the base of the northern Oquirrh Mountains and called their community Pleasant Green. By 1900, there were about 20 families in the area. One of the first Pleasant Green farmers 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 Coon Canyon, and Coon Creek flowing out of it, is one of the major Oquirrh Mountain drainages. Coon Creek flows north and west through Magna to the Great Salt Lake.

The Pleasant Green Cemetery located in the Oquirrh foothills, at about 3500 South, was established in 1883.[5] In 1890, in response to a law requiring all children to receive free public education, the first school was built in the community.


In the early 1900s, 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. In 1911, the companies merged and the mill was renamed Arthur Mill. Construction workers lived in a temporary settlement known as Ragtown. Several substantial homes were built in the tent city and later moved to the present community. As the mills began operating, some local farmers traded in their plows for a steady company paycheck and began moving in to work at the mills.

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 Utah community. By 1909, the Hawthorne School (no longer standing) had been built in the eastern Magna area. In 1908, the Webster School (destroyed by fire and demolished in June 2004)[6] was built at the west end of what is now Main Street. In 1924, the first building of the present Cyprus High School was completed. Over the years, buildings and additions have been constructed on the campus. At the time, commuting to work by automobile was not practical. Few mine workers had cars and cross valley roads were in marginal condition. Workers lived in the town and walked to the mills. Downtown Magna included churches, saloons, fraternal halls, and stores. Several small neighborhoods, such as Japtown, Snaketown, and Little Italy, developed around Main Street. Many early residents were immigrants, primarily from Eastern Europe but Magna was not a mining town.

In 1914, an Italian women by the name of Anna Carrone settled here and met coal miner, Rocco Polidori. They became a couple and moved to Denver, Colorado to find meat company Polidori Sausage.[7][8][9]

Between 1915 and 1960, the town's fortunes fluctuated with the copper industry. During the Great Depression, the mills shut down for a period and workers were laid off. About 1940, there was a resurgence as the pending war boosted copper demand. Growth continued after World War II, through the 1960s.


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 Bacchus Works south of the Magna community, named after 1912 founder T.W. Bacchus. The increased jobs were one factor encouraging subdivision development in the Magna, Kearns, and West Valley City areas.

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, Main Street slowly began to deteriorate. Presently, some of the commercial space there is vacant.

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 moderately priced single-family homes. The new neighborhoods tended 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, the population had increased to over 23,000 by 2000. This increase is about double the countywide growth rate.


The process for Magna to become a township took over 10 years. Growth and development continue to define Magna.

The West Bench plan for redevelopment of mining land should have a major impact on the future of Magna. Kennecott Land plans major development in the areas immediately surrounding Magna. The area west of Magna along I-80 is currently slated to become one of 2 major "urban centers" for Kennecott Land's west bench development plan.[10]

The Historic Main Street underwent a major remodel in 2006. Main Street has also become a popular location for film makers. including the Disney corporation, and films such as Disney Channel's TV movie, Dadnapped, and some of the Halloweentown movies filmed on Magna Main Street. A two part episode (and series finale) of the TV series Touched by an Angel, "I'll Walk with You". The popular TV series Granite Flats also uses some of the Magna locations in part of the series.[specify] Disney's series 'Andi Mack' is also filmed in Magna.

On March 18th, 2020, Magna was the site of the epicenter for the 5.7 magnitude 2020 Salt Lake City Earthquake. The quake was followed by more than 850 aftershocks.[11] The temblor struck at approximately 7:10 am, and was felt strongly across the Wasatch Front. Damage was light, although several historic buildings with unreinforced brick walls suffered damage.[1]


According to the United States Census Bureau, the metro township has a total area of 7.4 square miles (19 km2), all land. The community lies just to the northeast of the Oquirrh Mountains and is directly south of the Great Salt Lake.


Historical population
Census Pop.
2019 (est.)26,949[2]1.7%

According to estimates from the Kem C. Gardner Policy Institute of the University of Utah,[13] as of 2015, there were 27,451 people in Magna. The racial makeup of the county was 69.76% non-Hispanic White, 0.30% Black, 0.48% Native American, 1.50% Asian, 0.37% Pacific Islander, and 1.95% from two or more races. 25.64% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.


Magna lies within the Granite School District and is home to 5 elementary schools, Copper Hills, Elk Run, Lake Ridge, Magna, and Pleasant Green. It also has Matheson Junior High, and Cyprus High School, whose sport teams compete in 5A-level competition (1A being the lowest and 5A the highest). The former Brockbank Junior High was closed in 2016 and combined with the Cyprus High campus.


Magna lies on the grid system of the Salt Lake Valley, between 7200 and 9200 West and 2100 and 4100 South. SR-201 runs along the northern border as an expressway and intersects with I-80 to the west. West 3500 South (SR-171) is the major east–west local road, while South 8400 West (SR-111) is the major north–south road. The Utah Transit Authority (UTA) operates a local bus route and bus rapid transit (BRT) line within the community, both follow roughly the same route and enter from West Valley City. The BRT line is called 3500 South MAX and was the first and, as of April 2016, still the only BRT route operated by UTA. The bus system goes from UTA's Millcreek TRAX station on West 3300 South all the way to South 8400 South in Magna, between which it passes by the beginning of the TRAX Green Line (which connects with the Salt Lake City International Airport, via Downtown Salt Lake City the West Valley Central station by the Valley Fair Mall. Although the bus route of the 3500 South MAX stops at South 8400 South in Magna, the bus also loops around other places in Magna, including the majority of Magna Main Street. The 3500 South MAX runs every 15 minutes on the weekdays, as opposed to a majority of the UTA bus routes which run every half-hour to an hour.

Mass media[edit]

The Magna Times is a local weekly broadsheet community newspaper that is based and published in Magna.[14] In 2009, it had a circulation of 4,000.[14]


Magna is home to The Empress Theatre.

Due to its historical significance, the theatre was added to the National Register for Historic Places on May 9, 1985 (National Register #85000962).[15]

Downtown Magna was used as a central filming location for the hit Disney Channel series Andi Mack. "The Spoon" Diner, a popular location for Andi and her friends to eat at, was actually made specifically for the show.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "2019 U.S. Gazetteer Files". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved August 7, 2020.
  2. ^ a b "Population and Housing Unit Estimates". United States Census Bureau. May 24, 2020. Retrieved May 27, 2020.
  3. ^ "U.S. Census website". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 31 Jan 2008.
  4. ^ "US Board on Geographic Names". United States Geological Survey. 25 Oct 2007. Retrieved 31 Jan 2008.
  5. ^ "The History of Our Cemetery..." Pleasant Green Cemetery. Retrieved 18 Apr 2013.
  6. ^ Yi, Sanda (22 Jun 2004). "School Destroyed in Fire in Magna". Salt Lake City: Deseret Digital Media. Retrieved 18 Apr 2013.
  7. ^ "Our Story - Polidori Sausage". Polidori Sausage. Retrieved 2021-03-01.
  8. ^ "Polidori Sausage is balancing history and sustainability". ColoradoBiz Magazine. 2020-03-01. Retrieved 2021-03-01.
  9. ^ "Colorado MarketMaker - Polidori Sausage". Retrieved 2021-03-01.
  10. ^ HDR Calthorpe. "West Bench Master Plan and General Plan". Retrieved March 24, 2020.
  11. ^ "Latest Earthquakes". Retrieved 2020-04-06.
  12. ^ "CENSUS OF POPULATION AND HOUSING (1790-2000)". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 31 Jul 2010.
  13. ^ "Salt Lake City Data Book 2017" (PDF). Kem C. Gardner Policy Institute. Retrieved April 16, 2018.
  14. ^ a b Stettler, Jeremiah (September 27, 2009). "Paychecks stop -- but presses don't -- for Magna newsman". The Salt Lake Tribune. Retrieved June 20, 2016.
  15. ^ "AssetDetail". Retrieved 2016-09-22.


  • Hulse, Irene (1964). Frome Rags to Riches (a history of Magna). Tooele Transcript Press.
  • Palmer, Douglas (30 Oct 1962). "Good Facilities Aid Growing Magna". Deseret News. Salt Lake City.
  • The Magna Community Master Plan, Salt Lake County Public Works Department Planning Division, February 1989.
  • Magna Town Council

External links[edit]