Tooele, Utah

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Tooele, Utah
Tooele City Hall
Tooele City Hall
The Greatest City in Utah[1]
Location in Tooele County and the state of Utah
Location in Tooele County and the state of Utah
Location of Utah in the United States
Location of Utah in the United States
Coordinates: 40°32′11″N 112°17′52″W / 40.53639°N 112.29778°W / 40.53639; -112.29778Coordinates: 40°32′11″N 112°17′52″W / 40.53639°N 112.29778°W / 40.53639; -112.29778
CountryUnited States
 • TypeMayor/City Council
 • MayorDebbie Winn[2]
 • Total24.16 sq mi (62.57 km2)
 • Land24.14 sq mi (62.52 km2)
 • Water0.02 sq mi (0.04 km2)
5,050 ft (1,537 m)
 • Total31,605
 • Estimate 
 • Density1,491.92/sq mi (576.03/km2)
Time zoneUTC−7 (Mountain (MST))
 • Summer (DST)UTC−6 (MDT)
ZIP code
Area code(s)435
FIPS code49-76680[5]
GNIS feature ID1433590[6]

Tooele (/tˈwɪlə/ too-WIL) is a city in Tooele County in the U.S. state of Utah. The population was 22,502 at the 2000 census, and 32,115 in 2010.[7] It is the county seat of Tooele County.[8] Located approximately 30 minutes southwest of Salt Lake City, Tooele is known for Tooele Army Depot, for its views of the nearby Oquirrh Mountains and the Great Salt Lake.


The Tooele Valley was the traditional territory of the Tooele Valley Goshute, a band of the Goshute Shoshone. The ancient presence of humans in the area is attested by extensive archaeological work at the Danger Cave site, which confirms people were present and active by 9000 BP [7000 BC].

When Mormon pioneers entered the Great Salt Lake Valley in July 1847, it was covered with abundant tall grass. The Mormons first used the valley as wintering grounds for their herds.[9] In September 1849, three families settled on a small stream south of present-day Tooele City. Other families slowly joined them, and by 1853 Tooele City Corporation was organized.

During the nineteenth century, the town was primarily an agricultural community; by the century's end its population was about 1,200.

The 20th century brought more industrialization; in 1904 the Los Angeles and Salt Lake Railroad built a line through the city, and in 1909 the International Smelting and Refining Company smelter was built in Carr Fork/Pine Canyon east of the city . The Tooele Valley Railway, a seven-mile line, ran from the smelter west to the Union Pacific Railroad main line. This line brought ore from various area mines to the smelter; later a 20,000 ft aerial tramway was also used to transport ore from the mine to the smelter. By 1941 a 22,000 ft tunnel had been completed through the mountain, to move ore to the smelter entirely underground. The smelter began processing copper in 1910, with lead and zinc processing commencing in 1912. In 1946 the copper smelter ceased operation, the zinc operation halted in 1968, and the lead processing was halted in 1972. The entire site was demolished during 1972–74. However, consideration was being given during this latter period to extracting ore from Carr Fork Canyon, rather than relying on the ore from the east face of the mountain range. In 1969 the mining company began exploration drilling. In 1974 a copper mine and mill ("Carr Fork Operations") was started; it began processing ore in 1979, and ran until 1981. The Tooele Valley Railway was used to haul away the scrap when the International smelter was torn down, and remained to serve the Pine Canyon mill. It was shut down and abandoned when the Pine Canyon “Carr Fork” mine and mill shut down; its last day of operation was 28 August 1982.[10]

In the eastern section of Tooele, “New Town” was built for many of the 1,000 smelter workers. Families from the Balkans, Italy, Greece, and Asia Minor lived in this area and formed their own community. New Town included its own school, church, culture and numerous languages.[11]

When World War II started, the federal government obtained 25,000 acres in the southwestern part of the Tooele Valley to establish an ordnance depot ("Tooele Ordnance Depot").[12]

In 1993 the scope and mission of the Tooele Army Depot (as the previous Ordnance Depot was now called) was reduced, and about 1,700 acres of its area including many buildings were annexed to Tooele City. The US Army conveyed 40 acres of land, including a newly constructed large-vehicle maintenance structure ("Consolidated Maintenance Facility") to the City, who converted it into an industrial complex ("Utah Industrial Depot", UID). In 2013 the UID was purchased by another company and is presently known as "Ninigret Depot."[13]


According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 21.2 square miles (54.8 km2), of which 21.1 square miles (54.8 km2) is land and 0.04 square miles (0.1 km2) (0.09%) is water.

Tooele is located on the western slope of the Oquirrh Mountains in the Tooele Valley, the next valley west of the well-known Salt Lake Valley. Many popular camping and picnic areas surround the city.


The unusual name for the town is thought by some to have evolved from an old Ute Indian word for tumbleweed. This is one of many unverified explanations, as the name's usage predated the introduction of the Russian thistle to the United States.

Other explanations include that the name derives from a Native American chief, but controversy exists about whether such a chief existed. Others hypothesize that the name comes from "tuu-wɨɨta", the Goshute word for "black bear", or from "tule", a Spanish word of Aztec origin meaning "bulrush."[14]


Tooele has a cold semi-arid climate type, which consists of dry, hot summers, and wet, cold winters. It is considered to be in the 13d ecoregion of Utah.[15] (Köppen Bsk).

Climate data for Tooele, Utah (1981–2010)
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °F (°C) 41.6
Average low °F (°C) 20.6
Average precipitation inches (mm) 1.47
Average snowfall inches (cm) 14.6
Source: NOAA[16]


Historical population
Census Pop.
2019 (est.)36,015[4]14.0%
U.S. Decennial Census[17]

As of the 2000 census,[5] there were 22,502 people, 7,459 households, and 5,825 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,064.4 people per square mile (411.0/km2). There were 7,923 housing units at an average density of 374.8 per square mile (144.7/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 90.96% White, 0.74% African American, 1.32% Native American, 0.56% Asian, 0.15% Pacific Islander, 3.84% from other races, and 2.44% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 10.09% of the population.

The historic Tooele County Courthouse and Tooele City Hall
Motorcycle racing at the Utah Motorsports Campus

There were 7,459 households, of which 46.1% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 62.6% were married couples living together, 11.1% had a female householder with no husband present, and 21.9% were non-families. 18.2% of all households were made up of individuals, and 6.8% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.98 and the average family size was 3.39.

The city's population had 34.1% under the age of 18, 11.0% from 18 to 24, 30.8% from 25 to 44, 15.7% from 45 to 64, and 8.5% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 28 years. For every 100 females, there were 98.3 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 95.9 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $43,862, and the median income for a family was $48,490. Males had a median income of $37,373 versus $24,175 for females. The per capita income for the city was $16,580. About 5.0% of families and 6.4% of the population were below the poverty line, including 7.9% of those under age 18 and 6.8% of those age 65 or over.


The Tooele County School District,[18] headquartered in Tooele, contains 16 elementary schools and one Early Learning Center; eight of these units are within City limits (Copper Canyon, Sterling, Middle Canyon, Northlake, Overlake, Settlement Canyon, West, and the Early Learning Center), three junior high schools, of which two are within City limits (Tooele, and Clarke N. Johnsen), and five high schools, of which two are within City limits (Tooele,[19] and Blue Peak[20]). There is a regional campus of Utah State University and the Tooele Applied Technology College, a campus of the Utah College of Applied Technology within city boundaries. There is one private school, Saint Marguerite Catholic School, which offers a Montessori modeled preschool, elementary grades K - 5, and junior high/middle school grades 6 -8.[21]

Tooele is also served by Scholar Academy Charter School.[22]


  • Water Water rights are tightly controlled throughout Tooele County. All new construction requires the acquisition of sufficient water rights. If the construction is inside incorporated areas, the water rights will be surrendered to the local government and become part of the common water right for the entity. Outside incorporated areas, water rights are attached to drilled wells.[23]
  • Sewer Tooele City, Grantsville, Stansbury Park and Lakepoint have sanitary sewer systems. All other areas are served by septic tanks and drainfields.
  • Electricity Most of Tooele County, including Tooele City, is served by Rocky Mountain Power. Some of the Western Region is served by Wells Rural Electric Coop and Mount Wheeler Power.
  • Natural gas Tooele City, Grantsville, Stansbury Park, Lakepoint and some of the adjacent unincorporated areas are served by Questar.
  • Communications Tooele County is served by several telecommunications providers. The two public utility companies serving the area are Beehive Telephone Company and CenturyLink. Comcast also serves Tooele, Grantsville and Stansbury park with cable, phone and internet. Beehive Broadband serves portions of Tooele County with phone, TV and up to 1 Gbit/s internet service.


Major employers in the area include:

  • Kennecott Utah Copper - operates the Kennecott Bingham Copper Mine, the world's largest open-pit excavation mine on the other side of the Oquirrh Mountains from Tooele's location. 240- and 320-ton capacity trucks deliver copper ore to the in-pit crusher, where the material is reduced to the size of soccer balls before being loaded onto a five-mile (8 km) conveyor that carries the ore to the Copperton Concentrator.
  • Energy Solutions (formerly known as Envirocare), a waste-storage facility in Clive, west of Tooele Valley.
  • Federal government agencies
  • State government agencies
  • Tooele county government agencies
  • Tooele Industrial Depot - A portion of the previous Tooele Army Depot has been turned back to the local area, and many of the government-constructed buildings in that area are now filled with manufacturing facilities, warehouses and offices. The area is administered by a consortium known as Tooele Industrial Depot.
  • Tooele was the filming location of the 2009 comedy Gentlemen Broncos. also the 1975 comedy Whiffs starring Elliot Gould and Eddie Albert.
  • Tooele was named as one of the locations for the second season of Prison Break, yet the episodes were filmed in Texas.
  • US Magnesium (owned by RENCO Group) is the country's largest producer of magnesium.[24]
  • Utah Motorsports Campus, an auto, motorcycle, bicycle and kart racing facility northwest of Tooele City.
  • Outdoor recreational equipment retailer Cabela's has a distribution center on the west side of Tooele.
  • Walmart has a distribution center in Grantsville just west of Tooele.

Arts festival[edit]

The Tooele Arts Festival, an annual three-day event, hosts vendors of one-of-a-kind artwork, including paintings, jewelry, ceramics, photographs, and sculptures. The event includes live musical entertainment, children's playground equipment and entertainment. There is no admission fee for the festival, which is held at a city-owned park west of the city center. It began in 1985; for the first several years of its existence the Festival was held near the end of May, but it seemed to coincide with late-spring cold spells, which were disastrous given the Festival's open-air setting. Due to this unpredictability, sponsors decided in 1998 to move it to the final weekend of June, although this puts it in direct competition with the much larger Utah Arts Festival, held in Salt Lake City on the same dates. The 2011 Tooele Arts Festival was cancelled due to lack of volunteers; this was the first time since 1985 that no arts festival was held in Tooele City. The Festival celebrated its 30th anniversary in June 2016.[25]

County fair[edit]

Until 2000, the annual Tooele County Fair was held during the first week of August at the Tooele County Fairgrounds, inside Tooele City. Since that date, it has been held at the Deseret Peak Complex, located in the Tooele Valley midway between Tooele City and Grantsville City.

Sister cities[edit]

Tooele has one sister city, as designated by Sister Cities International:

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Tooele City website
  2. ^ "Mayor's Office - Tooele City".
  3. ^ "2019 U.S. Gazetteer Files". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved August 7, 2020.
  4. ^ a b "Population and Housing Unit Estimates". United States Census Bureau. May 24, 2020. Retrieved May 27, 2020.
  5. ^ a b "U.S. Census website". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 31 January 2008.
  6. ^ "US Board on Geographic Names". United States Geological Survey. 25 October 2007. Retrieved 31 January 2008.
  7. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2011-06-28. Retrieved 2017-12-06.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  8. ^ "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Retrieved 7 June 2011.
  9. ^ As reported by Capt. Howard Stansbury, who surveyed the Great Salt Lake Valley and surrounding areas for the US Army beginning in 1849. He entered "Tuilla Valley" on 6 November 1849 ([1], Exploration and survey of the valley of the Great Salt Lake of Utah, p. 118) and departed on the following day.
  10. ^ [2] International Smelter at Tooele Anaconda In Utah, (accessed 23 November 2014)
  11. ^ [3] History of Tooele (Tooele City website; accessed 23 November 2014)
  12. ^ In the same year, a storage depot for chemical weapons was also begun 20 miles south of Tooele City; the "Deseret Chemical Depot".
  13. ^ Madison, Rachel (5 February 2013). "UID Sold and Renamed to Ninigret Depot" (PDF). Tooele Transcript-Bulletin. Retrieved 31 January 2016.
  14. ^ "What's a Tooele" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on September 27, 2018. Retrieved May 25, 2019.
  15. ^ "Ecoregions of Utah" (PDF). Archived (PDF) from the original on March 24, 2021. Retrieved May 7, 2021.
  16. ^ "NOWData - NOAA Online Weather Data". National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Retrieved 5 May 2013.
  17. ^ "Census of Population and Housing". Retrieved 4 June 2015.
  18. ^ "Tooele County School District website".[permanent dead link]
  19. ^ "Tooele High School". Retrieved 20 December 2015.
  20. ^ "Blue Peak HS website". Archived from the original on 2013-01-30.
  21. ^ "st-marg". st-marg.
  22. ^ "Academy website".[permanent dead link]
  23. ^ Tooele City Water Requirements: Last accessed 30 December 2019.
  24. ^ "Red Air - Wasatch Front Polluters". Utah Stories. Retrieved 18 January 2016.
  25. ^ "Festival News – Tooele Arts Festival". Retrieved 2016-05-21.

External links[edit]