Main Births etc
Spanish Fork, Utah
—  City  —
Spanish Fork city offices
Location in Utah County and the state of Utah
Coordinates: 40°6′16″N 111°38′24″W / 40.10444, -111.64Coordinates: 40°6′16″N 111°38′24″W / 40.10444, -111.64
Country United States
State Utah
County Utah
Settled 1851
Incorporated January 17, 1855
Named for Spanish Fork River
 • Total 15.4 sq mi (39.8 km2)
 • Land 15.4 sq mi (39.8 km2)
 • Water 0.0 sq mi (0.0 km2)
Elevation 4,577 ft (1,395 m)
Population (2013)
 • Total 36,956
 • Density 2,400/sq mi (930/km2)
Time zone Mountain (MST) (UTC-7)
 • Summer (DST) MDT (UTC-6)
ZIP code 84660
Area code(s) 385, 801
FIPS code 49-71290[1]
GNIS feature ID 1445945[2]

Spanish Fork is a city in Utah County, Utah, United States. It is part of the ProvoOrem Metropolitan Statistical Area. The population was 36,956 as of the 2013 census.[3]


Spanish Fork was settled by Mormon pioneers in 1851. Its name derives from a visit to the area by two Franciscan friars from Spain, Silvestre Vélez de Escalante and Francisco Atanasio Domínguez in 1776, who followed the stream down Spanish Fork canyon with the objective of opening a new trail from Santa Fe, New Mexico, to the Spanish missions in California, along a route later followed by fur trappers. They described the area inhabited by native Americans as having "spreading meadows, where there is sufficient irrigable land for two good settlements. Over and above these finest of advantages, it has plenty of firewood and timber in the adjacent sierra which surrounds its many sheltered spots, waters, and pasturages, for raising cattle and sheep and horses."

In 1851 some settlers led by William Pace set up scattered farms in the Spanish Fork bottom lands and called the area the Upper Settlement.[4] However, a larger group congregated at what became known as the Lower Settlement just over a mile northwest of the present center of Spanish Fork along the Spanish Fork River. In December 1851 Stephen Markham became the branch president of the LDS settlers at this location.[4]

In 1852 Latter-day Saints founded a settlement called Palmyra west of the historic center of Spanish Fork. George A. Smith supervised the laying out of a townsite, including a temple square in that year.[5] A fort was built at this site. A school was built at Palmyra in 1852.[6] With the onset of the Walker War in 1853, most of the farmers in the region who were not yet in the fort moved in.[7] Some of the people did not like this site and so moved to a site at the mouth of Spanish Fork Canyon where they built a structure they called "Fort St. Luke".[8] Also in 1854 there was a fort founded about 2 miles (3.2 km) south of the center of Spanish Fork that later was known as the "Old Fort".[4]

Between 1855 and 1860, the arrival of pioneers from Iceland made Spanish Fork into the first permanent Icelandic settlement in the United States.[9] The city also lent its name to the 1865 Treaty of Spanish Fork, where the Utes were forced by an Executive Order of President Abraham Lincoln to relocate to the Uintah Basin.


Spanish Fork has a city manager type of government. Dave Oyler is the current city manager, and Seth Perrins is the assistant city manager.

The current mayor is G. Wayne Andersen. The city held a general election on November 8, 2011. As part of the election, Rod Dart and Richard Davis were re-elected to the city council. The other open city council seat was a very close election; Brandon Gordon was found to have won the seat.[10] The other city councilors are Steve Leifson and Keir Scoubes.[11]


Festival of Colors at the Sri Sri Radha Krishna Temple in Spanish Fork

Spanish Fork, 2010

Spanish Fork City hosts five large-scale events each year: Fiesta Days, Icelandic Days, the Harvest Moon Hurrah, the Festival of Lights, and the Festival of Colors.

Icelandic Days[]

The Icelandic Association of Utah was founded in 1897 and hosts Iceland Days every year. The association picked June because Icelandic Independence Day, or National Day, is June 17.

Spanish Fork was the first Icelandic settlement in the United States, after Icelanders who joined the LDS Church were expelled from that country, said association spokesman Glenn Grossman. Although other nationalities helped found the town, under colonizer Brigham Young, Icelanders kept their identity and celebrate it with their culture every year during the three-day event.

Harvest Moon Hurrah[]

The Harvest Moon Hurrah is sponsored by the Spanish Fork Arts Council and takes place on a Saturday in September closest to the date of the full moon. Activities include children's crafts and activities, a giant paint-it-yourself mural, storyteller, old-fashioned family photos, caricature artist, clown and balloon animals, hay rides with live bluegrass band, and live entertainment. The 2009 Hurrah was headlined by Peter Breinholt, a popular local musician.[12]

Festival of Lights[]

The Festival of Lights is a Christmas celebration that runs from Thanksgiving to New Years. It is a drive-through light show. Christmas music is also broadcast on 99.9 FM during the festival.[13]

Fiesta Days[]

Each year Spanish Fork hosts the "Fiesta Days" honoring the Utah Valley's Spanish, Mexican and Latin American or Latino cultural roots. The event is held every July, and is centered around the Pioneer Day Celebration. There are a number of entertainment events, including a week-long rodeo, craft fair, duck race, and a fireworks show on the 24th.

Festival of Colors[]

The Sri Sri Radha Krishna Temple erected by a sizable South Asian community celebrates Holi and is known as The Festival of Colors where thousands of people gather from all over the country.

Demographics and economy[]

Historical populations
Census Pop.
1860 773
1870 1,450 87.6%
1880 2,304 58.9%
1890 2,686 16.6%
1900 3,327 23.9%
1910 3,751 12.7%
1920 4,035 7.6%
1930 3,727 −7.6%
1940 4,167 11.8%
1950 5,230 25.5%
1960 6,472 23.7%
1970 7,284 12.5%
1980 9,825 34.9%
1990 11,272 14.7%
2000 20,246 79.6%
2010 34,691 71.3%
Est. 2014 37,527 [14] 85.4%
U.S. Decennial Census[15]

As of the 2010 census, there were 34,691 people, 9,069 households, and 7,885 families residing in the city. The population density was 2,252.7 people per square mile (871.6/km²). There were 9,440 housing units, at an average density of 613.0 per square mile (237.2/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 90.9% White, 0.4% African American, 0.5% Native American, 0.6% Asian, 0.7% Pacific Islander, 4.4% some other race, and 2.5% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 10.6% of the population.[16]

At the 2000 census, the median income for a household in the city was $62,805, and the median income for a family was $64,909. The per capita income for the city was $17,162. About 4.3% of families and 6.2% of the population were below the poverty line.

Mountain Country Foods is currently Spanish Fork's largest private employer with 350 employees. Eight other businesses employ one hundred or more workers: SAPA, Klune Industries, Longview Fibre, Nature's Sunshine, Rocky Mountain Composites, J.C. Penney, Western Wats, and Provo Craft.[17]

Spanish Fork has a predominantly LDS population. There are seventy-four LDS wards in nine stakes in the southern Utah Valley and a temple, the Payson Utah Temple set to open.[18]

There are other churches in town: the Presbyterian Church established a church and mission day school in 1882. The school functioned until the state school system was inaugurated in the early part of the twentieth century. Today there are nine public elementary schools, two intermediate, and two high schools of the Nebo School District.[19]

A Lutheran church, established by immigrants from Iceland, was built on the east bench of Spanish Fork.[20] There is also the Faith Baptist Church, a Baptist congregation.[21]

And a Roman Catholic church serves the Catholics of southern Utah Valley, many happen to be of Italian descent (see Utah Italians), Hispanics, Filipino Americans, and some Greek Catholics from the Balkans.[22]

ISKCON, the international society of Krishna Consciousness, have built a temple in Spanish Fork, run by Caru Das, the temple priest. Indian Americans form a small but noticeable community in the Spanish Fork-Provo area (esp. the neighboring town of Springville).[23]

In the Utah Valley's historical settlement by immigrants, Scandinavians most notably Icelanders, as well Swiss people, Spanish Americans, Hispanics or Latinos; and Irish Americans and Scottish Americans are prevalent ethnocultural groups in Spanish Fork, nearby towns of Salem and Payson.[24]


In 1862, Spanish Fork built its first school house. That one room edifice served the city's educational needs for nearly 50 years. In 1910, Spanish Fork built the Thurber School on Main Street. Although it's not used for daily K-12 classes anymore, it still functions as a city office building.[25] Today, Spanish Fork is served by the Nebo School District. Public schools in this district within Spanish Fork include the following:

  • Spanish Fork High School
  • Maple Mountain High School
  • Landmark High School (alternative school)
  • Spanish Fork Junior High School
  • Diamond Fork Junior High School (formerly known as Spanish Fork Middle School)
  • Brockbank Elementary
  • Canyon Elementary
  • Larsen Elementary
  • Park Elementary
  • Rees Elementary
  • Riverview Elementary
  • Spanish Oaks Elementary
  • East Meadows Elementary
  • Sierra Bonita Elementary

In addition, there is a private girls school, the New Haven School, and a K-12 charter school, the American Leadership Academy.

Alternative energy[]

Wind energy[]

In September 2008, the Spanish Fork Wind Project was completed. This project, a 9-turbine wind energy project, can produce up to 2.1 megawatts at full production, and each of the nine turbines can power up to 1,200 homes.[26][27] It is the utility scale wind farm producing electricity from wind power in Utah.[28][29]

Hydropower energy[]

In May 2011 the US Bureau of Reclamation announced plans for a hydropower plant in Spanish Fork Canyon (which is southeast of the city of Spanish Fork). It would be part of the Central Utah Project's flow-control facility, at the mouth of Diamond Canyon. The facility is expected to be financed by private investment, and is proposed to have a maximum output of 8 megawatts, with a projected yearly output of 23,000 megawatt-hours.[30]

Notable people[]

  • Lucky Blue Smith, Male model
  • Kate B. Carter, Utah pioneer historian


  1. ^ "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  2. ^ "US Board on Geographic Names". United States Geological Survey. 2007-10-25. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  3. ^
  4. ^ a b c Jenson. Encyclopedic History. p. 823
  5. ^ Jenson, Andrew. Encyclopedic History of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1941) p. 631-632
  6. ^ Jenson. Encyclopedic History. p. 824
  7. ^ Jenson. Encyclopedic History. p. 631
  8. ^ Jenson. Encyclopedic History. p. 256-257
  9. ^ Thorstina Jackson, "Icelandic Communities in America: Cultural Backgrounds and Early Settlements," 681.
  10. ^ Spanish Fork 2009 General Election Results
  11. ^ Spanish Fork Mayor and City Council
  12. ^ Harvest Moon Hurrah
  13. ^ Festival of Lights
  14. ^ "Annual Estimates of the Resident Population for Incorporated Places: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2014". Retrieved June 4, 2015. 
  15. ^ "Census of Population and Housing". Retrieved June 4, 2015. 
  16. ^ "Profile of General Population and Housing Characteristics: 2010 Demographic Profile Data (DP-1): Spanish Fork city, Utah". U.S. Census Bureau, American Factfinder. Retrieved March 8, 2012. 
  17. ^ Spanish Fork City Economic Development
  18. ^
  19. ^
  20. ^ Peach, Mary (1994), "Lutheran in Utah", in Powell, Allan Kent, Utah History Encyclopedia, Salt Lake City, Utah: University of Utah Press, ISBN 0874804256, OCLC 30473917, 
  21. ^
  22. ^ Mooney, Bernice M. (1994), "The Catholic Church in Utah", in Powell, Allan Kent, Utah History Encyclopedia, Salt Lake City, Utah: University of Utah Press, ISBN 0874804256, OCLC 30473917, 
  23. ^
  24. ^
  25. ^ "About the City". Spanish Fork City. Retrieved 18 May 2012. 
  26. ^ Matthew Rich (October 6th, 2008) Spanish Fork wind farm brings alternative energy BYU NewsNet. Retrieved on 2009-04-08.
  27. ^ Deseret News (September 6th, 2008)
  28. ^’s-urban-winds
  29. ^
  30. ^ New Hydropower Project Announced for Utah, Deseret News, 10 May 2011 issue

External links[]

This page uses content from the English language Wikipedia. The original content was at Spanish Fork, Utah. The list of authors can be seen in the page history. As with this Familypedia wiki, the content of Wikipedia is available under the Creative Commons License.