The settlement of the valley west of Salt Lake City was linked to the availability of water. The first settlers to the area came in the fall of 1848. Joseph Harker built a dugout in bluffs along the west bank of the Jordan River at about 3300 South. The following spring, he moved with a dozen other families to the 45th South and Redwood Road area where water was more attainable. Those who followed ranched or farmed along the river bottoms. Acquiring drinking water was a constant concern through the years.
Plans to extend canals from the Jordan River through the dry western two-thirds of the Salt Lake Valley circulated as early as 1860. But those early ventures were stymied by inadequate financing and technical obstacles. In 1872, Salt Lake County began an eight year, $70,000 investment in a series of canals to funnel water to the barren lands. A dam was built at Jordan Narrows, and the South Jordan Canal, excavated between 1870 and 1875, brought the first water to Granger.
The North Jordan Canal was enlarged in 1881 and extended from Gardner’s mill (7800 South) to Granger. Also in 1881, Hunter was provided its first water from Salt Lake County’s longest and largest canal, the Utah and Salt Lake Canal. This canal, 32 miles from Jordan narrows to Magna and 246 cfs, took years to construct. By the turn of the century, the U.S. Census counted 354 residents in Hunter and 617 in Granger (4800 West divided the two districts).
Minor growth followed the canal building, but so did problems. Adding more water to the shallow aquifer caused underground salts and minerals to rise to the surface, forming and alkali crust which was deadly to crops and trees, Between 21st and 27th South, water accumulated into a number of shallow saline lakes which were used for swimming and ice skating. The Riter Canal, first used as a drainage ditch, connects now to the North Jordan Canal at about 3800 South and delivers water to Kennecott Utah Copper Company.
In 1949, the Granger-Hunter Improvement District was established to provide residents with water from Deer Creek Reservoir. Hookups began in 1953, and the area grew as much in 1954 as it had in all the years since the pioneers arrived.
Efforts to incorporate as a new city were defeated in 1978; however, in 1980 West Valley City became Utah’s second largest city.
The master list of the S.U.P. Markers has this at N 40.69690 W 111.99980, just outside the West Valley Animal Shelter at West Valley City Park (4522 W 3500 S in West Valley City) but I do not see it in that area and have been trying to figure out where it is now.