Wandering Lizard

An online magazine with information related to attractions, lodging, dining,
and travel resources in selected areas of Utah

Tooele County, Utah

Tooele County

Tooele County is located in extreme western portion of Utah. It borders Nevada on the west and Salt Lake County on the east. The county seat is the town of Tooele. The 2010 census listed 58,218 residents.

Archeological evidence traces human habitation back at least 11,000 years. Danger Cave, near Wendover is considered to be one of the oldest sites inhabited by humans in the entire continent. Prior to the arrival of the first European explorers and fur trappers, Tooele County was home to the Goshute People, a tribe related to the Shoshone. It is believe that the name of the county is derived from the Goshute language, but the exact meaning of the word is disputed. In 1849, a band of Mormons, established E.T. City and, soon thereafter, the territorial legislature designated the area around it Tooele County. Early relations between settlers and Goshute Indians were not good. Indians stole the settlers cattle and the settlers responded by attacking Indian villages. In the later part of the 1850s, a number of stagecoach stops were established on the site of natural springs that had long been used by the Indians. This further exacerbated relations with the Goshute People resulting in more Indian attacks on the settlers.

In 1862, Patrick E. Connor, became Commander of the Military District of Utah, Department of the West. The civil war was in full swing and Washington was uncertain as to the intentions of Brigham Young. Some feared a Morman rebellion. Connor, a non-Morman, was wary of the Mormans, and they of him. He treated the Indians harshly and eventually led a California militia unit into southern Idaho and annihilated a major Shoshone Indian encampment on the Bear River. This was followed by two treaties in 1863 and 1865 by which peace was established in return for an annual annuity to the Indians.

Connor's militiamen discovered gold and other precious metals in Tooele County in 1864 and the Rush mining district was established in the Ophir Mountains. Thousands of people, mostly non-Mormans, poured into the county and several new mining towns grew up overnight. For the first time non-Mormans outnumbered Mormans in the county. In 1874, with the support of the appointed governor of the Utah Territory, George L. Woods, a non-Mormn, non-Morman politicians gained control of the county government. They managed to maintain political control of the county until 1879, but the territorial legislature refused to seat any Tooele County representatives during that period.

Tooele County is home to Wendover Air Base which was the place that air force personnel trained for the atomic bomb mission that were flown against Hiroshima in 1945. The Tooele Army Depot was a major chemical and biological storage facility. Both of these facilities are now closed. Much of the county is covered by the Great Salt Lake. Tooele The Bonneville Speedway is located on the Bonneville Salt Flats and numerous large companies are engaged in extracting salt and other minerals in the county. A major rail line crosses Tooele County, as does Interstate Highway 80.

Northwast Utah
Box Elder County | Cache County | Davis County | Morgan County | Rich County
Salt Lake County | Tooele County | Utah County | Weber County