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Spanish Fork, Utah
—  City  —
Looking over the city

Location of Spanish Fork, Utah
Coordinates: 40°6′16″N 111°38′24″W / 40.10444°N 111.64°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 (2008 Estimate)
 - Total 31,497
 - Density 2,050.6/sq mi (791.8/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, Utah Metropolitan Statistical Area. The population was 31,497 as of the 2008 census estimate.



Spanish Fork was settled by LDS 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.[3] However a larger group congregated at what became known as the Lower Settlement just over a mile north-west 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.[3]

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.[4] A fort was built at this site. A school was built at Palmyra in 1852.[5] With the on set of the Walker War in 1853 most of the farmers in the region who were not yet in the fort moved in.[6] 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".[7] Also in 1854 there was a fort founded about two miles (3 km) south of the center of Spanish Fork that latter was known as the "Old Fort".[3]

In 1856 Brigham Young advised leaving the Palmyra site because of its swampiness and the high alkali content of the soil. At this time the settlers relocated to Spanish Fork and began to build its current center.[6] John L. Butler became the first bishop of the Spanish Fork Ward at this time.[5]

Between 1855 and 1860, the arrival of pioneers from Iceland made Spanish Fork into the first permanent Icelandic settlement in the United States.[8] 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.

In 1891 the Spanish Fork Ward was divided into two wards. By 1930 there were five Spanish Fork Wards plus the Palmyra Ward which had been established at the location of the old settlement in 1901.[9]


Spanish Fork has a city manager type of government. Dave Oyler is the current city manager.

The city held a general election on November 3rd, 2009. As part of the election, Wayne Anderson was elected Mayor, and Steve Leifson was re-elected to the City Council. The other open City Council seat was a very close election, so a recount was requested, after which Keir Scoubes was found to have won the seat.[10] The other City Councilmen are Rod Dart, Richard Davis and Jens Nielson.[11]


Spanish Fork City hosts four large-scale events throughout the year: Fiesta Days, the Wind Festival, the Harvest Moon Hurrah, and the Festival of Lights.

Fiesta Days

Fiesta Days takes place over the weeks leading up to Pioneer Day (July 24th). There are various activities for children, adults and families. In 2009, the Fiesta Days activities were as follows:

  • July 7th-17th - Grand Marshall Presentation during City Council, Tennis Tournament, Baby Contest, Spanish Fork Community Theater's Production (Singin' in the Rain), Movie Night at the Sports Park
  • July 18th - Golf Tournament 2-Player Best Ball, Children's Parade, Activities in the Park, Fish Rodeo, Wiffle Ball Tournament, Spanish Fork Community Theater's Production (Singin' in the Rain), 3rd Annual Fiesta Days Street Dance with Jersey Street Band
  • July 19th - Sunday Night Music in the Park
  • July 20th - 11th Annual Flag Retirement Ceremony with a Tribute to the Armed Forces, Sidewalk Sales
  • July 21st - 5th Annual Kickball Challenge, Sidewalk Sales, Daughters of the Utah Pioneers Museum Exhibits and Baby Quilt Sale, Pioneer Cemetery Rededication Ceremony
  • July 22nd - Vendors in the Park, Daughters of the Utah Pioneers Museum Exhibits and Baby Quilt Sale, Stock Parade, Midway West Carnival, 67th Annual Fiesta Days Rodeo, Sidewalk Sales
  • July 23rd - Vendors in the Park, Craft Fair, Daughters of the Utah Pioneers Museum Exhibits and Baby Quilt Sale, Midway West Carnival, Spanish Fork Community Theater's Production (Singin' in the Rain), 67th Annual Fiesta Days Rodeo, Sidewalk Sales
  • July 24th - 32nd Annual "Speedy Spaniard" 10K Road Race, Spanish Fork Football Booster Club Breakfast, 15th Annual 1 Mile Children's Speedy Spaniard Fun Run, Grand Parade, Craft Fair, Daughters of the Utah Pioneers Museum Exhibits and Baby Quilt Sale, Midway West Carnival, Outdoor Quilt Show, Pioneer Day Special Admission at the Water Park, 5th Annual Fiesta Day's Adopt a Duck River Race, Entertainment in the Park, Spanish Fork Community Theater's Production (Singin' in the Rain), 67th Annual Fiesta Days Rodeo, Fireworks
  • July 25th - Men's Softball Tournament, Craft Fair, Car Show in City Park, Midway West Carnival, 5th Annual Fiesta Day's Adopt a Duck River Race, Spanish Fork Community Theater's Production (Singin' in the Rain), 67th Annual Fiesta Days Rodeo[12]

The Fiesta Days Rodeo is in many ways the highlight of the event. It hosts a number of different rodeo activities, including Bareback Bronc Riding, Steer Wrestling, Team Roping, Tie Down Roping, Bull Riding, Saddle Bronc Riding, Women's Barrel Racing, Mutton Bustin', Trailer Race, and Roping Chutes.[13]

Wind Fest

The Spanish Fork Wind Fest is August 28th and 29th, and has only existed for two years, as a way to celebrate Spanish Fork's wind farm. The festival includes professional kite fliers, kite making workshops, sailing and canoe rides, remote control airplane flyovers, a luau, and energy expo.[14]

Harvest Moon Hurrah

The Harvest Moon Hurrah is sponsored by the Spanish Fork Arts Council and takes place on September 19th. 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.[15]

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.[16]


As of the census[1] estimate of 2008, there were 31,497 people, 7,994 households, and 7,359 families residing in the city. The population density was 2,050.6 people per square mile (791.8/km²). There were 8,627 housing units at an average density of 561.7/sq mi (216.9/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 90.2% White, 0.3% African American, 1.2% Native American, 0.2% Asian, 0.6% Pacific Islander, 5.0% from other races, and 2.6% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 9.5% of the population.

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. Seven other businesses employ one hundred or more workers: SAPA, Klune Industries, Longview Fibre, Nature's Sunshine, Rocky Mountain Composites, and J.C. Penney's, and Provo Craft.[17]

Although Spanish Fork has a predominantly LDS population (98.0%), 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 eight elementary schools, two intermediate, and two high schools. A Lutheran church, established by immigrants from Iceland, was built on the east bench of Spanish Fork. There is also the Faith Baptist Church, as well as fifty seven LDS wards in six stakes.


Spanish Fork is served by 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 and East Meadows Elementary. There is a private girls school, the New Haven School and a K-12 charter school, the American Leadership Academy.

Renewable 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.[18][19]


  1. ^ a b "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. ^ a b c Jenson. Encyclopedic History. p. 823
  4. ^ Jenson, Andrew. Encyclopedic History of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1941) p. 631-632
  5. ^ a b Jenson. Encyclopedic History. p. 824
  6. ^ a b Jenson. Encyclopedic History. p. 631
  7. ^ Jenson. Encyclopedic History. p. 256-257
  8. ^ Thorstina Jackson, "Icelandic Communities in America: Cultural Backgrounds and Early Settlements,"681.
  9. ^ Jenson, Encyclopedic History, pp. 632, 824-25
  10. ^ Spanish Fork 2009 General Election Results
  11. ^ Spanish Fork Mayor and City Council
  12. ^ Spanish Fork Fiesta Days 2009
  13. ^ Fiesta Days Rodeo
  14. ^ Spanish Fork Wind Fest
  15. ^ Harvest Moon Hurrah
  16. ^ Festival of Lights
  17. ^ Spanish Fork City Economic Development
  18. ^ Matthew Rich (October 6th, 2008) Spanish Fork wind farm brings alternative energy BYU NewsNet. Retrieved on 2009-04-08.
  19. ^ Deseret News (September 6th, 2008) [1]

External links

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