Our tour of Salt Lake City and its suburbs continues moving around the southern valley edge, where the biggest changes to the Wasatch Front are taking place. Utah’s growth is filling the area with people and businesses, but some more than others. One of the more recent population and economic explosions has taken place in the city of Draper, the leafy former home of empty fields, which is now host to the northern end of the Silicon Slopes.
Draper gets is name from a man called William Draper III, who was a local congregational leader of some of the first Pioneers who settled in the area. Unlike Sandy, Draper didn’t have the advantage of being between the Little Cottonwood Canyon and Salt Lake City, hence its historically lesser economic impact and incorporation in only 1978. But the times have changed lately.
The Utah State Prison was constructed in Draper far away from homes and businesses. Nowadays, it is getting squeezed out and ready to be moved next to the Salt Lake City International Airport. Since 1990, the population of Draper has increased more than six-fold. The Canyons School District had to build a beautiful new high school, Corner Canyon High School, less than five years ago. Just up the road is Juan Diego Catholic High School, and both are in great demand to serve the education needs of the area. Not long ago, there were almost no homes down in the Draper area; now they stretch up into the surrounding hillside.
But nothing in Utah says “population growth” like the presence of a temple constructed by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Sure enough, in 2009 the Draper Utah Temple opened up on the hillside, and defines the city skyline. From a distance, anybody knows where Draper is by finding the temple’s gleaming white structure amidst the houses.
Speaking of houses, Draper is home to some spectacular neighborhoods and architecture. Two of them are not far from the temple. The first one is the Loeffler Mansion, owned by media mogul David Loeffler, which we have featured in some of our photo shoots. The other is its neighbor, the slightly better-known Draper Castle, which appears to have been plucked straight out of a Disney film.
But regardless of wealth or status, Draper is very family-friendly, with many new closely-knit developments and quiet streets. It is also home to the very large Draper City Park, which is not only a welcoming central location for outdoor activities, but also attracts thousands of visitors each winter who are hoping to see the Tree of Life display.
On the western side of the city is where the business end of Draper begins. It plays host to the offices of multiple large companies, including 1-800 Contacts and eBay. Draper is also home to some of the new Utah startups, which has created an incubation chamber for ideas and innovation.
How to experience all of the lively businesses and residential beauty? Draper sits just off of I-15 and has UTA TRAX and FrontRunner service. Sitting on the grid system makes it easy to get around. With the growing economy and an ideal location, the once-overlooked city of Draper is now a thriving VIP Limousine favorite for serving and visiting.