Murray, Utah. Salt Lake City: Our Home, Part 16

With dual mountain backdrops, Murray City sits in the heart of Salt Lake County. Photo credit: utahrealtyplace.com
With dual mountain backdrops, Murray City sits in the heart of Salt Lake County. The Murray City Park, pictured here, is home to a lot of activity for organized sports. Photo credit: utahrealtyplace.com

Salt Lake City is the name most people outside of Utah know when they think of the Wasatch Front, let alone the state itself. Even Salt Lake County shares the name of the city and the mysterious body of water situated to the north. However, Salt Lake is not at the center of activity in the area, and it’s not the only major municipality either. The so-called “Hub of Salt Lake County” is actually Murray. Sometimes known as Murray City (and pronounced “Murr-ee”), it’s at the true heart of the Salt Lake valley, sharing borders with Taylorsville, West Jordan, Holladay, Millcreek, South Salt Lake, Cottonwood Heights, and Midvale.

The city is named for Civil War Veteran, journalist, and notable anti-Mormon Eli Houston Murray, a former territorial governor of the state of Utah. It officially became a city in 1903, and was quickly established as a center of industry. Prior to incorporation, Murray had served as a crossroads for much of the industrial activity related to building Salt Lake City, including as part of the corridor for the construction of the Salt Lake Temple. As a result it was also home to many of the first non-Pioneer European immigrants in the region. The Depression served to cripple this part of Murray’s industry, leading to some major economic changes. This has been partly memorialized in the city’s logo, with the smelter stacks developing the trademark “M.”

See if you can spot the smokestacks in the Murray City logo. Photo credit: murray.utah.gov
See if you can spot the smokestacks in the Murray City logo. Photo credit: murray.utah.gov

One of the most notable changes involves transportation. Murray has some of Utah’s most important freeways passing through its borders, notably I-15 and I-215. It has three UTA TRAX stations and one FrontRunner station providing access all across the Wasatch Front. In addition, Murray is also the place where much of Utah goes to buy a car, with the massive Murray Auto Row stretching up and down State Street. Larry H. Miller and his group of companies got started along this very corridor, and now has regional dominance. State Street is also in close proximity to much of the historic parts of Murray City, including but not limited to the old-fashioned movie theatre and original homes from early settlement.

The historic Murray Theater sits prominently along State Street near the heart of the city. Photo credit: By Murray Theater - Murray Theater, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=8271888
The historic Murray Theater sits prominently along State Street near the heart of the city. Photo credit: By Murray Theater – Murray Theater, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=8271888

Fashion Place Mall is another draw to Murray. Opened in the 1970s and extensively redone in recent years, it is one of the dominant shopping centers in the region. It contains unique local stores as well as big brands such as Nordstrom and Macy’s. The central location and modern design makes it an attractive destination for Murrayites and surrounding residents.

Murray’s infrastructure is also unique to a Salt Lake County city outside of Salt Lake City itself: it’s primarily self-governing. It has its own school district, parks, power and utilities, fire department, and law enforcementservices instead of relying on the county or unifying with other municipalities. Murray High School has been used in several movies as well, including parts of High School Musical. With the mountain backdrop and up-to-date construction, the building is in a unique position to feature in film. However, Murray’s most notable landmark is the new Intermountain Medical Center building, which is also home to Intermountain Healthcare, better known as IHC. It’s one of Utah’s largest employers and plays a major role in the health care industry across the west, with dozens of hospitals and clinics providing care for millions.

The people are a lot of what makes a place, and Murray has no shortage of notable residents. Ken Jennings came to fame for his record streak of wins on Jeopardy. And while he may currently live in Nashville, Murray is the hometown of one of the most famous Utahns in pop culture, American Idol Season 7 runner-up David Archuleta.

VIP Limousine has long appreciated Murray’s vibrancy and opportunity as a city and a place to work and play. It’s not a locale we merely pass through. As a company and as individuals, we gladly stop and partake of its businesses and attractions. Strong suburbs like Murray are part of what make our home a great place to live.

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