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Mountains, high plateaus and deserts form most of Utah’s landscape. At Four Corners, in the southeast, Utah meets Colorado, New Mexico and Arizona at right angles, the only such meeting of states in the country. Utah became the 45th member of the union on Jan. 4, 1896, with Salt Lake City as its capital. Utah is known for having some of the best skiing in the country, and the mountains near Salt Lake City receive an average of 500 inches of snow per year. During the 19th century many Mormons settled in Utah, and today approximately 60 percent of the state’s residents are members of the church. The Sundance Film Festival, one of the premier independent film festivals in the world, is held each January in Park City.

Date of Statehood: January 4, 1896

Capital: Salt Lake City

Population: 2,763,885 (2010)

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Size: 84,897 square miles

Nickname(s): Beehive State

Motto: Industry

Tree: Blue Spruce

Flower: Sego Lily

Bird:California Seagull

Interesting Facts

  • In the summer of 1848, flocks of seagulls came to Mormon pioneers’ rescue by gorging themselves on the crickets that were destroying their newly planted crops. To honor the “miracle,” the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints dedicated the Seagull Monument, located on Temple Square, in 1913. In 1955, the California Seagull was designated the state bird.
  • On May 10, 1869, the first transcontinental railroad was completed when the Union and Central Pacific Railroads joined rails at Promontory Summit in Utah Territory. A tie made of California laurelwood bearing a silver plaque with the railroad’s completion date and four precious metal spikes were presented during the Golden Spike Ceremony; however, an ordinary tie and iron spikes were used to unite the rail lines.
  • Although annual precipitation averages less than 5 inches within the Great Salt Lake Desert, the northern Wasatch Mountains receive more than 60. During the drought of 1976-1977, communities were forced to ration water as the state suffered from its driest period on record with only 7.7 inches of precipitation.
  • In 2010, Utah had the youngest population in the U.S. with 33 percent of residents under the age of 18. It also maintained the highest birth rate, with 86.7 births per 1,000 women between the ages of 15 and 44.
  • Arches National Park in southeastern Utah contains over 2,000 natural rock arches. The widest, known as Landscape Arch, extends 306 feet from one base to the other.

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