This is the 12th in a weekly series of stories highlighting interesting facts about cities in Utah County.
Salem may be one of the smaller cities in Utah County, but it has a strong history of nearly 100 years. How much do you know about the Utah County city? Here are 10 things you may not know.
-- Stacy Johnson, Daily Herald
The area was once known as Summer Spring and Pond Town.
According to Salem city, Native Americans called the area Summer Spring, because local springs bubbled up through sandy soil in a hollow that was once located where Salem is now.
In 1851, the earliest settlers came to the area from settlements in Payson. They also found the local springs and damned the stream to help water farmland. After this, the settlers called the area Pond Town.
The city was named after Salem, Massachusetts.
As more settlers came to the area, the town was renamed Salem. The town adopted the name in 1865, named after the birthplace of one of the town’s early settlers — Lyman Curtis. Curtis developed water irritation canals in Salem, bringing water out of the Spanish Fork Canyon, according to Salem City.
At that point, it was also given the nickname "The City of Peace."
The city is 97 years old.
Salem was officially incorporated on May 10, 1920. The city will celebrate its 100th anniversary in 2020.
Salem has fewer residents than 17 Utah County cities and towns.
The U.S. Census Bureau’s 2016 population estimates put the city’s population at 7,831 people. The only cities and towns with smaller population than Salem are Vineyard, Elk Ridge, Woodland Hills, Cedar Fort, Genola, Goshen and Fairfield.
Salem is the sixth-fastest growing city in Utah County.
The city may not have many residents, but it is growing. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the city has grown 21.9 percent since 2010. The 2010 Census put the population of the city at 6,423 residents.
The only Utah County cities with faster growth rates than Salem are Vineyard, Saratoga Springs, Elk Ridge, Eagle Mountain and Lehi.
Salem covers 10.17 square miles of land.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Salem has 10.17 square miles of land inside the city borders. Eleven Utah County cities are larger by land size than Salem, and 11 are smaller. That gives the city 631.5 people per square mile.
3.7 percent of the city’s population are veterans.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, there are 292 veterans living in Salem. That is 3.7 percent of the city’s total population.
Salem residents are older than the Utah County average.
According to U.S. Census Bureau information, the average age of residents in Salem is 28.4 years old, giving the city the sixth-highest average age of cities and towns in Utah County. It falls only behind Mapleton, Cedar Fort, Woodland Hills, Goshen and Genola.
Salem is home to several businesses.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2012 business numbers, 498 companies call Salem home. Some of the most recognized businesses include restaurants like Parley’s Place, Siro’s Place, Emerald Eve Cafe, Main Street Pizza and Stan’s Drive-In.
Salem hosts a few well-known local events.
One of the most well-known events in Salem happens every December — Pond Town Christmas. The event features a light display with Christmas lights floating on Salem Pond in Knoll Park.
For a week in the summer, the city also hosts a weeklong celebration called Salem Days. The celebration includes a cardboard Duct Tape regatta, a tractor pull, a movie in the park, a concert, a car show, the Little Buckaroo Rodeo and fireworks.