This is the second in a weekly series of stories highlighting interesting facts about cities in Utah County.
Spanish Fork has been a part of Utah since the city was incorporated in 1855, but did you know these interesting 10 facts about the southern Utah County city?
The city was named after a river.
Spanish Fork was named for the Spanish Fork River, which was named for the Spanish Trail used by Father Escalante, a Fransiscan priest. The city was incorporated on Jan. 17, 1855.
Spanish Fork was home the first permanent Icelandic settlement in the U.S.
Soon after the city of Spanish Fork was incorporated in January of 1855, Icelandic immigrants began to settle in the area. The largest portion of Icelandic pioneers settled between 1855 and 1860, according to Spanish Fork City, and the group established the first permanent Icelandic Settlement in the United States.
To honor them, there is an Icelandic Monument that looks like a lighthouse in the city, and the Icelandic Association of Utah hosts Icelandic Days and the Fire and Ice Festival each summer in Spanish Fork.
It is the fourth-largest city in Utah County by population.
The population of Spanish Fork, according to the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2016 estimates, is 38,861, making Spanish Fork the fourth largest city in Utah County, next to Provo, Orem and Lehi.
Spanish Fork’s population estimates barely beat out Pleasant Grove, which has a population of 38,751.
The city’s population is up from 20,246 in 2000.
It is the seventh-largest city in Utah County by land area.
Spanish Fork is 15.39 square miles in size, making it the seventh-largest city in Utah County by land area. That makes the population per square mile 2,253.8.
There are quite a few businesses in the city.
According to 2012 U.S. Census Bureau numbers, Spanish Fork was home to 2,759 businesses.
The city population is younger than the national average.
According to U.S. Census bureau’s 2016 population estimates, 13 percent of the city of Spanish Fork is under the age of 5, compared to 6.5 percent of the national average. Population estimates also show that 40.9 percent of the city’s population is under the age of 18, compared to the national average of 24 percent.
Spanish Fork has been home to a few well-known people.
One of the most famous Spanish Fork natives is Lucky Blue Smith, a model who was scouted at the age of 10 and was signed to a modeling contract at the age of 12. He is well-known for his platinum blonde hair. He was born and raised in Spanish Fork.
Ab Jenkins, a professional race car driver from 1925 to 1951, was born in Spanish Fork in 1883. He set many world land speed records, 15 of which are still held today. He also served as the 24th mayor of Salt Lake City.
It was originally part of Palmyra.
Spanish Fork originally began as an outgrowth of Palmyra, according to Spanish Fork City, but Palmyra eventually diminished and became the northwest suburb of Spanish Fork. In the early days, both settlements existed with one fort, Fort St. Luke.
Spanish Fork has 17 city parks.
Included in the 17 parks are 10 pavilions, 10 tennis courts, two water parks/splash pads, 14 soccer fields, nine baseball diamonds, eight softball diamonds, six sand volleyball courts, three outdoor basketball courts, eight playgrounds and a skate park.
The city is home to Utah County’s only Krishna Temple.
The only Krishna Temple in Utah County is located in Spanish Fork.
You may have been to the Krishna Temple in Spanish Fork for the Holi Festival of Colors, but they also have classes and events year-round. They offer yoga classes, the Sunday Love Feast or daily tours.
The only other Krishna Temple in Utah is in Salt Lake City.