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Glossary of Utah Terms

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Compiled from Webster's New Geographical Dictionary, Utah Place Names by John VanCott, and A History of Utah's American Indians, edited by Forrest Cuch.

Bryce Canyon National Park Bryce  Park was established in 1928 by President Hoover and is named for Ebenezer Bryce, a pioneer cattleman who homesteaded in the area.

Deseret deseret The provisional state created in 1849 by Brigham Young. The U. S. Congress eliminated it by creating the Territory of Utah in September 1850. The term comes from The Book of Mormon, an LDS religious text, and means honeybee.

DuchesneDuchesneA town near the junction of the Strawberry and Duchesne rivers that was settled in 1904. There are several ideas on where the name originated. Some people believe the name came from the French trapper Du Chasne, while others think it is for the French nun, Rose Du Chesne. Others believe it came from the name of an early Indian chief.

GoshuteGoshuteAmerican Indian tribe that lives in western Utah and is part of the larger Shoshonean-speaking groups. Variant spelling: Gosiute.

HeberHeberA town in Wasatch county that was initially settled in 1858. Most of the settlers were converts to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints from England, where Heber C. Kimball was a missionary for the LDS church. The town was named in honor of him.

Hurricane Hurricane  A town in southern Utah located at the junction of U-59, U-9, and the Virgin River that was settled in 1906.

Kanab Kanab  A town in southern Utah that was settled in 1864, then evacuated in 1866 due to troubles with the American Indians, and resettled in 1871. The name comes from a Paiute word meaning willow.

Lehi Lehi A city in Utah County just off of I-15. It is home to the Lehi Roller Mills where scenes from the movie Footloose (1984) were filmed. The town is named after a prophet in The Book of Mormon, a book of scripture used by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Lucin Lucin  A small railroad community that was located on the west side of the Great Salt Lake. The name comes from a local fossil bivalve, lucina subanta.

Moab Moab  A town in Grand County near Arches National Park. It was settled in 1855 by Mormon colonists, vacated due to troubles with the American Indians, and resettled in 1876.

Mormon Mormon  Members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are often referred to as Mormons, due to their belief in The Book of Mormon. Accordingly, Mormon was a prophet who compiled The Book of Mormon, a book of scripture used by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Navajo Navajo  American Indian tribe living primarily in the Four Corners Region. They traditionally refer to themselves as the Dine, which means the People.

Nephi Nephi A city 38 miles (61 kilometers) south of Provo named after a prophet from The Book of Mormon, a book of scripture used by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The area was settled in 1851 and had earlier names of Salt Creek and Little Chicago.

Northwestern Shoshone Shoshone American Indian tribe who live in northern Utah and southern Idaho. Variant spelling: Shoshoni.

Ogden Ogden  An industrial city 35 miles (56 kilometers) north of Salt Lake City near the confluence of the Weber and Ogden Rivers. Miles Goodyear, a mountain man and trapper, built a trading post and small fort there in 1844 called Fort Buenaventura. The city is also known as Junction City, due to the fact that it was the junction for the transfer of freight and passengers between the Union Pacific and the Central Pacific Railroads after the completion of the transcontinental line.

Oquirrh Mountains Oquirrh Mountain Range in Utah with a north-south orientation at the south end of the Great Salt Lake. The name comes from the Goshute Indians and has many meanings including Wooded Mountain, Cave Mountain, West Mountain, and Shining Mountain.

Orem OremCity in Utah County named for Walter C. Orem, president of the Salt Lake and Utah Electric Interurban Railroad.

Paiute Paiute American Indian tribe who live in southern Utah, southeastern California, northern Arizona, and southern Nevada

Panguitch Panguitch City near the Sevier River that was settled in 1866, vacated due to problems with the American Indians, and resettled in 1871. The name comes from the Paiute Indian word meaning water and fish.

Parleys CanyonParleys  A canyon that extends from southeast Salt Lake City to Parleys Park at the summit. It was initially named Big Canyon in 1847. In 1849 Parley P. Pratt, an early pioneer, built a toll road up the canyon that was called The Golden Pass. The name was eventually changed to Parleys Canyon. Interstate 80 passes through this canyon.

Promontory Summit Promontory The location of an early railroad construction camp where the Central Pacific and the Union Pacific Railroads joined in 1869. The name is from the promontory that projects into the Great Salt Lake. Today the Golden Spike National Historic Monument at the site commemorates the completion of the first transcontinental railroad.

Provo ProvoA city in Utah County founded in 1850. The area was first known as Fort Utah and then the name was changed to Fort Provo, being named after the French-Canadian trapper, Etienne Provost.

Soldier Hollow Soldier  A recreational area in the Heber Valley. The name probably comes from Captain James H. Simpson and his company of road surveyors and other soldiers who camped in the area in 1849.

Stake stakeA group of congregations in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, similar to a diocese.

Timpanogos, Mount Timpanogos A high mountain peak in the Wasatch Mountain Range, standing at 11,750 feet (3,581 meters).

Tooele Tooele A city in Tooele County that was settled in 1851 and is located approximately 25 miles (40 kilometers) south west of Salt Lake City.

Trappers Loop  trappers  A highway that connects the Ogden Valley and Mt. Green in northern Utah. The road follows the trail the trappers used and is named for the many fur trappers that spent time in the area in the early 1800s.

Uinta Mountains UintaA mountain range in Utah that is unusual due to its east-west orientation. It also is home to Utah's highest mountain peak, Kings Peak, at 13,528 feet (4,123 meters). The name comes from the Ute Indians who live in the area.

Uintah UintahA town and a county in northeastern Utah. The county was one of the original eight counties organized in 1850 and the town was settled in 1850 at the mouth of Weber Canyon. Early maps usually attached an "H" to the end of the word, however, it was left off of Major Powell's publication as being unnecessary for the pronunciation.

Utah Utah Western State settled by Mormon pioneers in July 1847. The word Utah was taken from the native Ute Indians. The state of Utah was admitted as part of the United States on January 4, 1896.

Ute Ute  American Indian tribe the state of Utah takes its name from. The Northern Utes were mainly hunters and gatherers and lived in the eastern Great Basin and the western Rocky Mountains. The Southern Utes settled in the Four Corners region.

Vernal Vernal  Town in Uintah County that was settled in 1876. Trappers and mountain men had previously explored the area. The name refers to a beautiful spring or pertaining to youth.

Ward ward  A geographical division of members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, like a congregation.

Wasatch Wasatch County in Utah that was established in 1862 and mountain Range extending from Idaho to central Utah.  The word Wasatch comes from an Ute Indian word meaning "mountain pass" or "low place in a high mountain."

Weber Weber A canyon, county, and river share this name.  Some people claim the name comes from a Dutch sea captain, John H. Weber, a trapper with General Ashley who was killed near the river shortly after his arrival to the area in 1823.  Others believe the area was named for Pauline Weaver, an Arizona frontiersman, who was in the area.

Zion National Park Zion  President Taft set part of Zion Canyon aside and named it the Mukuntuweap National Monument in 1909.  President Wilson later enlarged the area and changed the name to Zion.  It was established as a national park in 1919.