Utah’s fascinating history and stunning natural beauty make it an incredibly unique state. Here are some of the most interesting facts surrounding our nation’s 45th state:
1 The first department store in the United States was built in the 1800s in Utah. It was called Zion's Cooperative Mercantile Institution and is still open under the name ZCMI.
2 Promontory, Utah saw the completion of the U.S.'s first transcontinental railroad when the Central Pacific and Union Pacific met in 1869. Today, the site is famously known as Golden Spike National Historic Site.
3 In the mountains near Salt Lake City, the average snowfall per year is roughly 500 inches.
4 Because Utah is inland, its snow is very dry, making it an optimal location for winter sports and recreation.
5 The name "Utah" comes from the the Ute Native American tribe. Ute means "people of the mountains."
6 Utah is home to some of the most iconic national parks in the country, including Arches, Canyonlands, Zion, Bryce, and Capitol Reef National Park.
7 Utah is the only state in the U.S. where each county contains a piece of national forest.
8 Utah was originally settled by Mormon pioneers in 1847, but would not become a state until 1896. Today, much of Utah's population remains of the Mormon faith (around 60%).
9 The individuals responsible for creating both the electric television set and the Frisbee both hail from Utah.
10 Ironically, the first Kentucky Fried Chicken was not opened in Kentucky, but rather in Salt Lake City in the cafe of a friend of Colonel Sanders.
11 Kane County, Utah has played set for numerous Western movies and television shows over the years, including Gunsmoke and The Lone Ranger.
12 Salt Lake covers roughly 2,100 square miles and contains around 4.9 billion tons of salt—much saltier than the ocean.
13 Famous Utahns include Marie Osmond, Roseanne Barr, Butch Cassidy, James Woods, and Chrissy Teigen.
14 Utah's state flower is the sego lily, and its state bird is the California gull.
15 Utah was first acquired by the United States in the 1848 treaty after the Mexican War.
16 Utah has the highest literacy rate in the United States.
17 Utah is one of the four corner states that include Arizona, Colorado, and New Mexico. It is the only place in the country where four states come together in such a way.
18 One of the most sparsely populated states in the country, Utah only has 32 people per square mile.
19 Out of all of Utah's women, 57% are married, making it the highest percentage in the country.
20 Utah has the youngest population in the U.S. with about 31% of people below the age of 18.