Due to the reliance on the term "Mayor" in the filing of Transportation and other Federal Grant Programs, the State Legislature changed the title of the Council Chairperson to Mayor to allow Metro Townships to access these federal programs and receive their benefits - just like the cities and towns currently do.
Welcome to the community of Magna Metro Township! According to the 2020 Census, Magna has a population of 29,251 residents.
Magna has a rich history of pioneers, farmers and mining. The area was settled in 1851 by Mormon pioneers. Farmers came to the area in 1868 at the base of the Oquirrh Mountains. They called their community Pleasant Green.
By 1920, there were about 20 families in the area. Copper mining in the Oquirrhs began transforming the Pleasant Green area from agricultural to and industrial community. D.C. Jackline established the Utah Copper Company, which later became Kennecott Copper Corp. In 1906, the company began constructing its Magna Mill. The name "Magna" comes from the Latin word meaning "great" or "superior."
Beginning in 1903, Magna saw a large influx of Greek immigrants, primarily prompted by coal mine strikes in Carbon County, Utah and Fresno, California. This group eventually established a thriving Greektown and community. The formation Magna's Greektown coincided with that of Salt Lake City, happening only about 15 miles to the east.
Boston Consolidated Copper constructed a second mill in the area in 1909. In 1911, the companies merged and the mill was renamed Arthur Mill. Construction workers lived in a temporary settlement known as Ragtown. Several substantial homes were built in the tent city and later moved to the present community. As the mills began operating, some local farmers traded in their plows for a steady company paycheck and began moving in to work at the mills.
In 1914, Renald Woolley, Post Master, petitioned to have Pleasant Green post office changed to Magna because of confusion with other towns such as pleasant grove. In a meeting above his store, the locals accepted the name of Magna for the town and post office, Oct. 19, 1915. By 1909, the Hawthorne School (no longer standing) had been built in the eastern Magna area. In 1908, the Webster School (destroyed by fire and demolished in June 2004) was built at the west end of what is now Main Street.
In 1924, the first building of the present Cyprus High School was completed. There is a brand new Cyprus High School building under construction. It will be completed in 2022.
Over the years, buildings and additions have been constructed on the campus. At the time, commuting to work by automobile was not practical. Few mine workers had cars and cross valley roads were in marginal condition. Workers lived in the town and walked to the mills. Downtown Magna included churches, saloons, fraternal halls, and stores. Several small neighborhoods, such as Greektown, Japantown, Snaketown, and Little Italy, developed around Main Street. Many early residents were immigrants, primarily from Eastern Europe but Magna was not a mining town.
Between 1915 and 1960, the town's fortunes fluctuated with the copper industry. During the Great Depression, the mills shut down for a period and workers were laid off. About 1940, there was a resurgence as the pending war boosted copper demand. Growth continued after World War II, through the 1960s.
By the 1960s, the community was experiencing the first signs of a suburban transition. The Hercules Powder Co., once a small dynamite manufacturing firm, had begun producing rocket motors at its Bacchus Works south of the Magna community, named after 1912 founder T.W. Bacchus. The increased jobs were one factor encouraging subdivision development in the Magna, Kearns, and West Valley City areas.
In 1961, the voters in the Magna Improvement District (now the Magna Water and Sewer District) approved a bond that financed a sewage treatment plant, water storage tanks, pumps and well development. The improvements created sufficient capacity to serve more than double the population at the time and helped open the way for development. Not only did Magna's population begin shifting southward during the 1960s, but also automobile commuting, both to work and shopping, became common. As business activity moved to other areas, Main Street slowly began to deteriorate. Presently, some of the commercial space there is vacant.
During the 1970s, as part of a general west valley suburbanization trend, the community experienced more dramatic growth. Inexpensive land south and east of the historic town center began being developed into moderately priced single-family homes. The new neighborhoods tended to attract middle-income working class couples with younger families. While the community had grown from approximately 8,900 in 1960 to 10,000 in 1970, the population had increased to over 23,000 by 2000. This increase is about double the countywide growth rate.
The process for Magna to become a township took over 10 years. Growth and development continue to define Magna.
The West Bench plan for redevelopment of mining land should have a major impact on the future of Magna. Kennecott Land plans major development in the areas immediately surrounding Magna. The area west of Magna along I-80 is currently slated to become one of two major "urban centers" for Kennecott Land's west bench development plan.
The Historic Main Street underwent a major remodel in 2006. Main Street has also become a popular location for film makers. including the Disney corporation, and films such as Disney Channel's TV movie, Dadnapped, and some of the Halloweentown movies filmed on Magna Main Street. A two-part episode (and series finale) of the TV series Touched by an Angel, "I'll Walk with You" was filmed in Magna. The popular TV series Granite Flats also uses some of the Magna locations in part of the Disney's series 'Andi Mack' is also filmed in Magna.
On March 18th, 2020, Magna was the site of the epicenter for the 5.7 magnitude 2020 Salt Lake City Earthquake. The quake was followed by more than 850 aftershocks. The temblor struck at approximately 7:10 am, and was felt strongly across the Wasatch Front. Damage was light, although several historic buildings with unreinforced brick walls suffered damage.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the metro township has a total area of 7.4 square miles (19 km2), all land. The community lies just to the northeast of the Oquirrh Mountains and is directly south of the Great Salt Lake.