Series 4904
Territorial Secretary Great Salt Lake City Charter

Dates: 1851, 1860, 1884.

0.20 cubic foot and 1 microfilm reelSkip to Containers

These records are housed in the Utah State Archives' permanent storage room.

Researchers will find copies of all records in this series available on both microfilm, as well as in a physical photocopy format. Due to the age, fragility, and intrinsic value of the original 1860 charter, that record has been placed in permanent storage in the Archives vault. It can only be accessed by permission, and under the direct supervision, of the Utah State Archivist.

Scope and Content

Utah became a territory on September 9, 1850 and the Territorial Legislative Assembly first convened the following year. The Legislative Assembly was responsible for creating laws to govern the territory. Acting as a provisional government for the Mormon-controlled State of Deseret, the Legislative Assembly was organized in similar fashion to the way church leaders were called and affirmed. Among the first acts of the Legislative Assembly (on January 11, 1851) was the passage of an ordinance that officially recognized and established Great Salt Lake City. This act established basic governance for the city, as well as a Public Works Department for city improvement.

By 1860 the demographics of Great Salt Lake City had changed dramatically, due to both an influx of non-Mormon immigrants, as well as an enhanced federal presence in the Utah Territory that came with the arrival of federal troops under the direction of U.S. General Albert Sidney Johnston. With the arrival of Johnston's army in the Salt Lake Valley, local control of the Utah Territory was turned over from LDS leader, Brigham Young to federal appointee, Alfred Cumming in 1858. In 1860, a revised and amended charter for Great Salt Lake City was adopted and enacted. This amended charter set the city boundaries, organized various levels of governance, established rules for elections, enabled the mechanism for establishing local law enforcement, and provided the means for passing local ordinance to help manage and control growth in the city. Several of the original ordinances for Great Salt Lake City were included in the charter.

This record series contains several important records documenting the incorporation and charter history of Salt Lake City. Researchers will find a photocopy of the 1851 Legislative Assembly minutes recorded by Thomas Bullock, which spell out the original provisions of the 1851 Great Salt Lake City Charter. Also present is the original bound 1860 amended charter for Great Salt Lake City. The 1860 volume also contains an 1884 amendment to the 1860 charter that is affixed to the final page of the volume.


Chronological by date.

Related Records

Journals from the Legislature. House of Representatives, Series 456, contains minute book entries and abstracts that may discuss passage of the charter records found in this series.

Territorial legislative records from the Legislative Assembly, Series 3150, contains the original records and minutes pertaining to the passage of the 1851 charter for Great Salt Lake City.

Journal record books from the Legislative Council, Series 3167, contains minute book entries and journal records that may discuss the passage of the charter records found in this series.

Additional Forms

This series is available on microfilm.

Access Restrictions

This series is classified as Public.

Preferred Citation

Cite the Utah State Archives and Records Service, the creating agency name, the series title, and the series number.

Processing Note

This series was processed by Jim Kichas in August 2013.

Indexing Terms

Container List

1 1 1 1851 Jan 9 Great Salt Lake Ordinance passed by the State of Deseret General Assembly (photocopy)
1 1 2 1860 Jan 20 Amendment to the Original Charter of Great Salt Lake City (photocopy)
1 1 3 1884 Mar 13 Amendment to the 1860 Amended Charter of Great Salt Lake City (photocopy)
1 2 1 1860 Jan 20 Amendment to the Original Charter of Great Salt Lake City (vault)
1 2 1 1884 Mar 13 Amendment to the 1860 Amended Charter of Great Salt Lake City (vault)

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