Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Salt Lake City

Summertime means travel time. I'm lucky when it comes to travel. I've seen many of the world's landmarks up close and personal. Places like the Eiffel Tower, The Acropolis, Vatican City, Ayres Rock, Franz Josep Glacier, Norte Dame and Big Ben. For the next few postings I want to share some lesson plans I use for my students as I present some of America's outstanding landmarks and places of interest. So get your luggage packed and gas-up your mental car because we're off. Today, let's go to Salt Lake City:

Salt Lake City is the capital and largest city in Utah. It was originally known as Great Salt Lake City. The population is 178,858 but if the suburbs are included the population increases to 1,018,826. The total area is 110.4 square miles (285.9 km²) and has an average elevation of 4,327 feet (1,320 m) above sea level.

The city is located in the northeast corner of the Salt Lake Valley surrounded by the Great Salt Lake to the northwest and the steep Wasatch and Oquirrh mountain ranges on the eastern and western borders. The city has four distinct seasons. Summer is hot and dry and winter is cold and snowy. Both are long with spring and fall serving as brief but comfortable transition periods. The city receives 16.50 in (419 mm) of precipitation annually. Spring is the wettest season, and another "rainy season" occurs in fall.

The city was founded in 1847 by a group of Mormon pioneers led by their prophet, Brigham Young, who fled religious intolerance and violence in the Midwest. The headquarters of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (or Mormon Church) is located in the city, and the church and the city is considered to be the center of the Mormon Religion.

Mining for gold and silver and the construction of the first transcontinental railroad brought people to the city and helped it grow until it was nicknamed the Crossroads of the West. Today, the city has become a tourist center (skiing and biking), become the industrial banking center of the U.S. and served as the host of the 2002 Winter Olympics.

Before the city became a Mormon settlement it was the home of the Shoshone, Ute, and Paiute Indians for thousands of years. The first European explorer in the Salt Lake area is believed to be Jim Bridger in 1825. U.S. Army officer John C. Fremont surveyed the Great Salt Lake and the Salt Lake Valley in 1843 and 1845. The first Europeans to settle in the valley were the Latter-day Saints on July 24, 1847, traveling beyond the boundaries of the U.S. so they could practice their religion in peace.

The First Transcontinental Railroad was finished in 1869 at Promontory Summit on the north side of the Great Salt Lake and the railroad was connected to the city in 1870. The first city streetcar began to run in 1872 and was electrified in 1889. The last trolley ran in 1945 but a light rail (TRAX) was built once again in 1999. The majority of its citizens are still Mormons but Hispanics account for 19% of the population and there is also a large Pacific Islander population (about 1%), mainly of Samoans and Tongans. The city is also home to non-governmental think-tanks and advocacy groups. Find out more at: http://www.visitsaltlakecity.com/

Research info gathered at: http://www.wikipedia.org/

Now here's one of my poems surrounded by snow-capped mountains:

The Important Words Are Underlined

Did I ever tell you about the time oil from
a leaky canister seeped into my thoughts
then expressed its dissatisfaction with my
sexual life. Or what about the time a
wispbroom popped-up out of my shoulder
and then preceded to brush the dandruff
away. Then there was the time I drew a
circle in my bathroom mirror with shaving
creamand Beethoven’s Fifth came pouring
out through it. See what always happens
when you unfurl the celestial flag of pure
astralphysiognomy from vast dripping
muzzles. Automatically a one-horned
unicorn willappear, and you can bet your
lift it’s been dry cleaned and disinfected
first. Now, sit back and feet up like a sunrise.

Poem first published at: http://litchaos.com/2008/vol13/issue33
Visit my ezine: http://www.concelebratory.blogspot.com/
and music blog: http://www.medleymakersant.blogspot.com/
Poem Copyright 2008 by Maurice Oliver. All Rights Reserved.


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