About Kearns

Camp Kearns — Source: Camp Kearns Collection


Little is known about this area before 1848. Some of this region’s first known inhabitants were Fremont people who used the area to hunt and gather food along the Jordan River. Ute bands wandered through the valley between the marshes of the Great Salt Lake and Utah Valley.

The first Mormon pioneer settlers, Joseph and Susanna Harker, forded the Jordan River and settled along the Jordan River in 1848. They and others settled along the river bottoms, where they dug ditches and cleared land for small farms and pastures.

In 1858, the U.S. Army marched through the area on their way to Camp Floyd in Fairfield.

A small adobe fort was built in the 1860s on bluffs above the river to protect settlers from Indian attacks that never materialized, and it was soon abandoned.

In 1863, the center of the valley was divided into the West Jordan, South Jordan, East Jordan, and North Jordan LDS Wards.

South Jordan and West Jordan kept their names and East Jordan became Midvale. North Jordan in time became Taylorsville and Bennion.

By 1876, the South Jordan and North Jordan Canals were joined to carry water from the Jordan River.
This brought land from South Jordan to Granger under cultivation and, therefore, more families to the area, almost all of them farmers.

In 1881 the Utah and Salt Lake Canal was built farther west, allowing irrigation farming to expand.

During World War II, the U.S. Air Force wanted an isolated place to build a training base safe from any attacks by the Japanese and on the main rail routes to the Pacific Coast. The War Department bought about 5,000 acres (20 km²) of land where Kearns is currently located.

Camp Kearns, as it came to be known, opened in 1942. Just one year later, Camp Kearns had 40,000 residents and was Utah’s third largest city.

It was partially a basic training facility for replacement troops headed for the war against Japan.

Most of the men who trained at Camp Kearns stayed only a few weeks and were glad to get away from it, as living conditions were horrible.

Camp Kearns was closed as an active base in 1946, and the buildings and materials auctioned off in 1948.

Some of the first homes in Kearns were built from materials left over from the buildings of the base.

Camp Kearns gave an indirect boost to Taylorsville in that a pipeline was constructed to bring water from the east side of Salt Lake to the camp.

Once Camp Kearns closed, the presence of clean drinking water and a sewer treatment plant made it possible for people to move to Kearns and live in some of the first large subdivisions built in western Salt Lake County in the 1950s.

Kearns Today

Kearns is a census-designated place (CDP) and township in Salt Lake County, Utah, United States.
The population was 33,659, at the 2000 census.a small increase over the 1990 figure of 28,374 due to a small part of the territory incorporated into Taylorsville in 1996. A recently-elected community council is expected to call for a vote of incorporation in the near future.

Utah Olympic Oval

The Utah Olympic Oval in Kearns was the venue for long-track speed skating events in the 2002 Winter Olympics. Because of its altitude, which gives it the thinnest air of any such facility in the world, and its unique architecture, which allows for close control of temperature and ice conditions, the Oval saw numerous records set during the games. It remains arguably the fastest ice surface in the world.

The Oval is still in operation, hosting both competitive events and public skating.


Kearns is located at 40°39’11 N, 112°0’24 W (40.653179, -112.006763).

According to the United States Census Bureau, the CDP has a total area of 12.5 km² (4.8 mi²), all land.


As of the census of 2000, there were 33,659 people, 9,203 households, and 7,932 families residing in the CDP.

The population density was 2,701.8/km² (6,994.1/mi²). There were 9,413 housing units at an average density of 755.6/km² (1,956.0/mi²).

The racial makeup of the CDP was 81.78% White, 0.66% African American, 1.02% Native American, 1.69% Asian, 2.34% Pacific Islander, 9.82%
from other races, and 2.70% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 19.62% of the population.

There were 9,203 households out of which 54.1% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 67.3% were married couples living together, 13.1% had a female householder with no husband present, and 13.8% were non-families. 10.5% of all households were made up of individuals and 3.7% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 3.65 and the average family size was 3.88.

In the CDP the population was spread out with 37.2% under the age of 18, 11.2% from 18 to 24, 32.0% from 25 to 44, 13.4% from 45 to 64, and 6.3% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 26 years. For every 100 females there were 102.5 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 100.2 males.

The median income for a household in the CDP was $45,711, and the median income for a family was $46,598. Males had a median income of $31,444 versus $22,838 for females. The per capita income for the CDP was $14,110. About 5.1% of families and 7.1% of the population were below the poverty line, including 9.3% of those under age 18 and 6.5% of those age 65 or over.

Kearns Map

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