You Know You Grew Up in West Jordan When…
Aug 04, 2016 03:33PM
● By Mylinda LeGrande
What the Gardner Village County Furniture Store looks like today. – Mylinda LeGrande
By Mylinda LeGrande | [email protected]
West Jordan, Utah - As the population in West Jordan has passed 108,000, there are many residents who have lived here most of their lives.
In the 1850s, the population grew steadily until 1960 when it grew 42 percent, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. In 1970, it increased 40 percent more, and by 1980, it exploded with 547 percent growth. Then 1990 added another 57 percent
Since Archibald Gardner Built the Mill on the Jordan River, many more businesses and buildings have come and gone. The West Jordan City Hall was built in 1993, the Gene Fullmer Fitness and Recreation Center opened in the early 2000s, and the new West Jordan Library and Viridian Event Center opened in 2012.
The original West Jordan Park and rodeo grounds were constructed in 1954 but were later redesigned and improved. With the addition of the Wild West Jordan Playground, the old rodeo grounds were torn down and moved to a new location, and the park was dedicated West Jordan Veteran Memorial Park. New parks and recreation areas to West Jordan include The Ron Wood Baseball park and Sierra Newbold Park and Splash Pad.
With all the changes that this city has gone through, it’s also seen changes in social trends. A popular Facebook page popped up in social media entitled, “You Know You Grew Up in West Jordan When…?” It has over 6,600 members that reminisce about growing up in this city and share memories and photos on this page.
Many posts feature memories of fast food joints or grocery stores. One post trending on the page was for the Central Park restaurant (where Hot Dog on a Stick restaurant stands). “I want to say ’98–’99 is when it closed because I remember sluffing at the Food4Less and watching them close it down one day,” Member Kaz Linza said, It was located near West Jordan High, so many students enjoyed getting their lunches there for under $1 there. Marylinn Heidt Bickly, another group member, confirmed that Central Park closed in 2002, as her parents owned it.
Layne Wilson posted a picture of the first school in the area, West Jordan School. It was located at Redwood Road and Bingham Highway. It served as the general school for the city and surrounding area until 1958 when West Jordan Junior High School opened. It continued as an elementary school until June 1975 when it was condemned.
“The birth and death of a West Jordan landmark: West Jordan School from 1927 to 1975. From what I understand, the auditorium and stage were originally in the front of the building until the roof collapsed in 1947,” Wilson posted on the page.
Wilson also posted a picture of the West Jordan Pharmacy at the location of the current Go Go’s Shoes and Boots at the corner of 7800 South and Redwood Road.
“I miss that old small town feel that use to be in West Jordan,” Wilson said.
Nancy Galt agreed.
“I loved going to that pharmacy! There is no such thing as penny candy anymore,” she said.
There were many posts about West Jordan Middle School and its pool. It served the community many years with swimming lessons for the students and public as well. It was closed in 2011.
“The lockers were replaced in 1999, and the elements have taken hold hard on the building. Bricks are falling off the walls. I doubt the pool will be used again. My eyes still burn looking at [the] photos,” Wilson said,
Jodi LeGrand Munns met her husband at that pool and Natalie Glen took swimming lessons there.
“I used to go there every night after dinner,” Cara Benson said. “It cost $.40 to get in. Coach Richardson taught me how to do backflips off the diving board and so many other things ... great memories.”
West Jordan has some famous residents. Meifu posted a picture of a gold football and plaque provided to WJHS from Travis Hall, a West Jordan Resident who attended WJHS. He was part of Super Bowl XXXIII history as defensive tackle for the Atlantic Falcons.
“I just showed this to some of our players,” Meifu said. “It may be a simple football, but the pride that Travis Hall still has for our community is remarkable.”
Some other notable residents include Don Fullmer, boxer; Gene Fullmer, boxer and 1957 world middleweight champion; Jordan Halliday, animal rights activist; Wassef Ali Hassoun, U.S. Marine; Carolyn Jessop, former member of Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints and author of “Escape.”
Randy Rosier remembers some popular and iconic entertainment hangout spots.
“How many of us lost our shoes to the stick floors in the old Green Briar [Theater] or made ourselves sick with too many malts at the Malt Barn?” he said.
The Green-Briar Theater was built by John F. and LaRue Green and opened on December 27, 1974, according to cinemastreasures.org. The theater was to provide feature family entertainment, with “nominal admission prices so that families may attend” and no R-rated movies. By 1992, the theater closed and was used as an apartment building. The building was later remodeled and currently houses Polaras at 8200 South Redwood Road.
While the city is rich in its Mormon Pioneer settlers, there is “darker side” to the city. Residents nicknamed the business that obtained the city’s first beer license “the second ward” and joked that it was the place where “jack Mormons” would patronize.
West Jordan may have changed a lot since its beginnings, but the “You Know You Grew Up in West Jordan When…?” Facebook page offers a place for longtime West Jordan residents to reminisce and for new West Jordan residents to learn about the city’s history. For more information, visit facbook.com and search “You Know You Grew Up in West Jordan When…?” λ