We know that our town was named after the salt mining town of Syracuse, New York, by William Galbraith. Syracuse, New York was named after Siracusa, Sicily. Siracusa, or Syracuse in its English version, was a city that faced water. Both cities are built upon the shoreline of a body of water. Bluff Road is the name of a former shoreline of the Great Salt Lake. Evidence of bison along the eastern shore of the lake can be found in archeological records. Trappers reported the presence of some bison north of Utah Lake. Reports of bison, however, seemed to disappear after trappers came to the valley. Hunting would have taken its toll, but the last straw may have been heavy snows during the winter of 1848-49.1
Nevertheless, one can imagine a heavily worn trail along the shoreline of the Great Salt Lake caused by bison grazing. Later, this bison trail would become known as the Old Emigrant Trail. A monument to the trail can been viewed at 2500 S. Bluff Road. This corridor led pioneers from Salt Lake City to California and Oregon.
As anyone can see, a new corridor, The West Davis Corridor, is under construction along what was once a bison trail. Perhaps you’ve noticed the sounds of pile-drivers and the increased activity of heavy equipment. The trail that conveyed bison at their pace will, within a few years, convey our families north and south with great speed. The interchange at Antelope Drive will become our front door. Lives will change. As a 9-year-old boy, I remember my father speaking of this new traffic pattern as we shingled a roof on our home in East Layton. We’ve heard about its coming for decades, and it’s now upon us. We’ve new streets to name. Some will receive address changes. We will keep everyone updated and ask for your understanding. Thank you.
Mayor Mike Gailey
- Karen D. Lupo, “The Historical Occurrence and Demise of Bison in Northern Utah,” Utah
Historical Quarterly, Vol. 6, Number 2, (1996)