American Fork

Even with all its amenities, American Fork’s best asset is its welcoming nature and its community.

Deanna Devey May 1, 2017

American Fork residents have long used the wagon wheel to represent their city. With its strong economy and proximity to roads and public transit, the wheel symbolizes American Fork’s role as the “Hub of North Utah County,” according to Mayor James H. Hadfield.

Hub of North Utah County

The city, about 30 minutes south of Salt Lake City, is a commerce center for the surrounding communities, with its variety of businesses and amenities, including 130 restaurants. “At noon every day, our population doubles because people who live and work in the surrounding areas come here to get a bite for lunch,” Hadfield says. “We have every hamburger and taco known to man.”

The city’s hospital, Frontrunner station, golf course, Mount Timpanogos LDS Temple, and proximity to Utah Lake and American Fork Canyon also bring people to the community. “American Fork for a long time has had a vision to provide a good quality of life for its residents,” Hadfield says.

Historic Roots

Today’s city of 30,000 people was incorporated in 1853 after Mormon pioneers moved to the area. They named the town after the American Fork River, a Utah Lake tributary or “fork” frequented by American Fur Company trappers in the early 1800s.

A relatively quick stroll of the city’s downtown provides a glimpse into its early history. Along Main Street and the surrounding blocks are historic buildings including a log cabin, LDS tabernacle, Presbyterian church and city hall.

Music and Arts

More than 150 years after the formation of the city’s first brass band, American Fork boasts some of the finest music programs in Utah and the country.

The nationally recognized American Fork High School Marching Band has played in the Tournament of Roses Parade, the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade and U.S. Presidential Inaugural Parade. “When you move into American Fork, your neighbors ask what instruments your kids play,” Hadfield says. “If you move into another community, they’re asking what sports your kids play.”

Once those students graduate, many participate in the city’s performing groups, including the American Fork Symphony, Timpanogos Chorale and Wasatch Winds band. “Not many cities our size have their own symphony and their own chorale,” Hadfield says. When the band KANSAS came to American Fork and played with the symphony, “they could not believe the quality of musicians that we had.”

If that weren’t enough, American Fork has a children’s choir, community theater and visual arts programs. Throughout the summer, the city also hosts concerts in its outdoor amphitheater at Quail Cove Park.

Hub of the Future

Moving forward, American Fork plans to continue in its role as an area hub. Plans are underway to improve Main Street and create a transit-oriented development near the Frontrunner station, including shops, offices and high-density housing. The city is also working to improve its recreation programs, including a $300,000 project to expand its boat harbor to make it a regional destination for boaters.

Even with all its amenities, American Fork’s best asset is its welcoming nature and its community, says Hadfield, a resident for 52 years. “Why I’m here is the quality of life and the people.”

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