An Introduction to Salt Lake's Greek History

The historic Greek Orthodox Church located in Salt Lake City, the Holy Trinity, was filled with Greek adults and youth on Friday night for a social dance. The minister of the church greeted couples as they walked to the door in their best dress, and lights were strung throughout the Hellenic Cultural Association next door. The Greek community in Salt Lake is closely connected through culture, shared experiences, and religion. Their history is rich!

In the early twentieth century, mining and infrastructure jobs opened across the West and brought thousands of immigrants from across the globe to the Western United States. Employment opportunities multiplied as the Utah Copper Company expanded its mine in western Salt Lake, and the Greek community grew as immigrants followed their families and acquaintances to the Salt Lake Valley. Unified by Orthodoxy and racism in mining towns, Greek enclaves formed around the smelters. The enclaves dispersed after the World Wars and began to localize and integrate in Salt Lake City. Both skilled and unskilled Greeks joined the labor force during the latter half of the twentieth century entering fields such as law, the restaurateur business, and others.

The Greek Festival in Salt Lake City each September celebrates Greek community in the valley and welcomes all, unifying again the Greek community despite diverse new life circumstances and also helps educate the general public. This interactive opportunity to experience Greek culture and food only comes once a year, but daily opportunities to interact with the Greek community in Salt Lake are abundant. Historical resources are available at the Hellenic Historic Museum in the basement of the Holy Trinity Cathedral and authentic Greek food can be found at the Lamb or Crown Burger. The Greek community is largely responsible for the Salt Lake Valley as it exists today. Their history is our history.

The Holy Trinity Cathedral in downtown Salt Lake City is a registered historic monument with the National Parks Services. It is still used today and has served to connect Utah Greek communities for over one hundred years.
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A significant number of Greek Utahns served in the United States military. Their sacrifice to protect the nation is honored at the Hellenic Historic Monument in Salt Lake City. How can this monument impact our appreciation for United States service men and women?
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Located on the West Side of Utah’s Salt Lake Valley, Kennecott Copper Mine provided work (and conflict) for hundreds of Greek Immigrants during the twentieth century. The mine is now the largest open pit mine in the world, built at a cost.
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