Fifteen miles northwest of Provo, American Fork stretches from the South Wasatch Range on the east to Utah Lake on the south. Interstate 15, US Highway 89, and State Highway 74 are all main thoroughfares through this community of nearly 22,000 (2003 Census). Named for the American Fork River, one of the main tributaries flowing west from Mount Timpanogos, American Fork is a hybrid of suburban life and modern development.
American Fork was settled in 1850 by Mormon pioneers from nearby Salt Lake City. The American Fork River provided original settlers with lush meadows for their livestock and cottonwood trees for shelter. Matthew Caldwell, a Mormon Battalion veteran, was directed by Territorial Governor Brigham Young to settle in American Fork upon his arrival from the East with along with other European emigrants in the fall of 1850. Caldwell and his family built the first homes in American Fork and other homes soon followed in preparation for the hard winter of 1850.
American Fork was originally known as McArthursville, named for a local American Fork and Pleasant Grove farmer. In 1852, the community surveyed and laid out their city and renamed it Lake City. It was incorporated into the Territorial Legislature on June 4, 1853. Residents amended the city charter just seven years later, however, when it was decided that Lake City sounded too much like Salt Lake City, the territorial capitol.
Long an agricultural center of the Valley, American Fork has expanded to become a premier commercial development center. It is home to the Utah Valley Business Park, where several prominent technology corporations reside, as well as the fasting growing shopping district The Meadows.
Although there are over fifty Latter-day Saint congregations in American Fork as well as one of the Church's temples, American Fork is also religiously diverse. Its residents are members of the Presbyterian, Catholic, and Jehovah's Witness congregations among others.
American Fork is governed by a mayor and five city council members. The city also maintains a municipal high-speed Internet service used by several ISPs. American Fork Canyon is a popular year-round destination for campers, rock climbers, and recreational travelers. The Canyon also boasts some of the best autumn displays found anywhere in the country. The American Fork Steel Days is the community's summertime festival, held annually in July.
(Information courtesy American Fork City, Betty G. Spencer, UVEDA)