Located at the base of the Wasatch Mountains thirteen miles south of Salt Lake City, Sandy was a likely area for early settlement. Permanent settlers first moved into Sandy during the 1860s and 1870s because of the availability of land in the less crowded southern end of the Salt Lake Valley. Brigham Young named Sandy City in 1873 for its thirsty soil.
Sandy was incorporated in 1893, largely as part of an effort to combat what Mormon inhabitants considered “unsavory” elements in the town. By 1900 there was only a handful of saloons and hotels, and Sandy began to more closely resemble other rural Utah towns — a place where everyone knew everyone else. Church, farming, business, and family formed the focus of the inhabitants’ world.
During the 1970s, pocket communities took shape, providing the services, schools, and shopping traditionally offered by a city. Annexation issues became prominent as Salt Lake County and Sandy vied for control over land and resources. Sandy became a collection of small local communities identified by a youthful, family-oriented population. Although it was initially perceived as a bedroom community, and often still is, it has since developed a thriving commercial center along State Street and other various arterial roads.
Sandy today is the sixth-largest city in Utah . The population was 88,418 at the 2010 census. Sandy is home to the South Towne Center shopping mall, the Jordan Commons entertainment and dining complex, and the Southtowne Exposition Center. It is also the location of the soccer-specific Rio Tinto Stadium, which hosts Real Salt Lake home games, and opened on October 8, 2008.