Submitted to the Salem Calendar 2008 contest, this photo by Dale Boman conveys the city’s rural charm in award-winning style.
Compiled by Emily Eyring
Missing mellow days of “Mayberry”? Put down the remote and pick up your car keys. Who needs reruns when we’ve got the real deal on the south end of Utah Valley? Settled just 15 minutes from Provo, serene Salem comes complete with a fishing hole and stoplight-free streets.
This small town popped up — quite literally — when early visitors discovered a natural spring in a shady hollow. After building a dam in 1851, they christened the surrounding country “Pond Town.”
As the years trickled by, a name change seemed an appropriate way to honor citizen Curtis Lyman, who created the city’s irrigation system. Salem, the name of Curtis’ hometown in Massachusetts, was selected and aptly means “City of Peace.”
In some religions, water is revered. And while Salem residents don’t hold organized services, one honored body of H2O draws worshipers 365 days a year.
During the sunny seasons, grab a fishing pole and warm up your whistler because Salem Pond is the place to be. Locals can be spotted swimming, feeding ducks and picnicking around the pond.
Christmas in Technicolor
When the snow starts falling, this locale lights up. On the day after Thanksgiving, iron frameworks in the shape of Christmas trees are strung with sparkling lights and attached to pontoons on the pond.
Move over Paris. Pond Town may just be the new city of love. With carriage rides near the water and a bewitching bridge, college students come here to pop the question.
Residents looking for a daily fix of food and friends head to one of the three local gas stations. Fast Gas, Salem Chevron and Pat’s Express Station are the city’s hot spots for catching up with neighbors — and the only place to purchase groceries.
Making Its Mark
While Agel Enterprises operates out of Provo, many at the company call Salem home, including COO Darren Jensen and VP of Global Sales Jeff Higginson.
Jeff, who is a Salem City Council member and the town’s designated Santa, says, “Salem is Utah’s best-kept secret.”
But the company isn’t trying to keep it that way. Along with a supply of nutritional supplements, Jeff offers international visitors a dose of small-town Salem charm whenever he gets the chance.
Salem’s slogan speaks of “modern living in a rural setting.” But when it comes to books, kids are going back to the classics. Topping the local library’s list of most checked-out children’s books is the “Berenstain Bears” series, closely followed by “Clifford the Big Red Dog.”
Salem’s “City of Peace” slogan is showcased in this snowy scene. Though the water has rarely frozen in recent memory, old-timers recall skating on a solid Salem Pond.