In the heart of Brigham Young's promised land sits a festering plot of industrial ruin that has been claimed by society's outcasts.
The ruins of an early 20th century iron factory sit on the largest tract of undeveloped land in Provo, Utah. Known colloquially to a handful of locals as Satan’s Land, the area has been a haven for junk salvagers, graffiti artists, and bored teenagers alike.
Crumbling remnants of concrete structures and railroad lines, concealed from the road by tangled overgrowth, have long been an area of fascination for curious locals and wayward travelers in Provo. But long before the place came to be known as “Satan’s Land,” it was an iron factory built by U.S. Steel circa 1910.
As the iron and steel industry entered its decline in the 1960s, the factory was shuttered and left to deteriorate. The land changed ownership—at one point serving as the planned site for Brigham Young University’s unrealized industrial park—and eventually ended up in the hands of both private owners and the city.
Meanwhile, the vestiges of the iron factory continued to fall apart. Junk reclaimers ripped apart buildings and made off with materials, and graffiti artists tagged every accessible surface. (The name “Satan’s Land” is of anonymous graffitied provenance). Water channels—used in the steel production process—flooded many of the remaining structures and created wetlands in the surrounding landscape.
While Satan’s Land remains a hidden curiosity, the city is making an effort to develop the land it occupies. The area has been re-christened Mountain Vista Business Park, and its future may be determined by a new industry in town: techies.
Update As of 2015-2016: the area has been largely cleared out.
Update as of January 2021: The area is littered with “road closed” signs, but the ruins are still there, the base is flooded.
Know Before You Go
No trespassing signs posted. It is very dangerous-plenty of things to trip over, rebar sticking up everywhere, and uncovered manholes hidden by overgrowth.
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