The Geneva Steel mill was constructed by the Defense Plant Corporation, an arm of the federal government in 1942, and began operations in December of 1944 under the direction of Columbia Steel Company. The mill was constructed to enhance the national steel output during World War II. Due to the possibility of a Japanese attack on the West Coast, Vineyard, Utah was identified as the ideal location as it was far enough inland and had access to Utah’s vast resources of iron ore, coal and limestone. This integrated steel mill covered approximately 1,700 acres and produced steel products, converted coal into coke, and produced inorganic fertilizers.
After WWII the mill was purchased by U. S. Steel, which operated the facility until 1987 when it was sold to Geneva Steel. Operations were important to Utah County’s economy by providing thousands of jobs and attracting many businesses to the area. At the peak of operations, Geneva Steel was the largest steel mill west of the Mississippi River and produced 60 percent of the steel used in the Western United States.
Geneva Steel was a significant landmark and employer in Utah County. Many local communities relied heavily on the steel mill for primary and secondary jobs. Communities embraced the steel mill, some even naming their town days after the industry (e.g. American Fork’s Steel Days). Due to low steel prices and increasing costs, the mill was idled in 2001 and permanently shut down in 2002.
In 2005, the mill property was sold to Anderson Geneva, a subsidiary of Anderson Development in Salt Lake City. The buildings and structures at the site were either sold or demolished between 2005 and 2008.