Sunday, October 31, 2010

Places to ride in St. George Utah

The following is a list of Mt. Bike trails around the st. George area. Have fun and be safe!

Anasazi Bike Riding Trail. This is a trail complex within the Santa Clara River Preserve with multiple riding options, from easy to technical. Some of the highlights are petroglyphs and views of the river gorge. The main trail is a 6.6 mile out-and-back with some cliff-side riding. From Anasazi Valley TH, it is an easy family ride to a native American farm site and rock art.

Barrel Roll Bike Riding Trail. This ride is a 6-mile loop within the Santa Clara River Preserve. It consists of moderate total climbing but it's gentle and steady. It offers some nice views of area and would be classified as a intermediate technical ride.

Barrel Bike Riding Trail. This trail links the top of the Green Valley raceway DH course (or hillclimb) to the Bearclaw Poppy trailhead, and has multiple riding options. It has some easily-accessed (but hard to do) off-trail stunt areas including gap jumps and drops.

Bearclaw Poppy Bike Riding Trail. This is a singletrack trail that winds around the mesa from Green Valley to Bloomington. Highlights include the Famous Three Fingers of Death, acid drops with Clavicle Hill, and the Roller Coaster. This trail is a light climb and would be classified as easier technical with some short "walkable" sections of advanced technical.

Black Brush Bike Riding Trail. This trail is signed for horses and foot traffic, but often ridden by cyclists. It is a 4.2-mile lariat loop within the Santa Clara River Preserve. It consists of moderate total climbing with a few stiff pitches. This ride would be classified as upper-intermediate technical. It offers great views of the area and the Santa Clara River gorge.

Bloomington Micro-Loop Bike Riding Trail. This is a quick 6-mile ride in the desert west of Bloomington. Difficulty is intermediate technical with very little climbing.

Bluff Street Cliffs Bike Riding Trail. This trail is also called Owen's Trail. It is a short singletrack and slickrock ride on the north edge of St. George, climbing along the cliffs. Difficulty is intermediate technical with a mild climb.

Broken Mesa Rim Bike Riding Trail. This is an awesome technical downhill singletrack. This trail is for skilled riders and full suspension recommended. The trail consists of a moderate initial climb then a long downhill. It can be riden as a loop or point-to-point with a shuttle.

Church Rocks Bike Riding Trail. This is a loop trail west of I-15 between Washington and Quail Creek. It consists of some slickrock and some singletrack. It's difficulty is intermediate technical with a mild climb.

City Creek - Rusty Cliffs Bike Riding Trail. This is a popular ride from the red cliffs north of St. George to the northern border of the Red Cliffs Desert Reserve, along the road to Veyo. Difficulty is intermediate technical with a mild climb. There is also an alternate route which has a difficulty of advanced-technical with slickrock.

Cove Wash Bike Riding Trail. This is a wash bottom ride in the Santa Clara Preserve area, shared with ATVs. The ride covers 4 miles to a viewpoint over the Cottonwood Wash breaks. This trail also connects to alternate ride options and to Stucki Spring.

Dino Cliffs Bike Riding Trail. This is an open rock and desert singletrack and can be ridden several different ways. It can be ridden as an out-and-back, a loop ride, or as a route to Church Rocks or Prospector. The eastern end is suitable for beginners. The loop is just over 4 miles with minimal climbing.

Owens Bike Riding Trail. Also called Bluff Street Cliffs Trail. It is a short singletrack and slickrock ride on the north edge of St. George, climbing along the cliffs. Difficulty is intermediate technical with a mild climb.

Paradise Canyon Bike Riding Trail. This is a short loop trail north of St. George. It features the easier Turtle Wall trail along the sandstone. It contains links to several other trails in the Red Cliffs Desert Preserve. There is a little climbing and has a difficulty level of intermediate technical.

Pioneer Park and Pioneer Rim Bike Riding Trail. This is a slickrock area on top of the cliffs north of St. George. There are two rides; a quick and easy one and a longer and more technical ride. Pioneer Rim has a little climbing and a difficulty level of upper-intermediate to advanced technical.

Prospector Bike Riding Trail. This intermediate-technical trail runs along cliffs from Leeds to Washington. It is a singletrack dirt trail with a little climbing. It connects to Church Rocks.

Quarry Bike Riding Trail. This easy, short trail extends from the St. George airport to a basalt quarry site on Black Hill, where rock was quarried for the Mormon temple foundation. There is some minimal climbing and has a difficulty level of easy technical.

Raceway at Green Valley Bike Riding Trail. This race loop starts in the valley between the Bearclaw Poppy trailhead and Green Valley, just southwest of St. George. it is a moderate climb and has a difficulty of intermediate technical.

Rim Rock, Rim Runner, Rim Rambler, Rim Reaper Bike Riding Trails.
In the Santa Clara River Preserve, this system of trails offers various riding options, including easier or more difficult rides.

Sidewinder Bike Riding Trail. This is a singletrack trail. The main trail is 5 miles with options for longer rides using Barrel Roll. Difficulty level is intermediate-plus technical, with about a mile of moderate climbing.

Snow West Canyon Bike Riding Trail. This graded roadway climbs up West Canyon from the bottom of Snow Canyon, north of Ivins. It is an easy technical ride with a light climb.

Snow Canyon Loop Bike Riding Trail.
This is a paved bike trail that loops from the northwest corner of St. George, through Ivins, and Snow Canyon. Difficulty level is easy technical, with a moderate climb.

Stucki Springs Bike Riding Trail. This singletrack trail goes through the desert south of Santa Clara, to join the Bearclaw Poppy trail at Clavicle Hill. There is a loop option using the Raceway. There is some climbing with a difficulty level of intermediate technical.

Sunshine Loop Bike Riding Trail. This is a gravel road with a singletrack that forms a loop right at the Arizona border southeast of St. George. It is classified as easier-intermediate technical with some light climbing.

Virgin River Parkway Bike Riding Trail. This is a paved bike trail from Bloomington into St. George, following the Virgin River. it is a very easy technical ride with no climbing.

Zen Bike Riding Trail. This 6-mile loop in Green Valley on the southwest corner of St. George offers quite a bit of advanced-technical challenges and moderate climbing.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Places to stay in St. George Utah

The following is a list of places to stay in St. George and the surrounding areas.

America's Best Inns & Suites
245 N. Red Cliffs Dr.
St. George UT 84790
(435) 652-3030

Best Western Abbey Inn
1129 S. Bluff St.
St. George UT 84770
(435) 652-1234

Best Western Travel Inn
316 E. St. George Blvd.
St. George UT 84770
(435) 673-3541

Best Western Coral Hills
125 E. St. George Blvd.
St. George UT 84770
(435) 673-4844

Best Western Zion Park Inn
1215 Zion Park Blvd.
Springdale UT 84767
(435) 772-3200

Budget Inn & Suites
1221 S. Main St.
St. George UT 84770
(435) 673-6661

Crystal Inn
1450 S. Hilton Dr.
St. George UT 84770
(435) 688-7477

Clarion Suites
1239 S. Main St.
St. George UT 84770
(435) 673-7000

Courtyard by Marriott
185 South 1470 East
St. George UT 84790
(435) 986-0555

Comfort Inn
138 E. Riverside Dr.
St. George UT 84790
(435) 628-8544

Cedar Breaks Lodge
223 Hunter Ridge Rd.
Brian Head UT 84719
(435) 677-3000

Coronada Inn & Suites
559 E. St. George Blvd.
St. George UT 84770
(435) 628-4436

Days Inn Thunderbird
150 North 1000 East
St. George UT 84770
(435) 673-6123

Eureka Casino Hotel
275 Mesa Blvd.
Mesquite NV 89027
(702) 346-4600

Econo Lodge
460 E. St. George Blvd.
St. George UT 84770
(435) 673-4861

Falcon Ridge Hotel
1030 W. Pioneer Blvd.
Mesquite NV 89027
(702) 346-2200

Grand Lodge at Brian Head, The
314 Hunter Ridge Dr.
Brian Head UT 84719
(435) 677-9000

Hampton Inn
53 N. River Rd.
St. George UT 84790
(435) 652-1200

Hilton Garden Inn
1731 S. Convention Center Dr.
St. George UT 84790
(435) 634-4100

Holiday Inn of St. George
850 S. Bluff St.
St. George UT 84770
(435) 628-4235

Holiday Inn Express Hotel & Suites
2450 N. Town Center Dr.
Washington UT 84780
(435) 986-131335

Howard Johnson Express Inn & Suites
1040 S. Main St.
St. George UT 84770
(435) 628-8000

Inn at Entrada, The
2588 W. Sinagua Trail
St. George UT 84770
(435) 634-7100

La Quinta Inn & Suites
91 East 2680 South
St. George UT 84790
(435) 674-2664

Ocotillo Resorts
2152 S. Sandia Dr.
Washington UT 84780
(866) 984-2008

Rodeway Inn- Hurricane
650 W. State St.
Hurricane UT 84737
(435) 635-4010

Super 8 Motel
260 E St. George Blvd.
St. George UT 84770
(435) 673-6161

TownePlace Suites by Marriott
251 South 1470 East
St. George UT 84790
(435) 986-9955

Travelodge Hurricane
280 W. State St.
Hurricane UT 84737
(435) 635-4647

Zion Lodge-Xanterra
#1 Zion Lodge
Springdale UT 84767
(435) 772-7771

Places to eat in St. George Utah

The following is a list of place to eat in St. George and the surrounding area.

Ahi's Taste of Asia
157 E. Riverside Drive, St. George
(435) 673-6604

Anasazi Steakhouse and Gallery
1234 Sunset Blvd., St. George
(435) 674-0095

Arkansas Al's
2400 Zion Park Blvd., Springdale
(435) 772-0665

Boulevard Diner
390 N. Mall Drive, St. George
(435) 986-3115

Bajio Mexican Grill
1091 N. Bluff St.
(435) 688-0707
2376 E. Red Cliffs Drive, St. George
(435) 986-1122

Bear Paw Cafe
75 N. Main St., St. George
(435) 634-0126

Bella Marie's Pizzeria
1487 S. Silicon Way
(435) 628-3336

Benja Thai and Sushi
2 W. St. George Blvd. #12
St. George UT 84770
(435) 628-9538

Benja's Thai Garden
435 North 1680 East #14
St. George UT 84790
(435) 251-9301

Bent Fork Italia Southwest Grill
757 N. Bluff St., St. George
(435) 673-2755

Bit and Spur Saloon
1212 Zion Park Blvd., Springdale
(435) 772-3498

Brandin' Iron Steakhouse & Saloon
939 E. Main St. Pine Valley
(435) 574-0440

Brick Oven
1410 E. St. George Blvd.
St. George UT 84790
(435) 628-5800

Cafe Rio Mexican Grill
471 E. St. George Blvd.
St. George UT 84770
(435) 656-0200

Cafe Soleil
205 Zion Park Blvd. Springdale
(435) 772-0505

Carl's Jr.
136 N. Red Cliffs Dr.
St. George UT 84790
(435) 674-5622

Casa Dona Maria Mexican Grill
720 East 700 South
St. George UT 84790
(435) 673-4944

Claim Jumper Steak House
1110 S. Bluff St.
St. George UT 84770
(435) 674-7800

Croshaw's Gourmet Pies
175 W. 900 South, St. George
(435) 628-1700

Cracker Barrel Old Country Store
1736 Convention Center Dr.
St. George UT 84790
(435) 688-1200

Dairy Queen of St. George
1088 S. Bluff St.
St. George UT 84770
(435) 674-1480

Denny's Restaurants
1215 S. Main St.
St. George UT 84770
(435) 628-6607

Desert Dove Tea Room
157 E. Riverside Dr. #3B
St. George UT 84790
(435) 628-3683

Dickey's Barbecue Pit
2610 Pioneer Road #4
St. George UT 84790
(435) 674-1206

Domino's Pizza
994 E. St. George Blvd.
St. George UT 84770
(435) 632-9040

Durango's Mexican Grill
245 N. Red Cliffs Dr. #8
St. George UT 84790
(435) 688-2200

Egg and I Restaurant, The
1091 N. Bluff St. #313
St. George UT 84770
(435) 628-0368

Ernesto's Mexican Restaurant
939 E. St. George Blvd., St. George
(435) 652-9300

Fish Rock Grille at the Ledges
1585 W. Ledges Parkway, St. George
(435) 634-4650

Golden Corral
42 S. River Rd.
St. George UT 84790
(435) 673-5700

The Gun Barrel Steak & Game House
1091 N. Bluff St., Suite 1400, St. George
(435) 652-0550

Historic Pioneer Lodge Restaurant
838 Zion Park Blvd., Springdale
(435) 772-3223

Honeybaked Ham and Cafe
740 W. Telegraph St. Washington City
(435) 688-1441

Hungry Howies Pizza
144 Brigham Rd. #4
St. George UT 84790
(435) 656-0011

Ichiban Gourmet Sushi & Seafood Buffet
969 N. 3050 East, St. George
(435) 652-6868

Iggy's Sports Grill
148 South 1470 East
St. George UT 84790
(435) 673-3344

McDonald's Restaurant-Bluff
1235 S. Bluff St.
St. George UT 84770
(435) 673-1422

McDonald's Restaurant-Sunset
1911 W. Sunset Blvd.
St. George UT 84770
(435) 688-2199

McDonald's Restaurant-Blvd.
798 E. St. George Blvd.
St. George UT 84770
(435) 673-5938

Olive Garden
1340 East 170 South
St. George UT 84790
(435) 656-8940

Orchids Restaurant
850 S. Bluff St. (Inside Holiday Inn) St. George
(435) 656-1889

The Orange Peel - Bubble Tea & Smoothies
42 S. River Rd. Suite 13
St. George UT 84790
(435) 628-2232

Osaka Japanese Bistro
42 S. River Rd. #11
St. George UT 84790
(435) 656-1314

Oscar's Café
948 Zion Park Blvd., Springdale
(435) 772-3232

Outback Steakhouse
250 N. Red Cliff Drive, No. 40, St. George
(435) 674-7788

Painted Pony
2 W. St. George Blvd., Ancestor Square, Tower Building
(435) 634-1700

Parallel Eighty-Eight
1515 Zion Park Blvd. Springdale
(435) 772-3588

Pasta Factory
2 W. St. George Blvd., in Ancestor Square, St. George
(435) 674-3753

Paula's Cazuela
745 Ridge View Dr.
St. George UT 84770
(435) 673-6568

Peppers Cantina
144 W. Brigham Rd.
St. George UT 84790
(435) 628-4660

The Pizza Factory
2 W. St. George Blvd. in Ancestor Square, St. George
(435) 628-1234

Pizza Hut
932 S. Bluff St.
St. George UT 84770
(435) 628-2822

Port Of Subs
875 W. Red Cliffs Dr. #1
Washington UT 84780
(435) 656-0103

Red Dog Cafe
1090 N. Highway 18
Dammeron Valley UT 84783
(435) 574-3600

Red Lobster
263 N. Red Cliffs Dr.
St. George UT 84790
(435) 656-2811

Royal Thai Cuisine
568 W. Telegraph Rd. #1
Washington UT 84780
(435) 251-9393

Samurai 21
245 N. Red Cliffs Drive, St. George
(435) 656-8628

158 N. Red Cliffs Dr. #2
St. George UT 84790
(435) 656-9815

Sol Foods
95 Zion Park Blvd., Springdale
(435) 772-0277

Spoon Me
2376 E. Red Cliffs Dr. #309A
St. George UT 84790
(435) 674-0900

Spotted Dog Café
428 Zion Park Blvd., Springdale
(435) 772-3244

St. Helen's Restaurant & Sports Bar
395 E. Telegraph Road, Washington City
(435) 652-8487

The Steak and Seafood Company
Located next to the Red Cliffs Mall
(435) 251-9301

Ted & Allen's Sports Grill Sports
980 W. State Street, Hurricane
(435) 635-3264

Texas RoadHouse
2654 E. Red Cliffs Drive, St. George
(435) 986-1776

Thai Sapa
145 Zion Park Blvd., Springdale
(435) 772-0510

Troy's BBQ
95 West 700 South
St. George UT 84770
(435) 272-4444

Twentyfive Main Cafe and Cupcakes
25 N. Main St. St. George
(435) 628-7110

Wildcat Willies
897 Zion Park Blvd., Springdale
(435) 772-0115

Wing Nutz
1091 N. Bluff St. #311
St. George UT 84770
(435) 767-0209

Xeteva Gardens Café
815 Coyote Gulch Court, Kayenta
(435) 656-0165

Zion Pizza & Noodle Co.
868 Zion Park Blvd., Springdale
(435) 772-3815

Places to go in St. George Utah

The following is a list of places you can go and hike in and around the St. George Area

The Sugar Loaf
The St. George Temple Quarry
Shinob Kibe
Elephant Arch
Snow Canyon
Red Cliffs

Things to do in St. George Utah

The Following is a list of things and activities to do in St. George and the surrounding areas.

Dinosaur Discovery at Johnson Farm
The Electric Theater
Fiesta Fun Family Fun Center
Historic St. George LIVE! Tour
Jumpin Jacks
Laser Mania
Rosenbruch Wildlife Museum & Gift Shop
Skate Park

Things to see in St. George Utah

The following is a list of things to see in St. George and the surrounding area. Have Fun!!!!

The Brigham Young Home

The Jacob Hamblin Home
The St. George Temple
The Cannon (St. George Temple)
The St. George Tabernacle
The Old Washington County Courthouse
Dixie Academy (St. George Art Center)
St. George Social Hall (Opera House)
Silver Reef
Historic Old Jail House (Ancestor Square)
Pine Valley Chapel
The Green Gate
Judds Store
The Woodward Building
The Orson Pratt House
Fort Pearce
The Encampment Mall
The Washington City Relief Society Building
The Cotton Mill
The Washington Fields Dam
The Virgin River
Adair Springs
Washington City Veterans Memorial
Old Washington Schoolhouse

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Things to see - The Old Washington Schoolhouse

Using the town’s school district funds and donated labor this school was finished in the spring of 1909. Its first graduating class in 1910 consisted of nine girls and no boys. Willard Nisson was the principal.

More on the Old Washington Schoolhouse
Immediately after the final organizational meeting held on May 7, 1857 to start the city of Washington the town was surveyed and the lot where the old school stands was set apart for the building of a bowery. It was used for meetings both religious and civil. In 1863 a relatively large adobe school building was built on this location and was used until the stone school and church was built in 1877. In 1907 or 1908 the school-chapel was overcrowded and it was decided to build this school. Using the town’s school district funds and donated labor this school was finished in the spring of 1909. Its first graduating class in 1910 consisted of nine girls and no boys. Willard Nisson was the principal.
We read from the Washington City Homecoming July 2,3,4,1983. “Rock was quarried by Julius Hannig and Charlie Hall from the quarry in the area south of the present new school on 300 East. Teams and wagons hauled the rocks to the school site where they were dressed by 10 to 15 of our local men.
The masons who laid the rock walls were Herman Tegan and Ira S. McMullin, with John Tanner doing most of the hod-carrying, although Neils Sandburg was a smaller part of that effort. When the height of the walls became too great, James (Shorty) Watters used an “A” frame with a little sorrel mare for power to hoist the rocks to the necessary level – quite an achievement that high. Carpenter work was contracted to Charles Stoney who had been principal for two years prior to this project. Some of the lumber he used was hauled by Elisha Iverson and could have come from any of several mills around here.
This building looks today much as it did at the time of completion, except for the gymnasium which was added onto the original in 1924.
In the spring of 1910 as the first term taught in the school was ending, planting on the grounds were made.

Things to see - Washington City Veteran’s Memorial

A monument dedicated to Washington City veterans with a plaque that reads
Dedicated to our Washington City Heroes“Take up our quarrel with the foe;
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.”
-Lieut.-Colonel John McCrae.
There is also a walkway containing bricks with the names of Washington City Veterans carved on them.

Things to see - Adair Springs

In early 1857 Brigham Young called a group of Southerners on a cotton mission to Southern Utah to raise cotton. Samuel Jefferson Adair, the leader of ten families, arrived at Adair Springs on April 15, 1857, after leaving Payson, Utah on March 3. They camped here a short time and then moved down near the Virgin River on what became known as the Sand Plot. Apostle Amasa M. Lyman who was passing through the area recommended they move back to the spring area which they did. Robert Dockery Covington arrived here May 5 or 6, 1857, with 28 more Southern families. They left the Salt Lake area shortly after the LDS Spring Conference held around April 6. On May 6 or 7 a two day meeting was held at this site under the direction of Isaac C. Haight, President of the Parowan Stake. They sang songs, prayed and selected Robert D. Covington to be the President of the LDS branch, and Harrison Pearce and James B. Reagan as assistants. Wm. R. Slade and James D. McCullough were appointed Justices of the Peace, John Hawley and James Matthews as constables, G.R. Coley as stray pound keeper and Wm. R. Slade, Geo. Hawley and G.W.Spencer as school trustees. They named their city Washington. It was too late to plant wheat, so they prepared the ground for corn and went right to work making dams and ditches to water their crops. Their homes were their wagon boxes, willow and mud huts and dugouts dug in the bank east of the Adair Springs monument. Their new home soon was called 'Dixie'.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Things to see - The Virgin River

Winding and carving through numerous steep, sandstone canyons, the Virgin River descends over 7,500 feet from its headwaters high in the Cedar Mountains down 160 miles to its termination in Lake Mead. The Virgin winds through Utah, Arizona and Nevada and supplies sustenance for all who live
The early inhabitants of the region, the Anasazi and later, the Paiutes, diverted the Virgin to cultivate their crops and to survive in the harsh and arid climate. The Mormon pioneers were the next to try to harness the wealth of the Virgin. By 1857 the area became known as “Utah’s Dixie.” The pioneers had learned through trial and error the power of the Virgin. They constructed dams that were destroyed by floods. They diverted the river and caused it to dry up for miles. But the early pioneers learned enough about the river to establish lasting settlements all along it. Springdale, Rockville, Virgin, La Verkin, Hurricane, Washington, St. George, and Bloomington were all settled along the Virgin by the early 1900s and relied on its water for survival.

More on the Virgin River
In the very early history of this area the river was called the Rio Vergen. Later the spelling was changed to Virgen and then to Virgin as it is known today. It has been a blessing and curse to people who settled this area in may of 1857 when the town of Washington was Established. These early pioneers were called by Brigham Young to come and grow cotton. This was the Beginning of the cotton mission, also known as the southern mission. Thirty-Eight families came in 1857, all selected because they were southerners. Brigham Young knew they had grown cotton or at least had seen it grown. There was a lot of water around the city that came from springs but not a lot of flat farmable land. They knew they had to control the Virgin so that water could be diverted onto the flat land south of the river known as the Washington Fields to produce the crops that were needed. It appeared to be relatively easy to divert this water since the water needed to be raised only a few feet. Just north of Shinob Kiab mesa they built a brush dam to divert this water into a canal which then carried it to the various farms along its path supplying water for the crops. The dam washed out twice the first year they were here, twice more in ’58, three times in ’59 and at least once every year thereafter until the Washington Fields Dam was built in 1891. This was an extremely difficult time and undertaking for these early pioneers. The water was cold and some had to stand in it waist deep for hours as they put brush and rocks in the river. The hardships of working on the dam, plus poor food and the rampant spread of malaria almost caused the cotton mission to fail. The people’s complexions actually had a bluish cast because of the effects of malaria. The river was full of quicksand which cased the dams to wash out when the excess water spilled over the spillway, and quickly washed away the sand the dam was built on. In 1886 they started a pile dam that was to solve all their problems. Four rows of wooden piles were driven into the river to form an anchor on which the pile dam could be built. In 1889 it was completed and water was diverted onto the farms. On December 7, 1889, a flood came down the river and washed out half of the dam. They called a meeting to solve this problem and on the same day, December 15, another flood came down the river and washed the dam completely away. The people were discouraged and devastated. Half of the population left the area. Half of the homes were vacant. Those remaining were too poor to leave. It was decided to find a new and better location for a dam. John P. Chidester was the engineer for both of these dams and was a longtime resident of Washington. It was completed in 1891 and all of the new canal was finished in 1893. Five tunnels (Whitehead-Morris-Clark, Schlappi, Beard, Picket, and Sproul) were dug along the course of this canal using a star drill, single jack, shovel and wheelbarrow. This dam made it possible to farm more than twice the amount of land than the previous dams. This dam tamed the unruly Rio Virgin. The river went from a curse to a blessing by providing water for the farms insuring the success of this area.
The Virgin River is no less important today. And we are continuing to learn through trial and error how to control its power and volatility. It still floods. And lack of water is an especially pressing issue with the rapid growth the area is experiencing.

Things to see - The Washington Fields Dam

Because the Washington Fields Dam is built on a natural rock foundation with a natural rock spillway, it has served well for over a hundred years since its completion in the early1890’s. For over 30 years prior to its construction, the pioneers fought a losing battle with the Virgin River. Many dams were constructed downstream, only to wash out and cause crops to wilt. Rebuilding these dams was very, very discouraging and expensive.

Things to see - The Cotton Mill

From 1868 to 1869 this was the largest producing cotton factory west of the Mississippi. The factory operated off and on for over 50 years, but on a whole it was a very poor venture. The Dixie Mission was created to produce cotton and although not a successful venture the historian A.K. Larsen said : "had it not been for the erection of the cotton factory, the Dixie Mission would have failed.". It seemed to be the one catalyst that held the people in Utah's Dixie together.

More on the Cotton Mill

In December 1852 John D. Lee and Elisha H. Groves founded Harmony Utah. Santa Clara was settled in 1854 and was the center for the Indian Mission. Jacob Hamblin became ill and A. P. Hardy was sent to Harmony to obtain medicine for him. Hardy also went to Parowan and there he received a quart of cotton seed from Nancy Anderson, a Southerner, which he took back to Santa Clara. The seed was planted in 1855 and a crop was harvested. The new seeds where saved and planted in 1856 and enough cotton was raised so that thirty yards of cotton cloth was produced. Some was sent to Brigham Young. President Young then knew for sure that cotton could be grown successfully in the area.
Brigham Young then called 38 Southern families to the Cotton or Southern Mission. They were to grow cotton in the Rio Virgin basin area. Only a very few of the 38 families were Yankees but they had also lived in the South so they all had seen cotton grown or had grown it themselves. On the 15 of April 1857 ten families under the leader ship of Samuel Jefferson Adair arrived in the Washington area and camped at a spring that became known as Adair Spring. The group explored the area and were down by the Virgin River on what is now called the sand plot when Apostle Aniasa M. Lyman, who was passing through advised the group to move back where the city of Washington is now located. On May 6, twenty eight families under the leader ship of Robert D. Covington came to Washington and camped with the Adair group at Adair Spring. On May 7 they had a meeting with Pres. Haight from Cedar City and named the new city Washington after George Washington the first president of the United States. The city was laid out, surveyed and put into a workable city. They immediately started to dig ditches, clear land and build a dam on the Rio Virgin to divert water onto what was called the Washington Fields so that they could plant crops. Cotton and corn were the main crops planted that first summer. They thought it was too late in the season to plant wheat. Since they were Southerners, they started to call their new home "Dixie" after their home lands in the South. This name soon spread to the rest of the area so Washington City is Utah’s "Dixie" Birthplace. This was natural for them because they all started their journeys in the South. The colonization and the beginning of the Cotton or Southern Mission started at Washington City by Southerners, called by Brigham Young, that had seen or grown cotton themselves.
The first mill built on Machine Creek (Mill Creek) was Thomas Washington Smith's Corn-Cracker Mill. "According to the record compiled by Andrew Jenson, former Assistant Church Historian, Thomas W Smith built a corn-cracker on the creek in 1857, the year of arrival of the Covington company, of which he was a member. In May 1858 James Richey built a cotton gin mill just north of the present cement bridge over Mill Creek and was used to remove the seeds from the cotton grown in the area. Brigham Young knew that there was going to be trouble even war between the North and South, which would disrupt the availability of cotton. He also wanted the pioneers to be self-sufficient. "Do not buy anything if possible from the Gentiles so the money we have will remain with us". Brigham assigned Erastus Snow the job of selecting a site for a cotton factory. He also bought the water rights of Machine Creek (Mill Creek) from John M. Chidester. The site was selected for three reasons. 1-It was centrally located for the growing areas. 2-Most land to grow cotton was located around the Washington area. 3-There was water available to supply the power for the factory.
The factory was started in 1865 and finished one story high in 1866. It was soon learned that the different stages of producing the goods could not be coordinated so that the factory could not run continuously on each phase of the production of cloth. So in 1868 they started to add the higher stories. These were finished in 1870 and new equipment installed. The small addition to the west side of the Factory was added where much of the bartering of goods took place. It was known as the ZCMI store. It was not a true ZCMI store but items were sold or traded (bartered) there. Many of the items that were bartered came from the ZCMI store in Salt Lake therefore it was known as the ZCMI store.
Water was the source to produce the power to run the Factory. The water was brought by ditch to the millponds that were located west of the factory on the hill. This gave the water the fall required to produce the power for the factory. The building on the South end of the factory was the wheel house where the water wheel was located that generated the power for the building.
Construction on the Factory began immediately after the site was selected and water rights were purchased. John M. Chidester sold his water rights on Machine Creek to Brigham Young. The main supervisor of construction was Appleton Milo Harmon, for a fee of $1000. John P. Chidester was the chief carpenter or timber foreman who was responsible for all of the structural timbers. Elijah and Elisha Averett along with Charles L. Walker were stone masons. Hyrum Walker and August Mackelprang hauled the first lumber and timbers to the factory from Cedar Mountain. The dedication of the factory when one story high was recorded in Charles Walker's diary dated 24 July 1866. He states: "P.M went over to Washington. The citizens met us before we got there and welcomed us to the town. We all went to the President*s Factory that Br. Snow dedicated, after which the remainder of the time until near midnight was spent in dancing, singing, etc. So ended the 19th anniversary of the saints entering these peaceful valleys of the mountains. Got home a little before daylight."
Part of the machinery for the factory came from Brigham Youngs factory in Parley's Canyon near Salt Lake City. The factory started operations under John Birch, supervisor with Hames Davidson in charge of the machines.The mill shipped 1,100 pounds of cotton cloth to California in 1868 and kept 1,600 pounds for stock. The selling price was $1.25 per pound.
The Civil War began in 1861 and ended in 1865. A few years later, the continental railroad was finished in northern Utah in 1869.
The end of the Civil War and the completion of the continental railroad meant that the Cotton Factory could not compete with cheap cotton from the South. The factory did not operate after the late 1890s and remained empty or was used as a building to house other projects. The machinery was sold, and with the exception of being used for miscellaneous purposes, the Factory stood vacant for many years. Norma Cannizzaro purchased the factory from the Washington Savings Bank in the 1985 with the intention of restoring it for operation as a community use facility. In her words, as related to George Staheli was as follows: "Several times as I traveled from California to the east on old Highway 911 ‘de see the Old Factory, falling more and more into distress each time I came through. I loved that Mill. I’d stop and walk a round and had a feeling for the place. Several times I ‘de receive a feeling that, that old cotton factory needed restoring. One night, in the middle of the night, I heard a voice telling me, "You ‘ye got to save the old Cotton Factory in Washington. I got up, got dressed, started for Utah. I made an offer on the Factory that next day."
Norma obtained the Factory, moved to Washington and began restoration. She poured all her life savings, abilities and energies in the restoration of the Factory. She took the proper steps in restoring it to its original state and stature. She saved the Cotton Factory. She moved into the Factory and was the steward over it and loved it. Norma opened it up to the community as a social community center, as she desired it to be. The city of Washington should be deeply appreciative for her love, care, and efforts in saving this monument for their town. Norma cared for the Factory, as she always called it, for years. Her health weakened and it was needful for her to move and live with her family. As much as she hated to leave the Factory, she did as her family requested and put the Factory up for sale. Hyrum and Gail Smith's family purchased the Factory in August 1993 where it was continued to be used for social events. They renamed it "The Rio Virgin Cotton Mill. They made a few changes inside and restored an additional lean-to-wing onto the north east corner of the building, and added hitching posts to the outside parking area. The family decided that they couldn't do with the Mill as they had intended so they put it up for sale in 1996. 13 August 1998 the Cotton mill was purchased by Craig Keough,, owner of Star Nursery. Craig started his business in 1983 with one store in Las Vegas, Nevada. As a young man he had worked with his father in a landscaping business where he gained much of his experience. Besides the nursery business, Craig is an avid race car driver and loves western music and line dancing. While searching for more property one day, he and his Vice President, Mark Gill drove by the Cotton mill and noticed the "For Sale sign. "As they walked around the property, Craig had a real feeling come over him about the Mill, he envisioned how he could turn this into a viable business along with keeping the beautiful Cotton mill facility alive. Immediately after purchasing the Mill in August 1998, Craig got to work and opened the doors the day after Thanksgiving of that same year. Star Nursery is a Corporation, but Craig Keough is the sole owner. He owns 7 stores in Utah, Nevada, and Arizona. Craig visions this Cotton mill store as being a real "Show Place", with its property, setting. and, building. Again, Washington City should be very grateful and proud of what has been done to their Cotton mill by another individual who can vision the future for this Historic building and who has made entrance into their town a true beautiful "Show Place
The Cotton Factory was always known to the pioneers of Washington City as the Factory. Snow's Gristmill was located a few hundred yards down the creek and it was known as the Mill. If one said they were going to the Mill they went to Snow's Gristmill and they said the Factory they went to the Cotton Factory. The only references that the Factory was called a Mill are when some one wrote in their diaries that they were moving to Washington to work in the Cotton Mill. This was natural since technically it was a mill. Soon as they arrived in Washington to work it became the Cotton Factory. After Snow's mill was moved to St. George in the 1920s it started to be called the Mill. You can tell your age if you call it a Factory or Mill.

Things to see - The Washington City Relief Society Building

It has the unique recognition as being the oldest still standing Relief Society Hall in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints and is located in Washington City. This is a grand building that has made its mark on the citizens and community of the area. It is still in demand as a social gathering place such as receptions, family reunions, weddings, Daughters of the Utah Pioneers meetings, etc. It stands as a monument to the heritage of the area known as "Dixie”.

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Early pioneers were fully occupied just trying to supply food on their tables, building dams on the Virgin River to obtain water to irrigate the Washington Fields, and trying to care for the sick and dying. There were many times when they recorded that there were more sick people than well ones that made it very difficult to live and raise a family. The heat was unbearable and Malaria known as Ague or Chills and Fever made their lives very difficult. Even with the very difficult times these early pioneer women were experiencing, they wanted to have their own place in which to hold their meetings. They started to build a building, known as the Relief Society Hall. It was completed in 1875.
A Co-op Store rented the Relief Society Building shortly after it was built. The ladies met in their own homes and used the rent money to care for the poor and sick. The Co-op store occupied this building until 1921 when Calvin Hall and his son-in-law, Israel Neilson, Jr., moved the store to the southwest corner of Main and Telegraph streets where the Nission Hardware store is presently located (1999). During Mary A. McReavy presidency the west wing of the building was built circa 1903. A sewing machine, chairs, benches and a heater were also purchased. The activities of the Society were carried on each year and in 1921 when Matilda S. Andrus was president some changes occurred in the building. The older part of the building was repaired for meetings and the west wing was fixed for renting, shingled and painted. Electric lights were installed, other purchases were made, including an electric iron, organ, sixteen chairs, a rocker, six hymnbooks, and a white stand for use in laying out the dead. The trees were topped, the yard cleaned and bedding was made for the needy. Ten yards of carpet was donated to the temple, clothing some of silk, some of cotton. Between 1925-34 when Minnie Paxman was president it is recorded that during these years the hall was renovated, including a partition, new ceiling, painting, papering, new curtains, blinds, and linoleum. New steps were built at all three doors and the outside was stuccoed. Eighteen hymnbooks and a sewing machine were purchased and a water system and frontage were paid for. Apparently this is when the building was first stuccoed. Until then it looked like an adobe brick building. You can see pictures in the building showing it before and after being stuccoed. During Caddie Neilson presidency (l938-42) the building was further modified. Considerable time and money was spent in plastering, painting, papering, and decorating the building. The west wing was used for a nursery and a girl hired to care for the babies. An organ was purchased and a cement walk was laid from the front door to the sidewalk. During Ivie G. Hafen presidency (1944-45) the building was stuccoed again and shrubbery was planted. This second stuccoing must have been a second coat to cover the adobe bricks better as it now appears. In Sylvia S. Jolley’s term as president page this group sponsored a dance and raised money for twelve rods of cement sidewalk in front of the hall. They bought an oil heater also. It was at this time that the Mulberry trees originally planted to produce the leaves needed to feed the silk worms were removed so that gardens could be planted to augment the food needed during the World War II era. After 1953 when Myrtle T. Adams was president, it is recorded that “The latest project was the cleaning, decorating and furnishing the two rooms in the west wing of the hall for a nursery. This project has increased the attendance very noticeably because the young mothers are now able to attend the weekly meetings and have their babies cared for."
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints sold this property to James E. Turner in 1959. It was used as a supplemental storage to their farm. A milk separator was in use by the fireplace and the area was used as a work shop and storage area. Two huge mulberry trees were removed from the lot in 1970.
During the history of this building many functions occurred. Washington City’s first Volunteer Fire Department was organized here. A small building was moved to the back of the property and is still on the property south of the Relief Society Hall. A large utility pole was installed where a fire siren was mounted to let people know of a fire in the city. The Civil Defense also held meetings in the building. The city offices were housed in a mobile unit on the property and later were housed in the building. In 1917 the ladies knitted sweater, socks, mufflers, etc. that were given to the soldiers or Belgian refugees. They also started to store grain. Like Ruth in the Bible they went to the fields and gleaned the wheat. The Lion’s Club met there on a regular basis. Mass political meetings, city council, city offices and fire department are just some of the things the hall was used for. Since there were no mortuaries in town it was used as a funeral parlor. The ladies would sit up all night keeping the cadaver as cool as possible. The west wing was rented a good portion of the time. Babies were even born there.
In 1983 Britt and Yvonne Kendall purchased the building and did some remolding. A new roof of wood shingles was installed and a new sub floor in the west wing. Some partitions were added to make it more usable as a ceramic shop. It was used as a ceramic and gift shop until the Washington City Historical Society purchased the building in November 1994. In September 1995 the building was vacated and was started to be restored as you see it today.

This building is very unique. It was built under hard times when the people in Washington did not have very much. It has been reported to have cost 400 dollars. It has a black lava rock foundation laid in a clay, sand mortar. The adobes are pretty much standard and were made from the Chinle formation that out cropped at what was known as the Brick Yard, south of 200 South between 2nd and 3rd East. In 1980 the State of Utah officially listed the Relief Society Hall on the National Historical Register.

Things to see - Atkinville

Atkinville Village was the original homestead of William and Rachel Thompson Atkin. This small village was located about eight miles south of St. George, Utah near the Arizona border. The Atkin family were born and raised in the county of Ruthandshire, England. William was born March 27, 1835 and Rachel on March 31, 1836. Rachel was baptized in 1849, William in 1852. Two years after William and Rachael married they left for America, arriving In Philadelphia April 20, 1855. Four years later they left the East and went to Florence on the Missouri River where Saints were gathering to go to Salt Lake City, Utah in the Eighth Handcart Company and arrived in Salt Lake on November 10, 1859. The Atkin family lived in Salt Lake City for about nine years. His occupation was both a stonemason and butcher.

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In the fall of 1868 Brigham Young called a group of Saints to help strengthen the Southern Utah settlements. Although reluctant to leave Salt Lake, William was obedient and responded to the calling. He and his family settled in St. George in a four room adobe house where they lived about nine years. William assisted in building the Tabernacle and the Temple. In the summer of 1877 they moved about eight miles south which grew into a one-family village, known as Atkinville. The family consisted of six sons and two daughters. The site of Atkinville was explored by William when he was working in Price City (now Bloomington) about two miles upstream on the Virgin River. It was here that he laid up the rock walls for a building used for church, school and recreation. Price City was also the first experiment in the United Order in Utah in 1874 and functioned until 1877.
The farm site was about 160 acres. It took William and his sons two more years to get the land in shape. This required site selection, clearing and plowing the land, planting crops, building a dam on the river, irrigation ditches, and building the house. He built a stone house for his family and a smaller home for his younger brother, Henry. Henry and his wife, Selena did not like the place and soon moved back to St. George. A third house had been built for his sister, Adelaide and William Laxton. A forth house was started and these constituted the one family village. A more foreboding place, to build homes was difficult to find, as the land was ripe with mosquitoes. The summer sun beat down on the fields. There was little vegetation around the house except two small tamarx trees and a small flower garden watered by hand. Wind often blew through the gap leaving dust over everything, and sand in the water buckets, milk pails and pans. In addition to all these discomforts, there was difficulty getting enough water to bath and do washing. Drinking water was hauled from St. George in barrels covered with canvas. Household water was brought from the river a mile away in a barrel on a horse drawn sled. Despite all these discomforts the family found peace in isolation, restfulness in silence and an absence of neighbors. There was a sense of ownership and a day’s work brought the luxury of wholesome fatigue without weariness. At night fall there was a cool breeze from the river, fragrance of willows and sounds of cattle and dogs barking in answer to the coyotes. After chores and supper a pleasant walk was taken to the orchard, the garden and duck pond a full moon glorified the hills, fields and river.
The space between the houses opened into land boarded by tamarx, leading to the marsh. On the other side there was pastures, hay and grain fields. Between the large cottonwood trees, William put up iron bars and swings. These along with the pond were great attractions to people in Price and St. George. On Saturday afternoons visitors came with their picnic dinners, which were supplemented by watermelons and peaches from the garden and orchard. After dinner the picnickers rested or visited in the shade, went boat riding, fishing or swimming in the fifteen acre pond. The pond was stocked with chub from the river and carp was imported. The pond was a source of Dixie’s ice supply in winters. This settlement became a ‘Dixie Oasis’.
After the crops were harvested William and sons took varied jobs in other parts of the State. William followed his stone cutting and butcher trades. The products he marketed in St. George. Sometimes he took his produce i.e. pigs, chickens, fruit and sorghum to mining camps in Utah and Nevada.
Atkinville was a sanctuary for Elder Willford Woodruff, an Apostle and later President of the Latter Day Saints Church. Wilfred began practicing polygamy in Nauvoo before the exodus to the West. When the Federal Government attempted to eradicate polygamy Elder Woodruff was forced into "Underground" or self exile. Between 1885 and 1887 he found sanctuary in Atkinville. Woodruff frequently used the pond for fishing and hunting as well as a hiding place from the Marshals. He used an incognito name, "Lewis Allen".
Willford Woodruff was a guest in the Atkin home on numerous occasions for different lengths of time. The Atkins added on to the house a special room for the Apostle. The Atkin home became de facto Church headquarters. In addition to Elder Woodruff, several notable brethren and church leaders habituated the Atkin home as a hiding place. Elder Woodruff’s last visit to Atkinville was July 12, 1887. It is depicted in a painting by Roland Lee, called "The Last Visit."
In 1890 William and Rachel moved back to St. George. They were soon followed by his brother and sister and their families. They became very active temple workers. William died in May 1900 and Rachel in June 1903. In 1906 a major storm and flood practically destroyed Atkinville. The buildings were dismantled and the lumber was used for new homes in the Fort Pearce area. A son John operated the farm until 1922 when Atkinville was totally abandoned for twenty years. The ruined walls were used for dams in the river. The rubble filled fireplace was standing in 1956. By 1998 some foundation stones were still visible but were removed and some were used by the Atkin Foundation to build a replica of the original Atkin home in Heritage Park in Salt Lake City, Utah.
Sun River Development Company has graded the land and constructed a golf course and housing development on much of the land that was Atkinvillel. A historical plaque has been erected on the grounds of the Community Center.

Things to see - The Encampment Mall (Settler’s Encampment)

When the settlers entered the St. George Valley on December 1, 1861, they initially set up camp at this spot which has been dedicated and named the Encampment Mall.

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The initial settling of St. George was commemorated during a dedication of an “encampment mall” on October 8,1998, on the Dixie State College campus, the site of the original settler’s camp. Although Parley P. Pratt, John D. Lee, Joseph Horne had led expeditions into the area in 1849, 1852, and 1858 and 1859 for different purposes, and Brigham Young had visited the small village of Tonaquint in 1861, the main body of settlers were called during the October conference of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Brigham Young read the names of 309 families who were officially called to settle “Dixie.” The initial party of settlers arrived in this area on 1 December 1861 and camped at the site of what is now known as the encampment mall. The original camp was set on the Eastside of the adobe clay fields where two springs ran South towards the river. The wagons were lined up on both sides of the streams. As an Apostle of the church, Erastus Snow was set apart to preside over settlements in the Dixie area. Upon arriving, Snow appointed several committees, including one to propose a town site, one to plan for canals to bring water to the fields, another to search for timber, and a council to receive the reports and guide the development of the city. Snow presided over settlements from the Muddy River in Nevada, to a chain of communities on the Little Colorado River in Arizona, and over several colonies in Mexico for two decades, exercising remarkable pioneer leadership. The early settlers suffered from inclement weather. Rains began, for example, on 25 December 1861 (Christmas night) with the downpour continuing for 40 days. The rains brought growth to the lands but also attracted swarms of flies and mosquitoes, from which the settlers had no protection. The insects were irritating, food was scarce, and malnutrition was rampant. Unsanitary conditions led to the spread of typhoid, diphtheria, malaria, whooping cough, measles, and scarlet fever. Then, the hot Dixie sun parched the earth and fierce desert winds created suffocating conditions. Within the first four years, 134 individuals died, with 99 under the age of eight. Three of five births ended in early death. The great distance between the settlers living in wagon boxes and cave-like dugouts in Dixie, and those left behind in the North, resulted in loneliness and depression. Men, women, and children toiled in the fields and labored at other grueling tasks. The first camp census was taken 2 January 1862, indicating that there were 378 males, 370 females, 209 wagons, 121 horses, 34 mules, 569 oxen, 340 cows, 346 young stock, 677 sheep, 32 pigs, 92 plows, and 33 harrows. The City of St. George was incorporated 10 February 1862. On 22 March 1862, families began to clear their lots and move on to them. However, a camp survey on 10 June 1862 indicated that there were 245 families consisting of 430 individuals living in St. George. Only the most tenacious persisted. Erastus Snow is credited as the driving force behind the St. George settlement. Alder and Brooks (1998, p. 40) explain that “his was the tedious task of pleading with people to stay at the thankless challenge of living in the region of excessive heat and devastating floods. He articulated the vision of maintaining the kingdom’s outer edges where no one wanted to be. It was a refiner’s fire, and it took his compassion to help people want to stay in Dixie.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Places to see - Fort Pearce

Fort Pearce

Located in Warner Valley, Fort Pearce served to protect new settlements and livestock during the Utah Blackhawk War. The two-room structure had no roof. It was shaped like a rectangle, the longest side being about thirty feet in length. Named after Captain John D. L. Pearce, the fort was only used for four years but continued as a watering place for travelers and animals.

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Washington County is a very rugged, rough land and the early pioneers had to carve out roads by hand and couldn't just cut through hills as the builders of the highways of today do. Most roads followed the contours of the land, going around the hills and through the natural cuts and valleys even though it often wasn't the most direct route. In the pioneer days one of the main roads in the county was the Warner Valley Gap Road. Its route went through Fort Pearce, up the Hurricane Fault via a steep dugway, and then on to Pipe Spring, Moccasin Springs, Kanab, and Long Valley. One hundred years before the pioneers used this route Father Escalante, Father Dominguez and their party camped at the site of the future Fort Pearce spending the night and making use of the water there.
Fort Pierce was built along this thoroughfare about twelve miles southeast of St. George near the Arizona border near the base of the Hurricane cliffs. The fort was used for just four years but portions of its rock walls can still be seen today. John D. L. Pearce was the captain of a cavalry troop that were charged to protect the new settlements and livestock from Indian raids during the Blackhawk War. He built the fort at the site of a spring and wash (both of which now bear his name.) At one point in 1865 it was reported that 20 to 30 men were guarding there. For many years after this the abandoned Fort Pearce was a watering place for travelers and their stock. Historian Karl Larsen described the fort saying: "The fort was constructed as a rectangle, its length being well over thirty feet on the inside. One small window faces west, the door to the structure apparently being on the east side. There are two rooms, the one on the north being considerably the larger, while the remains of a crude fireplace are still to be seen in the south wall. Since there was no roof on the structure, about the most charitable thing one might say of the fort is that it served well as a wind-break. At the northwest and southeast corners flankers were built which communicated with the interior of the fort. Each flanker has four portholes at levels convenient for defense, one facing each direction, so that the approaches to the fort from any angle could be covered by the defenders. Additional portholes were placed in the main rectangle. The flankers are rectangular in shape with inside dimensions of about four by seven feet."

Things to see - The Orson Pratt House

Orson Pratt House

The Orson Pratt House is the only remaining house in Utah associated with Orson Pratt, on of the most influential and important leaders in the first half-century of the LDS church, noted mathematician, astronomer, scientist, author, public servant and educator, Self-educated in a wide range of disciplines, he gained international recognition for some of his published mathematical and astronomical theories. He served 13 terms in the territorial legislature and 8 terms as Speaker of the House of Representatives. Orson Pratt had his house built in 1862 while helping direct the settlement of St. George and the Cotton Mission

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The large, two-story home was built in 1862 by Orson Pratt with adobe walls 18 inches thick. Orson Pratt was one of the most remarkable men in early LDS Church history. He joined the church in Kirtland, Ohio in 1830 at the age of 19 (when he was baptized by his brother Parley) and was immediately called by Joseph Smith to serve the first of several missions. He was the first Elder's Quorum president in the Church and an original member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles where he served for the balance of his lifetime. Orson experienced first hand the hardships, persecution and many forced relocations of the saints. After an arduous trek he was one of the first two members to view the Salt Lake Valley in advance of Brigham Young's party. Because of Orson's mathematical expertise he helped lay out the plat maps for that city. In addition, he was an author, editor, publisher, scientist and an educator. He crossed the continent many times on foot, horseback, wagon and finally railroad and crossed the Atlantic Ocean sixteen times on old, three-masted sailing ships, taking the gospel message to the British Isles. In 1861, Orson and Erastus Snow were called by Brigham Young to lead a group of 309 families to relocate to Southern Utah and establish the city of St. George. Their mission was to grow cotton and raise sheep in order to supply the new Utah cities to the north with much needed raw materials to produce fabrics. (These materials were then in short supply due to the Civil War.) The beautiful home he built was the first permanent structure in St. George. Approximately three years later Orson Pratt was called by Brigham Young on yet another proselytizing mission to England and the home passed to Richard Bentley.

Things to see - The Woodward Building

The Woodward Building

When the first settlers arrived in St. George late in 1861, school was held in a wagon box, a tent, a willow shack, or whatever shelter could be improvised. By 1864, the first of four ward houses was completed. It was not until nearly the end of the 1800s that work on a large, substantial school began. Woodward School, located one block south and one block west of here, was completed in 1901. The school was built on a black volcanic rock foundation, and its walls are of red sandstone from the same quarry that furnished the stone for the Tabernacle. The building, housing twelve classrooms and a basement, cost $35,000 to build. It was paid for principally out of tax revenues, yet as was the case with so many of the early Dixie Projects, it also benefited from the substantial contributions of local citizens. The name Woodward School was given to the building in honor of George Woodward, one of the trustees who had devoted his time and means to make the dream of better education facilities a reality in St. George. It is said that he gave $3,600 of his own money towards its construction- a truly large sum of money for that day. Since the school opened its doors to students in September of 1901, it has served generation after generation of young learners. Today it remains an imposing, handsome and useable structure.

Things to see - Judds


In 1911, Thomas Judd purchased the Bentley family mercantile business which the Bentley's had run from the ground floor of the old Pratt home since 1865. This classic adobe brick store was the logical extension and expansion of that business. Judd's Store originally sold shoes, clothes, groceries, hay, kerosene and fabrics, all of the basic needs of the average family of that day. In later years the store became a favorite 'sweet shop' for generations of school kids from the old Woodward School just across the street. The store was famous for their variety of different candy that was lined up upon the wall, shelf, and counter. The staff would always greet the children with a warm smile and be extremely cheerful. The children would stand in line at the Thomas Judd store during their lunch break waiting for their turn to purchase their favorite sweets. Today Judd's Store serves as a lunch counter, sweet shop and gift shop. Its old wood floors and metal ceiling are continual conversation pieces as are the antiques on the shelves, including dozens of shoe from the original, 1890's to 1920's inventory.

Things to see - The Green Gate

The Green Gate

Located at green gate village, the green paint on the oldest gate (relocated from its original location in front of the Green Hedge on 200 E.) was given to Thomas Judd in 1877 by none other than Brigham Young. That gate, still with the original green paint, remains on display today near the front entry to the Village.

Things to see - Pine Valley Chapel

Pine Valley Chapel

It was built in 1868 by shipbuilder Ebenezer Bryce. Area pioneers wanted a permanent chapel and Bryce was the only person around with building experience. He applied unique techniques as he constructed the chapel, making it somewhat resemble the upside down hull of a ship. Techniques including wrapping the corners of the building with strips of green rawhide that tightened as they dried. When the church was finished, he said, "If a flood should come, it would float and if a wind came strong enough to blow it over, it would still never crash to pieces." The building is still in use as a chapel.

More on the Pine Valley Chapel

It all began with a lost cow.
Following a direct call from Brigham Young, a group of settlers were sent to Southern Utah to colonize the Washington and Santa Clara areas and serve as missionaries to the Indians. Jacob Hamblin, who would become the great peacemaker to the Indians, his brother William (Gunlock) Hamblin, Issac Riddle, and their families were part of this group. But first, it was important they provide food for themselves and their families to keep alive. Long experience had taught them the value of taking some cattle along to safeguard against starvation. In the heat of the summers it meant driving their herds into the cooler valleys north of Santa Clara. After one long, very hard day in the summer of 1855, Issac Riddle and William Hamblin stopped for the night by a clear running stream, ate a meager supper, spread out their blankets and welcomed deep sleep. Upon awakening at dawn the next morning a quick glance over the cattle herd brought alarming news. One precious cow was missing. Immediately, Issac mounted his horse and followed the stream to search for the lost cow. As he rode on, the territory was unfamiliar to him. Then, up over another rise and he beheld a spectacular sight. The early sun was beginning to spread light into the valley outlined by tall mountains with thick groves of Pine and Spruce trees. And there, standing deep in the tall grass, contentedly eating away was the missing cow. According to legend, Indians were in Pine Valley long before the settlers to send smoke signals, to worship the Great Spirit and hunt deer, rabbits, fur and pine nuts. On the summer morning that Issac Riddle discovered Pine Valley there was no indication that anyone had been there before. Issac herded the reluctant cow back to join the cattle drive. He couldn't wait to tell William and Jacob about his remarkable discovery. But, this was just the beginning

As Issac Riddle herded the cow down Pine Valley in 1855 to rejoin the cattle drive it seems certain his mind was already contemplating the economic potential of the valley and its stately trees. There would soon be a serious need for lumber in Southern Utah and Nevada areas and a need for work among early settlers. Would not this valley be an ideal place to build and operate a lumber-mill? Apparently, Issac and others thought so. With two partners he purchased a lumber mill in Salt Lake City. It was to become the first one to be operated in Pine Valley. Soon others appeared, workers moved in to run them and families followed. As the industry increased, the stage was set to supply lumber for the eventual building of the St. George Temple and Tabernacle. In no time the noise of sawing lumber became a welcome sound in the early valley, while the trails were managed by hard-working settlers driving their ox-teams through all kinds of weather to carry the lumber to building sites in Utah and Nevada. Even with all their activity there was one goal they had not yet achieved. They desired a permanent structure, similar to the style of the churches they had left in New England, where they could worship God. Brigham Young gave his approval, local church leaders Erastus and William Snow were in agreement, there was plenty of lumber and building materials and many willing workers but what they didn't have was an experienced builder and architect to plan and supervise. Then, someone suggested Ebenezer Bryce.

The responsibility to plan and construct the Pine Valley Church finally rested with Ebenezer Bryce, faithful convert to the church from Scotland and a shipbuilder by trade. He had good reason to be in Pine Valley. His wife was related to the Gardners, one of the original families to move into the new settlement. He agreed to build the church, but he would have to do it in his own way, using shipbuilding techniques. After working out final plans with local church leaders, Ebenezer went to work with a faithful, willing and excited group of workers standing by. He had a congenial spirit. The men on the project enjoyed working for him and the children loved watching. After the foundation was solidly in, they formed the sides of the building first, on the ground, then with the use of ropes and pulleys and lots of manpower hoisted up the sides. His signal to hoist was a little shipbuilder's rhyme which everyone loved and repeated often for years after. Even though the attic of the church was built like the bottom of a ship, it was rock solid and has gained the admiration of people even today. Later, as a special honor to Ebenezer, Bryce Canyon was given his name.

There was an upper and a lower town site in Pine Valley. The lower site was chosen for the church and immediately men went up into a grove of trees called, "The Gulch", where they found great old trees to cut, trim, mill and haul to the building site. Under Ebenezer's supervision huge granite boulders were placed at the corners of the foundation with limestone blocks along the four sides. Surely the Lord had prepared this valley ahead with the rich resources readily available. Even this experienced builder was amazed to find such a treasure store. Had the Lord prepared this blessing just for them?

After workers had hoisted the building sides into place, in unison, the corners were wrapped with strips of green rawhide that tightened as they dried and formed solid corners. The outside of the building was covered with shiplap made of half-inch boards about six inches wide, fitted over each other at the edge. The building would be two and one-half stories tall with the rafters for a roof put on and braced with huge timbers 10 to12 inches in diameter. A later generation would climb steep, narrow stairs and look with awe through the glass partition to marvel at the attic built to resemble the bottom of a ship. The ground floor of the two-story church was made into two rooms to be used for teaching school with two outside entrances. The second and main floor was a multi-purpose room. It would serve as a chapel for Sunday worship, at other times a stage outlined by a curved arch for dramas during the week and when the slat benches were moved back they could enjoy dances, parties and branch dinners. They were proud of a curved ceiling that was suspended from a frame in the attic. It perfectly matched the arch over the stage. The members were delighted. Originally, the chapel was heated by a large wood-burning stove, six feet long and four feet high that could handle large pine logs. The heat was appreciated and the smell of the burning pine would create lasting memories. The chapel was lighted by two brass chandeliers with four kerosene lamps on each, ordered especially from New York. Each of the eight windows held a brass lamp bracket. The chapel seemed to glow with the sixteen lamps in the windows, giving the building a special appearance from the outside which could be seen over the valley. School was held in the building until 1919, when it was moved away from the Valley. Until 1966 a ladder was the only access to the attic and a tiny prayer room which was originally built for teachers to have short, inspired meetings before their classes. It was seldom used. In 1966, narrow steps were built, leading to the attic and the prayer room. Bessie Snow, former resident, restored the school room and the prayer room to their original appearance, filling the prayer room with pictures and treasures of early Pine Valley.

As the building was finished, Ebenezer Bryce was heard to remark, "If a flood should come, it would float and if a wind came strong enough to blow it over, it still would never crash to pieces." Visitors today are warmed by the spirit of those hardy folks, as they enjoy the timeless beauty of the Pine Valley Church, built with love and sacrifice.

Things to see - Historic Jail (In Ancestor Square)

Historic Jail (In Ancestor Square)

The exact date of the construction of the jailhouse is unknown, but it is assumed to have been built by Sheriff Hardy around 1880. The one-room building was constructed from black lava rock hauled from the nearby foothills. The windows still retain the original bars. It reportedly was the frequent home of Robert Leroy Parker (Butch Cassidy).

Places to go - Shinob Kibe

Shinob Kibe

Shinob Kibe was named for one of the Paiute Gods. Shinob was considered to be a protector of the tribes. Before pioneers came to the area, Navajo Indians would raid the smaller tribes and capture slaves. The Paiutes went to the top of this mountain for safety from these raiders. They could protect themselves on this small mesa.

Places to go - Temple Quarry

Temple Quarry

This is where the rock was quarried for the foundation of the St. George temple of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Lava, flowing from volcanoes to the north, formed this rock which is impervious to the alkali and water found in the soil where the temple was to be built. The stone was quarried into slabs averaging ten feet long, forty-two inches wide, thirteen inches thick, and five thousand five hundred pounds in weight. The unique method of loading them for hauling was by placing the stone on six inches of soil, straddling it with the wagon, securing it to the undercarriage, and then removing the dirt from under the rock. The quarry was active during the early eighteen-seventies. The temple quarry trail was built to access the quarry on the south west side of the Black Hill. The large lava rock was needed for the foundation and basement walls of the St. George Temple.

Things to see - Silver Reef

Silver Reef

The ghost town of Silver Reef was once a booming mine town. Before its fall, the Silver Reef camp produced $9 million in silver from 1877 to 1903
The town grew to over 1000 people. It had 9 grocery stores, 8 dry good stores, 5 restaurants and 6 saloons serviced the residents.

More on Silver Reef

In the spring of 1866, John Kemple became the first discoverer of silver in a rock formation west of what would become Silver Reef. Unable to find the source of the vein, Kemple moved to Nevada. Returning in 1874, he located many other claims, but never developed any of them.

In 1875, news of the discovery of silver in the area reached the Walker brothers, two prominent Salt Lake City bankers. They hired a well-known prospector, William T. Barbee, to stake claims on their behalf. Barbee staked 21 claims and by late 1875, he set up a town known as Bonanza City. A small cluster of businesses sprang up soon after, inflating property values. Looking for cheaper land, many miners set up a tent city north of town, calling it “Rockpile.” When the mines in Pioche, Nevada, closed in 1875, many of its miners relocated to “Rockpile” and renamed it Silver Reef. By 1876 Silver Reef became an established town. Main street was over a mile long. Silver Reef had over 2000 people living here. There were hotels, 9 stores, 6 saloons, a bank, several restaurant, a hospital, 2 dance halls, 2 news papers, a china town and 3 cemeteries. Fresh from working on the railroad, Chinese workers also migrated to Silver Reef and set up their own Chinatown. Between the town’s peak years, from 1878-1882, the town housed a population of approximately 2,500. .

By 1884 most of the mines closed due to the decline of the world silver market, the difficulty of pumping water out of the mines, and the decrease of miners’ wages. The last mine shut down in 1891. All four attempts to revive the mines from 1898-1950 failed. Over their lifetime, the mines produced approximately $25 million worth of ore.

Located approximately 18 miles northeast of downtown St. George along the Interstate 15 corridor, Silver Reef still displays some of the ruins of the former boomtown. Once called the finest stone building in Southern Utah, the restored former Wells Fargo Express office, which is on the National Historic Register, now serves as a museum. An old bank is now a gift shop. Nearby stand a restaurant and art gallery. In a canyon just west of the former town, a short trail leads visitors to one of the old stone kilns used to process silver.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Places to go - The Sugar Loaf

The Sugar Loaf

In the early days of St. George being on the edge of civilization, they wanted for many things. They had enough of several vegetable crops and corn bread. But there was little merchandise brought down from Salt Lake to north and even in the north there were some commodities hard to come by. One of the longed for commodities which no one had in Dixie was sugar. How nice it would have been to sweeten a drink or make a little icing for a cake, or to sweeten a special batch of cookies. However the day did arrive that sugar finally arrived. It had come from the British Isles and was not refined very well, it being a muddy red color and came in a solid brick. And when you needed sugar you would shave off the needed amount with a knife. The pioneers in remembrance of that first bit of coveted sugar named the sandstone formation north of St. George along the red cliffs which now bears the name Dixie the "Sugarloaf".