Utah Parks Company Memories: Brenda Barrett Orton

Brenda Barrett Orton (1944) worked at Cedar Breaks in 1962, The following is taken from an interview recorded in 2004.

Brenda Barrett Orton Circa 1962

Brenda Barrett Orton circa 1962

We lived in the cabins when we working at Cedar Breaks. They had metal roofs and I remember when it was raining there was nothing like it. The rain on those metal roofs just sounded absolutely like it was coming in the house. It was just beautiful. The first year I went up there, outside the back door of the lodge was this huge snow bank. We were there to help get the kitchen and snack bar ready for the opening of the lodge. We would have to go outside and I’m 5’ 10” and the snow bank was way over my head. I remember it was almost intimidating. From the very first we had kids working there from Salt Lake and all over Northern Utah. We even had a young man from Chicago.

That was so fun. He was interested in our culture and so forth. That’s how I heard the word “Cowabunga.” This man, he was well known for saying that. He had us all saying that by the time we left. There were really, really fun people.

The tourists always had one meal at Cedar Breaks, usually lunch or dinner. The dinners were well known. The only thing they had on the night menu was the chicken dinner. They had fried chicken, country gravy and mashed potatoes, corn on the cob, biscuits, and for dessert they had a strawberry sundae with little wafer cookies on them. They had the same menu seven nights a week and they were well known for that meal! We had people come up from Cedar City just for dinner.

Cedar Breaks Lodge. The dining room is on the right.

Cedar Breaks Lodge. The dining room is on the right.

You know when you worked as a waitress for the Utah Parks Company there was a certain way you were supposed to hold your tray. It was up above your head and you had to learn to keep it balanced. That’s how they wanted you to carry every item out to the dining room, up over your head and you got so you could really carry your tray well. Once I had a full tray of desserts and I don’t know if this was on purpose, but this gentleman put his leg out in the aisle and I tripped over it. I went down on my knees and I slid the whole way down the rest of the aisle with this tray over my head, and I didn’t drop one dessert! I was very proud of myself.

Utah Parks Company Memories: Elaine Robb Smith

Elaine Robb Smith (1911-2007) worked at the North Rim of the Grand Canyon in 1936, The following is taken from an interview recorded in 2004.

Elaine Robb Smith 1936

Elaine Robb Smith 1936

They had a fire that happened years before I was there and the lodge burned down [1932].  They had started building the present lodge, but it had not been completed during my first year at the North Rim [1936].  When we lived there, we had a temporary building [on a hill].  I’ve forgotten the exact floor plan, but in one end on the first floor was the boy’s dormitory and on the second floor the girl’s dormitory, and on the other end was the dining room.

We went along that way for a while and then one of the boys from the kitchen took a nap in the afternoon with a cigarette in his mouth. It started a fire right by his bed. That floor was in so much danger.  All the fire drills we ever had didn’t really do us an awful lot of good because we couldn’t do anything that we’d practiced during the drills. This boy, his room was blazing before they knew it. My brother lived down there too, and he ran upstairs on my floor to try and save anything he could save. He was there on the hill throwing my clothes and my costumes, any kind of pictures, anything that belonged to me, throwing them out the window. That hill was covered with our clothing, all kind of just miscellaneous uniforms, and everything you could think of. Some [girls] didn’t get any shoes back, didn’t have any shoes to wear until they got help.

The original lodge at the North Rim.

The original lodge at the North Rim.

Of course, after that the building just went like that. It was all burned. I guess they got us out of there before the fire got to our room, but it was still burning. So, we ran down and waited in front, or wherever we could wait. Of course, we were cheated out of our place to sleep. We had no rooms to go to sleep in; we had no dining room to do our work in. Everything was gone.  So, they put us in cabins until they could figure out what to do with us.

Then we had no dining room, so they let us do substitute work in the cafeteria, but that wasn’t real easy for us because we had been trained to be waitresses.We had to go in there and figure out what to do.  Anyway, we got through the season that way, and they started sending us, one by one, home where we belonged.

SUU-BNS: First Graduates

First Graduating Class 1900 Standing: Joseph T. Wilkiinson jr. and J. S. Dalley Sitting: Emma Gardner, Alice Reed , Amelia Dalley, and Ella Beny

First Graduating Class 1900
Standing: Joseph T. Wilkiinson jr. and J. S. Dalley
Sitting: Emma Gardner, Alice Redd , Amelia Dalley, and Ella Berry             Photo Courtesy of SUU Sherratt Library Special Collections

 

In 1900 the first class of the Branch Normal School had completed the necessary course work required for graduation. The first graduating class consisted of six graduates, each of whom received scholarships to proceed to the University of Utah to complete the fourth year of the normal course work. As per requirement of the scholarship, each of the six students agreed to teach for at least three years upon completion of their studies at the university.

It is impossible to grasp the educational impact of the Branch Normal School upon the entire region as you study the lives and service rendered by each of the graduates. However it is possible to see the BNS left an indelible mark upon the region as its first graduates went on to serve in public education. The graduates helped to realize and validate in a remarkably short time the vision of the founders. The first six graduates were Emma Gardner (Abbott), Joseph T. Wilkinson, Alice Redd (Rich), Ella Berry (Leigh), Julius Sylvester Dalley, and Amelia Dalley (Green).

Emma Gardner was one of 13 children of Royal Joseph and Chloe Louisa Snow Gardner of Pine Valley. She completed her elementary education at Pine Valley and Central schools then attended the BNS for her secondary training. Emma fulfilled her scholarship contract by teaching for 25 years in Mesquite, Nevada. She became principal of the school and served in numerous civic capacities. Emma married David Arthur Abbott of Mesquite on September 16, 1909 in the St. George LDS Temple.

Joseph T. Wilkinson Jr., was the fourth of five children born to Joseph T. Wilkinson and Elizabeth Emily Wells of Leeds. Joseph began his education at the local elementary school in Leeds, but when he was nine his family moved to Cedar City where he completed elementary school. He worked with his father and brothers publishing the Iron County Record. When the BNS opened in 1897 Joseph was one of the first students. After graduation from the University of Utah, Joseph fulfilled his scholarship contract teaching at schools in Hurricane, Rockville, Springdale and Moccasin and Cane Beds, Arizona. His normal schooling framed a teaching career that extended over many years.

Alice Redd (Rich) was the 13th child of Lemuel Hardison Redd and Keziah Jane Butler of New Harmony. After her graduation she taught for a year at Pioche, Nevada, then on to Paris, Idaho to teach at the Fielding Academy. It was there that she met and married fellow teacher Abel Sargent Rich. They settled in Brigham City, Utah and three of their seven children became teachers.

Ella Berry (Leigh) was the seventh of eight children born to William Shanks Berry and Rebecca Rocena Beck of Kanarraville. Ella attended the Parowan Stake Academy and entered with the first class. After her graduation from the University of Utah she taught just three years in the Iron County School District before marrying Harry Leigh. Harry was a young businessman and through the years his business prospered as did their family of nine children.

Julius Sylvester Dalley and his twin sister were the eleventh and twelfth children born to James and Johanna Bollette Bertelsen of Summit. Julius loved to learn and attended school through the fifth grade. Because there was no advanced school work available he attended this highest grade three consecutive years. He then attended the Parowan Stake Academy for a year before in the fall of 1897 he entered as part of the first class of the BNS. After his graduation Julius fulfilled his scholarship contract by teaching for a year in the basement of the tabernacle in Parowan. He then spent his life teaching all over southern Utah and Arizona. He taught in Summit, Monticello, Utah and Moccasin, Arizona and finished his career in Kanab, Utah. He was a strong civic leader, involved in education his entire life.

Amelia Dalley (Green) was a half-sister to Julius. She was born to James and Petrine Berleson Dalley. She and her twin sister Minnie were the ninth and tenth kids of fourteen children. Amelia was educated in the elementary schools in Iron County and enrolled at the BNS in the fall of 1897 at age 20 to complete her secondary schooling. Amelia fulfilled her scholarship contract by teaching for a year in a one-room school teaching 1-8th grades in Summit. She then accepted a position teaching 5th grade in Cedar City’s elementary school. She married George Bernard Green in 1907.

This group of six friends moved to Salt Lake City together for their obligatory year at the University of Utah. They rented a small house and all lived together with Petrine Bertlesen Dalley acting as their chaperone and house-mother. The number of lives these six graduates either directly or indirectly impacted is astronomical. And just imagine – the same school that graduated these six students over 115 years ago graduated 1,643 students in 2015. It’s difficult to comprehend just how much these six graduates influenced the future of not only SUU, but the entire region.

Southern Utah University: A Brief History

The history of Southern Utah University has been one of constant evolution and perseverance. The school began as a Branch of the State Normal School under supervision by the University of Utah who acted as its mother-institution. Normal schools were created to train high school graduates to be teachers. Their purpose was to establish teaching standards or norms; hence its name. In essence it was a teachers college. The institution was known as Branch Normal School from 1897 to 1913.

1914 Branch Agricultural College Journal

1914 Branch Agricultural School Journal

In 1913 after much lobbying on behalf of Cedar City the Branch Normal School changed to the Branch Agricultural College. This transfer to the BAC meant not only a change in mother-institutions, but also a change in purpose. The Utah Agricultural College located in Logan became the new supervisor and the school was able to offer classes outside the field of teacher education. Agriculture, domestic science, commerce and engineering courses were now offered in addition to the normal school coursework.  The institution retained the title of Branch Agricultural College for 40 years.

 

The "A" on the mountain for BAC.

The “A” on the mountain for BAC.

The college had experienced expanded influence over the growth and development of southern Utah.  It had become more than a community colleg; it was a regional educational center. There were many people who had been bothered that the name of the institution was simply the name of the school that governed it. The college needed a name that would more accurately reflect its history and mission. In June 1953 the Board of Trustee’s approved the name change and the Branch Agricultural College officially became the College of Southern Utah. The change of the name did not signify any change in status. In fact, the full official name was College of Southern Utah, Branch of the Utah State Agricultural College. But that title was so cumbersome that it was known simply as the College of Southern Utah.

Royden C. Braithwaite, 1976

Royden C. Braithwaite, 1976

The school kept growing and progressing. In 1961 the athletic department moved into competitive athletics with four-year schools. It was receiving accreditations and recommendations from governing bodies to move to an independent four-year institution. In each department there were evidences of progression and each was an incremental step in strengthening the petition for expansion. In 1965 with the efforts of Senator Dixie Leavitt, President Royden C. Braithwaite, and Hazen Cooley, the College of Southern Utah became an independent four year liberal arts college. For the first time in its 68 year history the school would have a governing Board of Trustees whose sole concern was the well-being and progress of the institution. The school was now officially a state school and many people believed the name should reflect the school’s status. In 1969 the College of Southern Utah changed its name to Southern Utah State College.

The school grew in size and prestige. After a re-imaging campaign in 1989 the student population grew 22 percent to 3,612 students. It became clear that this state college in the South had become a force in higher education. The mission and role of SUSC aligned with the mission and roles of other institutions nationwide that were operating under the title of university. Research had shown that more credibility was associated with diplomas that said university, which in turn made graduates more marketable. SUSC wanted and deserved that prestige. There was some opposition in the state with people saying that there would be too many universities, that SUSC was too small, or

Former SUSC and SUU President Gerald R. Sherratt

Former SUSC and SUU President Gerald R. Sherratt

that their focus wasn’t enough on research, thus not deserving the university title.  However with the diligent efforts of Regent Michael Leavitt, Senator Dixie Leavitt, Representative Haze Hunter, Institutional Council Chair Kay McIff, and the untiring efforts of President Gerald Sherratt  the mission was accomplished. At 11:15 on February 14, 1990 Governor Norman Bangerter signed legislation into law which changed SUSC to Southern Utah University. The change in name officially took place at midnight on January 1, 1991. A New Year and a new era for the school began in style with community festivities filling the night and the following day. A new age had dawned. After years of sacrifice and service, Cedar City was now home to a university – to the one and only, Southern Utah University.

Southern Utah University today.

Southern Utah University today.

Sandstone, Silver, and Time: An Exhibit by Michael Plyler

Michael Plyler

Michael Plyler

Frontier Homestead State Park and photographer Michael Plyler present “Sandstone, Silver, and Time,” an exhibition of black and white photographs celebrating the beauty of Zion National Park during this centennial anniversary year of the creation of the National Park Service. This exhibit is made possible by the support of the Cedar City-Brian Head Tourism Bureau.

Springdale resident Michael Plyler works with a 4 x 5 large format film camera to interpret the beauty of his backyard, Zion National Park. His prints are traditional “wet” darkroom prints individually hand-crafted by the photographer. The title of this show is a meditation on the constituent elements that contribute to the imagery. Just as erosion over time shapes the sandstone, time and silver conspire to sculpt the film’s emulsion and bring Zion’s beauty to the fore.

Ponderosas' Guardian

Ponderosas’ Guardian

Michael Plyler is the Director of Zion Canyon Field Institute in Zion National Park. He has been making photographs and exhibiting his work since 1982. In 1983 he received a commission from the Guatemalan Tourist Institute for his portrait work of the highland Maya, resulting in his first international exhibition. In 1993 he was awarded a prestigious Visual Artist Fellowship from the Utah Arts Council. In 2013 he had the distinct honor of having 56 pieces from his Mayan portfolio added to the permanent collection at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian in Washington, D.C. His work has been exhibited widely here and abroad, and is held in numerous public and private collections.

In 2010 Utah State University Press released Plyler’s and writer Logan Hebner’s book “Southern Paiute: A Portrait.” The book was the culmination of a ten year project wherein Hebner interviewed, and Plyler photographed, Southern Paiute elders from Arizona, California, Nevada, and Utah. The show will run from September 1 through October 31 at Frontier Homestead.

Last Light II

Last Light II

 

 

Gronway Parry’s Saving’s Bond Tour

One of the original wagon banner's

One of the original wagon banners on exhibit at Frontier Homestead.

The banner (pictured) was used on one of the 26 covered wagons provided to the Federal Government by Cedar City resident Gronway Parry, known as “The Covered Wagon King.” The Opportunity Bond Drive, as it was called, began on May 16, 1949 and continued until June 30th. The Government’s goal was to raise one billion dollars in bond sales. Utah’s quota was three million two hundred and fifty thousand dollars. The slogan “Be a Modern ‘49er proved reminiscent of the California Gold Rush of 1849, in which immigrants throughout the world traveled to the American West to seek their fortune.

Opportunity Bond Drive promotional poster.

Opportunity Bond Drive promotional poster.

Bond ad from the Rappahannock Record (Virginia)

Bond ad from the Rappahannock Record (Virginia)

The 26 wagons were flown from Cedar City to Independence Missouri for a large kick off parade. The wagons were then loaded back on to the planes and flown to various cities from coast to coast, including 30 of the 48 state capitals.  The wagons were equipped with a public address system and bonds were sold from them with special covered wagon themed souvenir jackets. The Utah wagon arrived in Salt Lake City on May 19 and traveled the state until June 29th, where its statewide tour concluded.

Loading the wagon's in Indiana.

Loading the wagons in Indiana.

A group of local officials at the start of the bond tour.

A group of local officials at the start of the bond tour.

President Harry S. Truman’s bond drive speech: Truman’s Bond Speech

Gronway Parry: The Architect of Our Collection

Gronway Parry

Gronway Parry

The horse – drawn vehicles and much of the farm equipment on exhibit at Frontier Homestead came from the collection of Gronway Parry.  Born in 1889, Gronway developed an early love of horses and horse – drawn vehicles.  He worked his way through college buying, reconditioning, and selling racehorses. After graduation, Gronway became the first county agent of Iron County, managed the Cedars Hotel and opened the first Buick dealership in Cedar City. He enlisted in the Army during WWI but was given a bad dose of smallpox vaccine, and received a medical discharge. Gronway suffered the effects of this inoculation the rest of his life.

Gronway and Chauncey Parry 1917

Gronway and Chauncey Parry 1917

In 1917, with his brother Chauncey, Gronway began the Utah – Grand Canyon Transportation Company. Using a second hand 7 passenger Hudson and a Model T, the brothers took tourists to the scenic sights of Southern Utah. The initial route crossed the Virgin River 22 times. The Company was bought out by Union Pacific in 1925 and became the Utah Parks Company (UPC) – which existed until 1973. Gronway became the first Transportation Agent for the UPC, a position he held for 17 years.

Gronway married Afton Parrish in 1922 and they became heavily involved in the Cedar City community. During his years in Cedar, Gronway served one term as mayor, became instrumental in bringing Hollywood to Southern Utah, pioneered the road over Cedar Mountain, and worked as a sheep rancher, carrot and potato farmer, land developer, and college professor. Gronway was a fixture on Cedar Mountain in his snow tank and early snowmobile. In 1931 Gronway developed a love of polo and became quite skilled in the sport, until an accident during a match removed him from active competition.

Gronway and his polo horse.

Gronway and his polo horse.

Gronway driving his Mountain Wagon across the Virgin River.

Gronway driving his Mountain Wagon across the Virgin River.

Gronway Parry’s hobby of collecting and restoring horse – drawn vehicles began as early as 1911. During the 1930’s Gronway began to actively restore and display his wagons and coaches. He later stated that: “An era was dying and its relics should be preserved.” He bought or made his own tools and Afton sewed the upholstery. His collection quickly became nationally known and many of his pieces were used in motion pictures. Gronway felt strongly that his collection remain whole and in Cedar City. In 1968 he sold everything to the Iron Mission Park Commission for half its value. He considered the rest a gift to the people of Cedar City. Gronway Parry died in 1969.

Gronway Parry 1889-1969

Gronway Parry 1889-1969

Frontier Homestead State Park Museum now seeks to preserve, restore, and interpret the Gronway Parry collection for the benefit of its many visitors.

Military Appreciation Day at Frontier Homestead

veteran day copyIn an effort to honor and recognize the significant contributions of our military members, Utah State Parks announces Military Appreciation Day Saturday, August 13. Day-use entrance fees into all Utah state parks will be waived for active service members and veterans and their families. All 42 state parks will offer special activities or displays as way to pay tribute and say thank you.

 

 

Signal Flags

Signal Flags spelling “FUN”

Tent Pitching

Tent Pitching

Come celebrate our courageous military personnel with your family, friends and community at Frontier Homestead on Saturday August 13, 2016. Frontier Homestead will present a number of military themed activities for young and old alike, including firing our cannon on every half hour between 10am and 2pm. Visitors will step back in time and live life as a frontier soldier. Activities include learning close order drills, writing letters with ink and quill, learning to communicate with signal flags, pitching frontier army tents, and solving a secret code. Additionally, our wood fired oven will be in use providing era appropriate treats. Visitors will also have access to all our hands-on historical activity stations. Admission to the park is $5.00 per family or free for active service members and veterans and their families as well as Friends of the Frontier Homestead members.                                                                                     The activities will run from 10am to 2 p.m.

We will be firing the cannon

We will be firing the cannon

At our Military Appreciation Day there is sure to be something to make you think, smile, or laugh so come join us. Spend some time learning about your family by playing with your family at Frontier Homestead.

Frontier Homestead on Television

This summer, Frontier Homestead State Park has been featured on a couple of media outlets and we thought we would share them here. First, The Good For Utah Road Trip visited our park and shot a segment with Stephen Olsen, a long-time member of our staff. You can view the clip here:

FHSP Good For Utah segment

Also, Fox 13’s The Place stopped by and spoke with Museum Curator Ryan Paul. You can view that segment here:

FHSP Fox 13 The Place segment

Now that you have seen the park online, why don’t you come and visit us in person.

Hollywood Comes to Cedar City

Gronway (left) and Chauncey Parry 1917

Gronway (left) and Chauncey Parry 1917

It began when brothers Gronway, Chauncey, and Whit Parry relocated from their Salt Lake City home to the rural southwestern Utah town of Cedar City.  Gronway, the oldest, saw this community as an opportunity to succeed in a variety of business enterprises, including transportation and lodging. He quickly advised his brothers to come and share in his success. The Parry brothers soon capitalized on the national interest in Zion and Bryce Canyons and the natural amphitheater at Cedar Breaks.

Chauncey, having trained as a pilot during WWI, combined his loves of flying and photography and spent many hours creating amazing aerial footage that he would soon market to the film studios in Hollywood. In 1924, the Fox Film Corporation announced that the world’s most popular cowboy Tom Mix would film his next movie Deadwood Coach in the area.  Cedar City was now in the viewfinder of Hollywood movie studios and fervently opened their community to them.

Cast of "Forlorn River" leaving Cedar City, 1926

Cast of “Forlorn River” leaving Cedar City, 1926

Upon leaving Cedar City, Tom Mix prophesied “We have pioneered the picture production business in your section much to our satisfaction and that of the director, and we feel that our reports on the possibilities of your country will induce many other companies to follow.” And follow they did. Movies such as: The Good Earth, Union Pacific, Drums Along the Mohawk, Brigham Young, Can’t Help Singing, My Friend Flicka, and Proud Rebel were all filmed in Cedar City and the surrounding areas.

The Gem Photoplay became the first theater in Cedar City. In 1919 Thomas A. Thorley built the Thorley Theater, replacing the Gem. Throughout the following decades, the Thorley would undergo a series of name changes including theAvalon and the Utah but by the 1950’s it would come to be known as the Cedar Theater.

Gem Photoplay - 3rd from left

Gem Photoplay – 3rd from left

Cedar Theatre, 1968

Cedar Theater, 1968

The Thorley Theater served as the location for the Utah premier of the Cecil B. DeMille film Union Pacific in 1939. Union Pacific was one of many motion pictures filmed in the area. Local resident York Jones remembers, “It was a thrill to watch the premier because you could recognize the people who were extras.” The Cedar Theater has become a local landmark and is directly tied to the history of the Cedar City and southern Utah area. It is the last of the traditional movie houses in the community as its sister theater the Parks, formally the Orpheum, was destroyed by the great main street fire of 1962.

Parks Theater, 1940's

Parks Theater, 1940’s

Filming on Cedar Mountain, 1930's.

Filming on Cedar Mountain, 1930’s.