Gronway Parry’s Saving’s Bond Tour

One of the original wagon banner's

One of the original wagon banner’s 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 wagon’s 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.

Pick Your Park: A Southern Utah Watercolor Society Exhibit

suwsFrontier Homestead State Park Museum is pleased to announce a special exhibit by the Southern Utah Watercolor Society (SUWS).  The public is invited to an artist’s reception on Saturday July 23rd, from 2:00–4:00 p.m.  The reception is free to the public. Following the reception, the regular entrance fee applies.

SUWS encourages those in the community with a passion for water media painting, or a desire to learn to come meet the artists and learn more about the watercolor society.  SUWS-Cedar City Chapter has been busy this year working together to bring new and interesting programs, demonstrations, and plein air events to Cedar City.

Big Bend - Elizabeth Pickett watercolor

Big Bend – Elizabeth Pickett
watercolor

Bear Trap Canyon Fall- Ray Pittman - watercolor

Bear Trap Canyon Fall-
Ray Pittman – watercolor

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

To go along with the Centennial of the National Park Service, the theme of this year’s exhibit is “Pick Your Park.” Each artist was challenged to exhibit pieces reflecting their favorite places of natural beauty. The exhibit features the work of 17 local artists, with many of the works available for purchase. Additionally, there are a number of unframed prints offered for sale.

Biscuits in the Oven  Carol Stenger - watercolor

Biscuits in the Oven
Carol Stenger – watercolor

The exhibit will continue at Frontier Homestead through August 30.

 

Cedar Breaks Part IV

Throughout the years the Utah Parks Company operated the tourist concessions at Cedar Breaks, hundreds of young people called the Breaks their summer home. Following are some of their fondest memories:

Snow removal at Cedar Breaks

“We lived in the cabins when we were working at Cedar Breaks. They had metal roofs and I remember when it was raining there was nothing like it. The rain in those metal roofs just sounded absolutely like it was coming in the house. It was just beautiful. – Brenda Barrett Orton

cabins

Cedar Breaks cabins

 

“Working at Cedar Breaks, of course, we lived there. We lived in small cabins that were to the left of the lodge. There were four girls that lived in each cabin, and we shared one bathroom. I remember when my father helped me take my stuff in the first day I arrived. I can remember thinking how tiny these little cabins were. I am sure that they weren’t much larger than a 12 x 12 foot space, with a twin bed on each side and one chest of drawers and that was the sum total of our living space.”  – Murna Archibald

“Our experience began in a unique way. We had to dig ourselves into our cabins and the lodge. There had not been a winter like that in many years. In fact, when we left in September there was still snow on the north side of the lodge. When the tour busses came to the front of the lodge people could not see anything but snow. It looked like a maze leading to the lodge. Many of the tourists had never even seen snow.” – Garth Jones

Living at the Breaks

Living at the Breaks

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Cedar Breaks friendly faces

“There used to be a water tank that set to the left and up the hill from the Cedar Breaks lodge. It was a wonderful place to go when we were off work. We would all put on our swimsuits and in 70 degree weather we would climb to the top of the water tank and sunbathe. It gave us a glorious view, a glorious view of the meadows and you literally felt like you were on top of the world at 10,000 feet.” – Murna Archibald

Driver Ike Beem

Driver Ike Beem

“Driving the tourist bus down the canyon from Cedar Breaks you are really in that compound gear, your low gear. We were supposed to stop at the Rock Church in Cedar City.  I was still about four or five miles up the canyon and I was hitting my brake and no air. So, I started shifting and taking the emergency brake and pull it a little, ease off, pull it little. I was pulling on the emergency brake and slowing down. At Main Street, I went right by the church and sailed through the intersection and finally got stopped three blocks down. Then a passenger said, ‘Ike, I thought we were supposed to stop at the church.’ I said, ‘Well, there’s only one thing wrong. I haven’t had any brakes since we left Cedar Breaks.’ I made a lot of tips that day.” – Ike Beem

Cedar Breaks Part III

Ready to go - circa 1952

Ready to go – circa 1952

In 1923, Union Pacific created the Utah Parks Company in an effort provide guest services that would entice passengers from the eastern United States to travel west by train and visit the scenic parks. The National Park Service encouraged this enterprise. Rail passengers would arrive in Cedar City where UPC buses would provide transportation and tours of the parks. The Grand Circle tour included stops at Zion Park, Bryce Canyon, the North Rim of the Grand Canyon, and Cedar Breaks.

Gilbert Stanley Underwood

Gilbert Stanley Underwood

In the early years of the Utah Parks Company noted architect Gilbert Stanley Underwood was commissioned to design lodges and cabins at the four stops on the Grand Circle tour. Underwood’s design of the Cedar Breaks lodge was of a simple but useful log building that matched its setting on the rim of the “Breaks.”  There was a lobby, a large dining area and a kitchen.  In the entrance lobby was a massive stone fireplace, which proved to be the focal point with a 6×6 foot opening and large andirons to hold the burning logs.

Early photo of the Cedar Breaks Lodge.

Early photo of the Cedar Breaks Lodge.

 

 

While the warmth of the fire was a welcome relief from the cool night air, the dining room certainly became the most popular part of the building.  The spacious eating area had 120 seats that were often all filled, with as many as three seating’s a night.

 “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 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.”

– Brenda Barrett Orton

The standards for the food served and the service were the same as at other Utah Parks Company lodges.  The serving staff of waitresses and bus boys maintained a spirit of professionalism and made visitors feel at ease as they enjoyed the scenery and the food. Former manager Gayle Snyder remembers: “One waiter as he carried his relish tray tipped it back and the olives and pickles rolled right down the back of a lady’s dress. She stood up and shook and the olives just came pouring out of her dress. But you know, the dudes didn’t seem to get really mad. We really didn’t have a lot of complaints about the things the kids did.”

Cedar Breaks Waiteresses

Cedar Breaks Waitresses

For nearly fifty years the Utah Parks Company transported and served the Dudes as guests were called at Zion, Bryce Canyon, the North Rim of the Grand Canyon, and Cedar Breaks. In 1972 the Utah Parks Company ceased its operations and donated the lodges to the National Park Service. It was determined that the Cedar Breaks lodge was too costly to maintain and it was torn down in 1972.  The Cedar City community angrily protested the removal of the lodge, so much so that the Park Service halted plans to tear down other similar structures at Zion and Bryce Canyon.

Cedar Breaks Lodge - July 1949

Cedar Breaks Lodge –
July 1949

Although the Utah Parks Company and the Cedar Breaks lodge are gone, their spirit still remains as tens of thousands of visitors pour into southwestern Utah each year to enjoy the breathtaking scenery, hike spectacular trails, and maybe remember the great chicken dinners once served in the lodge on the rim of the Breaks. Next week, living at Cedar Breaks.

Cedar Breaks Part II

The clash between the U.S. Forest Service and the National Park Service over Cedar Breaks was rooted in a rivalry born from differing ideas of land use and competition for resources. In 1917, Stephen Mather, the first director of the National Park Service, had called the southern Utah region an “all year round resort” and began working to develop the area as an integral part of the nation’s new national park system.

NPS officials visiting Cedar Breaks.

NPS officials visiting Cedar Breaks.

Mather had spent years cultivating the American business and tourist community and by the mid 1920’s had built a powerful support network, especially with the railroad industry. Mather planned to link the development of National Parks to the accessibility of the railroads, and the sparsely populated Southern Utah region provided an excellent opportunity to establish these links.

By 1931, services or concessions at Zion Park, Bryce Canyon, Cedar Breaks, and the North Rim of the Grand Canyon were actively part of the Utah Parks Company, a subsidiary of Union Pacific that brought visitors by rail to Cedar City and then by bus to the parks.  Mather’s successor Horace Albright felt the time was right to acquire Cedar Breaks as a protected area. Due to the stunning pink cliff formations and the large natural amphitheater, Albright argued that Cedar Breaks had enough scenic merit to be included in the National Park system and that the area would be so small that it would not affect the local livestock industry who used the meadows of Cedar Mountain for grazing. The Forest Service disagreed.

Charged with protecting the resources of the nation’s forests, the Forest Service administered the land around Cedar Breaks for multiple uses and felt threatened by the request of the Park Service.  Afraid that grazing rights would be limited, the Utah Woolgrowers Association and Associated Civic Clubs of Southern Utah petitioned their elected representatives to oppose any legislation creating a national monument at Cedar Breaks.

The Park Service argued that by adding Cedar Breaks to the national park system, Cedar City businesses would gain a huge economic benefit. However, due to a lack of support for the proposal in the local community, the idea for the addition of Cedar Breaks was put on hold.

Cedar Breaks visitors

Cedar Breaks visitors

Visitation at Cedar Breaks continued to increase and the Park Service decided to try and acquire the area again. Albright argued that the visiting public already thought the Park Service administered the site because of its inclusion in the Zion – Bryce Canyon scenic loop. He wrote to Chief Forester Robert Stuart; “If the Cedar Breaks area is most valuable to the pubic because of timber or grazing resources, administration would naturally come under the Forest Service. However, this area is scenic rather than industrially useful . . . and the public should be afforded a unified educational service such as the Park Service is equipped to supply.” Stuart agreed and against the advice of his field staff he withdrew his objections.

Early entrance to Cedar Breaks.

Early entrance to Cedar Breaks.

UPC bus during the dedication of Cedar Breaks

UPC bus during the dedication of Cedar Breaks

On August 22, 1933, President Franklin Roosevelt established the Cedar Breaks National Monument and charged the National Park Service with its administration. More about the Utah Parks Company and Cedar Breaks next week.

Cedar Breaks- Part I

The first anglo settlers of the Cedar Breaks region used the fertile meadows for grazing their sheep and cattle and the large stands of evergreens for lumbering. Many of these families came from the British Isles and the area soon became known as Little Ireland.  These families worked and lived together cooperatively establishing a thriving dairy operation.  Each housewife took one day to take the morning and evening milk and make one batch of cheese.  During the course of the summer, the women could produce 2000 pounds of cheese, which would be transported to San Francisco for sale.

Taking a chance at the Breaks

Taking a chance at the Breaks

As the knowledge of the spectacular scenery of southern Utah began to spread early in the 20th century, tourist camps were developed in the Zion and Bryce Canyon regions of the state. Although the beauty of Cedar Breaks was widely known, access proved to be very difficult. The terrain of Cedar Mountain was a challenge for the horses and wagons, but nearly impossible for the automobile. The first car reached the area via the wagon road up Parowan Canyon in 1919.

Cedar City residents Gronway Parry and Frank Seaman lobbied the Utah Department of Transportation to construct a road connecting Cedar City to the major north/south Highway 89 via Cedar Canyon. The state refused and in 1922 Parry and Seaman decided to take matters in their own hands.

Early Cedar Breaks Road

Early Cedar Breaks Road

Taking their wives, and Gronway’s car, Parry and Seaman began to blaze a trail through Cedar Canyon and over the mountain. Clearing away rocks, trees, and brush they slowly carved a road that would become State Highway 14. Once convinced that a road could actually be constructed, the State of Utah got involved and completed the project, and in 1923 cut a dirt road from the Midway point into Cedar Breaks.

Many families from Parowan summered in Little Ireland and in 1921 Charles Adams built a crudely constructed boarding house to provide workers with shelter and food. He placed his married daughter Minnie Adams Burton in charge and the structure became known as “Minnie’s Mansion.” The “Mansion” had a large dance floor and a kitchen and dining room in the rear. “Minnie’s Mansion” soon became the summer social center for the citizens of Parowan.  Some came by wagon or on horseback to enjoy a Saturday night dance with a local band providing the entertainment.  Rodeos and summer holidays were also popular in the cool mountain surroundings, sometimes with fireworks set off over the Breaks.

As the residents of Iron County began to promote their local tourist spots, the Federal government developed an interest in the area. Tensions between the U.S. Forest Service and the National Park Service had been growing throughout the 1920’s and centered upon differing ideas of land use and management.

Early motor tours to Cedar Breaks.

Early motor tours to Cedar Breaks.

The Forest Service adopted a multiple use approach that managed the land for its resources – wood, water, and grass as well as wildlife habitat and recreation. The Park Service viewed itself as the nation’s foremost custodian of American heritage – mandated by Congress to preserve, protect, and provide visitor services.  Both of these agencies, with overlapping missions and constituencies competed for land and resources and Cedar Breaks was caught in the middle. The story continues next week.