Happy Thanksgiving from Frontier Homestead

To celebrate this wonderful holiday, we thought we would give you a few little treats. First this photo of Zion National Park taken on Thanksgiving Day 1923 by William Louis Crawford.

A snowy Thanksgiving in Zion.

A snowy Thanksgiving in Zion.

Second, during the 1950’s Cedar City historian and businessman William R. Palmer had a weekly radio program on local radio station KSUB. During his show, Forgotten Chapters of History, Palmer told tales of local history and sometimes covered other topics. Thanks to Special Collections at the Sherratt Library on the campus of Southern Utah University, many of these programs are available to listen to. On November 23 and 30th, 1952, Palmer presented parts one and two of his Thanksgiving Day program. Click the links and enjoy your holiday as you listen to Forgotten Chapters of History.

Thanksgiving Part I 11-23-1952

Thanksgiving Part II 11-30-1952

 

The Pioneer Blast Furnace

Cedar City was settled by pioneers hoping to successfully mine and produce iron. This group of core settlers became known as the Iron Mission. After many early attempts with a small furnace, they got the process down and began construction on a much larger structure. Built in 1854 the second pioneer blast furnace produced the best quality iron seen in during the entire length of the Iron Mission. Even before beginning construction, the residents of Cedar City named this structure the Noble Furnace because of their expectations that this would be a “noble building.”  The Noble Furnace proved much larger than its predecessor and also used a mechanical loading assembly.

Blueprints of the Noble Furnace taken from the Deseret Iron Company

Blueprints of the Noble Furnace taken from the Deseret Iron Company

Producing iron in the 19th century began with the combination of raw ore with a mixture of fuel and limestone. This was called a “charge” which filled or “burdened” the furnace. Many trials of each mixture were needed to get the right combination of ingredients. These were done in a smaller furnace or “cupola.” If a large charge was mixed incorrectly the lining of the furnace would fall off and need to be replaced – a process which could take months.

The replica furnace built to the exact dimensions of the pioneer furnace.

The replica furnace built to the exact dimensions of the pioneer furnace.

The fuel used by the pioneers was either wood-based charcoal or coal-based coke. Charcoal proved the fuel of choice at Iron City. It was created by burning or smoldering wood in an oxygen free environment.   Coke is produced in a similar manner using coal and a coke oven. Using charcoal benefited the workers at Iron City because wood was readily available and it produced a softer more pliable piece of iron. Unfortunately, charcoal production uses a large number of trees.

Limestone served as a flux or catalyst that assisted in melting iron ore and binding to impurities. The furnace was lit and a constant temperature maintained through use of a water-powered bellows system. The ore mixture would heat up and separate – the heavier iron sank to the bottom while the impurities bound to the limestone rose to the top as “slag.” The pure iron was released when the furnace was “tapped,” then taken to the molding shop for further processing. Once cooled, the slag would be ground into cinder and discarded. 

Iron Mission Days: The Photos

We had such a great time at Iron Mission Days, we thought it appropriate to share some of our favorite photos from the event. We hope you enjoy.

One of our amazing demonstrators.

One of our amazing demonstrators.

Candle Dipping is always popular.

Candle Dipping is always popular.

We start them out young with ink and quill.

We start them out young with ink and quill.

Making a rag doll.

Making a rag doll.

Corn Grinding 101

Corn Grinding 101

Visitors got to tour the pithouse.

Visitors got to tour the pithouse.

Spinning is a useful skill to learn.

Spinning is a useful skill to learn.

Pioneer wood working for all ages.

Pioneer wood working for all ages.

Throwing the "hawks."

Throwing the “hawks.”

Iron Mission Days Are Here Again!

The spinners are always a hit.

The spinners are always a hit.

Frontier Homestead State Park Museum once again celebrates the founding of Cedar City with a day of activities designed to honor the spirit of our community and those that created opportunities for our growth. Enjoy the cool crisp fall air on Saturday November 7th from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm as we host our annual Iron Mission Days. The cost is $5.00 per family.

Troop 350 presses the apples ever year.

Troop 350 presses the apples ever year.

Pioneer activities, crafts for kids, and living history demonstrations will be available. Staff will be showcasing tomahawk throwing, candle dipping and bread baked in the wood-fired bread oven.  Freshly pressed apple cider will be there for all. Additionally, visitors will be able to practice wood working skills in the Nelson Carpentry Shop and, of course, making the park’s well-known rag dolls. The Sagebrush Fiber Artisans will be practicing their craft, the replica Fremont Indian pithouse is now open for exploration, and patrons will be able to take advantage of the newly completed horseshoe pits.

 

Log Cutting is a family affair.

Log Cutting is a family affair.


Throwing a "hawk" can be an adventure.

Throwing a “hawk” can be an adventure.

Saturday November 7th promises to be a fun-filled day of adventure for the whole family. Step back in time with Frontier Homestead State Park and celebrate Cedar City’s birthday Frontier Homestead style.

Our historic corn sheller in action.

Our historic corn sheller in action.