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

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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.