The Legacies of Iron County: Railroads and Tourism – The Caboose

Railroads, signified by the caboose, proved pivotal for this community. Freight trains were able to haul more raw materials than ever before, increasing profits for the mining companies. Rail traffic also brought thousands of tourists to the area each year to explore our scenic wonders. Hollywood came to Utah, travelling by train, into Cedar City. The railroad literally brought the world into our backyard.

The Caboose in it's original location, before being donating to the museum.

The Caboose in it’s original location, before being donated to the museum.

The caboose provided the train crew with shelter and working space while they threw switches and inspected for problems such as shifting loads, overheated axle bearings, and dragging equipment. The conductor used the caboose for filling out various forms and reports. On longer trips, the caboose provided living quarters.

Caboose 4618 was manufactured by Pacific Car and Foundry in 1978 and delivered to Southern Pacific.  In its heyday, Southern Pacific operated nearly 14,000 miles of track covering various routes stretching from Tennessee to California.

The body of Caboose 4618 was painted in mineral red with the bay window ends and the end walls in daylight orange, both traditional Southern Pacific colors. Cabooses in the SP system were designated C-XX-X. The “C” stood for caboose, the “XX” denoted the axle load in tons, and the final “X” represented the class, type, or design. Caboose 4618 is a C-50-7. Power for the caboose was provided by a small electrical generator mounted on the lead truck.

Moving the Caboose to Frontier Homestead.

Moving the Caboose to Frontier Homestead.

This caboose was purchased from a California rail yard in 2005 by George Lutterman. In April 2013 it was donated to Frontier Homestead State Park and moved in partnership with Iron County, Union Pacific, Construction Steel, Inc., and Gilbert Development, Inc.

 

The restored Caboose in front of Frontier Homestead

The restored Caboose in front of Frontier Homestead

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The Legacies of Iron County

Iron County exists because those who lived here developed the resources necessary for survival in this desert climate. The three legacies passed down by early settlers and their descendants — agriculture, mining, and railroads— are represented at Frontier Homestead State Park.

agricultureAgriculture, symbolized by the hay derrick, became the foundation of the local community. When early mining operations ceased, Iron County residents turned to sheep and cattle to provide needed trade goods. Today, the region still has a vibrant and expanding agricultural lifestyle.

 

 

MININGMining, represented by the ore shovel, is the industry that began it all, proving to be the initial motive for settlement. In 1923, the mines began producing ore by the tons and elevated Iron County to one of the richest counties in the Utah for nearly 50 years. Recently, the mines have reopened and the tradition continues.

 

 

TOURISMRailroads, signified by the caboose, proved pivotal for this community. Freight trains were able to haul more raw materials than ever before, increasing profits for the mining companies. Rail traffic also brought thousands of tourists to the area each year to explore our scenic wonders. Hollywood came to Utah, travelling by train, into Cedar City. The railroad literally brought the world into our backyard.

In the next few weeks, we will individually highlight each of these legacies. If you are in Cedar City, we invite you to explore, discover, and remember the legacies that transformed our community. They are a testament to our past and guideposts to our future.

Valentine’s Day – by Staff Intern Maureen Carlson

Valentine’s Day, as we know, is a day of love and romance. Lovers give each other flowers, candies, chocolates, and plan special dates. Over 200 million Valentine’s cards are exchanged each year and that number doesn’t even account for all the cards exchanged in schools! In elementary schools across the country, children make special boxes for goodies and bring cards and candy with “Will you be my Valentine?” plastered all over them. But what started this grand tradition in the United States?

Most valentine traditions we know of were brought overseas by European immigrants, which then began to spread. Lovers would often send valentines in the form of handwritten notes back and forth to each other during Revolutionary and Civil War times. The Kansas Museum of History has a few Civil War valentines included in their collection. These two images here, “Faithful in Death” and “My Love” were sent to Elizabeth Ehrhart from her fiance, Joseph Forrest, who was a soldier in the Civil War. While both of these valentines are quite sad, they portray the deep love and faithfulness that Joseph had for his sweet love, Elizabeth.

My Love - Courtesy of the Kansas History Museum

My Love – Courtesy of the Kansas Museum of History

Faithful in Death - Courtesy of the Kansas History Museum

Faithful in Death – Courtesy of the Kansas Museum of History

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Puzzle Purse

The Puzzle Purse

One type of valentine that was sent between loved ones was called the Puzzle Purse. It started in the 1700’s and became especially popular during the Victorian era. The Puzzle Purse is an origami style valentine where lovers could write special messages or include secret codes inside. Lovers could even place small gifts of love inside as well, such as a ring. If you click the following link, you can find out more about the history of this unique valentine as well as watch a video on how to make it yourself for someone that you love!

The Romantic History of the Puzzle Purse Valentine

letterThis letter and envelope with intricate detailing drawn around the outside is a valentine’s letter exchanged between sisters Lavinia and Emily Dickinson during the time of the California Gold Rush.

Mass production of actual Valentine’s Day cards, as opposed to handwritten letters, began after the end of the Victorian era in the early 1900’s, when exchanging love messages had picked up in popularity.

 

The thing that makes Valentine’s Day so great is that it is so versatile. Couples can make the holiday special for themselves depending on their own styles and interests. There isn’t just one event that everyone takes part in, such as trick-or-treating on Halloween. There are so many unique ways to celebrate Valentine’s Day that will make it special for you and your loved ones. So go out and kiss your loved ones and tell them you love them. Maybe share some chocolate or a delicious dinner. My favorite is listening to scary stories from old time radio stations by candlelight with my husband. You can even choose simply to do nothing at all. Just make the day your own. Also, remember that chocolates go on sale the day after Valentine’s Day *wink wink*. Happy Valentine’s Day to you all!

 

Cedar City: A Look Back – The Carnegie Library

Carnegie portrait that hung in the library. Now in the collection of Frontier Homestead State Park

Carnegie portrait that hung in the library. Now in the collection of Frontier Homestead State Park

This impressive structure was built in 1914 on property adjacent to the Cedar City Tabernacle on Center Street and Main. The building ceased being used as a public library in 1957 and was purchased by the State Bank of Southern Utah in 1966 for $35,000. Having been vacated in 1969, the building was torn down in 1970.

For a more detailed account of the Library’s construction and development click the following link: Cedar City Library History

 

Cedar City's Carnegie Library

Cedar City’s Carnegie Library

The Carnegie Library sat just to the left of the Tabernacle.

The Carnegie Library sat just to the left of the Tabernacle.