On September 7, at 6:30 p.m. scholars Ren and Helen Davis will present “Landscapes for the People”. This presentation details the extraordinary work of George Grant, a master of photography who documented our nation’s natural treasures.

A Pennsylvania native, Grant was introduced to the parks during the summer of 1922 and resolved to make parks and photography his life. Seven years later, he received his dream job and spent the next quarter century visiting the four corners of the country to produce images in more than one hundred national parks, monuments, historic sites, battlefields, and other locations. He was there to visually document the dramatic expansion of the National Park Service during the New Deal, including the work of the Civilian Conservation Corps.

Grant’s images are the work of a master craftsman. His practiced eye for composition and exposure and his patience to capture subjects in their finest light are comparable to those of his more widely known contemporaries. Nearly fifty years after his death, it is fitting that George Grant’s photography be introduced to a new generation of Americans.

George Alexander Grant is a little known elder in the field of American landscape photography. Just as they did the work of his contemporaries Ansel Adams, Edward Weston, and Eliot Porter, millions of people viewed Grant’s photographs; unlike those contemporaries, few knew Grant’s name. “Landscapes for the People” shares his story through his remarkable images and a compelling biography profiling patience, perseverance, dedication, and an unsurpassed love of the natural and historic places that Americans chose to preserve.

This program has received funding from Utah Humanities (UH) and is free to the public.  UH improves communities through active engagement in the humanities.


The School Bus

Once schools were built, the students had to get to them. In the early days the students had to make their way to school however they could. In the warmer weather that could mean riding a horse or taking a wagon. When it was cold, a sled might be used. Many students walked. Because of the limits of transportation, small schools were scattered around the rural areas of the county.

One of the earliest buses we have record of in Iron County was used in Midvalley, between Cedar City and Enoch. These students attended the Enoch school. They would ride to school in a covered wagon with plank seats along the sides and a wood stove. As students boarded they would crowd as close to the stove as possible to keep warm. Some children would ride their horses to where the wagon started at the Steven’s settlement. Others would be picked up on the way until there was a full load by the time it arrived at school.


Ira Heaton with his first bus

In the early 1920s it was decided to consolidate schools. Ira Heaton had moved to Midvalley, and he wanted his children educated in the larger Cedar City schools rather than the one room school. He and a few other families took their children to school in a 1922 Model T panel truck. In 1924 the school board furnished Mr. Heaton with a livestock truck and fuel if he would drive it at no cost to the county. During cold weather a tarp was thrown over the cattle rack for protection from storms. The next year Mr. Heaton bought four 1925 Model T truck chassis and built bodies on them. They could seat about thirty with benches that ran around the perimeter and one down the middle. The buses were heated by the exhaust pipe which ran under the middle bench. Passengers had to be careful not to leave their shoes resting too long on the heater. These four buses gathered students in from Kanarraville, Enoch, Summit, and Iron Springs. In 1927 the first factory built bus was purchased and in 1935 the school board took over busing.


It took several years for the transportation infrastructure to be completed. Money from the county was matched with labor and materials donated by communities to pave bus routes. More buses were built out of truck chassis. One member of the school board drove to Detroit with his wife to pick up a bus and drive it back to Cedar City. On the return trip he drove the bus while his wife drove the car.

Today we hardly think about the importance of transportation in education. At one time getting to and from school was quite an adventure.

The First School in Iron County

As school starts up, we will take a look back at some of the early days of schooling in the county. We have come a long way from brush shelters and two books. The first settlers arrived in Iron County in what would become Parowan in December 1850. The following entries from the diary of George Albert Smith record the start of schooling soon after.

Feb. 1851 We commenced building a wicky-up with slabs and brush. I proposed to the brethren that we start a school in the wicky-up, providing they will help finish it. One side of the wicky-up was covered with 14 slabs taken from logs brother Richard Benson sawed up for the mill. Thermometer 16 degrees

Feb. 21, 1851 I commenced a grammar school in my wicky-up. My scholars were Thomas Wheeler, Hosh Millet, Peter. A. S. Smith, Richard Benson, Benjamin Hults, and Wm. Mitchell. By the lithe of the fire and only one grammar book.

March 3, 1851 My wicky-up is a very important establishment, composed of brush and a few slabs and 3 wagons. A fire in the center and a lot of milking stools, benches and logs placed around, two of which are fashioned with buffalo robes. It answers for various purposes: kitchen, schoolhouse, dining room, meeting house, council house, sitting room, reading room, and storeroom. To see my school some of the cold nights in February, scholars standing around my huge campfire, the wind broken off by the brush and the whole canopy of heaven for cover. Thermometer standing a 7 degrees, one side roasting while the other freezing requiring continual turning to keep as near as possible an equilibrium of temperature. I would stand with my grammar book, the only one in school, would give out a sentence at a time and pass it around. Notwithstanding these circumstances, I never saw a grammar class learn faster for the time.

Military Appreciation Day 2017

1943 poster by Bernard Perlin and David Stone Martin

In an effort to honor and recognize the significant contributions of our military members, Utah State Parks announces Military Appreciation Day Saturday, August 12. 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.

Come celebrate our courageous military personnel with your family, friends and community at Frontier Homestead on Saturday August 12, 2017. We will provide 4 different varieties of all you can eat pancakes with toppings. There will also be coloring activities for the kids and a letter writing station to create letters for our troops in partnership with Operation Gratitude. 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.   

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. For more information about Frontier Homestead or Military Appreciation Day call us at 435-586-9290, visit our Facebook page Frontier Homestead State Park, or our website Frontier Homestead is located at 635 North Main in Cedar City. For additional information about Military Appreciation Day events at other Utah State Parks, click here.

Carl Croft: 1925-2017

Three year old Carl at the Grand Canyon

Frontier Homestead recently lost a long-time friend and supporter, Carl Croft. Carl was instrumental  in the creation of our Utah Parks Company exhibit and spent many hours providing advice, direction, and telling us great stories. When Carl was three years old he spent two summers with his family at the Grand Canyon while his father George supervised the construction of the power, pumping, and housing facilities. In 1947 Carl began working as the Assistant Maintenance  supervisor for the Utah Parks Company and became the Supervisor of Maintenance in 1966, a position he held until his retirement in 1985.

We will miss Carl and his stories. We thought we would like to share one of our favorites. This was taken from an oral history interview he recorded with us in 2004.

In the early days, the number of employees averaged around 700 people for the entire Utah parks system. That also included a necessary rest stop in Kanab. The busses when they first started were not fast enough and the roads were not good enough to go from Zion to the North Rim without a rest and lunch stop. So they put a little lunch building at Kanab. That facility later turned out to house the UPC laundry operation.

The Kanab rest stop, circa 1930

In the beginning, the railroad had central laundries for their hotel dining rooms and their dining cars. For the Utah Parks Company, our early laundry facility was in Ogden, Utah. Union Pacific had set it up so we could use that as the laundry for all our linens. The maids would go in and strip a bed, take the sheets down to the linen room and throw them into a hamper. That afternoon a supply truck would take the loaded hamper to Cedar City and drop it off at the commissary. There was a man at the commissary that would take all the hampers from the parks and put them on the express train headed for Ogden. The laundry would be washed and pressed up there, hauled back from Ogden to Cedar City, loaded onto a truck and delivered to whichever park, and placed back onto the shelf by the cabin maids. So you had a set of sheets coming, one going, one in the laundry, one on the bed, and two on the shelf. So you figure up how many complete changes of laundry were needed to maintain a clean cabin.

Carl Croft, circa 1950

After World War II the UPC eliminated the laundry having to go clear into Ogden and put their own facility in at Kanab. We didn’t need the rest stop anymore because the roads and the buses had improved. The railroad had a great big old boiler that they decided to take to Kanab for the laundry. They unloaded the boiler from the train at Cedar City and decided to take it by truck through Zion. There is a tunnel in Zion, in fact there are two of them. They made it through the first tunnel without a problem. However, there is a spot in the second tunnel that is several inches shorter than the rest and they got hung up. They had to let a little air out of the tires and that lowered it just enough so they could get through.