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.
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 www.fronterhomestead.org 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.
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.