During his “Voyage of Understanding” tour in the summer of 1923, President Warren G. Harding arrived in Cedar City before visiting Zion National Park. This photo shows the President and First Lady as they were greeted by a young Paiute girl before being escorted to the El Escalante Hotel. At the hotel, they were met by approximately 6,000 people from Cedar City and the surrounding area. Next week we will more fully tell the story of the President’s visit.
The following post comes to us from Kyle Taylor, one of our museum interns. All of the images are from our large and varied collection of sheet music ranging from the late 1800’s through the 1930’s.
Music is an art form that can convey a message or tell a story. This story is written using an established set of musical notes, symbols and lyrics. Much like an essay, it is written for an audience, the physical form of this story is called sheet music.
Originally sheet music was laboriously written on a piece of papyrus, any copies that were made were hand written. This caused the sheet music to be very costly and time consuming. In the late 15th century the first printing press was invented which made the production process of sheet music much easier, and more affordable. Instead of going to the opera to listen to music, people were playing music themselves. As time progressed, sheet music production became easier and more popular.
The 1920’s was a time for musical evolution. In the years leading up to the start of the great depression there was great financial prosperity. There were many composers who were very popular during this period. One composer whom you may be familiar with is Irving Berlin. Sheet music was a very popular item to buy. Prior to the 1920’s sheet music was printed on very large paper and had very little artistic value to the cover. To make sheet music more appealing to the consumer, bright and colorful pictures depicting parties or people laughing were printed on the cover of the sheet music. This art gave the music a “storybook” feel to it and would catch the consumer’s eye and gave them the idea that “this is music I would like to have”.
Much like a commercial does today, crooners and street performers would perform this music and make it a more popular item to purchase. Radios were also growing in popularity during this time. The ability to transmit music into every home helped tell the story the sheet music was telling.
Frontier Homestead State Park is pleased to announce that rental opportunities for the Hunter House and the Hunter House back grounds are now available. Built in 1866, the Hunter House is the oldest standing home in Cedar City and the back grounds have been landscaped and enhanced to provide the perfect space for private events.
Renting the back grounds of the Hunter House allows complete access to our Summer Kitchen. Amenities include a propane grill, refrigerator, cooking and prep areas, wood cook stove, small earth oven and a dutch oven cooking area with a charcoal grill and plenty of space for dutch ovens. The large deck space and gazebo are also included in the rental fee.
“Imagine your wedding reception, reunion, banquet or business meeting in the beautiful and historic setting of the Hunter House grounds at Frontier Homestead State Park” says Summer Lyftogt, Frontier Homestead’s rental coordinator, “Historic, unique, and affordable indoor and outdoor spaces are available for rental.” The Joseph S. Hunter house is significant as an example of Utah vernacular architecture and sets the house and grounds apart as a unique venue for your special event.
According to museum curator Ryan Paul, “The Hunter House and Summer Kitchen areas help visitors develop an appreciation for the efforts of those individuals who sought to protect, preserve, and thrive in a new and sometimes hostile environment. In our modern world, many of these ideas are looked upon as nostalgic. These spaces seek to unwind these basic illusions and reveal details about those who came before. Moving beyond the traditional museum exhibit the Hunter House and summer kitchen areas provide an interactive, engaging experience and a one of a kind place to hold an event.”
Based on conceptual drawings by Katie Beckstead, the Hunter House and the accompanying grounds have been completed through the generous support of many partners including the Hunter family descendents, the Frontier Homestead Museum Foundation, the Utah Division of Arts and Museums, Cedar City Rap Tax, the Thomas Amos Lunt families, and Utah State Parks.
The Hunter House main floor is perfect for small meetings while the back grounds can accommodate groups up to seventy-five. Tables, chairs, and the summer kitchen area are all available. For more information about scheduling and rental pricing call Summer at 435-586-9290, or visit our website www.fronterhomestead.org
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.
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.
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.
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.
The Utah Shakespeare Festival has undergone great change since its first season in 1962. Facilities have been constructed, productions have grown in size and scope, and the Festival staff has grown to include a number of full-time employees. In 2002 the larger format, three-play fall season debuted with I Hate Hamlet, You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown, and Twelfth Night. In 2011 the Festival announced that, for the first time, a play would run through the traditional break between the summer and fall seasons.
Tragedy befell the Festival when on October 22, 2008, Barbara Gaddie Adams, Fred’s wife and longtime partner and confidant, succumbed to a long illness and passed away. Barbara, along with Fred, had shepherded the Festival from words on a little yellow notepad to a nationally recognized, Tony award-winning theatre company. Barbara had coordinated all the preshow activities, the music, singing, puppet show, and dancing that provided the atmosphere for Festival goers as they prepared for the transition from the contemporary to the Elizabethan. Barbara Adams’s creative spirit is memorialized by a bronze plaque located on the wall of the Adams Theatre, near The Greenshow performing space—a fitting tribute to the program she proved instrumental in developing.
The expansion of the Utah Shakespeare Festival’s artistic and technical company and a longer theatrical season required new spaces. The much loved Adams Theatre had served its purpose in enriching, entertaining, and educating the lives of those who sat in her seats and witnessed her bounty. Like the stage before, the passage of time and changing technology have taken their toll. In 2016, the Engelstad Shakespeare Theatre opened its doors and a new Wooden O now stands guard over the works of the Bard and serves as an anchor for the Utah Shakespeare Festival’s future.
Additionally, the Eileen and Alan Anes Studio Theatre, now serves as a creative space for the development of new plays. This flexible 200 seat venue is able to be configured in a variety of seating styles to better enhance the vision of the playwright, designer, or director. The Anes theatre allows for the exploration of the theatrical experience and provides Festival patrons the opportunity to discover the diversity of the world stage. The Anes Theatre is home to the new plays program where scripts are workshopped and tested with a small audience before being moved to the larger Festival stages. This theatrical laboratory shows the Utah Shakespeare Festival’s continuing commitment to the development of theatre professionals and to the expansion of America’s influence on world drama.
The future of the Utah Shakespeare Festival is rooted in the tradition of what it does well and in a commitment to utilize that shared past as a springboard for the future. The expanding and deepening of programs, the construction of new theatres, and the development of a core artistic company are not without challenges. However, these same difficulties were met and faced fifty years ago by a young drama teacher, and we all know how that turned out.
Fred and Barbara Adams had built their dream. The summer productions in the new Adams Memorial Shakespearean Theatre had sell out crowds nearly every night, operating at 98 to 99 percent capacity, which offered no room for growth. The Festival had become too successful for the current space.
Festival and college representatives turned to the Utah State Legislature for assistance in funding the construction of the new theatre. The legislature, while agreeing that the project sounded interesting, refused to fund the building. A representative advised them to look into the mineral lease money that the mining companies operating in Iron County had been paying into for over fifty years. The mineral lease fund was established to offset the impact made by the mines on schools, hospitals, roads, and other public works projects. A large sum had been paid in, but very little taken out. The mineral lease board agreed that a new theatre for the Festival was worthy of funding and awarded most, but not all, of the construction costs. The descendants of Randall L. Jones, an early booster of southern Utah, provided the remainder of the needed funds, and the new theatre would now be named the Randall L. Jones Theatre.
The 1989 season, the first using both the Randall Theatre and the Adams Theatre, featured six plays, three in each theatre, the most the Festival had ever produced in one season. Festival producers decided they would need two separate companies. They duplicated every position, one for the Adams Theatre and one for the Randall Theatre. This proved very expensive. The 1989 season ended with a $379,000.00 deficit. Relief came from Paul Southwick, vice-president of finance for Southern Utah University, who had been pulling some of the Festival profits each year into a rainy day fund, which had more than enough money to cover the deficit, and the Festival was saved. The Utah Shakespeare Festival did not repeat the mistakes of 1989 and began double casting roles for both the Randall and the Adams theatres.
Fred C. Adams believed in the power inherent in Shakespeare’s texts to change lives for the better, and the Festival created an education program to take that message to schools across the West. Fred’s traveling show, Costume Cavalcade, evolved into the Shakespeare-in-the-Schools Tour, a traveling group of trained actors who perform abbreviated versions of Shakespeare’s major plays in schools throughout the region. The actors also meet with the students after the show, answer questions, provide training, and help them better understand the concepts brought to life on the stage.
By the late 1990s the business community of Cedar City began asking the management team of the Festival if they would extend their season in an effort to keep the much needed tourism money flowing into the local economy. Southern Utah University worked with them for a test run in 1999. The Festival would pick two very small plays, Forever Plaid and The Compleat Works of Wllm. Shkspr (Abridged), and see if a fall season could be economically viable. The plan worked, and the fall season began.
In May of 2000, the American Theatre Wing and the Broadway League announced that the Antoinette Perry or “Tony” Award for Outstanding Regional Theatre would go to the Utah Shakespeare Festival. The Tony, comparable to the Academy Awards in film, is the most highly sought after accolade in American theatre and, for the Festival, was the culmination of nearly four decades of hard work and superior artistry.
Despite the summer heat, the audience for the first performance of the newly inaugurated Utah Shakespeare Festival numbered over five hundred. It was July 2, 1962, and everything was ready: every detail had been carefully looked to, every contingency planned for, or so they thought. Two young trumpeters had been recruited to play a fanfare announcing the beginning of the play. As the notes rang through the air, director Fred C. Adams realized that the cast had not rehearsed a way to get from the dressing room to the stage. Thinking quickly, he grabbed a torch from the rack of Hamlet props, lit it, and presented it to the costumed pages, directing them to lead the cast, in full view of the audience, to the stage. This actors processional, from the dressing room doors, across the patio, and to the platforms became a Festival audience favorite for many years.
The initial two-week Festival season proved very successful, bringing in 3,726 visitors and over $2,000—enough to prove that this could be a profitable venture. Fred began assembling the creative team that would guide the Utah Shakespeare Festival to national prominence. This group would soon include directors Michael Addison and Tom Markus, scenic designer Douglas N. Cook, lighting designer Cameron Harvey, and technical director Gary M. McIntyre, among many others.
In 1965, Fred made a decision that would forever change the course of the Festival. He had built the organization using local talent, but his creative team, most of them college instructors from outside the area, wanted to give some of their students an opportunity to perform. Fred decided that he would open auditions to students from across the country. They realized that this influx of actors exposed audiences to a host of new talent and increased the notoriety and production ability of the Festival.
Throughout the 1960s, the Festival productions would be carried out on a portable stage that would be built and removed after each summer season—with tremendous effort. However, the enthusiasm of the nightly audiences, sitting on their folding chairs, made the effort worthwhile.
Douglas N. Cook had joined the Festival in 1964. Cook was especially adept at designing scenery for Shakespeare productions. Under his guidance, the props department blossomed, and the sets better reflected the periods that designers were trying to represent. At the conclusion of the 1969 season, Cook applied his talent for design to work up some rough sketches for a new outdoor theatre space to replace the aging stage.
Based upon his research, Cook knew that the new theatre would need to have three essential elements. First, it must have a thrust stage (this meant that the performance space would be surrounded on three sides by seats); second, it must have a gallery or multi-level seating; and, third, it must be open to the air. All of these designs were in every major Elizabethan theatre of Shakespeare’s day and would be necessary for the Festival’s new space. Technical and electrical planning also factored heavily into the design of the Adams Theatre. Technical director Cameron Harvey worked tirelessly to design a state-of-the-art lighting and sound system that would be unnoticeable to the audience but enhance the performance. Everything the Utah Shakespeare Festival had learned about producing the Bard would go into the design of the theatre.
In 1977 the Adams Theatre, named after Thomas and Luella Adams (no relation to Fred) was complete, and despite having to remove the construction scaffolding forty-five minutes before the first performance, the actors and the patrons loved the new stage.
The Festival introduced its first matinee performance and its first musical, by presenting Gilbert and Sullivan’s The Mikado in 1977. Drawing from local talent, including a live orchestra and a young R. Scott Phillips as the Lord High Executioner (his only acting role for the Festival), The Mikado proved that the Festival could branch out into dramatic fields other than William Shakespeare.
The Utah Shakespeare Festival entered a new era when in 1981 it introduced its first Equity actors to its audiences. The Actors Equity Association is the professional union for theatre acting and stage management professionals.
The 1970s proved to be an amazing decade of growth for the Festival. A new theatre was added, programs and staff were expanded, and professional actors joined the company. Still, Fred Adams had another idea, what if patrons could see more—works from other important playwrights, the “Shakespeares of other lands.” Of course the Adams Theatre would remain the domain of Shakespearean plays; what was needed was another space, another theatre
This year marks the opening of the 56th season of the Utah Shakespeare Festival. We thought you would enjoy this photo of the founder Fred Adams as he directs the cast of The Taming of the Shrew. This was the first play of the first season. For the rest of July we will be detailing the history of the Utah Shakespeare Festival, an organization that still brings over 100,000 people to the local area each year.
For the past year, the staff at Frontier Homestead, in cooperation with the Frontier Homestead Museum Foundation and other local partners has been working on new mission and vision statements. We are happy to report that we have wrapped up the process and are ready to present them to our patrons, friends, and supporters. The full mission and vision statements are below, but as a teaser here is the new Park mission statement: To connect people to traditions, knowledge and ideas. Supporting statements flesh out just what this entails. Ultimately, we want Frontier Homestead to be a place where history becomes your story.
Frontier Homestead State Park Museum- Mission Statement
To connect people to traditions, knowledge and ideas.
We fulfill our mission by:
- Creating engaging, educational and experiential programming.
- Actively collecting the physical and oral cultural histories of Southwest Utah.
- Safeguarding our collections and maintaining Park facilities.
- Responsible fundraising.
- Collaborating with individuals, institutions, community partners and the Museum Foundation.
- Celebrating frontier lifeways through community outreach, special events and programs.
- Providing quality service to our community and all our visitors.
- Working with the Museum Foundation to establish an endowment of $10 million, the income from which will support the operational costs of growing and preserving the Museum’s collection and the management of all Museum activities and programs.
- Embracing and incorporating values as articulated by the History Relevance Campaign (www.historyrelevance.com).
Frontier Homestead State Park Museum -Vision Statement
As the new town square, Frontier Homestead State Park is the setting where all are invited to come to share experiences, learn, and connect with each other. The Park will realize its vision by adherence to the following values:
- Stewardship: We will strategically plan for long-term sustainability of the resources entrusted to us. We will secure adequate funding and infrastructure to preserve, exhibit and interpret the Museum’s extensive collections, and maintain sufficient resources to readily host community events, celebrations and public programming. We believe safeguarding our past is the foundation by which future generations will thrive.
- Relevance: We will be an integral member of our community, creating dynamic and inspiring exhibits and programs that are important to the lives of our audiences. We will continue to benefit future generations as a vibrant, inclusive institution that is fully involved in the life of Iron County and southern Utah. Our work to increase awareness and appreciation of history lays the groundwork for a strong, resilient community.
- Professionalism: We will be leaders in superior customer service and industry practices. Staff and volunteers will continue to expand their experience and training in order to provide quality assistance to all our patrons.
- Fiscal Responsibility: We will conduct the business of the park within our financial means, and seek to enhance and diversify our economic base where possible. We hold that cultural heritage is a demonstrated economic asset and essential component of a vibrant financial market.
- Communication: We will utilize the latest technology to more effectively and efficiently advance the activities of the Museum. We will fully integrate our website and social media platforms to foster a strong digital presence. Staff will actively engage visitors onsite and online.
- Diversity: We will engage people of all ages, ethnicity, religion, economic circumstance, and education to provide a broader relevance to our museum. History enables citizens to discover their own place in the stories of their families, society, and country. By bringing history into discussions about contemporary issues, we foster a better understanding of multiple perspectives on the challenges facing our communities.
- Management/Administration: We will strive to expand our staff in order to realize the full potential of our mission and vision, thereby meeting ever-increasing public utilization of the Park. We employ history to provide leaders with inspiration and guide posts for meeting the complex challenges in a rapidly changing world.
- Park Facilities & Grounds: We will dedicate sufficient resources to the development and care of the structures and lands entrusted to us. We recognize that the park infrastructure is the basis for effective resource stewardship and the vehicle for our public service activities.