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.

Archaeology Day 2017

Frontier Homestead State Park welcomes archaeologists young and old and their families to participate in its annual Utah Archaeology Day on Saturday, May 6, 2017. Visitors will have the opportunity to participate in activities involving Native American games, history, traditional crafts and skills, and visit with a variety of demonstrators. Archaeology Day will take place from 10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. Cost per person is $2.00 per person or $5.00 per family.

Archaeology Day is the kick-off for a series of activities sponsored by Frontier Homestead State Park, Project Archaeology, Bureau of Land Management, Southern Utah University-College of Humanities and Social Sciences, Intersearch, Transcon Environmental, and the Cedar City Public Library.

Archaeology Day 1 - atlatll (1)The celebration of Utah Archaeology and Preservation Month continues on Friday May 12th and 19th at 7:00 pm with two showings of Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade at the Sharwan Smith Center on SUU campus.  An archaeologist will give a brief introduction. Admission is free, seating is limited, and the film is rated PG-13.

On Monday May 15, 6:00 to 8:00 pm, the public can take advantage of a rare opportunity to see artifacts from local archaeological excavations.  Repository Director, Barbara Frank, will open the SUU Archaeological Repository to the public.  The Repository is located in Room 101-A, west basement door, ELC, SUU campus. The tour is free and family-friendly.

Next, Saturday May 20, enjoy a free, guided tour of historic cabins in Kolob Canyon.  The tour will begin at Frontier Homestead State Park at 9 am and return by 1 pm. Sack lunches will be provided to all registered participants.  You must request a reservation and receive confirmation for this event, as space is limited.  Send request to samanthakirkley@suu.edu  This event is free, but not appropriate for all ages.

Come enjoy a special slide presentation by Shanandoah Anderson from the Southern Paiute Indian Tribe of Utah, Shivwits Band on Monday, May 22, at the Cedar City Public Library.  Ms. Anderson has taught at several reservation schools and enjoys sharing her cultural knowledge with others.  Don’t miss this unique and enlightening experience. This presentation is free to the public and appropriate for all family members.Archaeology Day 1 - pump drill (1)

The Hunter House Summer Kitchen

Once the interior of the Hunter House was complete, we turned our attention to the back. It has taken some time, but the back garden and summer kitchen is looking good and ready for action. Enjoy this look at a little of the work that went in to getting it to the pleasant area it is now.

The kitchen consists of an earth oven, a cast iron stove, a grilling area and food storage and preparation areas. There is still some work to be done with landscaping so keep checking back.

The summer kitchen will be available to rent starting this summer. It will be a great place for special events.

Buckskin Breeches

Here are a few stories taken from “History of Iron County Mission and Parowan” by Luella Dalton. Enjoy this look back.

The first is from John Henderson. “Once, Wm. C McGregor and I went after a load of wood up over the Hogback. I was wearing a fine new pair of buckskin breeches. Our oxen made good time, and when we were ready to start up the hill to chop our wood, it started to rain. I knew if my buckskin breeches got wet, they would be ruined, so I took them off, carefully folded them and placed them in a hollow tree that had been struck with lightning. The I proceeded to chop my wood in my hickory shirt made of home-spun cotton. Then I snaked my wood down the hillside and loaded my wagon. The rain was nearly over, so I donned my buckskin pants and drove home.”

Morgan Richards says, “I thought I was pretty smart when I put on my first pair of buckskin pants and went up the canyon to work on Uncle Nattie’s saw mill. When it started to rain, my pants began to stretch so I cut off a little here and a little there, then a little more and more as they continued to lengthen. When the sun began to shine, my pants began to climb higher and higher as they dried out, and my beautiful new trousers were nothing more than knee pants.”

Christmas at the Homestead

spinners-tree-2Are you looking for a fun, family friendly, affordable way to celebrate the Christmas season? How about Christmas at the Homestead—the Frontier Homestead State Park Museum, that is! The Utah Shakespeare Festival and the popular state park in Cedar City are once again partnering to provide a Christmas celebration for area residents and visitors.

First up is the second annual Homestead Christmas Market December 2 from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. and December 3, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Recapturing the sights, sounds, smells and ambiance of a pioneer Christmas market, this event provides a truly unique holiday shopping experience; where you can browse and buy from over 50 artists and craftsmen. It’s a great opportunity to find that perfectly handcrafted gift for the special someone on everyone’s list.

Admission to the event is just $1 per person. Free hot chocolate will be available both days, and holiday music will be featured on December 3. For more information, visit christmasatthehomestead.com.

The annual Christmas at the Homestead will be December 5 to 9 from 5:30 to 8 p.m. each day. The cost is only $2 per person or $5 for the entire family, and there will definitely be something for everyone—young, old, and in between.

homestead-christmas-4“Nothing will get you in the holiday spirit quicker and more completely than spending an evening at Christmas at the Homestead,” said Todd Prince, Frontier Homestead State Park Manager. “It’s an enchanting experience with everything that makes Christmas special: music, friends and family, entertainment, and holiday goodies.”

All the museum’s regular features and exhibits will be open each night. In addition, different entertainment will be featured each evening, including music and dance at 6 and 7 each evening and Christmas story readings at 6:30 and 7:30. 

Walking through the various museum structures, visitors will get a feeling of yesteryear. Each will be decorated with a themed tree and other decorations. Some of the trees will be favorites from previous years, but a few new ones will also make their premieres. Ben Hohman, properties director for the Festival, has designed the lighting in the park.

Of course, Santa will be in the Hunter House each evening from 5:30 to 8. Each night will also include different treats: popcorn, baked goods, and hot chocolate. As you walk among the various buildings, 15 unique themed trees might give you some inspiration for your home. Each evening will also include different hands-on activities: beaded ornaments, Christmas cord, dipping candles, etc.

“This is a great opportunity for individuals and families to benefit from an affordable and entertaining holiday experience,” said Joshua Stavros, Festival media and public relations manager.“Christmas at the Homestead gives us a chance to celebrate our rich heritage and give something back to the community.”

For the latest information and details, visit: www.christmasatthehomestead.com. christmas-at-the-homestead-2016-poster

Happy Thanksgiving

Contrived by the Cedar City Chamber of Commerce and designed by Randall Jones in 1919, the El Escalante hotel was located on the SW corner of 200 North and Main Street, conveniently across from the railroad depot. Construction began under the direction of city leaders with locally made brick. The hotel was purchased by Union Pacific to accommodate tourists to the nearby Utah parks and in 1923, the hotel began hosting thousands of visitors a year, including movie stars and President Warren G. Harding. The El Escalante anchored the north end of Main Street for nearly 50 years.

We thought you would enjoy this 1947 Thanksgiving Day menu form the restaurant at the hotel. All of us at Frontier Homestead State Park want to wish you a very happy Thanksgiving.

el-escalante-hotel-thanksgiving-menu-1el-escalante-hotel-thanksgiving-menu-2

Cedar City’s First Halloween Party

William R. Palmer

William R. Palmer

During the 1950’s Cedar City historian and businessman William R. Palmer had a weekly radio program on local radio station KSUB. During his show, Forgotten Chapters of History, Palmer told tales of local history and sometimes covered other topics. Thanks to Special Collections at the Sherratt Library on the campus of Southern Utah University, many of these programs are available to listen to. On October 26, 1952, Palmer presented the story of Cedar City’s first Halloween Party.  Click the links and enjoy your holiday as you listen to Forgotten Chapters of History.

Cedar City Halloween Party

Text of Radio Broadcast

 

Sandstone, Silver, and Time: An Exhibit by Michael Plyler

Michael Plyler

Michael Plyler

Frontier Homestead State Park and photographer Michael Plyler present “Sandstone, Silver, and Time,” an exhibition of black and white photographs celebrating the beauty of Zion National Park during this centennial anniversary year of the creation of the National Park Service. This exhibit is made possible by the support of the Cedar City-Brian Head Tourism Bureau.

Springdale resident Michael Plyler works with a 4 x 5 large format film camera to interpret the beauty of his backyard, Zion National Park. His prints are traditional “wet” darkroom prints individually hand-crafted by the photographer. The title of this show is a meditation on the constituent elements that contribute to the imagery. Just as erosion over time shapes the sandstone, time and silver conspire to sculpt the film’s emulsion and bring Zion’s beauty to the fore.

Ponderosas' Guardian

Ponderosas’ Guardian

Michael Plyler is the Director of Zion Canyon Field Institute in Zion National Park. He has been making photographs and exhibiting his work since 1982. In 1983 he received a commission from the Guatemalan Tourist Institute for his portrait work of the highland Maya, resulting in his first international exhibition. In 1993 he was awarded a prestigious Visual Artist Fellowship from the Utah Arts Council. In 2013 he had the distinct honor of having 56 pieces from his Mayan portfolio added to the permanent collection at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian in Washington, D.C. His work has been exhibited widely here and abroad, and is held in numerous public and private collections.

In 2010 Utah State University Press released Plyler’s and writer Logan Hebner’s book “Southern Paiute: A Portrait.” The book was the culmination of a ten year project wherein Hebner interviewed, and Plyler photographed, Southern Paiute elders from Arizona, California, Nevada, and Utah. The show will run from September 1 through October 31 at Frontier Homestead.

Last Light II

Last Light II

 

 

Cedar Breaks Part IV

Throughout the years the Utah Parks Company operated the tourist concessions at Cedar Breaks, hundreds of young people called the Breaks their summer home. Following are some of their fondest memories:

Snow removal at Cedar Breaks

“We lived in the cabins when we were working at Cedar Breaks. They had metal roofs and I remember when it was raining there was nothing like it. The rain in those metal roofs just sounded absolutely like it was coming in the house. It was just beautiful. – Brenda Barrett Orton

cabins

Cedar Breaks cabins

 

“Working at Cedar Breaks, of course, we lived there. We lived in small cabins that were to the left of the lodge. There were four girls that lived in each cabin, and we shared one bathroom. I remember when my father helped me take my stuff in the first day I arrived. I can remember thinking how tiny these little cabins were. I am sure that they weren’t much larger than a 12 x 12 foot space, with a twin bed on each side and one chest of drawers and that was the sum total of our living space.”  – Murna Archibald

“Our experience began in a unique way. We had to dig ourselves into our cabins and the lodge. There had not been a winter like that in many years. In fact, when we left in September there was still snow on the north side of the lodge. When the tour busses came to the front of the lodge people could not see anything but snow. It looked like a maze leading to the lodge. Many of the tourists had never even seen snow.” – Garth Jones

Living at the Breaks

Living at the Breaks

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Cedar Breaks friendly faces

“There used to be a water tank that set to the left and up the hill from the Cedar Breaks lodge. It was a wonderful place to go when we were off work. We would all put on our swimsuits and in 70 degree weather we would climb to the top of the water tank and sunbathe. It gave us a glorious view, a glorious view of the meadows and you literally felt like you were on top of the world at 10,000 feet.” – Murna Archibald

Driver Ike Beem

Driver Ike Beem

“Driving the tourist bus down the canyon from Cedar Breaks you are really in that compound gear, your low gear. We were supposed to stop at the Rock Church in Cedar City.  I was still about four or five miles up the canyon and I was hitting my brake and no air. So, I started shifting and taking the emergency brake and pull it a little, ease off, pull it little. I was pulling on the emergency brake and slowing down. At Main Street, I went right by the church and sailed through the intersection and finally got stopped three blocks down. Then a passenger said, ‘Ike, I thought we were supposed to stop at the church.’ I said, ‘Well, there’s only one thing wrong. I haven’t had any brakes since we left Cedar Breaks.’ I made a lot of tips that day.” – Ike Beem

Rock Art: A Primer

Indigenous people in this region created rock art for many reasons – to tell a story, to convey religious or spiritual beliefs, to record a significant event, and to express themselves artistically. Rock art is not a true writing system, but uses symbols and figures to convey a message.

Parowan Gap Petroglyphs Photo: Alex Santiago Courtesy of Cedar City Brian Head Tourism Bureau

Parowan Gap Petroglyphs
Photo: Alex Santiago
Courtesy of Cedar City – Brian Head Tourism Bureau

Rock art is evident in caves, on cliff walls and on boulders. Rock art occurs all over the world, some as old as 30,000 years. Rock art in this region dates back as long ago as 1000 B.C (Great Basin Curvilinear style) and as recently as A.D. 1800’s (Southern Paiute).

 

 

VOCABULARY

  • Rock Art: A general term for the pecking, incising, or painting of designs onto rock surfaces.
  • Petroglyph: A design chiseled or chipped out a rock surface.
  • Pictograph: A design painted on a rock surface.

Here are some sites in our area to see some of the world’s most amazing rock art:

Parowan Gap

Fremont Indian State Park

Lion’s Mouth Cave

Anasazi Ridge

Remember whether visiting these sites or discovering any of Utah’s incredible rock art sites, please be respectful. Many sites are legally protected and criminal prosecution could result from any form of defacement.