The Blog is Moving

Exciting news! Frontier Homestead State Park’s new website is up and running. We are now able to host the blog on our own site. The Homestead Telegraph will still post on Thursdays at 11am and can be accessed at:

In the coming weeks, we will be moving all our archived content over to the new site as well.  We hope you enjoy our new site and please continue to enjoy The Homestead Telegraph.



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.

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  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

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: 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.


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