If you’ve recently purchased a home in Southern Utah, know that you are about to move to a location with a history as rich and diverse as its landscape. Here are some of the highlights of the beautiful desert’s past and present.
When anyone outside of Utah hears the name “Dixieland,” their thoughts immediately go to the Civil War, the Confederacy, and the song “Dixie’s Land” by Daniel Emmett (1815-1904). So what does St. George, Utah have to do with that part of United States history?
During the outbreak of the Civil War, the LDS Church president Brigham Young asked church members settled in St. George to start growing cotton. Many of the settlers were from the South, and referred to the region as “Utah’s Dixie” to pay homage to their former home. The name stuck although the cotton ultimately proved an unsuccessful venture.
2. Lights, Camera, Action!
Kanab, Utah is considered the “little Hollywood” of the United States. Over 70 movies or TV series have been filmed there, and more have been filmed in other Southern Utah locations. Some of the most famous flicks include Maverick (1994), Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1988), Planet of the Apes (both the 1968 and 2001 versions), Mission Impossible II (2000), and Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969).
3. All the Pretty Little Horses
A popular scenic attraction in Southern Utah is Dead Horse Point. The beautiful location got its name from a contrastingly tragic legend. The mesa, with its tall, vertical walls on three of its four sides, served as a natural corral. Only a narrow, 30-yard-wide stretch of land connects it to the larger mesa, called “Island in the Sky.”
According to the legend, ranchers built a fence blocking the open side of the mesa, and would herd wild horses onto Dead Horse Point. Then they would select the horses they wanted to keep, and allow the others to escape. One day, however, the gate was either left closed, or the horses couldn’t find their way out, and all of remaining horses died of thirst.
4. Posey War
What may be considered the last Native American War in American History took place during March 1923 in the Southern Utah area called Bluff. The occurrence had more to do with laws of the land rather than with the United States Army.
The incident involved a mass exodus of Ute and Paiute Native Americans from Bluff to the deserts of Navajo Mountain, led by a chief named Posey. The chief was wounded badly, and his band was eventually captured and taken to a POW camp in Blanding, Utah. Once the chief died, the prisoners were released and given land allotments. Chief Posey and one of his band members were the only reported fatalities.
5. Shorelines and Monsters
Southern Utah is the location of one of Utah’s most popular summer vacation spots—Lake Powell. The 186-mile long lake boasts a shoreline that is longer than the entire western coast of the continental US. Historically, the lake has been the location of many mythical creature sightings, including Eric Padgett’s encounter in 1958.
6. Red Rock Art
St. George, Moab, and other Southern Utah areas are known for their unique, red-rock, outdoorsy art styles. One artist in particular reached international acclaim as a fine artist for his red rock, Southern-Utah-inspired masterpieces. Maynard Dixon was not a native Utah resident, but his time spent in the state inspired him to paint the works that he is still known for today.
These six facts only scratch the surface of all the fascinating history of Southern Utah. Learn more about your new home by visiting museums, landmarks, and any of the plentiful state parks in the region. You’ll be surprised at just how interesting an old desert can be.