Pipe Spring National Monument


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UPTLA (SUP) Marker #5 at Pipe Spring National Monument.

PIPE SPRINGS NATIONAL MONUMENT, Established May 31, 1923, through efforts of Stephen T. Mather and friends. PIPE SPRINGS, occupied in 1863, by Dr. James M Whitmore, who, with Robert McIntire was killed 4 miles S.E. of Pipe Springs January 8, 1866, by Navajo and Piute Indians.
WINDSOR CASTLE Erected by direction of Brigham Young in 1869 – 70 by Anson Windsor for handling the Church tithing herds and as a frontier refuge from Indians. It became the first telegraph office in Arizona when the Deseret Telegraph Line reached here in December 1871.

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Pioneering the Strip



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Between the Grand Canyon and Utah lies the Arizona Strip, a sparsely populated area with few roads and fewer towns.  The Strip was originally in Utah territory, but the northern boundary of the Arizona Territory became a hotly debated issue in 1848.

From 1878 to 1928, Mormon couples traveled for weeks through the Strip along the “Honeymoon Trail,” a route blazed by Jacob Hamblin, from central Arizona through Lees Ferry and Pipe Springs to St. George, Utah, to have their marriages performed in the temple.

The final decision created a part of Arizona geographically separated from the rest of the state, posing some unusual challenges for residents.  For example, a visit to the Mohave County seat in Kingman means a journey through southern Utah, a tip of Nevada and back into Arizona.

In 1946, the grazing Service merged with the General Land Office to form the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), within the Department of Interior.  The Arizona Strip BLM manages 2.8 million acres of public lands for a variety of uses.

When folks at Wold Hole wanted their own post office, they generated a flurry of mail to themselves to convince the postal service of their need.

The Historic Dixie-Long Valley, Utah Pioneer Trail


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SUP Marker #118 in Hurricane.  (Also located here is #101B)

Segments of the old Indian trails between St. George and Long Valley were used by Mormon pioneers to settle Long Valley in 1864 and for its resettlement in 1871 following Indian conflicts. This trail scaled the Hurricane Fault on the Johnson Twist. One segment went south from Virgin City and then east and the other went east to Rockville-Crafton and then south to Big Plains where they merged. The desert trail, about 85 miles long, traversed deep sand, sandstone ledges and lava faults and was the primary transportation route, including mail and heavy freight, for half a century. It took four days for loaded wagons drawn by horse or ox teams to travel the distance.

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The Historic Hurricane Canal


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SUP Marker # 101B in Hurricane. (Also located here is #118)

When first conceived, the Hurricane Canal seemed like an impossible dream. Beginning at a point seven miles up the Virgin River, water had to travel through flumes, tunnels, and over deep ravines. The canal had to hang on steep, unstable cliffs and be tunneled through sections of mountain. To make matters more difficult, money was virtually non-existent for the local residents. Engineers said the canal could not be built.

Upriver, the little towns suffered from the flash floods of the wild Virgin River that devoured half their farmland. The men were desperate. More cultivated land was needed to support their growing families. In the fall of 1893, James Jepson of Virgin and John Steele of Toquierville envisioned and promoted the plan for the water to be brought to the “Hurricane Bench.” With a simple carpenter’s spirit level, they figured a feasible route, and men were recruited from neighboring towns. Isaac McFarlane, county surveyor, surveyed and estimated the construction cost at $53,000. The only tools available were picks, shovels, crowbars, and a homemade wheelbarrow. Over 100 hopeful me worked on the canal project the first few winters.

By 1902, long after the expected completion date, only eight to ten men were left working. Many of the men had sold their stock and quit. Expensive portions remained undone, and the few remaining men were broke and discouraged. Life was injected back into the project when Jepson went to Salt Lake City and convinced the LDS Church to buy $5,000 worth of canal stock. The influx of money restored morale; and now, giant powder to blast through tunnels and lumber to build the flumes could be purchased.

Two years later, August 6, 1904, the impossible dream came true as water flowed onto the Hurricane Bench from the canal, giving life to 2,000 acres of fertile land. The valley could now be settled. After twelve years of sacrifice, incredibly hard work, and true grit, a community was born, complete with real heroes.

The vision of two men, James Jepson and John Steele, along with the faith, dedication, and tenacity of many others, changed forever the lives and dreams of thousands of people in Utah’s Dixie. They did all this for their families. And they did it for us. We give thanks to these men of valor.

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Duncan’s Retreat


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Duncan’s Retreat was inhabited about 1861–1895.

From Wikipedia, Chapman Duncan came here in 1861, settling with a few others on Mukuntuweap Creek, a small tributary of the Virgin River. The colony was part of a southern Utah cotton-growing project ordered by Brigham Young.That winter the Virgin River, unpredictable at even the best of times, experienced the Great Flood of 1862, which destroyed most of the settlement along with such other nearby towns as Grafton. Chapman Duncan and most of the other original settlers fled in early 1862 in search of a more stable home, and the families who stayed behind named their village Duncan’s Retreat.

A local legend claims that Duncan’s real reason for retreating was a botched surveying job. Duncan, so the story goes, was assigned to survey a canal to bring water from the Virgin River, but when it was dug, the canal was found to be useless as its route ran uphill.Another version of the story says it happened in Virgin, and that Duncan retreated to Duncan’s Retreat.

More settlers took the place of the departing pioneers, and by the end of 1862 Duncan’s Retreat had a population of about 70. They planted crops and orchards, producing large harvests in the years the river did not flood. Cotton, corn, wheat, and sorghum grew particularly well. A post office was established here in 1863, and a schoolhouse in 1864. In 1866, when the Black Hawk War caused widespread fear of Indian attacks, the town was evacuated to Virgin, although farmers returned to Duncan’s Retreat each day to work their fields. Residents moved back permanently in 1868.

Farming in Duncan’s Retreat was a difficult life. The fertile land yielded bumper crops in good years, but could be washed away by torrential floods at any time. Of the 11 families living here in 1870, 9 remained in 1880. The next decade was much harsher; by 1891 Duncan’s Retreat was all but deserted. The last known birth in town was in 1895.

All that remains of Duncan’s Retreat is some dead fruit trees, an irrigation ditch, and a few graves on the north side of Utah State Route 9 between Virgin and Grafton.

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Discovery of Zion Canyon


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DUP Marker # 42 in Springdale.

In 1858, Nephi Johnson, one of Brigham Young’s scouts, with a party of Indian guides arrived at the mouth of the canyon. Due to superstition, the Indians refused to enter the canyon. Nephi Johnson, alone, followed up river to the Narrows, a place “where the sun is seldom seen,” returning to the mouth at nightfall. Isaac Buhannin, an early settler, seeing the spires remarked, “surely this is God’s first temple and should be called Zion.” William Heaps helped to build homes for the early settlers in the canyon.

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Springdale, Utah

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Springdale is a town in Washington County. The population was 529 at the 2010 census. It is located immediately outside the boundaries of Zion National Park, and is oriented around the resulting tourist industry. It was originally settled as a Mormon farming community in 1862 by evacuees from the flooding of nearby Northrop. Springdale was named one of the 20 ‘prettiest towns’ in the United States by Forbes Traveler in 2008.

Rockville Bridge


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2017-03-04 14.53.54The Rockville Bridge spans the east fork of the Virgin River in Rockville. The bridge was built for the National Park Service in 1924 to provide a link between Zion National Park and the North Rim area of Grand Canyon National Park. The new bridge allowed motorists to take a circular tour of the national parks in southern Utah and northern Arizona. The Rockville route was superseded in 1928 by the construction of the Zion-Mount Carmel Highway.

The bridge was designed by the U.S. Bureau of Public Roads for the Park Service, fabricated by the Minneapolis Steel and Machinery Company, and erected by Ogden contractor C.F. Dinsmore. The bridge spans 217 feet in a single span, using a steel twelve-panel Parker through-truss.

The Rockville Bridge was placed on the National Register of Historic Places on August 4, 1995.

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Grafton Cemetery


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In 1862 John W., William, Robert and Joseph Berry with their families, were called to help colonize the St. George area. In the spring of 1866, Joseph and Robert Berry with Isabelle Hales Berry, the latter’s wife, were returning from a trip to Salt Lake City. They stopped at Kanarraville and while there the two-year-old baby girl of Robert and Isabelle died. The Berrys resumed their journey, traveling in a light wagon, camping for noon, April 2, 1866, at Short Creek, where they were attacked by Piutes, who it is claimed had been following them from Corn Creek in Millard County.

Their dead bodies were found several days later by John and William Berry. The details of the tragedy will never be known. It appears that they attempted to escape by running their horses across the country and finding they could not do so, fought desperately for their lives, but in vain. One dead Indian was found nearby. Joseph was found lying face down in the wagon box; his leg had been bandaged, no doubt, while they were fleeing as fast as they cold from the Indians. Isabelle had been shot through the head with a six-shooter and was lying on the ground, while Robert’s body was astride the wagon tongue with the head leaning into the wagon. The Indians said afterward that Robert was a “heap brave fighter.”

Robert and Joseph were large men, tall of stature. The burial of these pioneers took place at Grafton, Utah. In Church Chronology it is recorded that this massacre occurred four miles from Maxfield’s Ranch on Short Creek, Kane County, Utah. There is a small knoll between Short Creek and Kane Beds which marks the place and is called Berry Knoll. When President Young heard of this outrage on the part of the Indians, he sent word to Cedar City for the men of that place to form a company of militia and go to Berryville and escort the people back to Dixie. The late John Parry of Cedar City was a member of that escort, and furnished the writer much of the information for this sketch.(*)

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