This area, a part of the Great Basin, has evolved from the time of Lake Bonneville. It has known Anasazi Indian civilizations as evidenced by nearby ruins. It has seen the Dominguez-Escalante expedition of 1776 which passed west of this valley. It has hosted explorers and traders on the Old Spanish Trail which came through Bear Valley and entered the Parowan Valley at Little Creek. It knew the Jedediah S. Smith expedition in 1826. Even Parley P. Pratt and his company explored here in 1849 to search for sites for Mormon colonization.
Apostle George A. Smith led an expedition and colonized what is now Parowan in the year 1851. That spring, 40 acres were cultivated near Black Rock, south of town. In 1852 others joined the farming venture, building rude huts for shelter at “Red Creek,” as it was originally named. In 1853 the settlement was abandoned due to Indian skirmishes, and was not resettled until 1855 when a fort was erected.
The town’s name was originally spelled “Paragoonah,” an Indian word meaning “many watering holes.” Artesian wells dotted the landscape, which today have been replaced by gravity-flow sprinkling systems that provide water to the abundant stands of alfalfa.
This Centennial year of 1996 finds a peaceful community with a spirit of unity, freedom from density of population, clear spring water, and clean air. Nearby canyons provide ample opportunities for fishing, hunting, and other recreation. Old homes and barns, the Black Rock Cave, and Anasazi remnants make it historically unique. Today, the proud community honors its past and future in the Town/Church square at this spot.
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