Kanab gets its name from an anglicized form of the Piute word “willows”, which grew abundantly along the creek banks.
The Kanab Fort was begun in 1864, under the direction of Jacob Hamblin as a protection from the Indians and as a base to explore the region. Severe and frequent Indian attacks made it impractical to maintain the fort and it was abandoned in 1866. It was reoccupied in 1870 by Levi Stewart and others sent to do missionary work and to establish peace with the Indians. In December of that same year there was a fire in the fort that killed Levi’s wife and five sons. There is a historical plaque in Kanab marking the site of the fort honoring Jacob Hamblin and Levi Stewart.
The Fort you can see in the distance, west of this sign, is a movie prop. In the 1930’s the Parry brothers realized the potential of the movie industry in this area. The town was soon nicknamed “Little Hollywood” because so many movies were made in this area. This fort was built for the movie “Buffalo Bill”. The fort was intended to remain as a landmark and a set for other movies, but for the filming of “Fury at Furnace Creek”, it was soaked with gasoline and burned to the ground. It was rebuilt and burned again for “The Apple Dumpling Gang”.
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