(*)This building was built in 1863 by J. E. Johnson, St. George’s first horticulturist, and members of the Gardeners’ Club. It served as a meeting place for the club and was never used as a home. It is one of the oldest public buildings still in use in St. George.
Around 1869, advanced or special courses were given by Richard Horton in the Gardener’s Club Hall.
The Gardeners’ Club is said to be the oldest pioneer building still standing in St. George. It was built in 1867 on land reported to have been donated by Joseph E. Johnson, whose property it adjoined. Members of the club made their own adobes and took their own teams and wagons to the Pine Valley sawmill to secure the lumber for building the small structure for their meeting place.
When the first settlers came to St. George in 1861, they were instructed by Brigham Young to explore the region’s agricultural possibilities so that the colony might become self-sufficient. Noted horticulturist Walter E. Dodge of Santa Clara was joined by Luther Hemenway, J. E. Johnson and others in cooperative efforts to establish and improve Dixie’s crops. Johnson published a newspaper, The Pomologist, to encourage horticulture, and the club staged displays of agricultural products, giving ribbons to the winners, in what must have been the forerunner of the county fair.
It is difficult for us to visualize this small building as the center of the village’s social and civic life until the completion of the Social Hall across the street. However, plays were held here, as were receptions, meetings and fairs. It even welcomed dances, but since space was so limited, a young man purchasing a ticket received a number and was only allowed to take his partner onto the floor when his number was called.
Eventually the building was deeded to James Pace and then to Sheriff Hardy, in whose family it remained until the Pace family secured it again and began the restoration of the corner.
The Gardeners’ Club stands today in the complex known as Ancestor Square and is used for a boutiqe shop. It remains much as it was at the time of its construction. It is a lasting memorial to the workmanship our ancestors believed in doing.