When the first settlers arrived in St. George late in 1861, school was held in a wagon box, a tent, a willow shack, or whatever shelter could be improvised. By 1864, the first of four ward school houses was completed. It was not until nearly the end of the 1800s that work on a large, substantial school began. Woodward School, located one block south and one block west of here, was completed in 1901.
The school was built on a black volcanic rock foundation, and its walls are of red sandstone from the same quarry that furnished the stone for the Tabernacle. The building, housing 12 classrooms and a basement, cost $35,000 to build. It was paid for principally out of tax revenues, yet, as was the case with so many on the early Dixie building projects, it also benefited from substantial contributions of local citizens. The name Woodward School was given to the building in honor of George Woodward, one of the trustees who had devoted his time and means to make the dream of better education facilities a reality in St. George. It is said that he gave $3,600 of his own money toward its construction – a truly large sum of money for that day.
Since the school opened its doors to students in September of 1901, it has served generation after generation of young learners. Today it remains an imposing, handsome, and usable structure – another example of the early settlers’ ability to build for the future.
This is S.U.P. Marker #72.10, for other markers in the series visit this page. Other markers in the series located here in the St George Memorial Plaza are:
- 72 – St. George Memorial Plaza
- 72.01 – And the Desert Shall Blossom
- 72.02 – Gardners’ Club Hall
- 72.03 – St. George Social Hall “Opera House”
- 72.04 – Brigham Young Home
- 72.05 – Pioneer Courthouse
- 72.06 – Erastus Snow’s Big House
- 72.07 – Dixie Academy
- 72.08 – St. George Temple
- 72.09 – St. George Tabernacle
- 72.10 – Woodward School