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Frontier Homestead State Park Museum (formerly called Iron Mission State Park)

Located at 635 North Main Street in Cedar City, Utah

The Caboose

The caboose provided the train crew with shelter and working space while they threw switches and inspected for problems such as shifting loads, overheated axle bearings, and dragging equipment. The conductor used the caboose for filling out various forms and reports. On longer trips, the caboose provided living quarters.

Caboose 4618 was manufactured by Pacific Car and Foundry in 1978 and delivered to Southern Pacific. In its heyday, Southern Pacific operated nearly 14,000 miles of track covering various routes stretching from Tennessee to California.

The body of Caboose 4618 was painted in mineral red with the bay window ends and the end walls in daylight orange, both traditional Southern Pacific colors. Cabooses in the SP system were designated C-XX-X. The “C” stood for caboose, the “XX” denoted the axle load in tons, and the final “X” represented the class, type, or design. Caboose 4618 is a C-50-7. Power for the caboose was provided by a small electrical generator mounted on the lead truck.

This caboose was purchased from a California rail yard in 2005 by George Lutterman. In April 2013 it was donated to Frontier Homestead State Park and moved in partnership with Iron County, Union Pacific, Construction Steel, Inc., and Gilbert Development, Inc.

The Ore Shovel

In the 1930s, iron mining expanded in Iron County and massive shovels were needed to excavate the needed ore. According to company delivery records, two Bucyrus-Erie 120-B shovels were delivered to the Utah Construction Company in Cedar City in September of 1936 for use in the iron mines. At the time, the hourly wage for a shovel operator was $0.48 per hour.

The electric 120-B shovel had a six cubic yard dipper capacity, big enough to scoop up six tons of dirt and rock, enough to fill a hole the size of a large pick-up truck with extended cab and bed. AC power was supplied to the shovel via a trailing 23,000 volt electric cable which drove a 275-horsepower motor-generator set. When moving the shovel from pit to pit, bulldozers were employed to prevent the huge tracks from slipping down the hill.

About 330 of the 120-Bs were sold around the world over a period lasting almost three decades. SHE (shovel excavator) 22 was used continuously until the 1970’s. SHE-22 had previously been located west of town where it sat for many years. In 2012, in partnership with Utah State Parks, Cedar City, Iron County, Gilbert Development, Inc., and Construction Steel, Inc., the shovel was relocated to Frontier Homestead State Park.

Dan Webster

Dan Webster was born on February 9, 1949 in Cedar City, Utah. He graduated from Cedar High School in 1967 and after a tour in Vietnam where he received a Purple Heart, he returned to Cedar City and married Brenda Baldwin in 1971. Dan worked for the Utah Department of Transportation for 31 years. Dan and Brenda also successfully owned and managed the local Dairy Queen for 19 years. In 2010 Dan was elected to the Iron County Commission where he served the people of Iron County until his death on September 27, 2012.

Commissioner Webster loved this area and felt strongly that the County’s history should be preserved. He spearheaded the moving of the ore shovel by organizing men, machines, and money in preparation for its relocation. Unfortunately, Commissioner Webster passed away a month before the shovel arrived at the museum.

The Hay Derrick

Hay for livestock in a horse-driven society was as important as gasoline or electricity is today. The oldest technology for stacking hay in Iron County was the hay derrick that allowed farmers to build haystacks in their fields.

Hay derricks, usually homemade devices, consisted of a central pole rigged so that it could rotate on its base. By means of pulleys, rope, and a one-horse hookup, the loading fork could be raised and rotated over the haystack. When tripped, the hay would drop onto the stack. Men on top of the stack would arrange the hay so that it would shed water, thus the hay would cure rather than rot. Occasionally rattlesnakes might be hiding in the hay and provide a surprise for those on top of the hay pile. Stacks were built one section at a time. When one section was finished, the derrick was hitched to a horse and dragged to the next section.

This derrick was donated to Frontier Homestead State Park by local rancher Bud Bauer and relocated from his farm to the museum as an Eagle Scout project in May 2013.

Legacies of Iron County

Iron County exists because those who lived here developed the resources necessary for survival in this desert climate. The three legacies passed down by early settlers and their descendants agriculture, mining, and railroads represented here.

are Agriculture, symbolized by the hay derrick, became the foundation of the local community. When early mining operations ceased, Iron County residents turned to sheep and cattle to provide needed trade goods. Today, the region still has a vibrant and expanding agricultural lifestyle.

Mining, represented by the ore shovel, is the industry that began it all, proving to be the initial motive for settlement. In 1923, the mines began producing ore by the tons and elevated Iron Count, to one of the richest counties in the Utah for nearly 50 years. Recently, the mines have reopened and the tradition continues. Railroads, signified by the caboose, proved pivotal for this community. Freight trains were able to haul more raw materials than ever before, increasing profits for the mining companies. Rail traffic also brought thousands of tourists to the area each year to explore our scenic wonders. Hollywood came to Utah, travelling by train, into Cedar City. The railroad literally brought the world into our backyard.
Frontier Homestead State Park invites you to explore, discover, and remember the legacies that transformed our community. They are a testament to our past and guideposts to our future.

Pioneer Cabin

This is the oldest log cabin in Southern Utah. It was built in 1851 in Parowan by George Wood, one of the founders of Iron County, who later moved it to the Old Fort in Cedar City and then to his lot on North Main Street. Through the years it was the home of many pioneers and the birthplace of 24 children. It was presented to the Daughters of Utah Pioneers by the children of George and Mary Davies Wood, then moved to the Cedar City Park May 11, 1927, where the cabin was placed on a cement base and preserved by a canopy supported with four cobblestone pillars. April 29, 1983, it was moved to the Iron Mission State Park for protection and restoration.


This building occupied an area adjacent to the Lund Railroad Depot (formerly located west of Cedar City and north of U.S. Highway 56). The jail held unruly passengers and other lawbreakers until the local sheriff arrived to deal with them. Surprisingly, the last known occupant of the holding house was a large bear.

Line Shack

To provide communication services for visitors, a telephone line ran between Bryce Canyon and Cedar City. This line shack, one of only two built by the Utah Parks Company, sheltered those who maintained the Cedar Mountain telephone line. The cabin, sparsely furnished with a stove, bed, garbage can, and a few canned food supplies, was constructed in 1945. The building was purchased by Blaine Betenson in 1974 and donated to Iron Mission State Park.

Noble Blast Furnace

Built in 1854, the second pioneer blast furnace produced the best quality iron seen during the entire length of the Iron Mission. Even before beginning construction the residents named this structure the Noble Furnace because of their expectations that it would be a “noble building.” The Noble Furnace proved much larger than its predecessor and also used a mechanical loading assembly. Designed from the Desert Iron Company blueprints, this reproduction matches the exact dimensions of the original Noble Furnace.

This reproduction was made possible by the generous support of:
Iron County Commission, Iron County Restaurant Tax Board, Cedar City Corporation, Rocky Mountain Power, Frontier Homestead State Park, DNR

The Hunter House

Joseph Sneddon Hunter was born November 20, 1844 in Scotland to Joseph Hunter and Elizabeth Davidson. The family had joined the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in 1840 and in 1849 all seven immigrated to the United States. After pausing in Missouri where Elizabeth and two children died, Joseph Hunter and his sons set out for Utah, arriving in Salt Lake in the early fall of 1852. The Hunters were then called to help colonize Cedar City and arrived there in October.

Joseph Sneddon Hunter subsequently made his living in farming and livestock. In 1865 he married Elizabeth Catherine Pinnock, by whom he had ten children. Their house was built in three stages, between 1866 and 1891 with an addition in 1924. Hunter was active in church and civic affairs. He filled missions in the Southern States and in Washington County, held Church offices and gave the Church generous financial support. He believed strongly in the value of education which he supported financially and as a trustee. Joseph died in this house July 26, 1904.

The first section of the Hunter house, built in 1866, is a 1 – 1 1⁄2 story brick example of the Central Hall vernacular type. Vernacular architecture is based on localized needs, uses local construction materials, and often reflects local traditions. The east façade displays the distinctive wall dormers which characterize much of Utah’s mid-19th century architecture. The 1866 section has gable-end chimneys and exhibits common brick bonding and relieving arched windows. Decorative features include a plain entablature, gable-end cornice returns, gable and dormer finials, and elliptical fan lights in the dormers. The mixing of Greek and Gothic Revival stylistic elements is commonly encountered on vernacular houses of this type.

In 1891 the house received several additions in the “Victorian” stylistic tradition. A rear “T” extension was placed on the west side of the house. Unfortunately, this section proved too unstable to move. An elaborate porch was placed on the east façade of the main house at this time. This porch exhibits Eastlake design qualities in its intricately turned posts, scroll brackets, and spindled frieze. The richly articulated cutout designs between the posts are a particularly distinctive Eastlake feature.

In 2005 the Hunter House was relocated from its original address at 1st East and Center Street to Frontier Homestead State Park Museum. The move and subsequent restoration of the historic 1866 portion is a testament to the local community’s desire to preserve and protect their heritage for all to experience and enjoy.

Rass Jones Sheep Shearing Shed

In 1924 Erastus Jones built a large shearing shed and corral west of Cedar City. Using nine shearing stations powered by an engine, each worker could shear approximately 150 sheep in an eight-hour period. The Jones shearing operation continued for 20 years, until portable shearing became cost effective and more convenient. In 2005, this shed was donated to Iron Mission State Park Museum by the Larry Jones and Ann Jones Cherrington families and relocated to the museum grounds for preservation.

Shearing in the early days was a big community event. William R. Palmer notes: “Some women sent lots of pies, cakes, and pastries, but the man who received them almost had to stand guard with a shotgun to get a taste. On one pretext or another he would be enticed away from his camp and return to find all his dainties consumed.”