On this site, in 1862 the first Cotton Factory was erected in the west. Designed and operated by William Marsden and owned by Ebenizer Hanks. Here the first ball of Cotton Yarn was made west of the Mississippi River.
“A school where only out individual best is good enough. Where unity through diversity becomes strength.”
Upon this site in the 1890’s, a large three-story brick school house was built to house grades 1-8. The building was torn down in 1918 when a larger building was built to house both elementary and high school classes.
The bricks used in this marquee came from the three-story brick school house and were unearthed on this site as Parowan High School students prepared the area for the construction.
Parowan High School thanks the following organizations for their contributions and support in constructing the marquee: Iron County School District, Parowan City Corporation, Little Salt Lake Service Club, Parowan Heritage Foundation, Parowan Main Street Program, Little Salt Lake Medical Incorporated, and Parowan High School PTSA.
Alma W. Richards Utah’s First Olympic Gold Medalist
February 20, 1890 – born in Parowan, Utah.
1904 – seeing to be “free,” Richards dropped out of school at age 14.
1908 – returned to school through the influence of a teacher who admonished, “The only way to be truly free is to get an education.”
May, 1909 – singlehandedly took first in the state track meet, which included all of the high schools in Utah.
July, 1912 – won an Olympic Gold Medal in the high jump at Stockholm, Sweden. Just prior to his victorious jump, in full view of King Gustav and 22,000 noisy spectators, the humble farm boy dropped to his knees and silently prayed, “God, give me strength. And if it’s right that I should win, give me strength to do my best and set a good example all the days of my life.”
August 1915 – smashed Jim Thorpe’s Olympic world decathlon record by 1000 points.
1916-1919 – served in the US Army during WWI and was declared the greatest athlete in the US Expeditionary Forces by General John Pershing.
1913-1932 – won 55 Regional and National Track & Field Championships.
1924 – after achieving academic excellence and earning a law degree at USC, he chose to become a teacher so he could make a difference in young people’s lives. Richards taught briefly at Parowan High School and then in Southern California for 30 years.
1947 – named Utah Athlete of the Century.
April 3, 1963 – died in Orange, California. Richard’s last request was to be buried in his beloved Parowan.
Sincere thanks for the many private and public donations received for this monument.
Joe Zaleski – Eagle Scout Project 2001
Joe Zaleski raised the funds and organized the effort to have this monument built in time for the torch run through Parowan when the Olympic torch was on its way to Salt Lake City for the 2002 Winter Olympics.
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A monument to Alma Richards, Utah’s first Olympic gold medalist.
This is a monument to Alma Richards, the first Utahn to ever win a Gold Medal in the modern Olympic games. Joe Zaleski raised the funds and organized the effort to have this monument built in time for the torch run through Parowan when the Olympic torch was on its way to Salt Lake City for the 2002 Winter Olympics.
This building, erected in 1866, served the community of Parowan for 52 years as a religious and cultural center. Later it was given by the L.D.S. Church to the Daughters of Utah Pioneers, who in 1939-40 restored the old edifice and in 1949-50 improved the basement. This Pioneer Church is now the meeting place and Pioneer Relic Hall of the Daughters.
The Parowan Dramatic Association was organized in 1851 with Edward Dalton, who was chosen president, Jessie V. Smith, Joseph, Jane and Annie Fish, David and William Cluff, William C. McGregor and Ed Ward, members. Plays were produced in log Council House and Rock Church until 1870, when Comedy Hall was erected. In 1897 the Parowan Dramatic Association built a brick Opera House on the site of Comedy Hall. Plays were given in the old building while the new walls were built around it. Some of the outstanding plays of the day were presented.
This church built of sandstone brought from Parowan Canyon, started in 1863 and completed about 1876, was the religious center of Parowan Valley. The large amusement hall in the basement was used for school and dances. A stage was erected in the south end where Pioneer Dramatic Association presented plays. In 1918 church activities ceased. By 1826 it had deteriorated. The Daughters of Utah Pioneers asked permission to recondition the building for a Memorial Hall which was granted.
“I commenced a grammar school in my wickiup by the light of the fire and only one grammar book.” Diary of George A. Smith, February 25, 1851.
The first school house, 18 x 24 ft., was built west of the Council House and dedicated December 25, 1851. This log Council House, 22 x 45 feet was erected in 1851 with a large stage, and it served as a social center for Iron County until the Rock Church was completed in 1867.
At Parowan, a pioneer industrial center was settled in 1851. Water for manufacturing and industry was carried by wooden flume from the canyon to the fort. Along this water line industries were established known as the Public Works. Among these were cabinet shop, tannery, gun and machine shop, blacksmith shop, wooden tub and bucket factory, pottery factory, saddle and harness shop and shoe shop. Located inside the fort was a grist burr mill. Monument erected on grist mill site.
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.