Late in the year 1861 there arrived in this area 308 families assigned by Brigham Young and other leaders of the Mormon Church for the purpose of raising cotton and other tropical plants, previous experimentation at Washington, to the east of the black ridge, and at Bloomington at the bottom of the west black ridge had proved that cotton could mature. This group of hardy pioneers arrived during what was known as the winter of the big rain, towns on the streams were damaged and farmlands on the bank were washed away, there was no immediate damage to this area however.
Irrigation and culinary water was provided from springs located at each end of this red hill.
The people drew for lots and on Jan. 23, 1862 they moved onto them from their tent city east of Dixie College.
This historic marker was erected overlooking the city of St George in 1984.
John George and Susette Bosshard Hafen Home
This 1 1/2 story Victorian, eclectic crosswing home is believed to have been built in 1881. The adobe bricks that form the walls were made on the property from sand and clay from the backyard and the nearby hill to the north. Some of the other materials in the home were previously used and came from the mining town of Silver Reef. Silver Reef is located approximately 30 miles north of Santa Clara on Interstate 15 and had been a silver mining boomtown in the 1860s. By the 1880s, the town was being phased out and both materials and entire buildings were up for sale. The Hafens took advantage of this opportunity by purchasing lumber and possibly other materials to build the home. It has received only one addition, a room on the rear, since it was finished.
The home quickly became an integral part of Santa Clara’s early history. It served as Santa Clara’s first official post office, and it also housed the beginning of Santa Clara’s merchandise cooperative. After Zion’s Cooperative Mercantile Institution (ZCMI) was founded in Salt lake City, other cooperative stores were founded throughout Utah. One of these was started in Santa Clara. John George Hafen became its first manager, and he stored the merchandise stock in one of the rooms in the house.
John George Hafen was born in Switzerland in 1838. His mother died a few years later. In 1861, he and his father and sister Barbara traveled from Switzerland to Salt Lake City. Upon arriving at their destination, John George was married to Susette Bosshard, a young woman he had met before leaving Switzerland. They were all new converts to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and had traveled with other new members who came to Salt Lake City to reside with the main body of the Church. Soon after arriving, however, this group of Swiss settlers was called by Church President Brigham Young to travel on to the southern part of Utah. President Young assigned them the task of establishing a town on the Santa Clara River. Within weeks of their arrival, the town site was surveyed, and on December 22, 1861, it was dedicated.
The new Santa Clara residents intended to establish a grape-growing industry. Residential lots and vineyard plots were assigned through drawings from a hat. John George Hafen, his father Hans George Hafen, and his sister Barbara and her husband drew adjoining lots and vineyard plots. John George Hafen built a small log cabin for himself and Susette on their lot, and Hans George Hafen built a small shanty on his property. Eventually, they built and moved into the large home on Santa Clara Drive that is pictured here.
- Santa Clara, Utah
On the hill above St George, Utah in Pioneer Park is Dixie Rock, a large rock with DIXIE painted on the side. It is popular for people to climb up on it or stand by it for photos.
It is one of my letters and words on rocks, hills and mountains in this area – see this page for others.