Sep 11, 2013
Beautiful St George
St George is the place that Innovation Simple calls home. It is a place rich in beauty, history and culture. It would do us all well to get to know St. George a little better.
The first known inhabitants of the area now known as St George, were the Virgin River Anasazi and the Pauite peoples from about 200 B.C. to 1200 A.D. They left behind ruins of their ancient dwellings, pottery and rock art that gives us a small glimpse into their otherwise mysterious culture. The first recorded European-Americans to visit the area, the Dominguez-Escalante Party, arrived in 1776 followed by fur trappers and government survey parties.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS) established an Indian mission and set up experimental farms in the area from 1854 to 1858. Then, in 1861, its church leaders had 309 families move to the area and establish the Cotton Mission. The main purpose of this establishment was to use the area to grow cotton to provide for the people of Utah. Many of the families selected to develop the area were farmers from the South who had the knowledge needed to cultivate cotton and establish a community. Owing their skill to their former home, these farmers called the area, “Utah’s Dixie.”
When the area became an official township, it was named after George A. Smith, an Apostle of the LDS Church. While he did not participate in the settlement of the town directly, he did personally select many of the families who were sent to pioneer the area. Many challenges, such as flooding, lack of clean water, and scorching summer heat, made settling the area very difficult.
In 1863 St George became the county seat of Washington County. That same year construction began on the St George LDS Tabernacle and in 1871 work began on the St George LDS Temple. On April 6, 1877 the LDS Apostle, Daniel H. Wells dedicated the completed temple, making it the first completed temple west of the Mississippi River. It is now the longest continually running LDS Temple in the world.
Today, St George is the eighth largest city in Utah. Its metropolitan area has a population of nearly 150,000 people and it has been ranked as one of the fastest growing areas in the United States many times in the past two decades, even beating out Las Vegas in per capita growth. Residents of St George are attracted today by its proximity to places like Zion National Park, Lake Powell and Grand Canyon National Park.