In the 1850s, Mormon leader Brigham Young founded St. George Utah as a cotton mission. It thus received the nickname, “Utah’s Dixie.” This was done as an attempt to make the Mormon culture self-sufficient. Unfortunately, the cotton-growing thing was not profitable enough to compete with the markets in the southeastern states, so it was eventually abandoned. However, the 300 Mormon families who came to the area must have enjoyed the warm climate because they decided to stay. In 1861, Brigham Young decided to name the city “Saint George,” in honor of George A. Smith, who had served as head of this so-called Southern Mission in the 1850s. It is interesting to note that the word “Saint” simply implies that he was a Mormon.
St. George UT
In the 1870s, construction of the St. George Utah Temple began. While many people believe that the temple in Salt Lake City was the first Mormon temple, it was not actually built until 1893. President Brigham Young chose a six-acre plot for the Temple site. Unfortunately, the Saints discovered that this particular area was actually a swamp. They consulted Young about moving the site, but he remained committed to his vision that this was the place where the Temple needed to be built. Thus, the Saints constructed drains to eliminate as much water as possible. Someone then came up with the idea of using crushed lava rocks to form a dry foundation for the Temple. Yet they wondered, “How will we crush the rocks?” Divine inspiration intervened, when someone came up with the idea of using the old canon that the city of St. George Utah had acquired. The canon has an interesting history in its own right. It was first used by Napoleon in his siege on Moscow. However, during Napoleon’s retreat, the canon was left behind. After being dragged to all parts of the globe, it somehow ended up, in all places, California. Members of the California Mormon Battalion decided to bring it to St. George Utah. Today, it is still on display at the St. George Utah Temple grounds. Visitors are allowed to view the temple from the outside. You can also take a tour of Brigham Young’s home.
If you are interested in Utah’s prehistoric history, the nearby Dinosaur Trackways provide the visitor with a Jurassic Park type of experience. These well-preserved tracks might have been formed by the ramblings of a 20-foot herbivore and his friend, the carnivore, who was only half as long. Watch out, there they are! In all seriousness, the only dinosaur remains in this area are (hopefully) the footprints.
Aside from Mormon history and dinosaur tracks, the St. George Utah golf scene is active all year round. Given that the area is also a popular retirement destination, the St. George Utah golf opportunities assure that the city’s senior population stays active. In fact, one private and eight public St. George Utah golf courses give the city its well-deserved reputation as a winter golf paradise. They include:
- Coral Canyons Golf
- Entrada at Snow Canyon
- Dixie Red Hills
- Green Spring
- Sky Mountain
- St. George Golf Club
- Sunbrook Golf Club
- SunnyRiver Golf Club
- South Gate Golf Course
When you get hungry after a day of golf, hiking or exploring the Temple, you will be looking for a St. George Utah restaurant. The majority of the dining facilities in the area are chain restaurants, which makes it a good place for family vacations. The best place to find a St. George Utah restaurant is Ancestor’s Square, a trendy shopping area at the intersection of St. George Boulevard and Main Street.
You can avoid the St. George Utah restaurant scene by choosing a St. George Utah camping vacation. Campgrounds are available at Snow Canyon State Park.
Top image: Ken Lund (flickr), CC BY-SA 2.0