My son and I didn’t have a whole lot of disposable time today, but we were able to drive a bit around St. George and look at “family history” landmarks.
Then, since my remarks to the Cotton Mission chapter of the Sons of the Utah Pioneers were to be given at the Holmstead Ranch, which is near the town of Central, Utah, we did a little bit of looking around there and in the vicinity.
First, we drove — back and forth a bit, actually — through the stunning and unique landscape of Snow Canyon State Park, which is named after Elder Erastus Snow, a nineteenth-century member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and an important pioneer in the area.
Then we went to Central itself, past the cinder cones near Veyo (which are the focus of some rather funny family lore that I’ll probably reserve for a future time). I still have some relatives living in Central, but there was too little time to drop in on them unannounced today. My parents even co-owned a cabin in Central for a few years, back around the time I got married.
Driving through Central, we went to Pine Valley, of which I can find no remotely adequate photograph. It’s where my mother used to go to stay with relatives when St. George was really hot in the summer. (It’s located at an altitude of 6800 feet.) I still have relatives there. But, again, too little time.
Settled in 1859, Pine Valley’s population is still only about 200 people or so. I took my son to see the famous Pine Valley Chapel, the oldest continuously used Latter-day Saint church in the world. It was designed by Ebenezer Bryce, of Bryce Canyon National Park fame. (Of the area that’s now named after him, he famously remarked that it was “a hell of a place to lose a cow.”) Bryce was a Scottish-born shipbuilder and, when he was asked to design the chapel, he did what he knew how to do: He designed it more or less as an upside-down boat. It has been in service since 1868.