Relocating to Southern Utah
Relocating to Southern Utah is a snap!
Although rated as a top retirement community, St. George has a lot to offer for every stage of life. With convenient access to I-15, St. George is nestled just a short 1.5 hour drive from Las Vegas and approximately 4 hour drive to Salt Lake City.
Because of its size, St. George offers shopping, culture and amazing scenery with low crime and a hometown feel. Great skiing at Brian Head, boating at Lake Mead, Quail Lake, Sand Hollow or Gunlock Reservoirs, Pine Valley in the Dixie National Forest, hiking at Zion National Park and tons of incredible outdoor activities within close proximity. And don’t forget the GOLF! With 14 courses in Southern Utah and more in the planning stages, you can brush up on your game each weekend or retire to year-round golfing bliss. We have at least 310 days of sunshine a year!!
St. George Area History
In 1852, Washington County was established in territorial Utah. Previously the Paiute Indians were the only inhabitants. Before the Paiutes, the Anasazi Nation inhabited the area from as early as 200 B.C. and disappeared around 1200 A.D. Evidence of Anasazi artwork can be found throughout the area.
Between 1852 and 1862, several small settlements were established as “Church Missions” by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (LDS or Mormons). They were: The Cotton Mission: Washington, St. George; The Wine Mission: Santa Clara, Ivins (Swiss immigrants); The Pinto Mission: Virgin, Springdale; The Iron Mission: Cedar City area. Today, the cotton silk and wine industries are gone yet Washington County is one of the nation’s fastest growing communities.
Nestled in majestic red rock bluffs, St. George was settled by Mormon pioneers in 1861 and now has a population of over 90,000 people. During the Civil War it was nearly impossible to obtain cotton from the southern states. Thus in 1861, the LDS prophet Brigham Young, sent 309 families to the St. George area to grow cotton and other products conducive to the warm climate and 200 day + / year growing season. Although the area was called the “Cotton Mission”, it soon became known as “Dixie” because of it’s early inhabitants were from southern states and grew cotton.
A very industrious people, pioneers also produced dried fruit, molasses, pecans and silk. Mulberry trees were planted to feed the silk worms, and in colder months, women and children even carried the worms in their pockets to keep them warm!!
Today, as the hub of southern Utah, St. George is ranked in several publications as the top retirement location in the nation. With it’s warm climate, access to several National and State Parks, golf courses, excellent education, varied cultural opportunities in music and the arts, annual events like the St. George Marathon, and Huntsman Senior Games, St. George appeals to an active and diverse population.
Washington City was the birthplace of the Cotton Mission and the first town established in the Virgin basin. Mormon settlers arrived in 1857 and were the forerunners of “Utah’s Dixie.” Situated south of the Virgin River, the first several years were very lean as they struggled with lack of water, and then repeated flooding, up until the Washington Field Dam was built in 1891. The cotton factory was built in 1865 which added greatly to their eventual success. Today, Washington City is thriving with new growth and warm climate, and friendly people.
In 1854, Brigham Young sent Jacob Hamblin to befriend the Paiute Nation and his group settled around the Santa Clara River. In 1861, 20 families of Swiss converts to the LDS Church arrived to settle Santa Clara as part of the Wine Mission, which primarily produced grape juice for the settlers since the water was not too palatable. It was the most successful mission, and helped to sustain the others by selling raising to travelers passing through. Today, Santa Clara is the “garden spot” of Washington County, and continues a strong sense of heritage through it’s landmarks and annual Swiss Days Celebration.
Ivins sprang up from the need to bring water to The Santa Clara Bench by means of an 8 mile canal which was completed in 1914. It ran from the Santa Clara creek near the Shem smelter to the bench, and was built around steep mountain sides and deep ravines. In 1918 Ivins Reservoir was built to store the water. Ivins is a growing community near Snow Canyon, and nestled at the base of the majestic Red Mountain.
Hurricane was settled in 1906, and was named by Erastus Snow, and LDS Church official, for the Hurricane fault and the storm he was caught in there. Hurricane was settled after the Hurricane Canal was finished to bring water. It became a great place for growing fruit and other produce. Hurricane is still one of the largest and fastest growing towns in Washington County.
Virgin was settled in 1858, and early pioneers faced many hardships trying to establish farms. Early years were spent constructing ditches in and around the town site for watering crops of cotton, corn, cane, wheat, alfalfa and grapes. Virgin is in a valley south of Kolob Mountain and is it’s only access, thus the nickname “Gateway to the Kolobs.” It is one of the most picturesque locations in the world.
Springdale was founded by Mormon Pioneers in the 1850’s, and is the “Gateway to Zion National Park”, drawing nearly 3 million visitors each year. Springdale provides much of the lodging, dining and other travel services for the Park.
Utah’s oldest and most visited national park, Zion National Park is located in southwestern Utah, and was originally given the Indian name of Mukuntuweap by the John Wesley Powell expedition. Inhabited by the Anasazi people from about 1,500 to 800 years ago, they abandoned cliff houses, rock art, and their chipping sites are scattered throughout the park. The Paiute Indians occupied the canyon when Nephi Johnson arrived in 1858. The first Mormon occupant of Zion Canyon was Isaac Behunin, who built a one-room log cabin at a site near the location of Zion’s Lodge.
The 1.1 mile long tunnel, completed in 1930 at a cost of $2,000,000, is the park’s most impressive construction project. At that time, many of the hiking trails within the park were also begun.
St. George is approximately 2800-2850 feet above sea level. The Greater St. George area has warm winters which allows for year round golf and plenty of outdoor activities. In the Summer months, St. George will average 105 degrees. Unlike Las Vegas, St. George COOLS DOWN in the Summer offering nights in upper 70’s and low 80’s. Our Winter months average 55-60 degrees during the day and 30-40 degrees at night. Occasionally, we’ll get some snow but it’s a skiff at best and gone by noon. LEAVE YOUR SNOW SHOVELS, ICE SCRAPERS AND SNOW BLOWERS!! No need to bring them here. Annual rainfall averages about 8 inches with most of it coming in the Spring. We’ll see some monsoon showers in July and August for 10-15 minutes and then it’s gone for the day. With over 310 days of sunshine, you can be assured St. George IS the place for you to relocate.
Southern Utah Time Zone
The southern Utah area is on Mountain Standard Time and Daylight Saving Time.
Southern Utah Climate