History of Zion National Park
Zion Human History Museum - This building was once Zion’s Visitor Center, but today it serves as a museum, shuttle stop and parking area. Zion’s historic culture is the main theme, showcasing those that lived in the Zion area including Indians and pioneers, but the displays are not limited to human history. Geological history is also examined and displayed. Plan to take a half-hour of your time and enjoy a free video of the park.
Zion Trail History - Many of Zion's front country trails were constructed in the 1920's and 1930's. The Civilian Conservation Corp (CCC) constructed Zion's hiking trails using picks, shovels and explosives. Even though mules carried much of the burden, moving water and cement mix up the trails the work was difficult. These were hard times. America entered World War I in April 1917 and the great depression ranged from 1919-1922. The Riverside Walk (Gateway to the Narrows), Emerald Pools, Observation Point and West Rim Trails were all constructed in 1925. The path to Angels Landing was finished a year later. Canyon Overlook was constructed in 1932 and the Watchman Trail was completed in 1934. The newest trail in the park is the Pa'rus trail, constructed in 1995.
Zion National Park Timeline
1858 - Nephi Johnson arrives, noted at the time that the Mormon's discovered the canyon.
"Major John Wesley Powell 1834-1902 explorer, scientist, Steven V. Jones 1840-1920 teacher, topographer, Joseph W. Young 1829-1873 Mormon pioneer leader, Descended Labyrinth Falls 1/2 mile below Monday, September 30, 1872 during first Parunuweap Canyon traverse. Powell named this canyon from the Paiute Indian word Parunuweap' which means roaring water canyon. Dedicated September 30, 1872."
Also that year, artist and writer Frederick S. Dellenbach accompanied Powell during his second exploration of the Grand Canyon and photographers James Fennemore and John Hillers record the Kolob Plateau on film.
1873 - Well known photographers, Hillers and Fennemore return to the Zion area, a year after their first visit, to continue their photographic project of Zion and the Virgin River.
1919 - Congress declares the Monument to be Zion National Park, becoming Utah's oldest National Park.
1921 - An idea to increase tourism to Zion, by making a route from Zion to Bryce and the Grand Canyon was discussed by a well known writer and three well known naturalists. Roads were paved and the Zion-Mt. Carmel Tunnel idea was put into action to make travel easier between the parks.
1925 - Zion's first lodge and 46 cabins were built replacing Wylie Camp. They were sold much later. Two can be seen in Mt. Carmel Jct., across from the Chevron gas station and two others are still in Ordervile behind Fisher's Rock Shop.
1928 - Bryce Canyon is established.
1929 -Seven paintings of Zion created by Howard Russell Butler were used to promote the park and signify the early days of the NPS. The art was exhibited at the Museum of Science in Buffalo, NY in 1929.1930 -In a grand celebration on the fourth of July the completion of the Zion-Mt Carmel Highway was announced. This engineering wonder, as planned in 1921, opened up the park on the east side giving easier access to Bryce Canyon and Grand Canyon, greatly increasing the number of visitors to Zion. Jack and Fern Morrison homestead land, 12 miles from the east side of Zion that is now known as Mt. Carmel Jct.
1931 - The Morrison's opened their cafe in Mt. Carmel Jct. The Home of the Ho-made Pies. Today there is much more than just a restaurant. Jack died in 1961, but after his death Fern updated their gas station, built a Best Western Hotel, Golf Course, Gift Shop, small RV Park and a home that is rented out to groups now. It is all how she left it and still family owned and operated. Two of the original Zion Cabin cabins were built into her home that is now rented out as a vacation house.
1933 - Famous Southwest artist Maynard Dixon travels to Zion National Park and paints over forty works of art during his visit. In 1939 the Dixons built a log cabin and spent their summers in nearby Mount Carmel. The cabin remains there today.
1966 -After the Zion Lodge was destroyed by fire in 1966 a new building was thrown up quickly, which in 1990 was restored to look much like the original.
Zion National Park, Utah
History of the Thunderbird
This is my new favorite quote:
"I don't know who Tanya Milligan is, but I mean www.zionnational-park.com
It's a better site than the NPS's anyway."
Written by the authors of the book: Favorite Hikes in and around Zion National Park