Mayor Stan Smith can be reached at 435-680-3224 or by email at email@example.com.
Springdale has always been an interesting place. History gives different accounts to when the first white man entered the area. Most accounts show that it was 1858 when Nephi Johnson first came in contact with the canyon. The year 1862 is the date that everyone agrees that Springdale was settled. The fall of 1862 shows Albert Petty, his son George, James H Whitlock, William Black and his three sons, Joseph Millett, Alma Millett and Hyrum Morris all settled into Springdale. 1863 saw around 20 families as residents of Springdale. By the end of 1864 all but nine families had moved out of Springdale. Indian troubles occurred in 1866 and the entire town of Springdale was vacated. By 1875 enough people had returned to bring the town back to its original size.
Looking at Springdale in January of 2015 some say that the town is pretty well deserted. The very early years of Springdale were rough years to make a living and survive. Some say that it is still tough to make a living year round in Springdale. The town now claims a population of 550 people but we all know the numbers grow during the tourist season. Some of the same problems that the early settlers faced are still faced by those of us who live here today. The floods come and reshape the river and threaten buildings. Water is always a concern, whether it is drinking water or irrigation water, we hope that there will be enough to get us through another year, but not too much to destroy things.
Many of the first settlers in Springdale were farmers. They were not the only professions in the town in the early years. Springdale claimed John J Allred as its doctor. Samuel K. Gifford owned and operated the first chair shop. Squire Hepworth made sure there were plenty of shoes. Joseph Millett was a basket weaver. William Crawford was the one everyone went to, to get their wagons. John J. Ruesch made the caskets. Samuel K. Crawford took over for him. There were home builders, a store, a watch repairman to mention a few of the other occupations. They had to rely on each other to survive living in such a beautiful place.
Visiting Springdale now you will find a lot of shops, but instead of catering to basic needs they cater to the 3 million visitors to Zion National Park.
There are many similarities between the first settlers and those of us that claim Springdale as our home. Neighbors looked after each other back then and they still do that today. Though we might not have to depend on others to help us, that is what a community is all about, helping each other.
When I was younger, the tourist season in Springdale was very defined. We pretty much knew when the cars that meant the season was starting would come into the canyon. We also knew that not too long after Labor Day, the last cars would leave for home.
The tourism season is much different now. February, with the visitation impact of the Parade of Homes and President’s Weekend, reminds me that the season is not far behind. In a little more than a month, we will have the Zion Half Marathon, St. Patrick’s Day and the Spring Celebration and this year’s season will be well underway.
While we don’t really have a down time (people spend the winter fixing, remodeling and preparing for the next season) we have some moments to reflect on the past year and review what was good, what was not, and what we can do to make the next year just a little better. As we start what will undoubtedly be a very busy season, just let me say thank you for making the town a great place to live, a great place to visit, and the best town in Utah.
January brings a new year and a time for reflection. A lot has happened in 2014 and for the most part it was a good year for Springdale. We were able to get some new projects started.
As we look forward to 2015 some of these projects will be completed. The first phase of fiber optics will happen the first part of this new year. The street lighting project will take shape with the completion happening in the first part of 2016. The public transportation from St. George to Zion will see progress this year, though it will be several years of work to complete the project. This is also the year when the planning commission finishes the general plan update.
It takes everyone doing their part to make these projects (as well as other projects) successful. It is my wish that this year brings more success to Springdale and that we can work together to make it all happen.