Larry Mckown purchased the 12-unit Zion Rest Motel in 1978. He and his wife Julie lived behind the front office and rented rooms for $14. Larry expanded the small country store and State Liquor outlet into a wonderful little market with a great selection of wines and other beverages, earning him the affectionate nickname, Liquor Larry.
The McKowns came to Springdale from Park City, where they were as civically active as they have been here. Within the first year of his Springdale residency, Larry had co-founded and was the first chairman of the Springdale Rio Virgin Arts Council (now the Zion Canyon Arts and Humanities Council, or Z-Arts). The Arts Council cosponsored the much-missed Southern Utah Fold Life Festival and brought numerous arts and music programs to Zion Canyon.
Larry was pivotal in the creation of Springdale’s first Planning and Zoning Board, of which he was Chairman. He has also been the President of the Chamber of Commerce and President of the Lions Club. Through these various organizations, he created the Zion Canyon St. Patrick’s Day Celebration and Green Jell-O Contest, expanded the 4th of July celebration and organized the Butch Cassidy 10-K run. He has volunteered on the Fire Department, YAZ and many community improvement projects. He has donated time and money to the construction of the Town Gazebo, tennis courts and the Canyon Community Center.
During those same years, he and his family built the Zion Rest into beautiful Flanigan’s Inn, the Spotted Dog Café, and most recently the Deep Canyon Adventure Spa. His ex-wife, Julie, owns Flanigan’s Villas, and their daughter, Rebecca, manages the businesses. Larry continues to work with Zion Canyon businesses to form a co-operative advertising campaign and obtain funding from Washington County to promote off-season visitation.
Larry attended the Global Ecotourism Conference in Oslo, Norway, in May. He brought home a new vision and goal: “I plan to encourage local businesses to become environmentally sensitive and economically sustainable...to reduce greenhouse gases and become 100% carbon neutral by 2009.” (2009 marks the 50th anniversary of Springdale becoming an incorporated municipality).