Now is the Time for a St. George Archeology Park

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The Southern Paiute will tell you that they have been here forever—since time immemorial. Recent excavations by archaeologists at the confluence of the Santa Clara and Virgin rivers documented people living at that location for the last 1500 years, growing corn and making pottery.

Early Mormon historic accounts document Paiute farms and gardens along the Santa Clara River. The fields had corn, beans, squash, melons, amaranth, grasses, sunflowers, and wheat.

Numerous sites in St. George, including St. George City’s Bloomington Petroglyph Park, attest to the long history of people living here as well.

There is a plan to make an Archaeology Park as an addition to the  Crosby Family Confluence Park. Trails would be added to the existing city trail system to give everyone the chance to walk on one of the last undeveloped hilltops in St. George to marvel at the broad vistas and enjoy the view of landmarks in the city, including the Tabernacle and the Temple. Further views to the Pine Valley Mountains, Kolob, and Zion National Park will impress residents and visitors alike. The hilltop is reported to be the location where Brigham Young stood when he made his plan for the Mormon settlement.

Visitors travelling on I-15 will be able to stop and visit the Utah Welcome Center and spend time walking the trails in the park to enjoy the views and the site. The park location is convenient to several hotels, restaurants, picnic facilities, and restrooms located at the Crosby Family Park. These visitors would provide an economic benefit to St. George, as indicated by studies of visitors to the Dinosaur Discovery Center, with a potential of millions of dollars of positive economic impact.

Besides the recreation trails, the park will include information signs telling the “Theirstory” of St. George, with digital images to recreate the villages and farms. A replica village, like at the Lost City Museum in Overton, Nevada, and a painted mural on a sound wall along the freeway would bring the past to life. QR codes on the signs would show the bowls and pots that they used a thousand years in the past, along with other artifacts excavated by archaeologists. Digital technology could show reconstructions of the storage rooms and houses found during the recent excavations. Creating an Archaeology Park will share the prehistory, history, and Theirstory of the St. George area.

The educational benefit of an Archaeology Park to the County would be tremendous, providing an open-air classroom and museum for school groups, scouts, researchers, residents, and visitors. As a local educator has said, “taking children to archaeological and historical sites and museums enriches their lives, fosters a desire to learn, provides understanding of the past and creates a love of history that can last a lifetime.”

 

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About the Author

Now is the Time for a St. George Archeology Park
Greg Woodall

I came to St. George in 1978 for summer Fire Crew. I graduated from Southern
Utah State College in 1982 and have been an Archaeologist in Southwest Utah, and throughout the West, since then.

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