Silver Reef, a mid-19th century boom town located about 20 miles north of St. George, is a delightful mix of early Washington County history and beautiful high-end homes tucked away in our famous red rock desert terrain.
Following the discovery of silver in 1876, Silver Reef became a thriving and boisterous community – almost overnight. In less than 60 days, Silver Reef went from isolated desert to a community of about 1500 residents. This rough-and-tumble mining town was a stark contrast to the religiously based agricultural communities in nearby Leeds, Washington City, Hurricane and St. George, which made for cautious relationships between the citizenry, though some tried hard to maintain the peace.
A few even developed friendships, such as the close relationship between sureveyor, musician, judge and Mormon leader John Menzies McFarlane and Silver Reef’s Catholic priest Reverend Lawrence Scanlan. Father Scanlon wanted to celebrate a high mass with his congregation but had neither a finished church nor a choir. His friend McFarlane, who was then employed at Silver Reef, suggested the mass could be held in the St. George Tabernacle where he regularly conducted a 30-voice choir he was confident could learn the unfamiliar music in a matter of weeks. Discussion among local Mormon leaders resulted in a favorable decision. On May 25, 1879, the tabernacle filled with Catholics who had traveled great distances to attend and many curious Mormons. Father Scanlan is reported to have said, as he began the service, “I think you are wrong and you think I am wrong but this should not prevent us from treating each other with due consideration and respect.”
Today the beautiful landscape, in which Silver Reef still exists, hosts a community of attractive modern homes as well as a few intact historic stone buildings, including the sturdy Wells Fargo station, which have survived the ravages of time and temperature.
Visit Silver Reef on your next vacation to southern Utah. You won’t need to strike it rich to enjoy the beautiful accommodations waiting for you at St. George Resort Rentals. Reserve your rental today. We look forward to serving your vacation needs whether for a week or a month.