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Category: history


St. George and Christmas are both steeped in tradition.

The first pioneer wagons arrived in the area now known as St. George on November 25, 1861.  A week later on December 4, the main body of 378 men and 370 women arrived at their destination here in Southern Utah, setting up camp on what is called today, the Encampment Mall on the campus of Dixie State University.

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Mulberry Trees

The mulberry tree first put down its roots in St. George in the 1860’s when LDS Church president Brigham Young imported 100,000 from France.  Approximately 2000 mulberry trees were planted here in Southern Utah, thriving in the warm Dixie sunshine providing much needed shade for those early pioneers. But shade was not the only benefit of these fast-growing trees.

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st george regional medical center

Diversity … or the Lack Thereof?

Our beautiful red rock country has many amazing reasons to visit us here in Southern Utah.  We have incredible scenery, worldclass and well-organized events; friendly residents; state-of-the-art medical facilities; a rapidly growing university; golf, golf, and more golf; and,  your choice of Broadway quality arts and entertainment.  Our crime rate is 34% below the national average making us safer than 61% of U. S. cities.  What we don’t have – although its gradually changing – is a lot of diversity in our population.

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Family Roots Expo & Convention

Whether you are a seasoned genealogist or a novice to this exciting – but sometimes intimidating – hobby sweeping America, the 2016 Family Roots Expo on the weekend of October 28-29 at the Dixie Convention Center in beautiful downtown St. George is certain to light your fire for family history research

You will be motived and inspired by world-renowned speakers beginning at 9 a.m. on Friday and Saturday and concluding both afternoons at 4:30 p.m.  After your enthusiasm has been kick-started, you will then choose your itinerary from among 50 class offerings designed for beginners, intermediate and advanced genealogists.  Throughout the expo, skilled presenters with specific skill sets and engaging curriculum will speak on a variety of topics, and provide hands-on training to spark your enthusiasm or help you overcome your family history road block.  You’ll also be introduced to new apps and technology to make it easy to share your family history on such social media sites as Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest or Memories.

Don’t want to leave the kids back at the vacation condo?  Bring them along!  Technology-based youth workshops for kids and tech savvy teens will be held on Saturday with instruction specifically designed to cater to their experience.

This exciting event will also feature over 150 exhibitors where you can explore to your heart’s desire a wide variety of the latest family history tools and many other resources available to help you in your search for your roots.

And, if all this is not enough, the icing on your family history weekend is certainly going to be a live performance by recording artist, YouTube sensation and entertainer extraordinaire Alex Boyé at the close of this amazing Family Roots Expo on Saturday evening.  This is an event you definitely will not want to miss!

Speaking of enjoyment, you can be certain to enjoy your beautiful home-away-from-home at St. George Resort Rentals or Five Seasons Vacation condominiums.  Register today online for a beautiful, comfortable and affordable vacation resort rental at  or   You’re going to like us … a lot!

If you’ve been in St. George in the past – or even if this is your first time in our community – you’ve probably noticed the red brick building in the center of downtown St. George  … and when we say “center” we mean just that.  The St. George LDS Tabernacle on the corner of Main Street and Tabernacle is the exact “center” of St. George and the location from which all streets radiate north, south, east and west.

But if you have driven by lately you can’t help but see this historic landmark is currently and completely wrapped in scaffolding.

Closed to the public in early July 2016, the extensive renovation of the St. George Tabernacle is expected to continue through early 2018 during which time the roof will be replaced, the brick walls will be reinforced and tied to the building’s foundation.  There will be a seismic upgrade; the clock tower will get a makeover, cracks in the structure will be repaired, the pews will be refinished; and, according to a representative of the LDS Church’s facilities management department, “everything in need of a facelift, a restoration or a re-do of any kind, will be attended to.  Nothing will be left undone.”

We also pride ourselves in leaving nothing undone for your vacation comfort, convenience and enjoyment.  If service is what you are looking for while vacationing in Southern Utah, you’ll find it at your comfortable, affordable vacation home-away-from-home at St. George Resort Rentals  or Five Seasons Vacation condominiums.  Register today online at  or   You’re going to like us … a lot!

BLM in Southwestern Utah

The Bureau of Land Management has been described as a “small agency with a big mission.”  Nationally, including here in Southwestern Utah, the mission of the BLM is “to sustain the health, diversity, and productivity of America’s public land for the use and enjoyment of present and future generations.” The majority of this public land is located in the 12 Western states, including Alaska.  More than 700 million acres of sub-surface mineral estate in the United States is also managed by the BLM.

Putting it another way, the BLM is involved in a series of responsibilities, including – but not limited to – the oversight of America’s timberlands, recreation, coal leases, abandoned mines, grazing and mineral rights, specific to Indian lands.

Here in our part of the world, the BLM St. George Field Office has responsibility for approximately 629,000 surface acres of Washington County located at the convergence of three distinctive eco-regions: the Mojave Desert, Great Basin, and Colorado Plateau. Here many native plants and animals have evolved into unique species, some found nowhere else on earth. Here, too, our BLM field office keeps a close watch on the evidence of the earth’s geologic history and past human cultures, some of the most sensitive lands managed by BLM.

Including the BLM, about two-thirds of Washington County’s land resources are owned or managed by federal agencies. Through the years, there have been numerous uncomfortable encounters but for the most part, the BLM is a friendly and cooperative overseer of our land and resource preservation efforts.

Speaking of friendly and cooperative, St. George Resort Rentals and Five Seasons Vacation condominiums are here to help provide you with a memorable get-away here in Southern Utah in a comfortable, affordable vacation home-away-from-home.  Check us out, then register today online at  or   We’re here to help and can’t wait to meet you … or welcome you back!

In Utah, there are two major July holidays … two days to leave the stresses of the workplace behind to play in the sunshine; enjoy friends and family; or take a long nap in the hammock!  The Fourth of July, as everyone knows is the day the final wording was approved for the Declaration of Independence and the official celebration of America’s birthday.

But, for those who live outside of the Beehive State, the 24th of July is officially called Pioneer Day … which celebrates the entry of Brigham Young and the first group of Mormon pioneers into the Salt Lake Valley on July 24, 1847.  Pioneer Day is generally a day of parades, fireworks, rodeos, and other festivities in most of Utah and in parts of neighboring states with strong LDS populations, which help commemorate the event. And, be aware most government offices and many business are closed.  Although the holiday has strong links to the LDS Church, it is officially a celebration of everyone, regardless of faith and nationality, who are or consider themselves to be pioneers.

If you are vacationing in Southern Utah in July, you are invited to take part in our celebration of America’s independence or of our pioneer heritage.  Register today online for a beautiful, comfortable and affordable vacation resort rental at St. George Resort Rentals at  or at for Five Seasons Vacation condominiums.   We can’t wait to meet you … or welcome you back!

20 Years Protecting Tortoises

In the early 1990’s, a committee was formed in Washington County, UT with a mission to create a plan to protect the endangered Mojave desert tortoise, threatened by rapid development and habitat loss here in southwestern Utah.  The committee included members of the Washington County Commission, the U.S. Department of Fish and Wildlife, the Bureau of Land Management, the Washington County School District, environmental and equestrian groups, local land developers and government officials from around Southern Utah, Salt Lake City and even from Washington, DC.

Their combined efforts resulted in plenty of media attention – some positive, some not so much – but also a lot of gaffaws and chortles from the community and many disgruntled and unbelievably vile letters to the editor of the local newspaper.  “Why spend all this time and money to protect the descendants of turtles my grandparents brought home to St. George in the trunk of their car?” queried more than a few.  “They’re not anymore native to this area than some of our new residents,” said others. Ultimately, the Washington County Habitat Conservation Plan (HCP) approved in 1996, created the Red Cliff Desert Reserve setting aside more than 62,000 acres of scenic wildlife and protection for the Mojave Desert tortoise and other rare plants and animals, at the merging of three ecosystems:  the Mojave desert, the Great Basin and the Colorado Plateau.

Two decades later, the reserve contains – not homes, condominiums and golf courses – but, some of Washington County’s most spectacular scenery, the most northern healthy populations of the desert tortoise, Gila monster, sidewinder rattlesnake, and chuckwalla – as well as other reptiles, critters and plants, some which occur no where else in the world.

The Reserve, approximately 20 miles wide and 6 miles deep, spans the beautiful red rock country along both sides of the I-15 freeway in the north central portion of Washington County, north of Ivins, Santa Clara, St. George, Washington City; south of Leeds and west of Hurricane and LaVerkin. Accessible to hikers, bikers and horseback riders, the Reserve has many access points and trails leading to amazing recreational opportunities … and it has been many years, since anyone driving through our red rock country has done anything but smile at the beauty which has now been preserved for many future generations to enjoy.

Speaking of enjoyment, you can be certain to enjoy your beautiful home-away-from-home at St. George Resort Rentals or Five Seasons Vacation condominiums.  Register today online for a beautiful, comfortable and affordable vacation resort rental at  or   You’re going to like us … a lot!

Geology of Washington County

“Show me one thing of beauty in the whole area and I’ll stay,” said pioneer bride Wilhemina Cannon to her husband David.  Longing for the green trees and rolling grassy hills of her childhood home, Wilhemina was not happy in the barren, stark and harsh desert of southern Utah, and had made up her mind.  She would not – could not – endure another miserably hot, insect infested, bone dry summer in this desolate place.

No question!  Geology, temperatures, and the problems associated with too much or too little water have shaped Utah’s Washington County, described in the History of Washington County:  From Isolation to Destination by Douglas A. Alder and Karl F. Brooks as “a region of colorful rocks, spectacular scenery and great contrasts in rainfall, vegetation, animal life and geologic features.” 

In any direction, you’ll see evidence of ancient land movement and erosion creating such distinctive landmarks as Pine Valley Mountain and the above-ground Hurricane Fault line which runs about 50 miles through the county (most visibly along the I-15 freeway and on both sides of the highway leading to the City of Hurricane). 

Red rock formations are everywhere in and around St. George, described by author Juanita Brooks as a place where “… the good Lord took everything left over from the creation, dumped it here, then set it on fire.”  We have evidence of huge lava flows at the base of Pine Valley Mountain and several extinct volcanoes, clearly visible along Hwy. 18.  To the east of the Hurricane Cliffs are the colorful mesas and plateaus of Zion National Park, with its famed steep-walled and narrow canyons carved by low volume streams with intermittent flow but carrying loads of abrasive silt and sand.  The St. George area also has the lowest elevations and the historic high temperature in the state (118 degrees on one July day in 2009).

Frontier Folk Festival

In today’s wild and crazy world, the Frontier Folk Festival is a breath of fresh air and an opportunity to step back to a slower, less hectic time in our history.  On the weekend of June 17-18 in nearby Cedar City – 50 easy miles to the north up the I-15 freeway – the entire grounds of the Frontier Homestead State Park Museum will become an old-fashioned frontier-style street festival.  From 11 a.m. to 8 p.m., the transformation will include artisans and craftsmen from throughout the western United States, a variety of food vendors and ongoing live entertainment by talented folk, country and/or bluegrass musicians.  All this for just $1 per person or $5 for a family (up to 8 people).  Sound like fun?  No question, it will require a drive to Cedar City, but it will be worth it to be in the “Festival City” where history and Shakespeare peacefully co-exist.

Speaking of recreating in southern Utah, you can play hard all day, then take your shoes off and relax in your comfortable, affordable vacation home-away-from-home at St. George Resort Rentals at  or at for Five Seasons Vacation condominiums.   Register online today!  We can’t wait to meet you … or welcome you back!

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