It is not something most longtime residents like to talk about, because the Mountain Meadows massacre was the darkest day in Southwestern Utah history. Today a monument to this travesty sits on a knoll overlooking the site where, in 1857, 120-California bound travelers were killed by southern Utah Mormon militia and their Native American allies.
Through the years there has been much discussion and speculation as to what led up to this attack on innocent travelers, but it is believed by most scholars and historians, the incident resulted from the legacy of persecution the Mormons had experienced in Missouri and Illinois before their exodus west, and a growing hysteria about the possibility of war between Mormons and federal troops. In the summer of 1857, a large contingency of federal troops was marching to Utah to put down what had been reported to be an alleged Mormon rebellion. Tragically the ill-fated Baker-Fancher party from Arkansas and Missouri was passing through southern Utah during the height of the hysteria.
Beginning in 1988, the Mountain Meadows Association, composed of descendants of both the Baker–Fancher party victims and the Mormon participants, designed a new monument in the meadows. It was completed in 1990 and is maintained by the Utah State Division of Parks and Recreation. In 1999 The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints replaced the U.S. Army’s marker and the 1932 memorial wall with a second monument, which it now maintains.
To see the on-site monument and learn more of the history of this terrible event, drive approximately 20 miles north out of St. George on Utah Hwy. 18. Watch for the sign (on the left side of the highway). Turn left (west) into a parking lot just off the highway and make the five-minute walk up a wheelchair-accessible asphalt trail to the monument.
A visit to Mountain Meadow might not be on your “must see” list, but it is a spectacular drive and a reminder of what can happen in a world gone mad. Reserve your stay today and enjoy our welcoming and friendly community and the comfortable surroundings waiting for you at St. George Resort Rentals.