As the City of St. George winds down its week long City birthday bash, I marvel at how this deprived area has developed into the magnificient community it represents today! It certainly wasn’t without a lot of resilience and persistency by the pioneers who settled it! With art displays, short plays and lectures scheduled at various locations throughout the week, the event concluded with two days of memorbilia displays at the Dixie Center, Jan. 16 and 17, with a finale on Tuesday evening at the Burns Arena, featuring American finalist, Brooke White.
Upon entering the the exhibit hall at the Dixie Center, one entered the town of St. George, as it was protrayed in past years. You strolled down Bluff Street, meandered along St. George Blvd. and down Tabernacle Street, each lined with store fronts representing the past, many of whom still exist today. Inside the old High School were year books from the past to browse through, in other buildings you could view the histories and pictures of families representing 17, 12, 10 generations here in the area. Others had photos of the old ranches that made up the surrounding landscape, with family names still recognizable as an integral part of the today’s community and area leadership. There were old quilts, saddles, tack gear, farming tools, and so much more on display to preview. In one booth I stopped to talk with a lady who was weaving rag rugs on a self built loom, who, at the age of 14, had been taught the skill from her Grandmother, and who enjoys continuing on this almost lost art form! No modern equipment back then! Life was hard, and the word “recylce” was an every day event. “Waste not, want not” was just part of their daily life style.
At the end of Bluff Street sat a showcase of old model-T cars, a reminder of our first automobile days. Even if you came from outside the St. George area, the history that was represented, throughout the event, was overwhelming. For a short time it transported one back to a time that was harsh and difficult, water was scarce, and the land was unmerciful. I tried imaging myself living in those times, wearing long skirts, and trying to breath in the soaring summer temperatures of 115 degrees with no air conditioning! But even in the midst of this hard life style can be seen laughter and enjoyment as one previewed the photos of the old Opera House. Times were tough, but it never stopped the flow of laughter, moments of enjoyment, nor sense of community they shared.
Without a doubt, the sacrifices made by the people who were originally sent here has to be admired and appreciated. It is no wonder that the people who reside here hold such great pride for their town and the magnificient landscape that surrounds them. Today St. George represents a beautifully desired area in which to live and visit, all because of the efforts, strength, community and strong beliefs that bound these original pioneers together. Its history is second to none for most communities, with a resound success story that continues to grow and honor those who first established their roots here. To the City Fathers and to all who put in the laborous hours it took to put this wonderful celebration together –THANK YOU–it was a wonderful experience!!