CEDAR CITY — A newly painted mural in downtown Cedar City highlights three nearby tourist destinations, Cedar Breaks National Monument and Bryce Canyon and Zion national parks.
The mural, located on the west side of the Studio West building at 98 W. Center St., was painted by artist Katie Beckstead, a former Cedar City resident who now lives in Logan. Beckstead was among the dozens of people in attendance for the mural’s official unveiling, held the afternoon of Oct. 17.
The mural celebration was one of several “Spike 150” events and activities held in Cedar City recently to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the Transcontinental Railroad.
Local historian Ryan Paul noted the new mural is a representation of a giant billboard that once graced the main station at Lund that used to greet railroad travelers as they arrived in town.
Paul explained how the railroad was instrumental in helping put Cedar City on the map as a tourist destination.
“In 1923, the train came to town and changed everything. It brought tourists in to see the beautiful red rock at the iron rusting on the mountain, and it brought in people to take the iron out of the ground and made Iron County one of the richest counties in the state,” Paul told those gathered at the mural unveiling.
He explained that the train brought in presidents and movie stars, and benefited the county’s economy. The Utah Parks Company also helped to bring in tourists from around the world to visit Zion, Bryce Canyon, the Grand Canyon and Cedar Breaks.
“Even more importantly, it provided opportunities for those tourists to stay in our community, to shop, to eat and to provide some very important economic resources for this small Southern Utah town,” Paul said.
“It is a perfect example of this community, not only being the gateway to the national parks, but in many ways the gateway to the West,” he added.
During the half-hour mural celebration, musical entertainment was provided by the Enoch Orchestra and a barbershop quartet from Red Harmony, a Southern Utah University acapella group.
Event attendees were also given commemorative wooden medallions in addition to small bags of popcorn and chocolate treats shaped like golden railroad spikes.
Paul also thanked several organizations and individuals whose support and donations helped make the project possible, including Utah Department of Heritage & Arts “Spike 150” celebration, an AARP livable communities grant, the David and Mary Ann Bentley family, the Southern Utah Museum of Art, SUU’s Special Collections, Cedar City / Iron County Economic Development, Frontier Homestead State Park, the Visit Cedar City & Brian Head Tourism Bureau and the Iron County’s Tourism, Recreation, Cultural and Convention fund, also commonly known as the Restaurant Tax fund.
Click on photo to enlarge it, then use your left-right arrow keys to cycle through the gallery.
Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2019, all rights reserved.