Dixie State, city of St. George apply to include local landmarks on National Register of Historic Places

Stock image of the Sugarloaf or Dixie Rock, St. George, Utah, date not specified | Photo by St. George News

ST. GEORGE — The city of St. George is supporting Dixie State University on an application to include the “D” on Black Hill and the Dixie Sugarloaf at Pioneer Park included on the National Register of Historic Places.  

An image of the “D” on Black Hill from Bluff Street in St. George, Utah, Jan. 17, 2021 | Photo by Megan Webber, St. George News

The university announced the application in a letter to St. George residents explaining its reasoning for recommending an institutional name change to the Utah Board of Higher Education. Despite the university’s name change, Henrie Walton, Dixie State assistant to the president for government and community relations, told St. George News the local landmarks represent the region’s heritage and should be preserved. 

“Our intent in partnering with the city on these applications is to ensure that the community understands how much we value the meaning of the word Dixie,” Walton said. “I myself grew up in Washington County, and I think for those of us who live here and spent a lot of time here, they’re the first thing we see when we head to work in the morning. They’re monuments to our heritage and they represent so much. They’re just the landmarks we think of when we think of this region.”

Landmarks included on the national register must be at least 50 years old and of significant cultural importance, according to the register’s website. Once on the register, landmarks are eligible for preservation funds, certain federal tax deductions and to be included in the planning of federal projects affecting the historic property. 

The application process is lengthy, Walton said, including a highly detailed application that must be approved by the state’s historic preservation office before it can be sent to the federal government. The city and the university are working together to complete the application and hope to have it submitted in the coming weeks, he said. 

In addition to including the landmarks on the national register, Dixie State also plans to expand the capabilities of the “D” lights to celebrate local high school state championships, holidays, traditions, initiatives and more, according to the letter. Walton added that the intention is to share the landmarks with the entire community. 

In this 2018 file photo, Dixie State University’s iconic hillside “D” displays a red, white and blue mixture of colors as part of the capabilities of its new lighting system, St. George, Utah, December 2018 | Photo courtesy of Dixie State University, St. George News

“We love these landmarks and want to preserve them,” he said. “The more opportunities we have to light it up for high school championships, local events, et cetera, the better. We foresee more and more partnership with the community going forward.”

David Cordero, spokesman for the city of St. George, said that the application is the first step in the larger process of deciding how we treat civic landmarks. 

“We envision an interpretive site that adequately explains to both our residents and visitors the history of our area,” he told St. George News in an email. “The goal here is educating people about these landmarks and why we find them so significant and worth preserving for future generations.” 

Dixie State’s letter says that the university values the name Dixie on a local level and that the institution’s hope is to ensure that the landmarks remain honored symbols for the entire community.

Walton agreed. 

Our intent in partnering with the city on these applications is to ensure that the community understands how much we value the meaning of the word Dixie,” he said.

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2021, all rights reserved.

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