St. George Temple
Visible for miles, the city's gleaming white temple (250 East 400 South, at the corner of 200 South, 435/673-5181) rises from landscaped grounds in the center of St. George. In 1871, enthusiastic Mormons from all over the territory gathered to erect the temple. Dedicated on April 6, 1877, the structure was the church's first sacred house of worship in the West.
The St. George Temple is the oldest active Mormon temple in the world. It's constructed of stuccoed stone in a castellated Gothic Revival style; a cupola with a weather vane caps the structure. Sacred ceremonies take place inside, so no tours are offered, but you're welcome to visit the grounds to admire the architecture.
The temple is especially impressive at night when it's lit up against the black sky. A visitor center (490 South 300 East, 9 a.m.-9 p.m. daily, free) on the northeast corner of the grounds has short films and videos introducing the LDS Church.
Brigham Young Winter Home
Late in life, Brigham Young sought relief from arthritis and other aches and pains by spending winters in Dixie's mild climate. This also gave him an opportunity to supervise more closely the affairs of the church here, especially construction of the temple. A telegraph line connected Young's house (67 West 200 North, 435/673-5181, 10 a.m.-7 p.m. daily) with Salt Lake City. He moved here late in 1873 and returned each winter until his death in 1877.
The carefully restored adobe house contains furnishings of the era, including some that belonged to Young. Fruit and mulberry trees grow in the yard; mulberry leaves once fed the silkworms of the short-lived pioneer industry. Free tours begin at Young's office on the east side of the house.
Jacob Hamblin Home
No one did more to extend the Mormons' southern settlements and keep peace with the Native Americans than Jacob Hamblin. He came west in 1850 with four children (his first wife refused to come) and settled in the Tooele area with wife number two. At Brigham Young's request, Hamblin moved south in 1856 and helped build the Santa Clara Fort. He built the present sandstone house (Santa Clara Blvd. and Hamblin Dr., 435/673-5181, 10 a.m.-7 p.m. daily) in the village of Santa Clara, four miles northwest of St. George, after floods washed away the fort in 1862.
Almost always on the move serving on missions, Hamblin had little time for home life. He moved to Kanab in 1870, then to Arizona and New Mexico. Even so, he had four wives and managed to father 24 children. The kitchen, work areas, and living rooms provide a good idea of what pioneer life was like. Free tours offer a view of the house and tell of activities that once took place here.
Daughters of Utah Pioneers Museum
This museum (145 North 100 East, 435/628-7274, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Mon.-Sat., donation), behind the old county courthouse, is staffed by the Daughters of Utah Pioneers. Drop in to see hundreds of pioneer portraits and the tools and clothing used by early settlers. The spinning wheels and looms on display served in the mission's cotton and silk industries.
St. George Art Museum
This museum (47 East 200 North, 435/627-4525, http://sgcity.org/artmuseum, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Mon.-Sat., $3 adults, $1 children 3-11), housed in a renovated beet-seed warehouse, is worth a visit both for its exhibits and its design. It's also a good place to get out of the sun for a couple of hours on a sweltering summer afternoon. The permanent collection has a strong regional emphasis; visiting shows often feature contemporary Western art. On the third Thursday of each month, the museum remains open until 9 p.m. for special programs.
Tuacahn (1100 Tuacahn Dr., 800/746-9882, www.tuacahn.org, shows most Mon.-Sat. mid-June-mid-Oct., $19-56) is an outdoor amphitheater that seats 1,900 among 1,500-foot-high red-rock cliffs northwest of St. George. Tuacahn offers a three-show summer theater season; recent performances have included Cats and Crazy for You. Pre-show dinner ($12.50 adults, $9.50 children) is available before each production, as are backstage tours ($4 adults, $2 children).
Tuacahn is also the place to catch a big concert with, say, the Doobie Brothers or a second-generation Osmond. Between Thanksgiving and Christmas, Tuacahn hosts a free Festival of Lights, with a live Nativity reenactment ($2). The amphitheater is northwest of St. George near the south entrance to Snow Canyon State Park.
© W.C. McRae and Judy Jewell from Moon Utah, 9th Edition