St. George, Utah
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St. George Business Signs
The Virgin River Anasazi and Paiute tribes lived in this southern area of present day Utah prior to European excursions. The first Europeans to this area were part of the Spanish Dominguez-Escalante Expedition in 1776. The city of St. George, Utah, however, would not be established until 1861. The city was initially created as a cotton mission under The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints’ Apostle Erastus Snow. The LDS Church’s then President/Prophet Brigham Young nicknamed the area “Dixie” due to its initial cotton focus. St. George Utah was named after an LDS apostle, George A. Smith and officially incorporated in 1862.
Today, St. George, Utah is the seventh-largest city in Utah (in fact, St. George is the largest city outside of the state’s Wasatch Front.) According to a 2014 US Census Bureau report, St. George, Utah has a population of 78,505 people. St. George serves as the county seat for Washington County, Utah and is the principal city in the St. George Metropolitan Statistical Area. In total, according to that same 2014 estimate, Washington County has 151,948 residents. In fact, from 2005-2010, St. George was the second fastest-growing metropolitan area in the country, after Greeley, Colorado.
St. George’s economy is mostly tourism-based, but it is home to some interesting business ventures. For example, St. George serves as the headquarters for SkyWest Airlines, the primary airline provider at St. George’s regional airport. Additionally, both Walmart and Family Dollar have large distribution centers located within Washington County, Utah. The Café Rio chain of restaurants was founded in St. George, Utah, back in 1997.
It’s what surrounds the St. George, Utah area that’s its biggest attraction, however. Two national parks are located near the city. These national parks are Zion National Park and Bryce Canyon National Park.
Zion National Park was established on November 19th, 1919, and according to a 2011 report by the National Park Service, is visited by 2,825,505 people annually. This 146,597 acre park features Zion Canyon, “which is 15 miles (24 km) long and up to half a mile (800 m) deep, cut through the reddish and tan-colored Navajo Sandstone by the North Fork of the Virgin River.”
Bryce Canyon National Park was established on February 25th, 1928, and, according to a 2014 National Park Service report, is visited by 1,435,741 people annually. Bryce Canyon is quite a misleading name, however, because Bryce Canyon is not actually a canyon. Instead, Bryce Canyon is “a collection of giant natural amphitheaters along the eastern side of the Paunsaugunt Plateau. Bryce is distinctive due to geological structures called hoodoos, formed by frost weathering and stream erosion of the river and lake bed sedimentary rocks.”
St. George, Utah isn’t all about rocks, though. The city also boasted two minor-league independent baseball teams. The Zion/St. George Pioneerz operated from 1999 to 2001 and played in the Western Baseball League at Bruce Hurst Field. They won the 2000 League championship. The St. George Roadrunners played in the Golden Baseball League before moving to Henderson, Nevada.
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