City Lifestyle

Want to start a publication?

Learn More

Featured Article

Heritage Day

St. George's 161st Birthday Celebration

The revolutionary electric telegraph was about two decades old. Photography was in its infancy. The first major Union victory of the American Civil War was still a month away.

The date was January 17, 1862—the day a barren wasteland converging the Mojave Desert, Colorado Plateau and Great Basin was settled and incorporated as St. George.

That was 161 years ago. Who could have envisioned what St. George would become?

To celebrate St. George’s birthday, Mayor Michele Randall and members of the City Council are inviting the community to take a moment on Saturday, Jan. 28, 2023, and join in celebrating the city’s birthday. The elected officials will prepare free root beer floats and other goodies at the City of St. George Social Hall (47 East 200 North) from noon to 2 p.m.

“This is a community party, and everybody is invited to come celebrate our city’s history and heritage,” Randall says. “In addition to the root beer floats, there are many other free activities you can participate in during the day.”

Along with the refreshments, there will be several other freebies available on Jan. 28:

  • Free admission to the Sand Hollow Aquatic Center
  • Free admission to the St. George Recreation Center
  • Free admission to the St. George Art Museum
  • Free rides all day on SunTran buses
  • Free train rides at Thunder Junction and free rides on the St. George Carousel

What promises to be a day filled with fun and fellowship is in stark contrast to the country’s status in the 1860s. The United States was a nation divided, nine months into what would be a four-year Civil War that would decide the fate of a nation not yet a century old.

The West was rugged and wild. The transcontinental railroad was still seven years from completion, which meant travel had to be done on horseback or foot through often hostile territory.

The first settlers from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints entered the Salt Lake Valley in mid-1847. Less than 15 years later, Brigham Young sent a group of 309 families south for the purpose of growing cotton and grapes. They arrived to an unforgiving and forbidding landscape.

It was the steadfastness of early pioneers, their sense of teamwork and a barn-raising mentality that paved the way for a city that many would view as a pearl in the desert.

“We truly admire the sacrifice and struggle of the early settlers of St. George,” Mayor Randall adds. “The fortitude and faith that they were doing the right thing is an inspiration to me, as well as many others.”

Spurred by tourism, economic opportunity and technological advances such as air conditioning, St. George began to flourish, emerging from what once was a sleepy gas stop in the desert into a must-see destination.

Despite the explosive growth the city has experienced for several decades, it is important to retain that small-town feel that welcomed so many to St. George. Join us at the Social Hall on Jan. 28 to experience that feeling we all love.