FHSP History Part II: Choosing a Location

With basic funding in place and a variety of artifacts to be displayed, the Iron Mission Park Commission began searching for a museum location. Cedar City and Iron County offered a 12 acre site northwest of the Coal Creek Bridge, just off Main Street. The Park Commission had something grander in mind—the Union Pacific Depot. The Iron County Record reported: “This proposal would preserve the depot as a Travel Center, provide for complete storage and display of the Gronway Parry carriage collection, the restoration of Coal Creek Iron Mill, and would offer a Bazaar, Shopping Mall, carriage roads, and a formal English garden. The objectives would be to preserve and illustrate with authenticity the Iron Mission as it was pursued by the early pioneers. By setting the historic events in a recreational setting and making them more enjoyable to the general public, the Commission feels they will have the added benefit to the community of encouraging and fostering tourism in the area.”

However, the Park Commission was unaware that negotiations between Union Pacific and a group of local businessmen had been going on for nearly a year. The developer’s plans included: “a complex of businesses – department store, smaller stores, pottery shops, local handcraft shops, and probably a theatre. Offices will be part of total package as well. It would be a two-level structure, the lower level being constructed mainly on the lower sloping northern piece of the 14-acre plot.”

Cedar City Railroad Depot

Both parties, the Iron Mission Park Commission and the local developers sought the support of the public as evidenced by the displayed letters to the editor. The battle over the museum location began in earnest.

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