FHSP History Part III: At last, a Museum

The battle over the proposed location of the new museum ended when Union Pacific announced they were selling the property to local developers. Undaunted, the Iron Mission Park Commission pressed forward and obtained land on the North end of Cedar City and continued to seek public support. The first Iron Mission SignDuring the early 1970’s the Iron Mission Park Commission realized that they would not be able to financially sustain the operation they had envisioned. The Commission turned to their friends in the Utah State Legislature and agreed to donate the artifacts obtained thus far to the state as the inaugural collection of the newly created Iron Mission State Park.

Utah Code Annotated, Title 63-11-54 authorized the State of Utah, through the Division of Parks and Recreation, to secure title to “the Gronway Parry Collection of horse-drawn vehicles, horses, harnesses, figures, costumes, and horse-drawn machinery of the pioneer era, the Melling [granary], and the Osborne Blacksmith Collection.”  Furthermore, Title 63-11-55 directs the Division of Parks and Recreation through the Frontier Homestead State Park to “Acquire, construct, maintain, and operate any land, objects or structures as necessary to preserve, protect, display and enhance these [collections] and other historical objects or collections that appropriately contribute to the pioneer heritage of Utah.”

Cedar City finally had their museum.Our first building.

Iron Mission State Park opened its doors on July 1, 1973. The temporary structure, located south of the current museum, held the Parry Wagon Collection and all the other artifacts acquired by the Iron Mission Park Commission.  The building proved smaller than anticipated and many of the objects had to be stored outside. In the winter months, the staff stayed warm by lighting a wood stove located in one of the cabins, as the main building had no heat. Soon, Utah State Parks, seeing the extreme need faced by the employees of the Park began to create architectural plans for not only a new museum building, but an entire living history village.

An early brochure promoting support for the park.