Meet our new Foundation Chair: Mike Scott

The Frontier Homestead Museum Foundation recently elected a new chair, Mike Scott. Maureen Carlson, one of our interpretive staff, recently sat down with him.

Q - Tell me a little bit about yourself.

A - Well, let’s see, I am an engineer by trade. I had a company in Southern California, sold it, [then] moved to initially Parowan to help to raise and train horses. In California, my partner and I showed Clydesdales; we started with one and ended up with ten. I was looking for something to do, then I was invited to come to Utah and I’ve been here ever since, and that would’ve been in about 2002. So I’ve been in either Parowan or Cedar City since 2002.

Q - How have you liked it here?

A - I love it! We’re both retired and we’ve had discussions about ‘if we wanted to live anyplace in the nation, where would you go?’ and I said, ‘I love it here. We have four seasons.’ As a Southern California boy, I still oggle at the snow! And my partner, she’s from Minnesota and she’s going ‘Oh god, it’s snowing again…’ and I’m going ‘No, no! This is so cool!’

Q - What brought you here?

A - In Parowan here, initially it was Percherons, and maybe you remember the place, Mountain View Ranch? (Yes.) That’s who I worked for. That came about because Grant Cox used to show in Southern California and we were fellow competitors at horse shows. So then the opportunity came and he said, ‘Why don’t you come to Utah and work my horses?’ We disbanded our operation. It was a 24/7 job, you do not get a break at all. There’s only so many years of that you can take.

Q - What is it that is special to you about the Frontier Homestead?

A - Well I initially started as a volunteer and I came and saw that some of the harnesses on the horses were incorrect. So I asked if I could fix it. Then they steered me down to the wagon barn where there was extra leather, and I came up here and put some stuff together correctly as to how it should be. I just kind of paid attention to, you know, that’s the way we did it with horses and said, well if we’re showing it that way, then I gotta make it right, show it right.

Q - What are you goals for the Foundation during your tenure?

A - Obviously number one is to finish the new building that’s been started out back near the Hunter House. The real plus about that is that it will enable us to obtain a couple more collections that people want to donate that we have no room for. There will probably be even three new collections that we’ll be able to house in that building. And also, it will give us the opportunity to move some of the carriages that are in the museum now out there for special events when we want to use the main building here in the museum, and that’s an intent in the future, is to be able to move things out so that we could have a big gala event here inside the museum. That’s one of the main intents of the building, additional collections and storage.

Q - How does the Foundation work with the park?

A - The Foundation actually has a Board of Trustees which I’m the chairman of and they are community members and some legislative members: Senator Vickers from Utah Legislature, Councilman Rowley from Cedar City, and we’re now looking to get an appointment from the Iron County Commission,(Councilman Mike Bleak has agreed to fill this position) plus interested volunteers. We just get together and come up with ideas for fundraisers or local support and once we raise money, decide how we’re going to spend it. And we kind of have a “hit list” of one, two, three, four of things we want to do and it’s well, what could we do immediately, what’s going to take a few years, what kind of money are we talking about, those kinds of things.

Q - How can people get more involved with the park?

A - We have a volunteer network and it’s basically just contacting the park. There’s a number of people that come into do volunteer work throughout the week, whether it be the lady weavers just kind of showing and they’re able to use the facility, and some fellows come in and help with restoration projects and/or other little special projects - carpentry kind of things and/or whatever. Just contact the museum, there’s a little form to fill out and become a volunteer helper.

Q - Is it spread mainly by word of mouth by people who work here or have volunteered here before?

A - Yeah, and Friends of the Museum group publishes a quarterly newsletter and seek volunteers through that. And then again through the printed press that we’re fortunate to be able to get from either the Spectrum or Iron County Today; we can get little blurbs in once in awhile in some of the articles that say, you know, if you’d like to come and help. And then the other word of mouth is, and I also coordinate Eagle Scout projects for here and we’ve had a number of them.

Q - I heard that the Hay Derrick out front here was an Eagle Scout project?

A - Correct. We talked about building one and the Eagle Scout that was actually in charge of it actually found one in Enoch and the land owner was gracious enough to donate it to us. So his group disassembled it and brought it to the park and put it back together, so he didn’t have to build one and the fellow that donated it got a little recognition. And you know, the front of the museum has changed significantly over the years, if you can remember, that it was just kind of grass and bushes and you never really knew that the building was here [because] it was kind of hidden. And now we have these large implements out front to draw attention to it.

Q - What is your fondest memory of Frontier Homestead State Park?

A - Probably when we do Christmas at the Homestead that week in December. Every evening where we [have] singers, carolers, a couple of vendors, but it’s, you know, the hot chocolate and all the rest of the little goodies, little bonfires going everywhere, and it’s just kind of neat all around. It’s really a family event. It’s set up in such a way that you could come every night because there’s different singers, different musical groups.


Q - Is that similar with the Folk Festival too, bringing in local artists?

A - They can come from Salt Lake or Las Vegas, some of the artists. The Folk Festival this year is basically local talent and music talent and artists pretty much local, maybe 75% local. And it’s not store goods, it’s handmade stuff and that was one of our requirements for our artists, that when they submit, we have to see pictures of them actually in their studios or their workplaces making whatever it is that they sell to show. There’s a tremendous amount of talent in this area.

If you are interested in joining the Frontier Homestead Foundation Friends group, you can learn more by clicking here.  Membership includes free admission to the park, including special events, discounts in the gift shop, and much more.

Military Appreciation Day at Frontier Homestead

In an effort to honor and recognize the significant contributions of our military members, Utah State Parks announces Military Appreciation Day Saturday, August 15. Day-use entrance fees into all Utah state parks will be waived for active service members and veterans and their families. All 42 state parks will offer special activities or displays as way to pay tribute and say thank you. Boom!

Come celebrate our courageous military personnel with your family, friends and community at Frontier Homestead on Saturday August 15, 2015. Frontier Homestead will present a number of military themed activities for young and old alike, including firing our cannon on every half hour between 10am and 3pm. Visitors will step back in time and live life as a frontier soldier. Activities include learning close order drills, writing letters with ink and quill, learning to communicate with signal flags and secret codes, playing frontier games, and more. Visitors will also have access to all our hands-on historical activity stations. Admission to the park is $5.00 per family or free for active service members and veterans and their families and Friends of the Frontier Homestead members. The activities will run from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

At our Military Appreciation Day there is sure to be something to make you think, smile, or laugh so come join us. Spend some time learning about your family by playing with your family. For more information about Frontier Homestead or Military Appreciation Day call us at 435-586-9290, visit our facebook page, or our website Frontier Homestead is located at 635 North Main in Cedar City.

Writing home with an ink and quill

Practicing semaphore. Translation: FUN

FHSP History Part IV: Visuals

As we conclude our look into Frontier Homestead’s past, we thought it would be interesting to highlight some of the former site plans used to shape the direction of the park. 1960's

THE 1960’S

Having lost the rights to acquire the Depot property, the Iron Mission Park Commission moved forward with site plans for the Coal Creek location. They developed a series of fundraising brochures and sponsored a number of community fundraisers in an effort to fully realize their dream of a museum. The initial plans called for a “Hall of Transportation and Agriculture, to house the Gronway Parry Collection, a Relic Hall for the Daughters of the Pioneers and other private collections, a reproduction of the old Iron Foundry, and other buildings necessary to the comfort and convenience of visitors.”


THE 1970’S

With the establishment of Iron Mission State Park in 1973 and ongoing funding secured, designers with Utah State Parks began to develop an extensive site plan. Beginning with a welcome center on the south (near the existing Iron County Visitors Center) the design called for a sunken road that connected a carriage gallery (the site of the current museum) various log cabins and barns, and garden plots and orchard groves. Horse-drawn wagons would be available to move people through the park. This design would move Iron Mission from a static collection of artifacts to a vibrant living history village.


THE 1990’S

By 1998, with the construction of the present museum and wagon barn and the development of the south property by Iron County for a new visitor’s center, a new site plan was needed. The State of Utah, in partnership with museum consulting firms and landscape architects created a new Master Plan. The design revised the exterior of the park and significantly changed the back grounds by creating architectural and natural features surrounded by paved walkways. A group use area was added and exterior exhibits were included in contextual displays. This document guided the Park staff until it was replaced in 2012 with a new interpretive plan. Now that you have seen our past, come visit us and help shape our future.

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.

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.

letters 2 letters

Happy Birthday Frontier Homestead!

July is our birthday month and we are celebrating 42 years of collecting, preserving and interpreting the past of Iron County. We thought it appropriate to share our story over the next few weeks. In 1962, the history department at the College of Southern Utah, now Southern Utah University, sponsored a workshop in conjunction with the college’s Founder’s Day celebrations. Representatives from all the local historical groups and civic clubs in town were invited. One of four projects discussed was the creation of a community museum.  In 1966, Dr. George Strebel of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints Institute of Religion was selected to head a committee that would further study the museum issue.

The results of the Strebel museum committee led to the creation of the Iron Mission Park Commission. This group of civic and community minded individuals researched possible collections, developed plans, and actively sought funding for a museum in Cedar City. Their efforts resulted in the acquisition of the Gronway Parry horse-drawn vehicle collection which would become the cornerstone of what is now named – Frontier Homestead State Park.

Gronway Parry’s hobby of collecting and restoring horse –drawn vehicles began as early as 1911. During the 1930’s Gronway began to actively restore and display his wagons and coaches. He later stated that: “An era was dying and its relics should be preserved.” He bought or made his own tools and his wife Afton sewed the upholstery. His collection quickly became nationally known and many of his pieces were used in motion pictures. Gronway felt strongly that his collection remain whole and in Cedar City. In 1968 he sold everything to the Iron Mission Park Commission for half its value. He considered the rest a gift to the people of Cedar City.

The Iron Mission Park Commission diligently strove to not only acquire the Parry wagons, but other donations as well including the Melling log cabin, the Osborn blacksmith tools, Native American artifacts collected by William L. Palmer, and the Alva Matheson gun collection. Community and LDS church leaders rallied support for the project.  A.E. Whatcott wrote:

“We are pleased to learn that plans are moving ahead for the acquisition of the Gronway Parry horse-drawn vehicle and farm implement collection. Also to learn of plans to house this valuable Southern Utah pioneer memorabilia. As you now launch this campaign to enlist the support of the citizens of Iron County and Southern Utah may we add our hearty endorsement and best wishes as well as to pledge our personal support. We shall further be happy to encourage the members of the Cedar Stake of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to support this vital and worthwhile project.”



By A. E. Whatcott, President

Our first two historic structures, The Melling Granary and the Wood Cabin.With community support increasing, choosing a location would prove to be the next challenge. More on that next time.


One, Two , Three... Cheese

Just in time for summer, we have set up some new photo opportunities. While pictures can be taken anywhere in the museum or on the grounds outside, these opportunities give visitors a chance to remember more than the scenery.  We currently have seven photo ops: the winter exhibit, the ever popular stagecoach, the jail cell, the school house, the Hunter House, the You-Load wagon, and the mine cart. The winter exhibit, school house, and jail provide costumes to dress up and get in the mood.   Greeners winterphoto op dunce  


In the Hunter House the scene is set for an old fashioned family portrait. Remember: don’t smile.

hh photo op 1greeners hunter 2

The stagecoach, mine cart and You-Load wagon offer opportunities to climb in, hold on, and have fun. We have already had a few people share their pictures on Instagram with our hashtag, #frontierhomestead. kids stagecoach 2While pictures may not take you back in time to live like the pioneers, they can ensure that the memories made will endure for a lifetime.

Featured Artist: Clayton Rippey

Clayton Rippey at work in his studio. Aside from our regularly exhibited artifact collection, Frontier Homestead State Park Museum has a rotating special exhibit gallery that is used by artists and artisans of many disciplines to showcase, highlight, and sell their work. Through June 27 we are pleased to feature the work of watercolor artist Clayton Rippey. Exhibited works feature an extensive collection of watercolors highlighting desert scenes, water images and long-standing buildings.

A Rippey nautical scene.

Rippey was born in Oregon, but settled in California following WWII.  After graduating from Stanford University, he was offered a teaching position at Bakersfield High School.  Rippey eventually taught art at Bakersfield College where he retired in 1980.  Collections of Rippey’s art are located not only in the U.S., but around the globe – in Mexico, various European countries, and Japan.

Topping 90 years of age, Rippey continues to broaden his art into more areas and more themes, exploring new colors, textures and shapes in his work. The recipient of numerous awards and honors, Rippey has participated in abundant group and solo shows, beginning in 1949 and continuing to the present.  “If, through my observance of, and wonder at, the dynamics of life, some small part of it filters down through my brush and on to the canvass, I am happy,” Rippey commented.

“Our Museum is honored to be graced with the work of such an accomplished artist,” says Todd Prince, Park Manager.  “Clayton has an incredible body of work and we are delighted to be able to share it with our visitors.”

A Clayton Rippey forest.

Through Labor Day, Frontier Homestead is now open seven days a week, from 9am to 6pm. Don’t let the opportunity to see this amazing artistic collection pass you by. Remember, the exhibit closes June 27.

Next Time: Bottles

A Clayton Rippey landscape.

Archaeology Month is here!


May is Archaeology and Historic Preservation month in Utah, and Frontier Homestead, along with Southern Utah University, Project Archaeology, the Bureau of Land Management, and the U.S. Forest service have teamed up to provide a slate of activities that all ages can enjoy.

The fun begins on Saturday, May 2 from 10am to 3pm, with the fourth annual Archeology Day at Frontier Homestead. Learn how to throw an Atl-Atl, build an ancient dwelling, and make your own rock art and rope. Boy Scouts will be able to earn their Indian Lore merit badge. Bring some stuff from home and “Ask and Archaeologist” to give you some insight into your family treasures. Park entrance fee is $1.50 per person or $5.00 per family.  We will also be offering a guided tour of Parowan Gap led by BLM archaeologist Jamie Palmer. The tour leaves at 9am from Frontier Homestead and will return in time to enjoy the activities at the museum. Carpool or drive yourself, the choice is yours.

Building a Wikiup for the Indian Lore merit badge.

On Monday, May 4 from 6-8pm the SUU archeology repository will be open for tours. This is a rare opportunity to see artifacts from a variety of archeological sites around southern Utah. Curator Barbara Frank will be offering these tours every half hour.

Old Iron Town is next tour stop during this month long celebration of the past. Museum staff member Stephen Olsen will be leading this tour. Olsen is full of knowledge and lore about this often overlooked site in Iron County. The tour leaves at 10am from Frontier Homestead. Bring water and sunscreen.  Once again, you can carpool or drive.

Wednesday, May 27 from 6-8pm, Frontier Homestead hosts the final event of the month. Come and mix and mingle as you look around the museum and then stay for the presentation by David Maxwell, Director of Geosciences at SUU, who will be talking about ancient rock symbols on the Arizona Strip.

For more specific information and directions, please give us a call at (435) 586-9290.


Next Time: Exploring the new Native Heritage Exhibit

Top 5 Reasons to Volunteer at Frontier Homestead State Park

#5: It's good for you. Volunteering at Frontier Homestead State Park provides physical and mental rewards. It:

  • Reduces stress: Experts report that when you focus on something other than yourself, it interrupts usual tension-producing patterns.
  • Makes you healthier: Moods and emotions, like the optimism and joy you will feel when you are on the grounds of Frontier Homestead will strengthen your immune system.

Museum volunteer working our rope station.

#4: It saves resources.

Volunteering provides valuable service so more money can be spent on Park improvements.

  • The estimated value of a volunteer's time = $15.39 per hour.
  • Volunteering at FHSP = Priceless

#3: It brings people together.

As a volunteer you assist with special events that bring the community together:

    • Sheep to Shawl
    • Archaeology Day
    • Iron Mission Days
    • Christmas at the Homestead
    • School Groups

Volunteer teaching spinning.

 #2: You learn a lot.

You will learn traditional living skills and fun activities such as:

    • Candle Dipping
    • Spinning and Weaving
    • Rope making
    • Making adobe brick
    • Cow roping
    • Printing press
    • Throwing the Atl Atl
    • Panning for Gold

#1: You will make a difference.

According to Frontier Homestead State Park Manager Todd Prince, “With limited paid staff, our volunteers are integral to the success of the Park.  Our volunteers make it possible to host major community events such as Iron Mission Days and Christmas at the Homestead.  They also work closely with staff to provide outreach programs to area schools, and deliver living history experiences to our visitors. The modest benefits of volunteering at the Park are enhanced by the satisfaction one receives of making a difference in the quality of people's lives.”

To learn more, please call us at (435) 586-9290

We also have opportunities for tour guides.