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    Bordered on the west by Nevada and the south by Arizona, Southern Utah has a rich pioneer, Native American, and geologic history.
Washington County
In 1852, Washington County was established in territorial Utah. Previously the Paiute Indians were the only inhabitants. Before the Paiutes, the Anasazi Nation inhabited the area from as early as 200 BC and disappeared around 1200 AD. Evidence of Anasazi artwork can be found throughout the area.
Between 1852 and 1862, several small settlements were established
as “Church Missions,” by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (LDS or Mormons). The missions were designated as the Cotton Mission: Washington/St. George, Wine Mission: Santa Clara/ Ivins, Pinto Mission: Virgin/Springdale, and the Iron Mission: Cedar City area. Today the cotton,
silk, and wine industries are gone, yet Washington County is one of the nation’s fastest growing
St. George
   Nestled in majestic red rock bluffs, St. George was settled by Mormon pioneers in 1861 and now has a population of approximately 80,000 people. During the civil war it was nearly impossible to obtain cotton from the southern states, thus in 1861 the LDS prophet Brigham Young sent 309 families to the St. George area to grow cotton and other products conducive to the warm climate and a 200 day a year growing season.
Although the area was called the “Cotton Mission,” it soon became known as “Dixie” because many of its early inhabitants were from southern states and
grew cotton.
A very industrious people, pioneers also produced dried fruit, molasses, pecans, and silk. Mulberry trees were planted to feed the silk worms, and
in colder months, women and children even carried the worms in their pockets to keep them warm!
Today—as the hub of Southern Utah—St. George is ranked in several publications as the top retirement location in the nation. With its warm climate, access to several National and State Parks, golf courses, excellent
education, varied cultural opportunities, and annual events like the St. George Marathon and Huntsman Senior Games—St. George appeals to an active and
diverse population. Washington City
Washington City was the birthplace of the Cotton Mission and the first town established in the Virgin basin. Mormon settlers arrived in 1857 and were the forerunners of “Utah’s Dixie.” Situated south of the Virgin River, the first several years were very lean as they struggled with lack of water and then repeated flooding, up until the Washington Field Dam was built in 1891. The cotton factory was built in 1865, which contributed greatly to their eventual success. Today Washington City is thriving with new growth and a steady influx of retirees who enjoy the beautiful landscape, mild winters, warm climate, and friendly people.
         Snow Canyon
       Utah State Historical Society
Utah State Historical Society
Washington City Cotton Mill

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