UTAH'S DIXIE HISTORICAL SITES
SONS OF THE UTAH PIONEER - COTTON MISSION CHAPTER
 

Q03 Grafton Ghost Town

       
       

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Where is it?

Drive through Hurricane and Laverkin, taking the road to Zions Park (Highway 9 right turn.)

Then go thru Virgin and onto Rockville. (The city limits of Rockville is about 35 miles.) Then drive another 1.7 miles. Look for a new cement driveway going onto "Bridge Street." Turn right, cross the bridge. Bear to the right and follow paved road to where it changes to a graveled road ( about one mile). Drive another 3/4 mile to an intersection of two roads and a sign that reads "NO OUTLET." Bear right and travel on into Grafton.

On the way back, look for the Grafton Cemetery

 

GPS DATA:  37' 10.600 North      113' 04.905 West   Elevation 3693

 

GRAFTON HISTORIC TOWN SITE

ROCKVILLE UTAH 84764

A FORMER RESIDENT OF GRAFTON SPEAKS

The Grafton School/Church building was built in 1886 by the dedicated people in this small town to meet their need for a school and church building and to use for social events. It shows what cooperation and togetherness can accomplish through donated labor and materials. I think it is symbolic in a larger sense of the faith, determination and perseverance of those who came and built. Integrity was basic to all of their dealings and action                        LuWayne Wood, August 5, 1995

Grafton at a Glance

Established 1859 Maximum Population: 220 people
First Named: Wheeler Generally Abandoned: 1930
Major Flood: December 1862
Last House built: 1912
Kane County Seat: 1864 - 1866
 Popular Hollywood Movie Venure 1929-1968

Grafton was one of several settlements along the Virgin River colonized under the direction of Brigham Young for the purpose of growing cotton on a commercial scale. Its history is a testament to the perseverance and industrious spirit of its early settlers. In 1859, Nathan Tenny and several other families from nearby Virgin selected a site south of the Virgin River - crops were planted, irrigation ditches were dug, homes and a school were built. Local tribes proved friendly and aided the early settlers in their farming and irrigation efforts. The small community grew as more settlers came south from Salt Lake City to settle the land.

In January of 1862 the settlement fell victim to the Virgin River whose raging water destroyed most of the infant town. A resident of Virgin wrote," The houses in old Grafton came floating down with the furniture, clothing and other property of the inhabitants, some of which was hauled out of the water, including tree barrels of molasses." The valley was changed by the ravages of the flood and the settlers were forced to find a new town site. They relocated about a mile farther up the river.

Their troubles were not over as each succeeding year brought further calamity. A great number of dams were built only to be washed away, sometimes two or three in a single year. With each flood, irrigation ditches were filled with sand requiring such continuous attention that one settler remarked, "making ditches at Grafton is like the household washing; itís a weekly chore!" Indian troubles, known locally as the "Black Hawk Wars" forced many residents to move from the area. Records from 1870 show only 38 hardy souls in Grafton.

Still, in spite of their many problems, the people were in good health and optimistic. The crops were doing fairly well, there were fruit trees and time for music and dancing. By 1886 Graftonís population had grown to

28 families with over 200 acres of irrigated land under cultivation. Hauling lumber from Trumbull Mountain and gathering clay from a pit west of town, they constructed the adobe church-schoolhouse which still stands today.

The town continued to thrive for several years. Grafton residents helped construct the canal that eventually brought water to the fertile Hurricane bench. In exchange for their labor, they received land in the new community of Hurricane. The town was slowly abandoned as families moved their houses - log by log- to their new home, high above the reach of the river. The last moved away around 1935.

Once the set for Hollywood movies such as Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, Child Bride of Short Creek and other movies, Grafton had been abandoned and neglected since the early 1970's. The Grafton Preservation Project is now proceeding to restore Grafton.


A HISTORY OF GRAFTON

Grafton Heritage Partnership Project

 


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