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History of Cedar City, UT

About Cedar City

Cedar City is a city located in Iron County in southwestern Utah. This city is famous for being home to the University of Southern Utah, the regional airport, and the US Dixie National Forest. Cedar City is the 29th largest city in the state.

Cedar City History

Prehistoric people lived in the Cedar City region, as shown by rock art discovered in Parowan Gap to the north and Fremont sites dated between A.D. 1000 and 1300. In 1776, ancestors of today's Southern Paiutes encountered the Dominguez–Escalante expedition in this region. Fifty years later, in 1826, mountain man and fur trader Jedediah Smith traversed the region in search of a route connecting Utah and California.

Cedar City was founded in late 1851 by Mormon pioneers from Parowan, Utah, who were ordered to establish ironworks. The location, known as "Fort Cedar" or "Cedar City," was equidistant between large iron riches 10 miles (16 kilometers) west and coal resources 10 miles (16 kilometers) east up Cedar Canyon. However, it was called for the plentiful local trees (which are actually junipers instead of cedar).

On November 11, 1851, two companies of soldiers headed by Henry Lunt arrived at the fort site amid a snowstorm, marking that date the formal establishment.

At Brigham Young's suggestion, a new location was created in 1855, closer to the ironworks and out of the floodplain of Coal Creek. A furnace ran for three years, beginning in September 1852, generating around 25 tons of pig iron from iron ore resources in the Iron Mountain District.

On February 18, 1868, Cedar City was incorporated. Since the late 1980s, the community has been a part of the fast expansion that has characterized most of southern Utah. The Cedar City Utah Temple was dedicated in 2017.