On our last full day near Zion National Park we decided to hunt down the ghost town of Grafton, Utah and also take the dogs to a park in Springdale for a picnic and play time.
We drove to Rockville, then followed the signs on a gravel road to the former town of Grafton. Grafton was settled by mormon pioneers, and in 1864 a church census recorded 168 people living in the town.
1866 was a very hard year along the Virgin River, as depicted in the above death listing in the nearby cemetery. One particularly poignant notation was on February 15 when best friends 14-year-old Loretta Russell and 13-year-old Elizabeth Woodbury were killed when the swing they were playing on broke.
They were buried together in the cemetery. The old marker is difficult to read, but a modern one has been maintained just behind it:
Here is Loretta Russell's father, Alonzo's grave stone, plus its modern counterpart:
Here is the grave stone for Nancy Russell, Loretta's mother:
Here is the home that Alonzo, his wife Nancy, and daughter Loretta lived in when they were alive.
It has been restored on the outside, but is still rough and unrestored inside.
As we peered through the windows, I wondered which room was Loretta's?? I assume it probably was upstairs and out of view.
Here's a link to a more interesting view of this same house, as it appeared before restoration during the scenes from the movie Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid which were filmed here:
Paul Newman & Katherine Ross in bicycle scene
Here are two pretty views from the restored front porch:
If you are old enough to remember this movie, Paul Newman rode Katherine Ross on the handlebars of a bicycle in the vacant space in front of the church/school building and the adjacent Russell home.
Other movies that were filmed in Grafton include In Old Arizona (1929), (the first talkie filmed outdoors), The Arizona Kid (1930), Ramrod (1947), Child Bride of Short Creek (1981), The Red Fury (1984).
We peered into the windows of the schoolhouse/church. It appears to have been restored inside. The restorations and cemetery upkeep are through the Grafton Heritage Partnership Project, a group formed by descendants of the town. If you are interested in more information, here is the Grafton Heritage Partnership Project Website.
There are two additional abandoned home sites in the village, the Louisa Russell home (above) and the John Wood home (below):
After touring the town, we drove the short distance to the town cemetery. In addition to the stones already photographed, inside the fenced area are the graves of Robert, Isabella, and Joseph Berry, the family killed by Indians in 1866 (see death listing above).
Several of the grave stones include this emblem denoting them as mormon pioneers:
The hand cart depicts how many of the Mormon pioneers headed west pulling their belongings in a hand cart as opposed to the covered wagons usually associated with westward expansion.
In addition to the early Mormons buried in the Grafton cemetery are several Southern Paiute Indian graves, including one with an interesting more recent marker:
After our interesting side trip to Grafton and its cemetery, we headed back into Springdale to a small city park with an off-leash dog area. We had passed by this small park many times on our drives to and from Zion National Park, and always noticed the "Earth Mother" statue along the road:
We pulled in and headed for the bridge over the river to the unleashed dog area on the other side.
Bandido had a great time fetching sticks in the river, and Tequila enjoyed sniffing for lizards.
We let them off leash for a bit, but Tequila decided to head back for the bridge without us. I managed to catch her just as she exited the bridge back into the park side. From now on, she will only be allowed off leash in a totally fenced area. Mommy was not amused at that little burst of freedom.
After a quick picnic under a shady tree next to the river, we headed home for wine-thirty on the patio.
I can't stay mad at Tequila for long -- Here she is in the pet photo of the day helping Roger write the previous "Angels Cherub Landing" blog. She sure is a cuddly sweetheart! If you missed that blog post, you really should read on -- it was quite an adventure!