The Train Is Pulling Out!
You have probably seen the signs around town, or seen postings on social media, heard the radio commercials or even read about it in other articles here. But in case you've missed it, Cedar City is celebrating 100 years since the railroad first came to town in June of 1923.
The Railroad Centennial Celebration will kick off on today, June 19th with historical marker dedications, and will last all week with daily events. The celebration concludes on Saturday, June 24th with a Party-in-the-Park and a professional re-enactment of President Warren G. Harding’s speech he gave after arriving in Cedar City by train.
Cedar City Councilman Scott Phillips and Brooke Twitchell, Events Director for Cedar City joined us on the radio show this morning and talked enthusiastically about the events scheduled for this week.
“We've got a whole week of activities for this railroad centennial celebration. And starting today we're going to be having three historic building in Cedar City designated with bronze markers telling the story of the Utah Parks Company and the railroad,” Phillips told us. Those buildings are the Town and Country location by Sizzler, what is now the Cedar Post Pawn Shop and the building now serving as the headquarters fro Decorworx and Rainbow Sign and Banner.
Those three building figures prominently in the operation of the railroad in Cedar. The Cedar Post building was the old commissary building where supplies were stored and distributed to the various lodges and facilities of the Utah Parks Company. The Decorworx buliding served as the bus depot where busses were stored and serviced and where passengers arriving by train went to get transportation to the nearby parks.
Twitchell told us, “we have so much going on. We have something for everybody all week long I would say.” Starting today the trackless train will be operating through Cedar City. In looking at the schedule, some people seeing the event listed from 2PM to 8PM concluded it was a six hour train trip and some had told Brooke they wouldn't have time for that long of a ride. She explained that those were only the hours of operation for the train, and that rides would start approximately every 20 minutes at the Cedar Post Pawn building.
The Events Director also told us, “on Wednesday night...at the Froniter Homestead State Park we're going to have a big celebration, a family night. There's going to lots of fun games and activities for the families. We'll be doing some bingo...” Twitchell also told us she had purchased the prizes that will be given away and that “they're good.”
Thursday will feature the Sing Away Social. This is to commemorate and re-create action that was done by employees of the Utah Parks Company. The employees would gather as the busses were departing to the various park locations and sing to the passengers wishing them a safe and happy journey to the parks.
On Saturday, Twitchell told us, “I'm super excited about this – 'cause were just going to have a big party in the park!” The party will go from 11AM to 6PM and at 5PM they are going to do the reenactment of President Warren G. Harding arriving in Cedar City. Saturday night will also have a free swim at the Cedar City Aquatic Center followed by a dance featuring live music at the Centennial Stage at the Main Street Park.
The Historic Preservation Commission and the centennial planning committee have planned a great week says Twitchell calling the planners “the best committee and some many people have been willing to jump in and volunteer their time and hard work that has made this whole week possible.
This once-in-a-lifetime event will highlight the great impact the railroad made 100 years ago when visitors began arriving in Cedar City for tourism, agriculture, livestock, mining, and manufacturing with Phillips saying, “it changed forever the whole agriculture, mining, commerce and certainly tourism industry. It set up the modern mechanism used to get people to and from the parks and provide Cedar City's gateway (to the parks).”
This week long celebration is really designed to bring fun and engaging activities to all of our community members. You can get a detailed list of events by clicking on cedarcity.org/ccrr
I've been reading a lot of information lately from those who envision the day when there will be passenger rail service from Boise, Idaho to Los Angeles, California. Who knows? By celebrating our past, we may also be getting a glimpse in to the future of Cedar City.
You can listen to our entire visit with Scott Phillips and Brooke Twitchell below.