Ghost Town, Grafton, Utah
October 1, 2014
The church/school building and the home of Alonzo Russell are two of the perhaps 1/2 dozen buildings that are still standing in the ghost town of Grafton, UT. These two buildings are in the process of being restored to their original condition of the mid to late 1800s. We were so lucky to have encountered a retired gentleman there who was an architect and a member of the perservation board for the Grafton township. He opened the gates and gave us and a young German couple access to the site, and he allowed us to go into the church and the home. The church/school is complete in it's renovation, and the home's exterior is done, but the interior restoration is in progress. He was most interesting & gave us a great history of the town and it's inhabitants.
The interior of the two-story home (unrestored) was fascinating to me. The stairway was square and had two landings (turns) and the upstairs had 2 rooms. The doorway between the two upstairs rooms was not very tall, and Bill (at 6' 4") had to stoop to step through.
The buildings still standing in tree-lined fields near the Virgin River just south of Zion National Park are fascinating. Nearby there is a well-preserved cemetery with many graves dating from the 1860s.
Grafton was established in 1859, to provide a settlement for people to grow cotton on the fertile plains next to the Virgin River. By 1864 there was 168 people living in Grafton.
Frequent floods and Indian attacks caused problems for early pioneers, but some persisted and the town became quite successful, lasting until the 1930s when most of the residents moved away to better land. The last resident left in 1945.
Although the danger from the Indians persisted during the town's growth period and beyond, the town did develop friends of a few American Indians. These beloved allies lived amongst the settlers and fought with them against Indian attacks. In the small cemetary nearby, there are approximately 10 graves of Native Americans that were friends of the settlers. One was called Cedar Pete and another Wiley (son of Poinkum and Mary).
The church/schoolhouse was built in 1886, and home in the background was built in 1862. The site of the old town is quite atmospheric and authentic, with peaceful surroundings and the high, colorful cliffs of the national park that provide a dramatic backdrop to the north.
"The past is a ghost, the future a dream, and all we ever have is now." ~ Bill Cosby
Have a restorative day today my friends!