August 26, 2013

Visitors Information for St. George, Utah

Visitors Information for St. George, Utah is readily available at the front desk of Best Western Coral Hills or at the St. George Chamber of Commerce located two doors away.

FREE maps of the Downtown, Historic District are available at either location.

The Chamber of Commerce/Visitors Center is open Monday through Friday from 9:00 am till 5:00 pm.

Old County Courthouse in St. George, Utah. Courtesy Calvin Beale

Visitors Information inside the Old County Courthouse in St. George, Utah. Courtesy Calvin Beale

On interesting bits of history regarding the courthouse:

Legend has it that the domed cupola on the Pioneer Courthouse in St. George was designed specifically for hangings, although it never was used for that gruesome purpose.

But that’s not to say the county never had a hanging.¬†

Douglas Alder, a past president of the Washington County Historical Society and Dixie State University, said that in about 1875, a miner working north of St. George in Silver Reef was accused of killing a fellow miner. The alleged killer was arrested and jailed in the basement of the courthouse. But he wasn’t there long. Shortly after he was put in the jail, a group of the murder victim’s friends descended on the courthouse, broke out the prisoner and hung him from a nearby tree.

A common case that was heard within the walls of its upstairs courtroom in the late 19th century was theft charges against ranchers and farmers accused of releasing irrigation water too early, Alder said. Today, visitors to the historic building can watch a re-enactment of a water theft trial.

“We always find them guilty,” said Alder.

Alder tells another story about Will Brooks, a county sheriff in the early 19th century who was responsible for feeding the inmates. Alder said Brooks sometimes ignored jail procedure and took the prisoners home with him for a meal.

The basement jail space is now used for storage, while the Chamber of Commerce occupies the main floor. The former courtroom on the top floor is now used for lectures.