WASHINGTON COUNTY HISTORICAL SOCIETY (Washington County, Utah)
LOCATIONLocated in the area of the current Sun River community.
HISTORYIn 1877, William & Rachel moved their family and possessions from St. George to an uninhabited stretch of arable land on the east bank of the Virgin River, eight miles south of St. George and a little south of Bloomington. As they were the first ones there, the area became known as Atkinville.
They owned about 160 acres on which they built a large limestone home and cultivated the surrounding soil. Since their property was on a bench above the Virgin River, they dug a 1.5 mile long ditch from upstream and dammed the river with brush and other objects to divert water into the ditch and onto their land. They were also fortunate to have a flowing spring on the north end of their property. Eventually, the ditch and spring accumulated and created a shallow pond on the property that attracted a menagerie of waterfowl and animals to claim the pond as their own.
Most of the lumber for the structures in Atkinville, Bloomington, and Price came from Mount Trumbell in Arizona and was highly prized for both its strength and fine-grained appearance.
In its heyday, Atkinville was comprised of three limestone homes for Atkin family members. They had cellars, livestock corrals, hay and grain stack yards, a granary, and several pigpens and chicken coops.
During the winters, they cut ice and stored it in a cave for sale all year round.
They built a recreation area around a lake surrounded by cottonwood trees with areas for picnicking, swimming, boating, and fishing. It was a popular place among all the citizens of southwest Utah.
This area was remote enough that Pres. Wilford Woodruff used come come down to avoid U.S. Marshalls who were looking for polygamists. He could hide in the reeds around the lake and in a small room in the Atkin's home. He also enjoyed the good hunting and fishing there.
In 1906, a major flood nearly destroyed Atkinville. After the flood, buildings were dismantled and the lumber salvaged.
HISTORIC SUBJECTSWilliam & Rachel Atkin Home
REFERENCES"The Story of Atkinville: A One-family Village"
Book by Grace Atkin Woodbury and Angus Munn Woodbury
Salt Lake City: G.A. Woodbury, 1957
See the information page.
"From the Green Hills of England to the Red Hills of Dixie:
The Story of William and Rachel Thompson Atkin"
Book by Reid L. Neilson
with a Forward by Susan Easton Black
Atkin Family Historical Organization
Provo: Red Rock Publishing, 2000
See the information page.
OnlineUtah.com article about Atkinville
"Virgin Water: Below the Confluence"
by Richard Kohler
To view, click here
Southern Utah Memories: Ghost town of Atkinville once served as defacto headquarters for LDS Church,
by Loren R. Webb, May 24, 2013