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WASHINGTON COUNTY HISTORICAL SOCIETY     (Washington County, Utah)

GUNLOCK, UTAH

LOCATION

Gunlock, Utah 84733

Elevation 3,658 feet (1,115 meters)

37° 17' 10" North Latitude,   113° 45' 48" West Longitude
37.28611° North Latitude,   113.76333° West Longitude


HISTORY

Gunlock is an unincorporated town in Washington County.

William Hayne Hamblin (nicknamed Will, Bill, and Gunlock; a brother of Jacob Hamblin) settled there and built a cabin in 1857. He was soon joined by his two brothers-in-law, Dudley and Jeremiah Leavitt and also Isaac Riddle.

On a visit, George A. Smith named the place Gunlock in honor of its first settler.

On Christmas day in 1861, it started to rain almost constantly for the next 30 days. Santa Clara Creek flooded and the budding community was forced to move north to the "Black Ridge" where the current town is located (the early settlement was located where the Gunlock fields are, south of the current town).

Gunlock was on the "Old California Road" or "Santa Fe Trail" so the town got frequent visitors and was able to carry on trade as people passed through.

Unlike many Utah towns, Gunlock was not laid out in blocks. Instead, it consisted of houses on each side of the main street. In 1880, the original "cow trail" through town was straightened and cottonwood trees were planted for a mile on each side of the street.

Mail service to Gunlock began in July of 1883. Prior to that time, they received mail only occasionally from St. George or Hebron. Solenda Huntsman, wife of Joseph S. Huntsman became the first postmistress with Hyrum E. Jones as the first mail carrier. Later postmasters included Elizabeth Vaughan Hunt, James S. P. Bowler, Josepth L. Bowler, and Olive Holt.

In June of 1877, the Gunlock Branch of the Santa Clara Ward was organized. The Gunlock Ward was organized on February 16, 1879.

In April of 1877, William E. Jones, his wife, and five children moved to Gunlock from Hebron. On June 26, the first school in Gunlock was started with William E. Jones as teacher and 27 students. The following January, school again opened with 13 pupils. Later teachers included Henry Chaffin and Mathew Tollet. This first school was held in a dugout back of what is now the Moroni Bowler home.

In 1880, work began on a new adobe school house and by 1881, although it wasn't finished, school was held there. Church was also held in that building.

In 1912, a new church and school building was erected.

In 1926, it was decided to build a two-room adobe school building just north of the 1912 church and school. It was funded by the town, church, and county with the understanding the classrooms would be used for both school and church classes. Chester Kemp of St. George was the contractor. It was ready for use by January 1927.

Starting in 1942, the roads had been improved to the point where 7th and 8th grade students could be bussed to St. George. Eventually, high school students were also taught in St. George. In 1958, the school was closed and all students were bussed to St. George.

In 1913, the people of Gunlock and their neighbors in the surrounding areas felt a need for a telephone system. They formed a company, later know as the "People's Progressive Telephone and Telegraph Company". It put up telephone lines that served the areas from Moapa to Enterprise, including Moapa, Bunkerville, Mesquite, Santa Clara, Gunlock, Enterprise, New Castle, Pine Valley, Central, and Veyo. They eventually included some lines into St. George. The telephone system was eventually taken over by Mountain Bell. Telephone booths were provided on the streets. By 1960, everyone in town had a telephone but they were on 8-party lines through the 1960s and 1970s.

In 1934, the water ditch through town was replaced with a pipeline to bring clean water from a spring about a mile above the town. By 1960, this water system needed improvement. In July of 1962, a new well was drilled and connected to the water system and meters were installed. A spring 5 miles above town was improved, new piping was installed, and a new head house with equipment was installed.

Gunlock received cable TV in 1955 brought in by McKay Larson.

The roads around Gunlock had been gradually improved over the years. They were oiled for the first time in 1960.


HISTORIC SITES

Gunlock Homes

Gunlock CCC Camp
Gunlock Cemetery
Gunlock Church & School - Original
Gunlock Church & School - Old
Gunlock Church - New
Gunlock Dam
Gunlock Fire Station
Gunlock Irrigation Company
Gunlock Post Office
Gunlock Reservoir
Gunlock State Park
Gunlock Town Hall
People's Progressive Telephone and Telegraph Company


PHOTOS

WCHS photos:
WCHS-01219   Photo of Gunlock looking north
WCHS-01220   Photo of Gunlock
WCHS-03278   Photo of the town of Gunlock, Utah


REFERENCES

Wikipedia article about Gunlock

OnlineUtah.com article about Gunlock

Washington County Chapter, Daughters of the Utah Pioneers, " Under Dixie Sun".
1950 with 1978 Supplement.
Pages 219-232, Supplement Pages 13-14.

"Old Warriors Stand in Testament of Time"
By Helen Gardener
The Daily Spectrum, 2/2/1990
This is an article about three barnes in Gunlock.

"Gunlock Graveyards Tell a Story"
By Helen Gardener
The Daily Spectrum: Lifestyle, 1/3/1990, Page 6
This is an article about the three graveyards in Gunlock.

"A Tale About Gunlock (with Tongue in Cheek)"
By Helen Gardener
Unpublished

"An Ancient History"
By Helen Gardener
Unpublished
An article about Indian petroglyphs along the Santa Clara River.