Santa Clara Logo

WASHINGTON COUNTY HISTORICAL SOCIETY     (Washington County, Utah)

SANTA CLARA, UTAH

Jacob Hamblin and some other Indian missionaries came down the Santa Clara area in 1854 and established a fort in 1855. They were sent by the LDS President Brigham Young to teach and work with the native Paiute Indians. Slowly, families from Fort Harmony and San Bernardino settled the area. In 1861, a contingent of Swiss Mormons were sent down to establish a colony. They cultivated the land and it became the fruit and vegetable garden for Washington County.


LOCATION

TBD


HISTORY

In 1854 Santa Clara was started and was the headquarters of the "Indian Mission." Jacob Hamblin was the leader of the group.

The "Cotton Mission and Settlement" period was one of expectation for the continued viability of Santa Clara and surrounding communities. After visiting the region in 1861, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints'(LDS) President Brigham Young called several hundred families to settle in the area to assist with the production of cotton which was found to grow well in the warm region. A large percentage of these families were Swiss converts to the LDS Church who had recently emigrated to the state and had a knowledge of raising grapes, another plant found to grow well in the area, for the production of wine for the sacrament and for sale. The Swiss immigrants settled in the area which would become the present-day community of Santa Clara. Just weeks after the their arrival a long period of rain struck the region causing extensive flooding which destroyed the fort and original settlement. The earlier English speaking settlers then moved into the area occupied by Swiss immigrants which incited minor cultural clashes that took years to resolve. Cotton production, which was the impetus for settling the region, declined for various reasons in the following decades until it was almost nonexistent by the turn of the century. But the warm climate was found to be ideal for raising fruit, and fruit production became the main occupation of the residents of Santa Clara. In fact the raising and selling of fruit would remain Santa Clara's chief resource for more than the next half century.

The "Early Twentieth-Century Development" period saw little change from the previous period in Santa Clara. Fruit production was the chief occupation and source of income for the residents. The population grew but at a very slow pace. Because of its remoteness and climate, few people were attracted to Santa Clara as a place to live. But families expanded enough to require a larger replacement for the meeting house and the construction of a new school in the early part of the century. The fruit industry expanded greatly as means of transporting the produce improved. Trucks were purchased by some shippers to sell the fruit in out of state markets. Although the railroad never made it to the region, a major highway, the "Arrowhead Trail" was constructed right through Santa Clara in the 1920s. This brought many travelers to the area who bought fruit in the city at roadside stands. With the highway also came increased tourism which brought more business to the area, although mainly to St. George, the largest settlement in the region. Santa Clara thrived on the fruit industry until the lnterstate-15 project bypassed the area in the 1970s.

Year      
1880
1890
1900
1910
1920
1930
1940
1950
1960
1970
1980
1990
2000
2010
Population
      194
      202
      358
      390
      305
      249
      283
      319
      291
      271
    1091
    2322
    4630
    7260


HISTORIC SITES

Santa Clara Homes

Samuel R. Knight Santa Clara History Museum
Santa Clara Heritage Square

Santa Clara First Church
Santa Clara Second Church
Santa Clara Third Church
Santa Clara Relief Society House

Santa Clara Adobe School
Santa Clara School
Santa Clara Elementary School
Arrowhead Elementary School

Santa Clara CCC Camp
Santa Clara Checking Station
Santa Clara City Cemetery


PHOTOS

Photos on the web:
1935 photo of Shivwits at the Presbyterian Church in Santa Clara with a house at right
1936 photo of a guy working a car
1936 photo of Tillahash's son washing hands in front of tar-papered lumber home in Santa Clara
1936 photo of the United States Indian Agent's home in Santa Clara
1936 photo of a Shivwits home in Santa Clara
1936 photo of the Graman home in Santa Clara
Photo of Edward Rice's home in Santa Clara (probably 1936)
1936 photo of the Santa Clara Indian Agency in Santa Clara
1936 photo of the Indian School in Santa Clara
5/20/1920 photo of the Shivwits Indian Agency and School
11/29/1918 photo of the Shivwits Indian School
5/20/1920 photo of Sally Rice Snow standing in front of the Presbyterian chapel in the Village of Shem of the Shivwits Agency in Santa Clara
1935 photo of George McFee, Marie McFee, and their two children in Santa Clara
1935 photo of Edward Rice and family with John Seaman in Santa Clara
1935 photo of John Seaman in Santa Clara
1936 photo of Brig George in Santa Clara
1936 photo of Brig George in Santa Clara
1935 photo of Margaret George and baby in Santa Clara
1936 photo of Brig George in Santa Clara
1936 photo of Brig George in Santa Clara
1936 photo of Captain George in Santa Clara
1936 photo of Annie Seaman hiding from camera in Santa Clara
1936 photo of Tappie George, Brig George's wife in Santa Clara
1935 photo of Nanukooie, Smokey's mother, in Santa Clara
1935 photo of Marie McFee, Madaline Snow, and babies in Santa Clara
Photo of Shebit Indian School
Photo of a dinner party in Snow Canyon near Santa Clara
1911 photo of H.W. Stucki of Santa Clara, a junior at ACU
October 1940 photo of Santa Clara
October 1940 photo of Street scene in Santa Clara
October 1940 photo of a school in Santa Clara
September 1940 photo of the main dam for irrigation water in Santa Clara


REFERENCES

Santa Clara official website

Santa Clara Utah Historical Society

Santa Clara Utah Historical Society Museum

Wikipedia article about Santa Clara

A history of Santa Clara

History of Santa Clara, Utah: a Blossom in the Desert
Compiled and edited by Joyce Wittwer Whittaker
Published by the Santa Clara Historical Society, 2003.

Under Dixie Sun
Washington County Chapter, Daughters of the Utah Pioneers
1950 with 1978 Supplement.
Pages 145-176, Supplement Pages 40-44.