Ellen Nellie Pucell Unthank statue


Ellen Nellie Pucell Unthank statue

Ellen (Nellie) Purcell was born November 6, 1846 in Tintwhistle, England. At 9 she, with her parents and sister Margaret (Maggie), 14, began the trek from Iowa to Salt Lake Valley in 1856 with the Edward Martin Handcart Company.

Early snows overtook the company, both Nellie’s parents died on the trail. Nellie’s feet were frozen.

On arrival in Salt Lake Valley, she was strapped to a board. No anesthetics were available. Both her legs were amputated just below the knee with a buthcher’s knife and carpenter’s saw.

For the rest of her life she moved about on the painful stubs of her legs.

At 24 in Cedar City she became the plural wife of William Unthank. His income was small.

Beginning as a wife in a one-room log house with a dirt floor, she kept her home spotless. Nellie took in washing, she knitted stockings to sell. She gave birth to 6 children. Her Bishop and Relief Society occasionally brought food to her family. To even the score, once a year she and her children cleaned the meeting house throughout.

Nellie died at 68 in Cedar City — A noble representative of the rank and file of Mormon Pioneers.

Top 100 Things to Do in Cedar City

Cedar Bowling Center
Cedar Bowling Center

We’ve started a list of the top 100 things to do in Cedar City. What activities or attractions would you add to the list? This list is alphabetized, not ranked in order.

  1. 5K’s
  2. Aquatic Center (Swimming)
  3. Arrests & Bookings (Just check them, don’t appear in them)
  4. Ashcroft Observatory
  5. Braithwaite Fine Arts Gallery (SUU)
  6. Cedar Bowling Center
  7. Cedar Canyon Half Marathon (September)
  8. Cedar Livestock & Heritage Festival
  9. Cedar Livestock Market
  10. Cedar Ridge Golf Course
  11. Cedar Valley Community Theatre
  12. Cemetery
  13. Centrum Arena (Basketball, Gymnastics)
  14. City Council Meetings
  15. Coal Creek Trail
  16. Cross Hollow Event Center (Equestrian, Rodeo)
  17. “C” Overlook
  18. “C” Trail (Biking, Walking)
  19. Eccles Coliseum (SUU Football)
  20. Farmer’s Markets
  21. Field at the Hills Softball Complex
  22. Fire Road Cycling
  23. Fitness Centers
  24. Frontier Homestead State Park (Iron Mission)
  25. Glacier Community Ice Rink (Hockey, Ice-skating)
  26. Groovefest
  27. Happy Factory
  28. Heritage Center (Concerts, Plays)
  29. High school sports
  30. In Jubilo Women’s Chorale
  31. July Jamboree
  32. Kite Flight
  33. Lake at the Hills (Fishing, Swimming)
  34. Library at the Park
  35. Little League Baseball Complex
  36. Main Street Mile (Pioneer Day)
  37. Master Singers
  38. Movies (Downtown, Fiddler, Stadium)
  39. Museum of Natural History (SUU)
  40. Nature Park (Entrance to Cedar Canyon)
  41. Neil Simon Festival
  42. Off the Cuff Comedy
  43. Orchestra of Southern Utah
  44. Parks (Canyon, Bicentennial, Main Street Park, Park Discovery)
  45. Restaurants
  46. Rock Church
  47. Shopping
  48. Skateboard Park (Exit 59)
  49. Storybook Cavalcade (Christmas Parade)
  50. SUU Indoor Track
  51. SUU Pickleball Courts
  52. SUU Racquetball Courts
  53. SUU Swimming Pool
  54. SUU Tennis Courts
  55. Utah Midsummer Renaissance Faire
  56. Utah Shakespeare Festival
  57. Utah Summer Games
  58. Veteran’s War Memorial


  1. Aspen Mirror Lake
  2. Brian Head Resort
  3. Bristlecone Pine Trail
  4. Bryce Canyon
  5. Cascade Falls
  6. Cedar Breaks National Monument
  7. Cedar Canyon
  8. Deer Haven
  9. Duck Creek
  10. Iron County Fair
  11. Kanarraville Falls
  12. Kids Pond
  13. Kolob Reservoir
  14. Mammoth Cave
  15. Navajo Lake
  16. New Castle Reservoir
  17. Panguitch Lake
  18. Parowan Gap Petroglyphs
  19. Red Cliffs
  20. Shooting Range
  21. Squaw Cave
  22. SUU Mountain Center (College Cabin)
  23. Three Peaks Modelport
  24. Three Peaks Recreation Area (Biking, Camping, Hiking)
  25. Woods Ranch
  26. Yankee Meadows
  27. Zion National Park


  1. Frisbee
  2. Paper Airplanes
  3. Photography
  4. Volunteer

Old Sorrel

Old Sorrel monument - Founding of SUU
Founding of SUU featuring Old Sorrel

The founding of SUU monument features the horse Old Sorrel and can be found next to the Centrum. It was dedicated in 1986.

IN THE ANNALS OF AMERICAN HIGHER EDUCATION, there is no more dramatic founding of a school than that accorded Southern Utah University, nor a more striking example of the extent of the commitment of Utah’s early pioneers to the cause of education.

The first State Legislature following Utah’s statehood authorized a branch of the state’s teacher training school to be located in Southern Utah, but the community so selected would have to first deed to the state 15 acres of land and construct on the site a college building to be designed by the architect.

When named as the site of the new school, Cedar City was a community of less than 1500 people, primarily of English, Welch and the Scottish descent. The community gave the state the title to academy, plans arrived for the new school building, Cedar City concluded that the construction of such a large building was beyond the town’s capacity. Instead, the University was housed in an existing building downtown and in September 1897 classroom activites began.

School had been in session for only two months, however, when Cedar City was thrown into its greatest crisis. The teacher’s payrolls submitted to the state for payment were refused by the Utah Attorney General who ruled that size of the downtown building did not comply with the law which required that the school have its own building on land deeded to the state for that purpose. Furthermore, it was ruled that if a building was not erected by the following September, the school would be lost. The immediate task, getting the teachers paid, was resolved by a bank loan secured by three Cedar City families who mortgaged their homes to guarantee payment.

The other task, getting the building erected on academy hill, proved extremely difficult. The cost of the building was equivalent to the town’s total business volume for an entire year and would require beating the mountain snows to construct the new building. A building committee was appointed to which Cedar City pledged all its public and private resources, the committee being forced to dip into both generously.

On January 5, 1898, a group of men, the first of a long line of townsmen to face the bitter winter weather of the mountains left Cedar City for a saw mill 35 miles away (near present day Brian Head). Their task was to cut logs necessary to supply the wood for the new building.

That expedition, and the others that followed, worked in temperatures that dropped as low as 40 degrees below zero. To protect their legs from the biting winds they tied gunny sacks about their waists and legs. The initial expedition, engulfed by a record snow storm, attempted to return to Cedar City and was forced to wade through snow drifts that sometimes were 15 feet high and 100 yards long. An old Sorrel horse, placed out at the vangard of the party, is credited with having saved the expedition by walking into the drifts, pushing and straining against the snow, throwing himself into the drifts again and again until they gave way. Then he would pause for a rest, sitting down on his haunches the way a dog does, then get up and start again. The mountain workers were divided into groups. Some cut logs, some were sawers, some planed logs into lumber, and others hauled the lumber from the mill. It took two and a half days to get a load of logs down from the mountain tops to Cedar City. When heavy snows kept provisions from reaching the working men, they subsisted on a diet of dried peaches.

From January through July they kept up their labors. The bricks for the building, over 250,000 of them, were made by a corps of people who remained in Cedar City, often putting in 12 to 14 hours a day on the project. To purchase building materials that could not be made locally, cash was needed. Some people donated their stock in the Cedar City Co-op store while others offered their stock in the cooperative cattle company. One family gave the siding off their barn, another gave the lumber they had purchased to build a kitchen on their home. Still others gave prize lumber that had been saved for coffins.

When September 1890 arrived, the building was completed. It contained a large chapel, a library, and reading room, a natural history museum, biological and physical laboratories, classrooms, and offices. It stands today at the end of the founders’ walkway, directly east of this monument. Its interior has been remodeled several times but the exterior walls are the original ones constructed in 1898. The first building was literally torn from icy crags and molded by the hands of more than 100 men and women.

The community of Cedar City had met its greatest test, and the University was given a heritage unmatched by any other educational institution in the United States. The preserving of the University was achieved by people who would never attend it, indeed some of them never had the opportunity of attending any school. They were hardy, rough-spoken, courageous men and women, people of the type without whom the frontiers of the west could never have been conquered.

Woods Ranch

Woods Ranch - Cedar Mountain
Woods Ranch

Just 12 miles east of Cedar City along scenic highway SR-14, is the recreation area known as Woods Ranch. The park is designed to be a high country haven for the Iron County residents and their friend’s to enjoy.

Situated in a lush aspen and pine forest, Woods Ranch is a great place to picnic, hike and fish. The trailhead for the 32 mile Virgin River Rim trail is located at Wood’s Ranch. Kid’s Pond, a popular fishing spot for the Southern Utah’s youth is located on the upper section of recreation area. Children 12 and under can fish for free as long as they are accompanied by an adult with a valid Utah fishing license.

Woods Ranch has picnic tables, fire rings, restroom facilities, and a volleyball court. Two covered pavilions are available for group gatherings. These pavilions need to be reserved in advance. Overnight camping is not permitted at Woods Ranch, however, the Cedar Canyon Campground is located nearby. Contact the Dixie National Forest for camping information at 435-865-3200.

Cedar City Half Marathon

Cedar City Half Marathon CanyonThe Cedar City Half Marathon run takes places each year in September. The next race will be Saturday, September 12th, 2015 at 7:00 am. The race starts at Woods Ranch, 11 miles up Cedar Canyon and ends at the main street park. This course is one of the nation’s fastest.  The full course has total road closure. The Cedar City Half Marathon is a perfect high-altitude trainer for those preparing for full marathons. There is also a 5K race in conjunction with the half marathon, hosted by Intermountain Health Care Valley View Medical Center.

At approximately mile five, the course begins to flatten out some and continues in a more gradual decent – winding its way along the banks of Coal Creek. At mile 10, after passing the Red Hill runners take a soft left turn off of US-14 across the footbridge to the Canyon Trail. A well-maintained, paved running and walking trail lined with willows and shaded by cottonwood trees. The trail continues through the Canyon Park area where runners are greeted by spectators who flank the grass-lined trail. Leaving Canyon Park, competitors transition back on to US-14 for just a moment as they turn right on to Highland Drive and through a neighborhood that sits at the base of the Red Hill. Making an easy left off of Highland the course winds around the Cedar Canyon baseball complex and past the Veterans Memorial Park. Runners then head south for a short stint, making their way to 200 S. then north on 100 East for a short downhill stretch past the historic Rock Church and Heritage Center Theatre to the finish line at Main Street Park. You will often hear your name announced to the crowd as you finish the race.

Packet pickup for the Cedar City Half Marathon & the IHC VVMC 5K races is scheduled for Friday before the race from 6:00 pm to 8:30 pm and on Saturday, the day of the race, from 5:30 am to 6:15 am. Packet pickup will be held at the Pavilion at the Main Street Park (200 N Main St, Cedar City).

Runners board buses beginning at 6:00 am. For any questions please call Cameron Christensen at 801-884-2332 or e-mail cameronc@cedarcity.org.



2014 Results

2013 Results

2012 Results

2011 Results

2010 Results

Ashcroft Observatory

The SUU Ashcroft Observatory is open to the public on Monday nights to view the constellations and learn about the galaxy. It opened in the early 1970’s. Five acres of land was donated by Arthur A. Armbrust for the site. It is located on Westview Drive on the top of the hill just south of the SUU farm.


Storybook Cavalcade

Storybook Cavalcade Christmas Parade - Gingerbread Man Balloon
Gingerbread man in the Storybook Cavalcade Christmas parade

The Storybook Cavalcade Christmas Parade takes place on Main Street (from 200 S and 400 N) each year and is a part of the American Children’s Christmas Festival. The parade includes floats, walking characters, large balloons, marching bands, cars and more. The Christmas parade will take place Saturday, November 8, 2014 at 2:00 pm. The Storybook Cavalcade is the largest parade of its kind in the intermountain west, drawing thousands of spectators each year from Cedar City and throughout the region.

Entries include:


  • Alex the lion from Madagascar
  • Belle (Disney)
  • Big Bird
  • Clowns
  • Donald Duck
  • Dora the Explorer
  • Incredible Hulk, The
  • Mickey Mouse & Minnie Mouse
  • Raggedy Ann & Andy
  • Snow White (Disney)
  • Strawberry Shortcake
  • Teletubbies
  • Tigger
  • Winnie the Pooh


  • Animal Fair, The
  • Beauty and the Beast
  • Billy Goat Gruff
  • Cinderella
  • King Arthur
  • Noah’s Ark
  • Nutcracker
  • Old Woman Who Lives in a Shoe
  • Peter Pan
  • Pinocchio
  • Santa Claus & Mrs. Claus
  • Snow White & the Seven Dwarfs
  • Tarzan
  • Three Little Pigs
  • Toy Story: Buzz Lightyear & Woody
  • Treasure Island
  • Wizard of Oz, The

Marching Bands

  • Bagpipe
  • Canyon View High School
  • Cedar High School

Walking Characters

  • Batman
  • Bees
  • Bert & Ernie from Sesame Street
  • Birds of a Feather
  • Dreamland
  • Elephant
  • Flash, The
  • Flowers
  • Giraffe
  • Hippo
  • Horse
  • Monkeys
  • Rabbit
  • Soldiers
  • SpongeBob SquarePants
  • Star Wars: Darth Vader & Storm Troopers
  • Stork
  • Toy Soldiers
  • Zebra

Historical Sites and Monuments

State of Henry Lunt - Cedar City
State of Henry Lunt

Chaffin Grist Mill
Deseret Iron Works
Ellen (Nellie) Pucell Unthank
First Cedar Encampment
Founding of SUU (Old Sorrel)
Francis Webster Statue
Frontier Homestead State Park
Helen Foster Snow Statue
Henry Lunt Statue
Old Brickyards
Old Main
Richard Harrison Statue
Rock Church
Veterans Park – War Memorial