By Craig Bennett
Iron County Today
PAROWAN–The city of Parowan is celebrating its 167th birthday on January 12 and 13. Parowan was the first settlement of Southern Utah. Settlers first arrived on January 13, 1851 just 12 months after Parley P. Pratt and members of his exploring party discovered the Little Salt Lake Valley and nearby deposits of iron ore.
The 167th birthday party theme will be “The Pioneer Spirit Perseveres.” The celebration starts on Friday, January 12 with songs and dances by Parowan High School and Parowan Elementary School students at the Parowan High School Gymnasium at 9:30 a.m.
Parowan Elementary School principal Kevin Porter said, “It’s just a neat event; it has been going on for years and years. Residents, patrons, the elderly and others attend.”
Jet Smith, Parowan City Events Coordinator, said, “The Grand March, which is led by the Mayor, Citizen of the Year and all of the school age children in Parowan is an amazing experience to see. All of them form a chain. They are talented and well behaved. The Grand March is held right after the school program.”
A luncheon follows the celebration in the High School Auxiliary Gym at 11 a.m. The Town Meeting will be at the High School Auditorium at noon with President David Hamilton of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints as the guest speaker.
The citizen of the year award will also be presented to Mary Hanley. She was chosen for going above and beyond in volunteering her time, help and energy in Parowan, and also in the spirit and love of the community. In speaking with Iron County Today, Mary stated, “I am honored to receive the Citizen of the Year award. I believe that volunteering in the community is very important”.
The birthday bash will be topped off with the annual Parowan Ball to be held on Saturday, January 13 from 7 until 10 p.m. The ball features a Floor Show at 8 p.m. and music from the band, “Muddy Boots.” Refreshments will also be served. The Ball will be held at Iron County Fair Building and is free for everyone. Family, friends and neighbors are invited.
On January 8, 1850, Pratt raised a liberty pole at Heap’s Springs and dedicated the site as “The City of Little Salt Lake.” Based on Pratt’s exploration report, Brigham Young called for the establishment of settlements in the area to produce much-needed iron ore implements for the pioneer state. Called the “Mother Town of Southern Utah,” original homes and business buildings still line the downtown area of the community. A visit will take you on trip back through time.
Parowan is also the gateway from I-15 to some of the most spectacular scenic attractions along with state and national parks.