Early Pioneer History
In 1851, a group of Mormon pioneers led by Isaac Haight and Erastus Snow arrived in Cedar City and began the process of founding a community. The settlement was named Fort Cedar after the abundance of cedar trees in the area. The fort quickly became an important way station for travelers on the Old Spanish Trail and later, the Pony Express. As the town grew, it became an important center for education and religion. The LDS Church established a seminary in 1892 and Southern Utah University was founded in 1897. Cedar City's early pioneers laid the foundation for a vibrant and prosperous city that has continued to grow over the past 160 years. The pioneer history of Cedar City is still evident today in its architecture, community events, and culture.
Cedar City in the Twentieth Century
By the early twentieth century, Cedar City had become a thriving farming and ranching center. The discovery of uranium in nearby Iron County in the 1950s further boosted the local economy and helped to modernize the city. In recent years, Cedar City has become increasingly popular with tourists as its location is close to many of Utah's national parks and recreational areas. The city is also home to the Utah Shakespeare Festival, a summer theater festival that has been running since 1962 and continues to attract thousands of visitors each year.