Back in the 1920s, in order to help airmail pilots navigate across the county, a series of beacons were built by the Postal Service stretching from San Fransisco and Los Angeles to New York. Four of the concrete arrows that helped pilots navigate from LA to Salt Lake City are still in existence here in southern Utah.
This week’s Sunday Drive features the airmail arrow that formed the base of Beacon 37C, located on the ridge above Quail Creek Reservoir and behind the industrial area north of I-15’s Exit 18.
Originally, these concrete arrows each had 51-foot tall steel towers with one-million candlepower, rotating beacons standing atop them in order to allow night-time navigation. But when the arrows were decommissioned in the 1940s the steel was often recycled to be used in the war effort.
The Beacon 37C arrow overlooking Quail Creek can be reached without much of a hike but the road up to it is steep and rocky. High clearance and four-wheel drive is recommended.
It is just a short drive from the road however, and even without four-wheel drive can be reached with a moderate hike.
The turn off for the arrow is just past the last buildings in the industrial park where the Wal-Mart Distribution Center is located.
Even if there weren’t an amazing relic of aviation history located at the site, the views from Beacon 37C are worth the effort it takes to get there.
The other three arrows are located on the ridge overlooking the Virgin River and Bloomington just south of the Stephen Wade Auto Center, atop the Shinob Kibe mesa in Washington City, and just off the Black Ridge Exit on I-15. Visiting each requires serious four wheel-drive capabilities or a hike of some degree or another.
For more information on the arrow and GPS coordinates to find Beacon 37C and the other arrows exact locations, visit the Washington County Historical Societies website at wchsutah.org/aviation/navigation-arrows.php
You can also learn more about the arrows that still exist across the United States and their history at https://www.dreamsmithphotos.com/arrow/index.html