Iron was needed to help the early settlers of Utah become self-sufficient but the initial efforts of the early settlers in Cedar City to produce iron were plagued with problems.
In 1868, a second attempt was made to produce iron and a new town was established closer to the mine site.
According to the 1870 census, there were 19 families and 97 people living in Old Irontown. At its peak the settlement included a schoolhouse, foundry, boarding house, general store, butcher shop and a post office.
Unfortunately, the arrival of the railroad in Salt Lake made the cost of shipping iron from the east cheaper that driving it up from Cedar City in wagons. And by 1876 iron production in Old Irontown had ceased. The town was completely abandoned by the end of the 1880s, making it the first ghost town in the state.
Today, ruins still remain, induing a beehive-shaped charcoal kiln. The site is managed by the Frontier Homestead State Park Museum. There’s a short trail that leads to a number of the historic ruins and picnic pavilion as well.
To get there, head east on state Route 56 out of Cedar City. Look for a sign for the site after about 23 miles. You’ll turn left and reach the site after about another three miles.
For more information visit frontierhomestead.org.
You can also read more on St. George News here.
Each week we post a new Sunday Drive to all of our social media channels. Follow us on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter to get the latest suggestions on where you can go in southern Utah to experience our beautiful scenery, or learn about local history, or even just enjoy an amazing drive.