Parowan’s “Mother Town” nickname comes from being the original southern Utah settlement that spurred the colonization of the west, including places like Cedar City, St George, and Las Vegas. Every corner of Parowan has a story to tell from the fully restored pioneer homes, to the Heritage Park, Old Rock Church to the pastoral Meeks Pond; all perfectly preserved for you and future generations to enjoy.
Exploring Parowan, you’ll observe that the residents hold tight to their pioneer roots of faith, family and love of country and celebrate them whenever the occasion presents itself. Kids from elementary to high school age perform traditional pioneer dances at the town’s Birthday celebration and Labor Day weekend means the big city families come home for the annual Iron County Fair. Cradling you with a hometown sense of pride and tradition, Parowan is straight out of a Norman Rockwell painting. With her beautiful tree lined streets, an old fashioned Main Street and a noticeable lack of traffic lights (no need), Parowan is a sweet slice of Americana.
Parowan is surrounded by some of Southern Utah’s most spectacular scenery and is the year round gateway to Brian Head Resort, Yankee Meadow and Cedar Breaks National Monument, while also offering a variety of outdoor recreation facilities to satisfy many outdoor enthusiasts including an equestrian center, racetrack, rodeo arena, plus several parks and an urban fishery.
It is impossible to say just when the settlement of Parowan actually began. Undoubtedly it was settled centuries ago by Native American Tribes as evidenced by the many sites containing petroglyphs in the area.
The settlement that exists here today is traceable and well documented. In 1847, Brigham Young and his followers entered the Salt Lake valley, and almost immediately, scouting parties were sent to find places to relocate the masses of people coming across the plains. In 1849 Parley P. Pratt, a Mormon Apostle, was sent to the south. He camped at Parowan and erected a flag pole which still stands there today. He found water, game, and plenty of room to grow the crops necessary to sustain a settlement.
On January 13, 1851 a settlement party led by Apostle George A. Smith settled Parowan. What was first called “The City of the Little Salt Lake” was renamed Parowan, a Native American word meaning “evil water.” The unusual name originates from a local Paiute legend. According to the legend told to William Palmer, one day the tribe was camped along the banks of the Little Salt Lake grinding corn for their meal. A wind storm crossed the lake causing a large water monster to arise from the lake. The waters rushed far onto the shore allowing the monster to grab one of the maidens and carry her back into the lake where she was never seen again.
Must See & Do
National Scenic Byway U-143
Like the pieces of a quilt, the “Patchwork Parkway” weaves through the spectacular and diverse landscapes of the Markagunt Plateau.
Parowan Gap Petroglyphs
Wind, water and sand carved out this natural passageway that was once used as a major thoroughfare by ancient Native Americans. The different cultures are evident by the hundreds of petroglyphs carved into the Parowan Gap. Researchers have identified solar and lunar calendars, plus hunting and cultural glyphs. The sun, moon and planets rise and set in specific notches in that Gap as indicated by petroglyphs. Location from Parowan Main Street travel west on 400 North for 10. 5 miles to the Gap.
Parowan has over 40 preserved historic homes, buildings and heritage sites all within an easy walk of each other.
Parowan Old Rock Church
The oldest church building in southern Utah currently used as the home of the Daughters of the Utah Pioneers Museum. The museum is a history center for decedents of the early settlers andfeatures one of the largest collections of pioneer photographs and artifacts in southern Utah. The adjacent Jesse N. Smith Home is also interesting to explore while visiting Parowan. Located in Parowan Town Square (100 South and Main Street).
Dr Meeks Pioneer Farmstead and Urban Fishery
The homestead is being restored as a working pioneer farmstead by local heritage groups and agriculture students. Guided tours of the cabin, barn and outdoor learning center are available. The urban fishery is open to the public and Utah fishing regulations apply. The Farmstead is open year-round and is located at the corner of 100 North 400 West in Parowan.