Glorious Utah, the ghosts of Grafton
On the way back to where we were staying in Hurricane, we diverted off the main road to see the ghost town of Grafton.
The town was first established in 1859 when Brigham Young ordered a number of Mormons to build a site for growing cotton by the Virgin River. This town of Wheeler only lasted until 1862 when it was flooded, relocated 1 mile upstream and renamed Grafton. The cotton production never really thrived as the settlers realised they needed all the land to grow food. By 1864, 168 people lived in the town. But in 1866 raiding attacks by Navajos during the Black Hawk War, forced the families to relocate to Rockville, as they were so isolated.
They returned in 1868 but life was hard and the Virgin River proved a fickle servant, frequently flooding. In 1886 the schoolhouse was built, this was also used as a church and community centre.
An irrigation canal was built in Hurricane in 1906. This irrigated a 20mile patch and many families left Grafton to take advantage of an easier life. By 1920 there were only 3 families left and the last residents moved out in 1944. No plumbing or electricity services had ever been brought into the town.
It is supposed to be one of the most photographed ghost towns in the West, but when we were there one person came in with their dog, for only a few minutes. The buildings have been conserved by the Grafton Heritage Partnership Project. Only a few houses and the church remain. The cemetery is a little out of the town, up the dirt road. It was established in 1862 but many of the headstones are missing. Three of the occupants were killed by the Navajos in 1866 as they were travelling on the road near Grafton.
We stopped on a back road on our way out and I took a couple of photos as the sun went down. These quiet little places are so beautiful.
|John Wood Home|
|Alonzo Russell House, the last home to be occupied|