Remembering the Founding of Southern Utah’s Pine Valley

August is a good time to look back and remember the founding of Southern Utah’s Pine Valley. It started with a lost cow in 1855 when William Haynes and Isaac Riddle were herding cattle from their winter range to their summer range in Washington County, UT. As Riddle tried to track the cow up creek into the higher areas, he came upon an amazing scene spread before him.

What Isaac Riddle found was the brilliant morning sun rays washing over the Forsyth Canyon cliffs at Gardner Peak. Riddle even went on to say that the sight before him was the most beautiful he had ever seen on God’s green earth; a sight of huge pine trees that grow down the canyon to its floor of carpeted waving grass. And, of course he found the cow crazing peacefully in the meadow.

It was the fall of 1855 when Riddle and others began to settle down in the valley now called Pine Valley, which he named after the western pines that grow on the surrounding mountains. And, along with the many settlers of the Mormon faith, a new church was built from local granite, red limestone, and the best pine trees in the valley.

The church was built by many; however, the famous Ebenezer Bryce from Scotland was the only one with carpenter experience. The Mormon Church was finally complete in 1868. Pine Valley Church is a landmark in Utah today and can be found at 52 West Main at Grass Valley Street in Pine Valley, UT. It’s the oldest church used on a regular basis by the Latter Day Saints. And, it’s one of the many landmarks that grace the area of Southern Utah.

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