Why Make St. George, Utah Your Home?
St. George, Utah is a special community. Among lists of best places to live it consistently ranks top ten. Population growth rate and economic expansion are among the highest in the nation. Here’s why:
Location, Location, Location
St. George is the population and commercial center of Utah’s Dixie, a nickname given to the area when Mormon pioneers grew cotton in the warm climate. St. George’s trademark is its geology — red bluffs make up the northern part of the city with two peaks covered in lava rock in the city’s center. St. George enjoys a highly strategic placement just 90 minutes north of Las Vegas and four hours south of the Salt Lake metroplex along Interstate 15. At 1.6 million residents and the Country’s most robust growth for a major city, Las Vegas is St. George’s nearest metropolitan area. For business, this means that St. George, as an emerging market, has easy access to major services, affordable transportation, and most importantly, people. With over 17 million visits to “Color Country” annually, St. George is the center of tourism for the area, utilizing I-15 and the Las Vegas airport to bring in visitors from all parts of the world. The 10-hour drive population exceeds 50 million people. Surprisingly, the retail trade area for Washington County is over 225,000 people due to the number of smaller towns and rural areas most easily serviced here.
Originally settled by pioneers in the mid 1800’s, St. George has a rich heritage and strong sense of community. Nestled in the red rock with the Virgin and Santa Clara rivers running through town, its vistas are unsurpassed. Small town charm abounds and its 300+ sunny days per year attract an unusual number of special events including the St. George Marathon and World Senior Games. Four-year accredited Dixie State College has enrollment of over 7,500. Building a business in Washington County is greatly facilitated by a solid and highly ethical workforce. Expanding firms will find the quality of the community essential in worker recruitment and retention.
St. George sits in the middle of the greatest outdoor recreation area in the United States. Drive two hours in any direction from St. George and you will find such attractions as: The Grand Canyon, Zion and Bryce National Parks, Lake Mead, Lake Powell and over 40 more national and state parks, recreation areas, monuments, and points of interest. Highly acclaimed stage productions are found at Tuacahn Outdoor Amphitheater and the annual Utah Shakespearean Festival in Cedar City. World-Class skiing, snowboarding, golf, hiking, biking, hunting, fishing, and sightseeing await within minutes. Again, better quality of life for workers means healthier companies.
Double-digit growth for 30 years indicates that St. George is on the map to stay, indeed, the St. George Metropolitan Area ranks first in growth in the country (Source: U.S. Census Bureau 2004). Retail sales greater than other Utah communities four times our size mean that tourists are spending here and that residents have disposable income – both seeking goods and services (Washington County has only 4/1Oths of 1 % of Utah population but accounts for 3.5% of retail sales). Solid increases in domestic vacation travel since September 11 and the 2002 Winter Olympic Games have greatly increased awareness of the Utah business community as well. Utah Governor Mike Leavitt summed it up best at the 2003 Economic Summit by saying “Washington County is the bright spot of Utah’s economy.”
In any business decision, timing plays an important role. An examination of St. George, Utah clearly shows a community with a robust economy, poised for continued major growth. For many businesses, premium second-tier markets like St. George will offer superlative opportunity; lower costs, less competition, better quality of life, and the chance to be “first in.”
A Brief History Of St. George, Utah
Before St. George Was
The earliest inhabitants of the St. George area where the Virgin River Anasazi, as far back as 200B.C., who lived in small seasonal pueblo groups and cultivated corn. The remnants of their dwellings can still be found along with rock art. More recently the Pauite Tribe lived in the area arriving between 1100 and 1200 A.D. The Pauites were both hunters and farmers, using the area to hunt for deer and small game and to farm corn, wheat and melons, among other crops, along the banks of the Virgin River. It wasn’t until 1776 that the first European-Americans, the Dominguez-Escalante Party, are noted as having visiting the area.
How St. George Got It’s Name
Founded in 1861 and incorporated in 1862, St. George was named for the Mormon apostle George A. Smith, who was not actually there to help settle the town but did assist in selecting the families who were sent there. He also became known as the “Potato Saint” because he strongly encouraged early settlers to eat unpeeled, raw potatoes to combat scurvy.
Pressed by the looming Civil War, the original idea in settling St. George, and nearby Washington City, was to produce cotton, if at all possible, as they expected cotton would soon be in short supply. Not long after the town was settled, a cotton mill was constructed and was operated sporadically for 50 years yet failed to prosper. In their endeavor to build their economy they produced silk as early as 1874, which also failed to be productive enough. Others ventured into producing molasses, wine and even dried fruit.
St. George LDS Tabernacle
Construction began on the St. George LDS Tabernacle in 1871, it quickly became a cooperative project bringing many Southern Utah communities together. Finished only four years later, in 1875, the temple was the first to be built west of the Mississippi River. Later, April 7, 1877, the temple was dedicated by the Mormon apostle Daniel H. Wells. Though the temple has been through major renovations in the 1930s and 1970s, it retains its place as being the longest continuous operating Mormon temple in the world.
St. George Today
Located in the Southwestern corner of modern-day Utah, near Arizona and Nevada, St. George is a lively city of 90,000 (170,000 metro). It has become a popular recreation destination for its access to several National Parks and other attractions of the Greater Zion area. St. George has also caught the attention of retirees with the family-oriented community, warm climate and beautiful surroundings attractive, not to mention several world-class golfing opportunities.