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grafton ghost town history

History of Grafton Ghost Town

The history of Grafton Ghost Town dates back to the mid-1800s when it was settled by Mormon pioneers.​ In 1859, five families established the town with the goal of growing cotton.​ However, the town faced multiple challenges, including flooding from the Virgin River.​ The unpredictable floods destroyed crops and led to the abandonment of the town multiple times over the years.​

Despite its challenges, Grafton Ghost Town still holds the preserved memory of its former inhabitants.​ They were hardworking and faithful individuals who cultivated the land in difficult conditions.​ As you explore the ghost town today, you can still find original buildings and relics that serve as a testament to the town’s history.​

Settlement by Mormon Pioneers

The Grafton Ghost Town was settled by Mormon pioneers in 1859.​ It was established as part of a cotton-growing project ordered by Brigham Young, the leader of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.​ Initially named Wheeler, the small settlement was founded by five families from Virgin, Utah.​ However, their first attempt was short-lived as a devastating flood in January 1862 destroyed the town.

Undeterred, the pioneers moved about a mile upstream and rebuilt the settlement, which they named New Grafton after Grafton, Massachusetts.​ Over the years, more families joined the community, and it grew to include around 28 families and 168 people in total.​ The settlers worked hard to cultivate the land and faced numerous challenges, including unpredictable flooding from the nearby Virgin River.​

Despite the difficulties, Grafton thrived for several decades, with notable structures like the adobe schoolhouse being built in 1886.​ However, by the early 1900s, the town’s population began to decline, and many families left in search of better opportunities elsewhere.​ The last resident moved out in 1945, officially transforming Grafton into a ghost town.​

Today, Grafton Ghost Town stands as a testament to the perseverance and determination of the Mormon pioneers who settled there, and it offers visitors a glimpse into the hardships and triumphs of early pioneer life in Utah.

Flooding and Abandonment

Flooding proved to be a significant challenge for Grafton Ghost Town. The town was located near the Virgin River, which experienced unpredictable floods.​ These floods repeatedly destroyed the crops and infrastructure of the town, leading to its abandonment multiple times over the years.​

The devastating floods eventually took a toll on the settlers, and they grew weary of rebuilding their lives in Grafton.​ By the early 1900s, the once-thriving town was almost completely abandoned, with only a few families sticking around for several more decades.​

Today, as you explore the remnants of Grafton Ghost Town, you can still see the impact of the flooding.​ The town’s history of battling with the temperamental Virgin River is an integral part of its story, and it adds to the haunting allure of this ghost town.​

Film Location and Current Status

Grafton Ghost Town has also gained recognition as a film location. In 1946, the town was purchased by movie producer Harry Sherman, and since then, it has served as a backdrop for many Western movies and TV shows.​ The scenic beauty and well-preserved buildings of Grafton Ghost Town make it a popular choice for filmmakers looking to capture the essence of the Old West.​

Currently, Grafton Ghost Town stands as a historic site, attracting visitors who are interested in exploring its past.​ While the town was officially abandoned in 1945٫ a few original structures still remain٫ including the schoolhouse٫ Russel Home٫ Grafton Cemetery٫ and smaller townhomes. These remnants give visitors a glimpse into the lives and struggles of the former inhabitants who once called Grafton home.​

Historic Features of Grafton Ghost Town

Grafton Ghost Town is known for preserving the memory of its former inhabitants and offers a glimpse into the past.​ The town contains original buildings and relics that have been partly restored.​ Some of the notable structures include the adobe schoolhouse, which was built in 1886 and served as a school, church, and meeting place.​ Other buildings and remnants of iron equipment can also be found, providing a fascinating look at the town’s history and the lives of its inhabitants.​

Original Buildings and Relics

Grafton Ghost Town is home to several original buildings and relics that give visitors a glimpse into the past.​ One notable structure is the adobe schoolhouse, built in 1886٫ which served as both a school and a meeting place for the community.​ It stands as a reminder of the town’s commitment to education and community gathering.​

Other preserved buildings include the Russel Home and smaller townhomes, providing insight into the architecture and lifestyle of the former residents.​ These buildings showcase the ingenuity and resourcefulness of the pioneers who built them in challenging conditions.​

In addition to the buildings, various relics can be found within the ghost town. Pieces of iron equipment, tools, and other remnants from daily life offer a tangible connection to the past.​ Exploring the relics allows visitors to imagine what life was like for the inhabitants of Grafton Ghost Town.​

As you wander through the town, take a moment to appreciate these original buildings and relics, which serve as a window into Grafton’s history and the resilience of the people who once called it home.​