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- COLORADO RIVER (Utah) Part 1 -

   LINKS to other pages in this site and to other sites in the Travelling Days series:

Utah Home Page:      Arches National Park:      Canyonlands:
Monument Valley:      Salt Lake City and the Salt Lake:  
Colorado River Part 2:      Canyonlands:      Utah Miscellany:      
Travelling Days Home Page:      America West Home Page:      Guest Book:
Colin Day's List-O-Links:
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'THE NAME, MOAB, is a Biblical name for a land just short of the Promised Land. The Moabites were historically regarded as the perpetual enemy of the Israelites -God's Chosen People. Physically, the region was a green, verdant valley in the middle of a serious desert; an emerald in the sand, so to speak. Because of those similarities, our little town was dubbed Moab by Mormon settlers in the 1800's.' (Moab tourism website)

The following story of Moab has been compiled from a number of sources. A history of Moab written by Margaret S Bearnson for a Utah Government website has been most helpful. Due acknowledgement is given to Ms Bearnson and the Utah Government for the quotation of some of her material below. The full text of Margaret Bearnson's article may be found here.
   Moab, the county seat of Grand County, is located in the Colorado Plateau and close to the Colorado River. Native Americans had occupied the locality over a long period and used a nearby river crossing.
   In 1765 Juan Maria Antonio de Rivera reached the area during an exploratory expedition from New Mexico but it was not until the opening of the Spanish Trail between Santa Fe in New Mexico and Los Angeles in California in 1830 that the river crossing became increasingly significant. In April 1855 the Mormons arrived in the area to establish the Elk Mountain Mission. Later that year, after Indian attacks destroyed their crops and left three men dead, they returned to Sanpete Valley.
   The first permanent settlers arrived in 1878 and the town's name, Moab, was adopted in 1880. A ferry across the Colorado River was in operation by 1885 but it was not until 1912 that the first bridge across the Colorado was completed. By that time Moab had developed as one of Utah's finest fruit-growing areas. Uranium was also extracted from near Moab at that time and 1911 saw the first attempt to drill a commercial oil well between Thompson and Moab.
   In the words of Margaret Bearnson: 'Oil promised to enrich the Moab economy during the 1920s, but it was not until 1957 when three oil-producing fields were opened near Moab that something of an oil boom hit the area, a boom that lasted into the 1960s. The uranium boom of the early 1950s brought in scores of prospectors, miners, workers, and speculators, increasing the population of Moab from 1,275 in 1950 to 4,682 in 1960. During the boom, the nation's second largest uranium processing mill was completed just outside Moab in 1956, employing more than two hundred workers.
   'As the demand for uranium began to decrease in the early 1960s, potash became the most recent boom industry to hit Moab. A modern potash plant was built in 1963 and a railroad spur line completed from the Denver and Rio Grande Western Railroad at Crescent Junction to the Texas Gulf Sulphur Company mill outside Moab.
   'As early as 1906 the Grand Valley Times began promoting the tourism possibilities of the area, and in 1909 the Moab Commercial Club was organized to advertise the scenic attractions and recreational advantages of the Moab region.
   'A significant boost to tourism came with the designation of Arches National Monument in 1929; however, the Great Depression and World War II brought few visitors to the Moab area. After World War II the river-running craze began slowly in the 1950s, gained momentum in the 1960s, and became a staple of the region's tourist industry by the early 1970s.
   'The establishment in 1964 of Canyonlands National Park, for which Moab serves as the northern gateway, was another milepost along the way to Moab's becoming an important tourist and recreation destination. During the 1980s Moab, with its hundreds of miles of slickrock trails, gained worldwide fame as a mountain-biking center.'

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As the advertisement indicates - John Wayne stayed here - so did John Ford and Henry Fonda !
And, no, this page not an advertising site for the motel !

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The Colorado River north-east of Highway 191.

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The Arches National Park as seen from the Colorado River several miles from Highway 191.



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