Scenic USA - Utah

Grafton Town Cemetery

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Grafton Town Cemetery - Rockville, Utah

Photos by Scott Dommin
Scott's PBase Gallery

     Hanging on against Indian attacks, epidemics, isolation and a raging Virgin River, Grafton's town history reveals a constant struggle to stay alive. Completely washed away by floodwaters in 1862, the town was rebuilt further upstream, only to be deserted in 1866 after a Native American uprising known as the Black Hawk War. Showing a strong will, determination and perseverance, Grafton families had returned by 1868.
     First established as a Mormon cotton farm, Grafton resident quickly discovered the harsh realities of a wild Virgin River. Along with its seasonal flooding, silt continually filled their irrigation ditches. At its peak, 28 families resided at Grafton. Families lived in log houses, enjoying the benefits of a post office, church, school and community hall. The schoolhouse, standing on a foundation of lava rocks, was built of hand-made adobe bricks. Settlers completed the roof structure with lumber cut from the hills on Mount Trumbull nearly 75 miles away. Grafton Schoolhouse The Grafton Cemetery, pictured here, is located on high ground off on a side road leading into Grafton. More than the line of headstones indicates, the cemetery is thought to contain 80 gravesite. Along with Grafton residents, the cemetery also includes the graves of Native Paiute.
     Said to be one of the most photographed ghost towns in the West, the town's buildings are a mix of original structures and movie sets constructed for the 1969 American Western film Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. Past ghost town refurbishment projects included the schoolhouse, looking pretty good for a century old structure made of adobe. Although the town is near the very popular Zion National Park, it's doesn't come close to Zion's visitation numbers. Surrounded by dramatic Zion mesas and colorful cliffs, this peaceful setting is worth a side trip.

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