Since 2017, 451 N. Main Street has been the home to many creative endeavors with Rainbow Sign Design and Decorworx being our most well-known. Fixed in the heart of Cedar City, we knew that reviving this building would open doors to learn more about our community’s rich history. While we’ve created a stunning functional space for our team, this building has roots deeper than just any office. As we celebrate 25 years of business in the community, we also want to commend the 100 years of history our building shares as well.
This building was originally created in 1923 as a bus depot for the Utah Parks Company (UPC). The UPC was created as a subsidiary for the Union Pacific Railroad to assist the National Park Service in providing tours to the surrounding parks. From Cedar City, tourists paid to be escorted on these ‘all-expense” tours to the Grand Canyon, Zion National Park, Bryce National Park, and more. The most notable trip that was available to the public was the scenic “Grand Loop Tour” which traveled from Cedar City to Zion, Bryce, and the Grand Canyon for rates as low at $10 per day.
The Utah Parks Company provided Cedar City with enough tourism and infrastructure for the city to garner national attention at the time. Each year, thousands of tourists would travel into Cedar City by train where they would board buses driven, by men known as “Gearjammers”, to the National Parks.
The Utah Parks Company built many of the notable lodges that we still occupy in the parks today. During this time, they also acquired the landmark El Escalante Hotel (located where the Sizzler is today) which housed tourists and employees up until 1971. Known as the “Gateway to the National Parks”, once the Cedar City branch was open and running, a ceremony was held that was presided over by then U.S. President Warren G. Harding.
After creating the UPC, Union Pacific emphasized that this part of Utah was filled with “unparalleled scenic splendor” and that although they had a talented publicity department, they could not do justice to the environment.
Fun Fact: The buses used for these tours were never diesel. This policy was created by Utah Parks Co’s management, who believed gas buses performed better against the steep mountain terrain.
On Monday March 13, 1972, Union Pacific donated all the Utah Parks Company facilities to National Park Service, and NPS accepted the facilities as a gift. The facilities were valued at more than $2 million.
To celebrate the Cedar City community and all its history, Rainbow Sign and Design will be hosting its Festival @ 451 on May 21st, 2022. This event will be a celebration of 25 years of business and 100 years of history for our building. Anyone from the community is welcome to join us for free games, live music, art showcases, food trucks, and more.