Agency History #174


Iron was a scarce and much needed commodity in early Utah. When Brigham Young's early exploring parties reported discovering a vast field of iron ore in southwestern Utah, he organized the Iron Mission to "relieve the present iron famine in the Great Basin." Young assigned families and men, including a number of men with expertise in iron works, to settle in the area to establish the iron works. Following Young's direction, the first settlers established Parowan, which was intended to be an agricultural community which would provide a support base for the iron mission. The following year (1851) thirty-five men with mining expertise moved from Parowan to establish the iron works. The new community became known as Cedar Fort and then Cedar City. The iron works did not flourish, partly because the quest for survival took precedence over iron. The operation was abandoned in 1858, and thereafter, Cedar City became an agricultural community. Cedar City became incorporated on 18 February 1868.


Utah municipal governments perform numerous functions, including the maintaining of law and order, guarding public health and sanitation, managing public services and promoting community development. The first ordinances for Cedar City were recorded in 1853. Early community leaders were concerned with managing water use and with building and maintaining roads. Other early ordinances regulated fire building, the use of fire arms, smoking, and liquor sales. As the community grew the city council passed ordinances to accommodate growth. They published a book of codified city ordinances in 1903 then revised and updated this publication every ten to twenty years thereafter. Through ordinances the city council regulated new innovations such as electricity, telephones and sewers.

Over the years the Cedar City city council initiated and maintained many community improvements. In the 19th Century these included an irrigation system, a slaughter house, school buildings, and a city hall. In the early 20th century, Cedar City erected telegraph lines, established a public library and gymnasium, installed new street lights, paved streets, and built a reservoir. The city council was involved in sponsoring WPA projects in the 1930s and they established a fire department. They worked to get a four year college in Cedar City in the 1940s. From 1939 to 1970 the council put much effort into the development of a municipal airport. In the later 20th century the city council lent support to the Shakespearean Festival, the construction of I-15, and the creation of the Iron Mission Museum. In recent years community efforts have focused on revitalizing downtown Cedar City.


The mayor and four city councilmen provide leadership for Cedar City government. The mayor, who is elected by general municipal election, is the chief executive officer. He presides over the city council and supervises all other city officers. He signs all city ordinances and official contracts on behalf of the city. The city council functions as a legislative governing body for the community. Its members are elected for 2 or 4 year terms. The council is responsible for all aspects of city management, such as appointing city officials and setting their salaries, levying taxes, establishing a budget, maintaining public services and utilities, and regulating activity within the city.


The city council appoints a number of town officers and defines their responsibilities. Some of these city officers include: a city recorder to attend council meetings, record ordinances and all other official city documents; a city treasurer to receive and keep an accounting of moneys; a city marshal to enforce the rules of government and maintain city hall and the city prison; a city attorney to offer legal advice; a justice of the peace to enforce and hold original jurisdiction over Cedar City ordinances; a sexton to manage the city cemetery; a board of health to supervise all matters relating to sanitation within the city; and a street superintendent to oversee all streets, bridges, alleys and sidewalks, etc. The city council established several auxiliary agencies to fill special functions within the city. They created a zoning commission and a board of adjustment in 1941 and a planning commission in 1945. These commissions plan city development and establish and enforce zoning regulations. The city council created a redevelopment agency in 1980 to carry out a program of downtown revitalization.

John M. Higbee 1867-1870
Homer Duncan 1871-1872
Francis Webster 1873-1876
John Chatterly 1877-1878
Christopher J. Arthur 1879-1880
Robert W. Heyborne 1881-1883
John Parry 1884-1886
Lehi Willard Jones 1887-1888
Charles M. Heyborne 1889-1890
John Parry 1891-1892
Henry Leigh 1893-1894
Joseph T. Wilkinson 1894-1895
Henry W. Lunt 1896-1897
John V. Adams 1898-1899
Robert W. Heyborne 1900-1902
Thomas Jedediah Jones 1902-1903
George W. Middleton 1904-1905
Daniel T. Leigh 1906-1907
John S. Woodbury 1908-1909
Uriah T. Jones 1910
John S. Woodbury 1911
Donald C. Urie 1912-1913
William H. Leigh 1914-1915
Thomas Jedediah Jones 1916-1917
Elias M. Corry 1918-1919
Archibald Swapp Jr. 1920-1921
Parley Dalley 1922-1923
Walter K. Granger 1924-1925
Eugene Christensen 1926-1929
Walter K. Granger 1930-1933
Charles R. Hunter 1934-1937
Henry Hunter Lunt 1938-1945
Myron F. Higbee 1946-1947
Gronway R. Parry 1948-1949
L. Verl Broadbent 1950-1953
Arnold E. Anderson 1954-1961
Kumen S. Gardner 1962-1965
Loren A. Whetten 1966-1973
L. Kerry Jones 1974-1977
Jack Sawyers 1978-1981
Robert H. Linford 1982-1989
Harold Grant Shirley 1990-

COMPILED BY: Rosemary Cundiff , August 2001


Cedar City (Utah). City council minutes, Utah State Archives, (Series 85021).Cedar City (Utah). Ordinances, Utah State Archives, (Series 3759).Cedar City (Utah). Redevelopment agency minutes, Utah State Archives, (Series 23603).Jones, Evelyn K. and York F., Mayors of Cedar City; Cedar City, Utah: Cedar City Historic Preservation Commission, 1982)Morris, Durham, and Scott M. Matheson, ed. Revised Ordinances of Cedar City Utah, 1937. Published by authority of the City Council of Cedar City, Utah, 1937. Seegmiller, Janet Burton, A History of Iron County. Utah State Historical Society; Iron County Commission (Salt Lake City: 1998).

Page Last Updated July 2, 2003.