St. George holds grand opening for new museum at Pioneer Courthouse

ST. GEORGE — For a 141-year-old building, the Old Pioneer Courthouse is looking rather good these days.

In a fitting Pioneer Day celebration, the old courthouse and Chamber of Commerce building at the corner of 100 East and St. George Boulevard was reopened Monday as well as a visitors center and gift shop to be operated by the City of St. George and the Dixie Arizona Strip Interpretive Association. Decked out with American flags and lots of red, white and blue bunting, the building has been refurbished, bringing back a lot of its shine and maintaining its heritage look.

“Perfect day to open, officially, again, this pioneer courthouse with a new mission, a vision,” St. George Mayor Jon Pike said. “We’re so excited to share that with everyone who lives here and visits here.”

The building was constructed by local pioneers who began work in 1866 and finished in 1876. Built of sandstone and brick on a lava foundation, the old courthouse has walls 18 inches thick. Original paintings of the Grand Canyon and Zion National Park still adorn the walls of the upstairs courtroom.

The Southern Utah Heritage Choir, the Color Country Chorus, the Red Sand Bluegrass Band and the George Staheli Memorial Band joined in the celebration from both the front steps of the courthouse and the side yard under shade trees. St. George Live characters, residents portraying Orson Pratt, Brigham Young and Jacob Hamblin, were present and mingling with the crowd of about 150 people.

In addition to Pike, St. George City Council members Ed Baca, Joe Bowcutt and Bette Arial were present for the ceremony.

After a rousing two choruses of “Are you from Dixie?” Mayor Pike cut the ceremonial ribbon with help from the council members. Tours of the building were conducted after the ceremony.

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