Monday, February 28, 2011

Is Blanding really as boring as it sounds (Part 2)?

It's day 2 of my blog trying to find out if Blanding is a boring as its name.  After day 1, my mind was leaning towards 'yes.'

If you have been wondering why a city is named Blanding (as I have), here is the history on the city's name from

"First known as Grayson (after Nellie Grayson Lyman...), the town changed its name in 1914 when a wealthy easterner, Thomas F. Bicknell, offered a thousand-volume library to any Utah town that would adopt his name.  Grayson vied with Thurber (now Bicknell) for the prize; the two towns split the books and Grayson assumed Bicknell's wife's maiden name- Blanding.  However, the people of Blanding were somewhat disgruntled to find that many of the books they received were of poor quality."

Today, I decided to check out the Westwater Ruins just outside of Blanding.  These ruins are from the Anasazi cliff culture, so it looks a lot like Mesa Verde, just smaller.  The ruins are right on the edge of town and are easy to get to.  There aren't any signs so the only difficult thing is just finding the right road.  At the end of the road, there is a nice parking lot, with the ruins visible across the tiny canyon.

          Used by permission, Utah State Historical Society, all rights reserved.

After a quick 5 minute hike down a make-shift trail we got the the ruins.  They were incredible!  I have never seen anything like it.  The ruins are almost exactly the same as they were when they were first being excavated and photographed in 1977. 

           Used by permission, Utah State Historical Society, all rights reserved.

          Used by permission, Utah State Historical Society, all rights reserved.

After looking around for a good 20 minutes, I went to go explore more of the ruins in the canyon.  These are the best looking ones, but there are several Anasazi adobe cliff houses throughout the canyon.  I went up the canyon looking at different ruins and was amazed at what I found.

So is Blanding really as boring as it sounds?  Surprisingly, I am going to say no.  I found myself on the way home wanting to go back and do some more exploring.  I would definitely recommend visiting Blanding, although I think that you should do some research before hand so that you know what you are doing.  Blanding has several old ruins to go scout out all around it.  The one disappointing thing about it though is that I couldn't find any good information about where to find the ruins.  There was information that I found here and there, but not any one great source.  I think that Blanding really has a ton of potential, but should do a better job advertising its potential.  It could be a fun place to visit, but if people don't know what there is there, they won't go.

As for what else is going to happen in the future, I have to take a trip north to Monticello.  There is a little university in Cedar City that I had never heard of before called George Wythe University (click here for more info).  The University recently decided to add a satelite campus in Monticello.  Ground breaking for the campus happened in 2008, but construction was paused due to the economic recession.  The master plan looks stunning, however it will be interesting to see if this develops.  When I was looking on the main page of George Wythe University, some pages regarding the campus in Monicello have been deleted and others funneled me to a page in which I could make a secure donation to the University.  It would be cool though, and I am impressed with the efforts in San Juan County to bring institutions of higher education to the cities around the county.

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