In this week’s episode historians and creators of the YouTube series Main Street Minutes Ryan Paul and Wyett Ihler join host Lynn Vartan in the studio to talk about the stories of Cedar City, Utah, including the famous “sheep parade” and the Gateway to Hollywood that Cedar City, UT was in its early days. Join us!
Video and other resources from this presentation can be found on the A.P.E.X. website at:
Lynn Vartan: Hey everyone, this is Lynn Vartan and you are listening to the APEX Hour on KSUU Thunder 91.1. In this show, you get more personal time with the guests who visit Southern
Utah University from all over, learning more about their stories and opinions beyond their presentations on stage. We will also give you some new music to listen to and hope to turn you on to some new sounds and new genres. You can find us here every Thursday at 3pm or on the web at suu.edu/apex, but for now, welcome to this week's show, here on Thunder 91.1.
Lynn Vartan: Okay, everyone, well welcome in. It is fall and we're feeling a little bit of the chill in the air, which is so cool here in Cedar City and this week we are talking about Cedar City. For this week's APEX event, we were exploring the secrets of Cedar City, which means we were getting into the history of the buildings and the stories of the people who lived and made Cedar City great. To join me today I have Ryan Paul and Wyett Ihler who have the series that's called "Main Street Minutes" on YouTube and we're going to be talking all about their features and their stories and how they put the series together. So welcome into the studio, Ryan and Wyett.
Wyett Ihler: It's great to be here.
Ryan Paul: Yes. Thanks for having us.
Lynn Vartan: Yay, I'm so happy. I've just been really enjoying learning about Cedar City. What fun it is to kind of learn the history, you know, we drive around, we see the buildings and wonder kind of where they came from. So just to give everybody a little taste of things. We had our dean giving her introductions of you today, but because we're on the radio, I'd love to hear a little just a bit about your own individual background. So Ryan, we'll start with you. Tell me about yourself.
Ryan Paul: Well, when a man and woman fall in love, they...not that far back?
Lynn Vartan: Well, it could be. You never know. We only have an hour, though.
Ryan Paul: So my name's Ryan Paul. I teach history here at the university. I came to Cedar City in 2000, 2001 as the curator of Frontier Homesteads State Park Muesum. I graduated from Weaver State. I went to graduate school at the University of Mississippi and went into public history, taught just the basic History 1700 course here as an adjunct for 15 years, 2004, and recently have moved over full time to the university in the last year or two. I teach American history. I teach public history and history of the national parks and Utah's history.
Lynn Vartan: Oh, cool. Well, we are so lucky to have you. Can you tell us just a little bit about the Frontier Museum and just kind of what that is and what that was like?
Ryan Paul: Sure. So Frontier Homestead, used to be called Iron Michigan State Park. And it's one of the few heritage parks, which means it's primarily a museum versus a recreation, a reservoir, some such thing. So it tells the story, the core mission of the park is to tell the story of the founding of Cedar City and the big collection began with Perry, who I'm sure someone will talk about later, who was a collector of horse drawn vehicles. And as he was dying, as we talked about community by itself, as he was getting ready to die, he really felt strongly that his collection, which had been used in films and TV and people wanted from all over the world. He wanted to keep it together. And so we sold it to the to the Iron County Commission for the park at cents on the dollar to keep it together and eventually that became the core collection of Iron Mission State Park. And then eventually the name was changed Frontier Homestead. It's six or seven acres. It's an amazing resource for local history and history of the West here in Cedar city.
Lynn Vartan: Oh, that's great. I didn't really realize the story to it. So thanks for sharing with that. All right. Why it. Tell me about yourself,
Wyett Ihler: Alright. My name is Wyett Ihler. I am originally from Centerville, Utah came down to SUU in the 90s and ended up sticking around here. After a long time trying to figure out what I wanted to study and what I wanted to do, I graduated with a degree in English and a minor in history. So I do have a connection that way. But for the last many years I was working as a producer and director writer and whatnot for an online education company.
Lynn: Oh really?
Wyett: And then a year and a half ago, I made a transition to working in the tourism industry. So I worked for Visit Cedar City Brian Head. I am the media manager and so that name kind of implies that I work with, you know, the media around, you know, the people. But no, I actually work with the physical media, work with video or photos and and all that kind of stuff. So that's what It's what I get to do and that's my connection to the "Main Street Minutes" product.
Lynn: That's so cool. Tell me a little bit more about the about this tourism bureau and and kind of what it does and what it offers.
Wyett: So our mission, quite simply, is to, you know, and treat people to come and experience the things that Cedar City has to offer, Cedar City and broader Iron County. You know, the official name is Visit Cedar City Brian Head. And so that encompasses the entire county. And we have the opportunity to, you know, showcase the events, you know, whether it's Shakespeare Festival, whether it's Summer Games or things of that nature that we also get to talk about, the things that are the farm industry that we have here and the local farms. We've got a lot of, you know, "Main Street Minutes" falls into this category of historical tourism. And of course we have incredible outdoors here in in our county.
Lynn: Yeah. Cool. And we've been talking about, you such a great speaking voice, but you also sing as well.
Wyett: I do indeed. I have had an opportunity, when I was here at SUU, I sang with both Concert Choir and Opus. And during that time I started, I was one of the founding members. I wasn't the starting guy, but one of the founding members of an acapella quintet called The Simple Man. And last year we got together after not having sung for 15 years and sung together. But right now I get the opportunity to sing with my wife, in a community choir, the Red Rock singers.
Lynn: Oh, cool. Yeah. Awesome. Well, you are very active in the community. And it seems to me like you could just do anything. I feel like you're the type of person I could say why I need to figure out how to do this and you absolutely could have knowledge and show me how.
Wyett: So I mentioned that I had a difficult time deciding what my major was going to be. And I went through numerous but I was most committed to engineering. I was actually nearly complete with my engineering degree here at SUU when I decided I should not do that anymore and become an English major. And, you know, it was the best choice. I could have made. And I talked a lot with Todd Peterson about this idea of that an English degree degree is a degree to do anything. And Ryan and I were talking about this just the other day that what an English and History degree really teach you is how to learn how to study, how to interpret. And so when I worked for the the educational company I worked for I mean, we'd have products come through your Photoshop, you know, here's stuff on programming in Java and I took the opportunity to go ahead and say, "Well, if I'm gonna get paid to do this, may as well learn how to do it."
Lynn: Yeah, I love that. And I that's just such a great way to kind of open our conversation to talk about, you know, the great experiences that we can have in the context of not just our town but also our university and just the learning and sharing so let's get into "Main Street Minutes." What is "Main Street Minutes?"
Ryan: So, "Main Street Minutes," it's a partnership between the university and the tourism bureau and it's been in the hopper for a long time, essentially. We had thought about telling the stories of community in forms of architecture. So originally, it was this idea that we would go to these buildings on Main Street and use them as the focal point to tell a broader story of community, to tell the human story. And so what we did is I had done a lot of work with my time at Frontier Homestead is published as a public historian to do some research and I really Borrowed and maybe even stole a little bit from Janet Seegmiller's book which is phenomenal about the history of Iron County and other resources to begin crafting these stories. And then we had lots of content, cut them down and with Wyett's amazing talent, we're able to create these short three to four minute video segments that are a distillation of all of this other stuff we found.
Lynn: That's so great. And they're widely available on YouTube and they are supported and funded primarily through the tourism bureau?
Lynn: That's so great and so you have season one, we'll get into some of the specifics. And then we have some teasers for season two, and everything like that. So, that's what we're talking about. We're talking about the history of Cedar City, some of the buildings in Cedar City, and this great YouTube series that features them, which is called "Main Street Minutes" so everybody can check it out and really learn even more. It's time for our first musical break. So, this week I was looking for Utah songs and I was looking for things that have to do with home in some way, since we're talking about home and I found a band called Shallow Lenses, which is a band I didn't know and they have a song that is actually called "Cedar City, Utah." So we're going to check out that song. You're listening to KSUU Thunder 91.1.
Lynn: Okay. Well, welcome back everyone. You're listening to KSUU Thunder 91.1. That song was called "Cedar City, Utah." So Cedar City, comma, Utah, and the band is Shallow Lenses. And just as a reminder, if you're interested in any of the music that you hear on the APEX Hour, you can go to our website, which is suu.edu/apex. And there is a Spotify public playlist there that's called Played on APEX Hour so you can check out all the music from the show. Today we are talking about Cedar City, Utah, and I am here with Ryan Paul and Wyett Ihler. Welcome back into the studio. We're talking about "Main Street Minutes," the YouTube series that they produce and curated and that you can find that really celebrates different events and architecture in Cedar City. So I'd love to, before we get into playing one and talking a little bit about one, talk about how the storytelling aspect came about and feels because it seems like you two are just natural storytellers. So how do you feel about, I mean, is that, of course, it's a conscious part of it, but tell me a little bit about what the storytelling means to you, you know, both the verbal storytelling and the visual storytelling storytelling as well.
Ryan: I think for me, I've always been a talk out loud writer. So generally, when I write anything, I read it out loud for edit, you know, because you always notice the extra commas or where a comma needs to be or whatever I write as if I'm speaking. So one of the things that I've done in my writing and pretty much everything I write, I write it. I read it out loud because I can catch more things, but also there's a certain cadence to the way I want to do my writing. And I guess in some cases, that would be less formal or academic, but I really think that writing should flow as one speaks in some ways, that's how I personally. So when I have the content and I have the, we talk about the story that we want to tell and the thread I generally write something and to where I'm somewhat satisfied. And then I sent it to Wyett and Wyett's an amazing editor, not just visually, but with text as well. And he'll respond back and say, "Hey, I don't understand this." Or, "Can we clarify this differently?" Or "What are you really trying to say here?" And then I take that and we just kind of go from there and then use that as a launching pad for the episodes.
Wyett: Well, that's an interesting thing about that particular process is Maria Twitchell, the director of tourism, she's got the and what she calls it as, "if I can't hear it in Ryan's voice, then then I sent it back" kind of idea. And so I will usually take that first pass, and then send it back to Ryan. He'll send me back, and then I that's when I hand it off to Maria, who acts as our producer. And so the main show read through it and usually what it is, you'll come back, Julia said on the desk and say, "I just got a couple questions, or should I just say go?" And that's the moment where we're like, "Great, now we can really get into this." And most of the times we shoot to get Ryan's on camera stuff, you know, we're down on Main Street at 6:30 in the morning, where we did find out that every cement truck in town drives by on Main Street at about that time of day. So, so we've had some interesting challenges there. But the cool thing for me is I get to take the script. So when I get that script, and as we're figuring out when we're going to go film Ryan, I take that and I start digging through the archives to find what I can see, you know what, visually, I can use to help tell that story. But I don't end up picking anything. I don't use any of those images until after I've seen the way Ryan actually presents the material because that it, because it changes the mood. Ryan sets that tone. And you know, we use the same music. It's kind of a nice little tune. But the idea for me as a visual storyteller is to take what Ryan has done in the mood that he has set in the way that he's speaking and then match what of what the images that I can find to fit that particular mode.
Lynn: Oh, I love that.
Ryan: Well, I think that's how we wrote the initial first season. We were really content that we knew we had pretty much easy access to as far as the the written material, either. I had already written in other forms and said to be edited or compiled
And also we had been around long enough to know that things like the Hotel Escalante we could find lots of pictures, you know. So we've tried to choose things early on that we knew we could get some episodes out of the gate fairly quickly, but without having to dig into more esoteric forms of storytelling.
Lynn: And so the photos mostly come from the archive at the tourism, you are you, you said you were digging into newspaper. Tell me about where the material, the visual material comes from.
Wyett: Absolutely. So most of the images actually come, Ryan's got an excellent collection from his time at Frontier Homestead. But I also work very closely with Paul and Mitchell here at the SUU library. Right. And, you know, the Special Collections is just a treasure trove of amazing, amazing images and documents and whatnot, and then Ryan turned me on to the Utah Digital Newspaper Archive and I mean, the wealth of history that is contained to just in those articles is just amazing, and it's a riot to go through them. And in some cases, it's actually very touching, you know and I told Ryan, I said, "I find that I tend to look at the newspapers that around Christmas time." For whatever reason, you know, as I'm just kind of perusing through things and I found one from the Vietnam era, and there was an ad in that in one of these papers and it just, all it was, what it said, was Merry Christmas, and then had a list of names. Love, Dad, in Vietnam and for whatever reason that I mean that just really stuck with me and then it still is. And it's a story that I want you, I want to know is there more story behind that. What other stories can retell But interestingly enough for me personally, I thought, "Well, if there's a Digital Newspaper archive for the Iron County record, well, what about the Davis County Clipper where I grew up?" And so I started looking back at where I grew up. And found stories and included, you know, my, my family or friends or whatnot and discovering things I didn't know about the place that I had lived for you know 20 years of my life.
Lynn: Oh, that's so cool. So it's a all Utah Digital Newspaper library is it assess it public?
Ryan: Yeah, It's called the Utah Digital Newspapers and it's run out of the [University of Utah]. They have digitized, SUU gave the Iron County records and they digitized, what? 90? A lot of a lot of newspapers from almost the beginning of newspaper publication until another probably ends like the 80s. The Iron County record really is a wealth of knowledge and and you can just, you can select all, like, if you want to see how Like if you just type in Utah Shakespeare Festival. For example, and just click all it would have every ad in every newspaper every article written or you could just go to the Iron County records and click that. It really can be a rabbit hole in the best way. Amazing commentary, amazing letters to the editor. It's just, it's really incredible and massively time consuming.
Lynn: Wow, that's so cool and one additional question. How, has your view on storytelling or your way of storytelling changed at all because of this process or because of this series? Do you do things differently now than you did, say a year ago, because of "Main Street Minutes?"
Ryan: I think differently in the sense of I, I have a greater sense of urgency and this is what Wyett and I have this conversation about. We gotta move on this. We gotta move on this, but the reality is, you know, we have other jobs and and other things, other commitments and Maria is very amazingly patient and brilliant in what she does. But, but I think that it's caused me to think differently about this community in a broader context that once you start peeling back the onion of the past, it's amazing what you can find. And, and even though you may not find what you want or what you think you may find or something, that is really truly revolutionary. It broadens your understanding of who you are and what your places here. I mean, as we talked about earlier today. I think place is really critical. And what reading the newspaper articles and doing these things is really an understanding of a place and how it forms a person.
Wyett: I feel very similarly. And for me, it's, it's an extended awareness. And you know, when I joined the tourism office, you know, part of my, my, my personal mission there was, I needed to see what Cedar City really had to offer. I lived here for a long time. But I kind of fallen into my pattern, you know, and I stuck to those things that, that I was comfortable with, I guess. And so for me, what the idea of the "Main Street Minutes" is that notion of there's so many stories and everybody has that story and those stories, need to be. And I, and I don't use that word need lightly. They need to be available. I need to be out there and I shared this earlier today, but that to have people connect you know whether it's through Facebook, whether it's or an email or whatnot, to share a story that has come from something that we have shared You know that's that's when I feel like we've really had an impact and had an effect on what we're trying to do with the series.
Lynn: Because you've had people write to you who have unearth a bit of their own childhood because of a story, right?
Wyett: Absolutely. And we had a, you know, I had a actually, it's a relative, write back and say, "I remember this when I was a kid and you just took me back to my childhood," you know, in fact, I think it was the story about the Cedar Cheep Association. That was the one that she had commented on about I remember this as a kid. I remember, you know, the things that we'd have to do is just going to the butcher shop and all these other things. And so it was a way for her to reconnect with those things that she hadn't really thought about and quite some time and And then she you know she shared that with me, which was was great.
Ryan: What's exciting is is that it's exciting to see like anytime anybody's talking about history is exciting to me. We talked about monuments and and all this other stuff that was happening in the world today. So anytime we talking about history. It's exciting. And I'm always amazed that our history classes aren't more full With the brilliance of this faculty and myself excluded. But, but I'm surprised that we're not as people you see on Facebook. "Well, I was never taught this in history class." Well, you weren't in history class that I was in. And we have an amazing group. So what's exciting for Wyatt and for me is that We see things that we hadn't thought about before in a different context and to watch him get excited about it because, look, I'm a history nerd anyway. But to see him get excited about it. And there are many late night phone calls, middle of the day early morning "Dude, you got, did you see this, you know, I just read this" and to see these things. This is a text I got from Wyatt on Monday. By the way, Halloween 1967 the Cedar Theater had a midnight showing of "The Pit and the Pendulum" starting Vincent Price, also the drive in was showing "The Night of the Grizzly." So that's old movies, movie things in the Iron County record of what's happening in the community and to see that and I do the same thing. Like, I'll call Wyett and say, "Boy, you had to hear the story." I'll be writing and researching and think Wyett's gonna love this. It's gonna be great and And it's so it leads to and the frustrating thing really Lynn, is that Wyett never answers his phone.
Wyett: I am not a phone answerer.
Ryan: I'll call him ringing and ringing and ringing but that's exciting to see this to learn these stories and see these things, things that are so in many people on Monday in an irrelevant way about what movies were showing, but it really means something.
Lynn: Well, I'll tell you what's exciting is being in a room with your guys's enthusiasm and curiosity. So I am loving that, that is so cool. Well, you mentioned the Sheep Association, and we have an episode to play the audio from and I'd love for you to maybe kind of give us a little backup and background on that and and tell us a little bit about what we're going to hear.
Wyett: Well, so I'm going to tell you a little bit from the production side of it because this was one where Ryan, when he put the script together was like, "This is a great script. I have no idea what I'm going to show." And there are a lot of good images, but the story and you'll find that as we as we go through it kind of weaves in an interesting way and Ryan says, "Well, hey, what if we shot this first piece with me out by a bunch of sheep?" And I'm so in. So we went out and and the sheep were not cooperative.
They didn't have their union.
No, but you know, if you look carefully, they are in the background of the shot, we're not just standing by the freeway and but that was, again, you know, I talked about this idea of the tone. That's said and this one became more of you know what, it's a great building that's become a historical landmark on our Main Street, you know, Bullock Drug. It's, it's kind of that centerpiece of downtown, but there's so much more that goes into what created that building and own credit Evan Vickers and that family of recreating the building as it was and it's, you know, now it's being used. It's a drug store and you got the amazing, you know, floats and whatnot. You can get there so
Lynn: Yeah, fountain and the whole bit.
Ryan: So just some backstory Cedar City's founded in 1951 and to mine iron right, to produce iron and then a little something happens, which I'm glad the phones are off the hook, called the Mountain Meadows Massacre. And the population of Cedar City after Mountain Meadows goes from 1000 to 300 for a variety of reasons, and the iron mission closes and people just leave. And the one thing that kept Cedar City around was sheep. Little bit of cattle. But mostly sheep, I refer to it as a saving grace. Sheep are the saving grace of Cedar City. And so it's this little burgeoning sheep industry that keeps people around. Until the school comes to, the mines open to, the trains come, so sheep are critical to the story. And that's kind of where we lead into the co-op.
Okay. Well, this is the audio from the main street minutes episode about our sheep co op. Check it out.
Ryan Paul: Many of the original settlers of Cedar City came from the shops, mines, and factories of the British Isles and found life in the Southern Utah desert challenging and isolating. Early reliance on home produced goods was essential and sheep became a saving grace for this community. The first 10 head of sheep came to Cedar City in 1862 and soon nearly every household in the community had acquired a few in order to produce the wool needed to spend clothing for the family. Eventually, local neighborhoods became overwhelmed with the space needed to care for the sheep and the community herd was formed. Located on Cedar Mountain, this herd was brought to the town once a year for sharing and by 1869, held over 2000 head of sheep. A co-op, the Cedar Sheep Association, was formed to help manage the growth and profits of the hurt and in 1881, they built this building. The annual sharing of the co-op was a big event and after the wool needs of the community were met, the remainder was sorted, packed, and transported up to Provo or Salt Lake City. There, the surplus wool was traded for hardware, food items, and other consumer goods and brought back to Cedar City for sale at the Cedar Sheep Association store. Instead of receiving cash based on their share of the herd, stockholders could withdraw their dividend in merchandise. Additionally, each week, the Sheep Association drove 25 to 30 stockholds to town where they would be processed by the local butcher in the basement of the store and distributed to co-op members. In 1917, the community heard was disbanded. But the store remained and in fact, that extension was built to the south, with a large arch connecting the buildings. The upstairs of the new building served as the offices of many medical professionals. In 1934, the Thornton Drugstore. In 1955, it became known, and still is, as Bulloch Drug. The 1960s saw the addition of a cafe and soda fountain making Bullock's one of the most popular stops on Main Street. In 1999, Evan and Chris Vickers purchased the building and restored the historic structure.
Lynn Vartan: Okay. Well, that was the end of the "Main Street Minutes" audio for their episode talking about the sheep co-op. And so let's talk a little bit more about it. So, how was it doing that episode? What else did you find out? I didn't know any of that history before hearing it. Were you surprised by it, or was it history you already sort of knew?
Wyett: Well for me again, you know, this is a process of discovery. You know, and it's that opportunity for me to see more about the town in which I live, and you know, when Ryan started talking to me about "Oh yeah, this is you know, above, that's where the, where the doctors were" and I'm like, "All I could think about, wait a minute, friend of mine had an apartment up there during college. What do you mean, 'that's where the doctors were?'" And so I love that idea of seeing how this space continued to have use and utility, regardless of the timeframe. And if you get a chance to actually watch the video, when we talk about the Thornton Drugstore, that is one of my favorite photos that we've got because it's kind of this classic 1950s style. I mean, it was just beautiful. It's a beautiful photo and it really shows kind of the vibrancy of what that area was and then you take it forward today to see what it has become, it is still, that still has that vibrancy and that energy. And really, like I said before, supplies are downtown with something. It gives it an iconic structure in place to be.
Lynn: Yeah, it's a really special location and I just didn't know that it had all those different things. And you know, what were all these different things to so many people and in so many different parts and we should say that our celebration of sheep in Cedar City continues to this day. And I think we have something big coming up, which is a favorite annual event.
Wyett: Absolutely. And that's next weekend. I believe this is the 16th, so this weekend. Yeah. So next weekend. The Livestock and Heritage Festival and as part of that last year, Katie Pickering and I, Katie Pickering is our social media manager, the tourism office. We got to spend a lot of time on the mountain with Catherine House, excuse me, Carolyn House and sheep and I'm not a sheep guy. I'm not from this the rural area. So this was all new to me, but to watch all these people work so well and so in tandem was fascinating to me. So me, with my camera in my hand, I mean, I have so much footage from from this opportunity to follow these shepherds and care their sheep is they pull them off the mountain in preparation for the sheep raid and we actually, we even strapped a GoPro to one of the sheep. And we got some interesting footage off that one. I felt bad for the sheet because the apparatus that it was was on them seem to frighten the other sheep. So we've made that poor sheep a little pariah. This, you know, not able to be included in the group, but it was, you know, it's, I love the fact that we have these these things that honor our heritage. And in ways that people who are not from here, I stood by a guy from New York last year. And he's like, "I can't believe what I'm seeing."
Lynn: Yeah, well, and for anybody listening who maybe doesn't know what it is, can you give us a little outline of what the sheep parade is?
Oh man. So the sheep parade. It's an opportunity to kind of showcase what it is to live here and and Cedar City has a rural community. And so not only do we get to see a lot of the the tractors and the things that That are used out on the farm or out on the ranch, whatever it might be. We see the the trailers that are used the you know the camp trailers, but of course, the pinnacle of the parade is when the sheep themselves come down Main Street and that's pretty, that's a pretty amazing thing to see.
Lynn: It's a sea of sheep for anybody who has not experienced it, and I'm sure there are photos online, but it is one of our special traditions here in Cedar City. I also like that part of the festival is they often, I don't know if they do it every year, but they have the the sheep dog competitions out at the farm and and I have a Border Collie and Australian Shepherd at home, and so we love to check out what the dogs are doing. And it's just amazing how those working dogs, I mean, they are really skilled. Well, cool. It's time for another song for us. I'm going to play a Harry Styles song. I was looking for things that could represent Cedar or home and this song is actually titled "Canyon Moon" and we are known for our canyons and also incredible moon watching. So this is "Canyon Moon" by Harry Styles. You're listening to KSUU Thunder 91.1.
Lynn: Okay. Well, welcome back. So that was "Canyon Moon" by Harry Styles. You're listening to the APEX Hour at KSUU Thunder 91.1. Today we are talking about all things Cedar City history. I'm joined in the studio with Ryan Paul and Wyett Ihler. Welcome back. And we're going to talk about how, I was curious how your project, I asked you early kind of like how it's changed your storytelling, but one other thing I was sort of curious is from a topical standpoint or from a thinking standpoint. What surprised you? I know we talked a lot about how the power of community over self has been such a thread through almost every story. And I wonder, Did it start, I mean, were you aware of that when you started, or did that, was that something that emerged as you produced them?
Ryan: Well, I think it certainly came out as a, originally as I said, Janet's book, titled "Community By Itself" and it's something you think about in some way that makes sense. But if you think about what happens what what it means to be part of a community. A community by definition is a collection of people who are in some way together. I mean, the whole founding of our country, the whole founding of our whole idea is that we are willing to give up something for the greater good. That's, that's the fundamental formation of a successful family, even, or a successful relationship, that your needs matter more to me in some ways than my own. So I think that as we think about the broader aspect of community, we see a variety of opportunities and a variety of times when people think of the civic good as a more important thing than the individual personal good. So, for example, Francis Webster, who is a founder of this community in many ways, he's fairly wealthy, he ends up, he can easily travel the planes on a wagon. But he ends up not buying that for his family and spending money to get a lot of other people in handcarts. But anyway, it gets people here and it's this idea of "we're willing to mortgage our home or to go without for this greater thing, you know, for a federal post office building," which is incredible. For a Shakespeare Festival, for a university. Right back up the mountain. It's all about these stories of people who say "I am willing to put something off for the immediate time for the greater good."
Lynn: And it seems that Cedar City is, I mean, I know a lot of communities have this, but it seems like it's especially powerful in the Cedar City history. And I wonder if it's, something we touched on earlier, how, you know, one generation would see their parents before them helping and so then therefore, they sort of found their project to help with and that that's sort of a thread. And I wonder if it's do you do feel like it's unique to our community or somehow more amplified?
Wyett: I think that, you know, there's certainly a recognition. And so, which does amplify it and you know when we first started "Main Street Minutes", our first one was the Escalante Hotel to tell and it's got a great story in and of itself, but the structure no longer exists. And, you know, and it's tied in really with the railroad history, with the Hollywood history of Cedar City. But when we looked at, well, we had it in the can, it was ready to go. And we thought, "Well, is this the right story to launch the series with?" And so we went back and recorded some, warranted some additional work before we put this, put the series actually out there. And that's when we kind of started following that idea of "community above self" and that thread, more or less, pulled itself out. And so is Cedar City unique in this way? You know, I think there are other communities that have it, but I don't think that they, I love the way that Cedar has taken the opportunity to embrace it, and that's the thing I think that is different than a lot of communities, it's "Oh yeah, that's part of our history. That's part of the thing." But no, it is a thread that holds things together here and you know, I, you know, I go to city council meetings and you know there's opposition on, you know, arguments and this net and the other, but ultimately what it comes down to is community. And you see that expressed in so many different ways. You know, I talked about the mountain bike trails and I was just looking through my Instagram feed, not too long ago, and that one of the schools posted a bunch of pictures from their trip to see the breaks and you know, but to see the stories that these kids want to share and the pictures that were meaningful to them. They're tying into this community. And perhaps not even realizing that they're sharing some of these foundational just by going to these places they're sharing in that foundational theme.
Lynn: Well, one of the things that's so cool about your series is that there's really something for everyone. We just, look, we just were talking about sheep and farming and and then there's, you know, we saw some episodes earlier about the bank and economic crisis and that kind of thing. And then there's Hollywood and actors and all of that. And I mean, that's one of the things that I think is really fun is that you can dig into the series and find something for whatever your interest is. Like I was so transfixed by the Hollywood aspect and and had no idea the importance of the railroad and it's relationship to here. And I wondered if you could just sort of amplify that a little bit and some of the other, you know, Hollywood things that were going to happen here or stories from here.
Ryan: Well, I think that, the way I think about it in terms of our local history, right, there's really five themes. Everything that we do can really be limited to five themes: mining certainly, education, whether it's the university or any other kind, recreation, and I put your natural wonders and those kinds of things, agriculture, which I include sheep and cattle and farming and hay stuff, and tourism, in which I include the railroad. These are the five real pillars of Iron County and everything is viewed through that, including how you believe in God and everything else is focused on those specific things so the train really is critical to pretty much every single one of those stories and how they develop. And the other thing I think is we've been talking about, interestingly enough, is that we look at these big things happening. That it's not a consensus, right? I don't want to have the idea that Cedar City was this place where everyone just said "Yes, my personal needs don't matter, I'll do whatever you want" community people. It really was this idea that that there were people who either caught the vision late or never caught the vision at all, working dragging along. But what's interesting is if you trace the stories back, there's usually just one or two people who say, "We need to make this happen." Whether it's the bank, whether it's the university, whether it's the Hollywood and the national parks, Broadway and Chauncey Perry, Fred Adams, there's always one person who has this vision but may not have the rest of the skill set to put it together. And they spend a little bit of time in the challenge of history is we teach it so quickly and everyone wants on demand. This happened, and this happened, and this happened, Elvis walks into some studio and records, you know, "That's Alright, Mama," and next thing you know he's a he's a national star. Well, there are years in between there, right? Where he doesn't know anything, he's still a poor white boy from Mississippi. So my point is, is that the exciting thing about discovering this is that we are able to fill in these gaps and tell these stories where here's the visionary, you know, and they have this idea, but there's not a lot of support and eventually they end up being amazing things.
Wyett: So with the Hollywood aspect. specifically, you know, I, this was something I wasn't really exposed to. And like okay, you know, when I think of Hollywood in Utah, I think of, you know, like I think [Lynn] had mentioned Kanab, and you know, little Hollywood over there and that aspect. But you know, I got to watch "Union Pacific," which I'd never seen before. And, you know, that was all the exteriors were filmed, you know, just west of Cedar City. You know, "Can't Help Singing," which I had never seen before, watched that when we were producing the story about the Cedar Theater and you know it's spectacularly beautiful and the way it showcases our area and Ryan actually took me over and said "Let's find this path, we need to kind of, we've got the depot." And so we actually grabbed a map and we went, walked the tracks where they were, where they are. And so it was, it was kind of this weird step back into history of what would this have looked like as the train pulled into town, with the Hollywood movie stars with the crew. You know, loading up and then pulling all their equipment out it's, you know, they're at the depot or one of the freight buildings that used to be there, all the know the the big wigs and the stars are staying in there. The Escalante and, you know, what would that have looked like. And so to inform our storytelling, I mean, I find that I get wrapped up into those things. And so I mean that walk that just walking that that railroad path. You know, you talk about what's changed for me. I'm like, "Well, I have this whole new perspective, this whole new idea."
Ryan: And what does it mean for the people? And then President Harding comes to town, it's a huge deal. The only sitting president to ever come to Cedar City, comes to town to go to Zion and you read the editorials before that and there's all these people saying "We're overgrown with weeds. We gotta dig ditches out." And then he comes in and they're covering Main Street with flower petals so his car tires don't touch the ground. I mean it's amazing to think about how transformative the train is and then how these people really embrace it and form a whole community around this idea of film, of tourism, of the national parks, and what's exciting in America is all of this is coming online at the same time, and Cedar City is the focal point of this. So transformational.
They really put flower petals on Main Street for the car?
They did put, I mean, because it's the President of the United States and then he goes down to Zion, and it's a whole other, I mean, that's a whole other story and comes back. And he gives the typical speech, like, "Oh, it's the most amazing thing you pioneers are great," which you think a president, a politician would do. And, but what we know is because of the Iron County record is from there, he goes up to Yellowstone. And the Yellowstone superintendent is livid. All President Harding talks about is how cool Zion and Cedar City was. So my point is, is that it is just an incredible source of material to have these things and And even the imagery of, you know that right as the train was pulling away and God had held the gusts of wind away. So Howard and could go and then you hear this one lone man start singing "God be with you. Till we meet again." And then the chorus of people of Cedar City join in as the President's train goes down the tracks and as soon as it comes out of sight. "God releases the winds of heaven and the weeds blow and the dust comes again.
Lynn: No way. So was this a news article?
Lynn: Oh my gosh, I love it.
Ryan: So it's not just the event. It's the writing and because we're not visual people back then, we're still writing.
Lynn Vartan: That is fantastic. I love all of that. Well, the next thing, and probably the last thing as our, our hour has flown by is, what is the future of "Main Street Minutes?" What's up next, what's coming?
Wyett: So like we talked about earlier today. our big thing right now is we're working on a five part series for the Utah Shakespeare Festival. And they are typical episodes, three to four minutes is kind of our range. This will be a slightly longer format production and we're going to take it in "Main Street Minutes" style. We're going to talk about that community that forms to help create what has become the Utah Shakespeare Festival. And so that's kind of the big one on our plate but one of the other ones that we're, we're going to be doing, the Kanarraville all women fire department, we're looking at stories at Brian Head, couple of stories out of Parowan. And initially, we had Kind of centered everything around a structure. And one of the things that we've been talking a lot more about is, you know, telling stories of some of the people that are involved there. So we're looking at doing one on Randall Jones. And perhaps Paulina Phelps Lyman,
Ryan: And one of the initial series was Helen Foster Snow. I modeled after that thing as well. And then, yeah, sorry,
Lynn: And Helen Foster Snow, who, for those who haven't heard you know was part of the the gung ho movement and and all of that. And so the the fat kind of, initiating that word into our culture from that time and her work with With the Chinese culture and all of those things. I'm and I'm know about that because I spent time on the dream of Helen project in in Wuhan. So it's great to sort of revisit that for a moment. So you guys have a time coming up. That's awesome.
Ryan: Yeah, I think we came up with with after season one. We sat down in the History Department and came up with like 30, broke down into broke. We broke down. We did once we recovered. We added we prioritized and so that there are a lot on the plate and there are many more many more stories we would love to tell. That's the incredible thing, is that the more stories you find that's the secrets of Cedar City and is that there are many stories that haven't been told, yet yeah so that that's I think a pretty amazing thing and a pretty amazing responsibility to tell us.
Lynn: Those are the secrets, the secrets yet to be told. I love that. Well, I usually end with one sort of fun question and this question is what's turning you on this week, and it can be anything. It doesn't have to be related to research. It can be, but it doesn't have to be. It can be a book you're reading, it could be a TV show. It could be a movie. It could be food. It could be anything you want. But the question is what's turning you on this week so Whoever's got one, I'll let you go first, but Ryan and Wyett, what's turning you on this week?
Wyett: I'm in. Okay, so I just finished a an advanced reader copy Of Todd Peterson's new book, "Picnic in the Ruins," and it's it's a great story. First off, but it's also one that asks a lot of really great questions and they pertain to the industry. I'm in. And so it was one that I said to to Maria. I said, I think you should take a look at this book. And so she you know had an opportunity to read that. So that is and I'm looking forward to, you know, further discussions and things about the themes that he talks about in that book, you know, and it's and it's a great Coen brothers. Style storytelling there and and the way that he approaches the the material, but it's fat. It was fascinating read a lot of fun to read and that's what started me on right now.
Lynn: That's great. One of our own, one of our own faculty members who we just absolutely adore Todd Peterson and the book's title is picnic and the ruins that right. Okay, great. All right, Ryan. What's turning you on this week.
Ryan: What's turning me on this week is the rediscovery of a song that comes back to me. Every year or so maybe every two years, "The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald" by Gordon Lightfoot. Like if you want to hear amazing storytelling that will lead you down an incredible mental and spiritual rabbit hole, "The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald," you should listen to it right now.
Lynn Vartan: Oh my gosh. Well, how could we end on a better note, that is absolutely fantastic. Well, the show that we've been talking about is "Main Street Minutes" and you can find it on YouTube. And you can also look at the cedar city tourism website,
visitcedarcity.com, and you can find more about it there. These guys also give walking tours of Cedar City so if that's something you're interested in, that sounds like a blast to me. But with that we will we will sign off, I'd love to just say thank you so much to Ryan and to Wyett for being here today. Thanks, guys.
It's been awesome.
All right. Well, with that, if I can get my computer to start here, we will sign off, and we will see you very soon.
Lynn Vartan: Thanks so much for listening to the APEX Hour, here on KSUU Thunder 91.1. You can find us again next Thursday at 3pm for more conversations with the visiting guests at Southern Utah University and new music to discover for your next playlist. And in the meantime, we would love to see you at our events on campus. To find out more, check out suu.edu/apex. Until next week, this is Lynn Vartan saying goodbye from the APEX Hour, here on KSUU Thunder 91.1.