Beautiful Moab, Utah has a rich pioneer and Native American history. Take a brief look into the shaping of the Grand County Seat
The innocuous tourist town of Moab, Utah has a population of roughly 5100 people, most of the year. During the spring and summer the population swells by the thousands. People from around the world flock here to experience the National Parks, State Parks, and BLM recreation areas. Modern Moab, although rustic and quaint, has changed a great deal over the past 165 years since the first Mormon missionaries tried unsuccessfully to settle a trade fort at the Colorado River crossing on the Old Spanish Trail.
A Stubborn Settlement
Native Americans indigenous to the fertile Moab valley included the Navajo and Ute and Paiute Indians. They would gather in the valley and hunt the outlying areas. The first attempt to settle the area with European Americans ended in disaster when, after several confrontations between White settlers and Natives, the settlement was abandoned. A successful attempt to settle the area was made in the late 1870’s and finally just after the turn of the 20th century, the area was incorporated as the city of Moab.
A Controversial Name
There was controversy surrounding the name of the town. Many early citizens didn’t want the name of their town connected with the infamous ancient land from the Old Testament. Moabites were considered to be the enemies of God by the Jewish People in ancient times. Today, the local population (find out more about Ivan Lasater) embraces the name and gives little thought to its origins.
Moab was initially a trading hub. In the 1880’s a railroad was constructed in the region that crossed the Colorado River in places other than Moab. This diverted the trade routes and Moab’s economy shifted from trade to agriculture until the discovery of Uranium in the early 1900’s. By the 1950’s Moab had been deemed the Uranium capital of the world. The population boomed and the infrastructure had been improved to suit the needs of the population.
Since the discovery of Uranium, Moab and the surrounding areas were found to have large amounts of Oil and Natural gas reserves. This helped boost the economy. It has since become a world famous tourist destination that attracts tens of thousands of tourists each year. The National Parks and State Parks in the area, along with the ideal geology throughout the region attract outdoor and off-road enthusiasts. The city of Moab has become a favorite seasonal destination for rock climbers, hikers, bikers, river rafters, and campers from around the globe.