Kane County History

Kane County is rich in history ranging from pre-historic dinosaurs, native peoples in the region, early explorers and settlers, western movie history, and modern day pioneers.

The geologic history of the Grand Canyons region is remarkable as this area has been impacted significantly by earthquakes, volcanoes, and the erosion of lakes, rivers, wind and time. Native Americans have lived in this region for thousands of years and populations of the native people have come and gone.

Spanish Explorers: Silvestre ‘lez de Escalante was a Franciscan missionary who ventured into this region with his group of explorers in 1776.

The next main group of explorers to this region came as the Mormon Pioneers entered the region in the 1850’s and 60’s. Native Americans forced early pioneers away from their settlements in the mid 1860’s. The community of Kanab was first settled in 1864 but Indian attacks forced early explorers to abandon the area in just two years. Kanab means “place of the willows” in the Paiute Native American language, The area was re-established by Mormon pioneers in 1870. Kanab remained an isolated southwestern town for many years but now attracts visitors from around the world.

During the 1940’s and 1950’s Hollywood fell in love with the authentic Old West flavor of Kanab region. If you’ve ever seen an old western, chances are you’ve caught a glimpse of this area that is commonly referred to as “Little Hollywood,”. More than 100 movies and TV shows have been filmed in this region. Movie buffs visiting Kanab will want to experience Little Hollywood Movie Museum on West Center Street in Kanab, as well as the nearby Paria, Johnson Canyon, and Kanab Canyon movie sets. See a full list of movies.

Notable residents of the community of Kanab include Mormon pioneers Jacob Hamblin, Levi Stewart, and William Thomas Stewart, famed western novelist Zane Gray, and contemporary jazz musician Kelly Sweet. Artist Maynard Dixon was a resident of the Mount Carmel area just north of Kanab.