Tuesday, September 15, 2009

So What Is It About?

So, after all that rambling on for the last three posts, what is this book actually about?

Well, Zion became a national park in November 1919. At that time the park facilities for tourists were closed for the season and wouldn't open again until the following spring. Th Union Pacific Railroad saw this new national wonderland as a opportunity to get more people riding their trains. How were they going to do this? Eyre Powell, a press representative and photographer for the railroad, organized an event to celebrate the opening of the park for its first official tourist season as a park. The event would include lots of photos that could be used to promote the park and the use of the railroad to get there in newspaper across the country. What looks better in photos than pretty girls? With the help of Chauncey Parry, who ran the automobile stage from the train station in Lund, Utah, the railroad gathered up a group of six girls, mostly from the University of Utah, who were willing to spend a week in the park having fun and getting their picture taken in the grandeur of Zion Canyon. They would become Zion National Park's first official tourists as a national park.

Our book is about that week that those intrepid girls spent in the canyon in May 1920. The photos are the ones taken by Eyre Powell and then used by the Union Pacific Railroad to promote travel to the new national park. The stories in the book come from the newspapers of the time and some of the personal journals of the girls involved. There are daring escapes, breathtaking heights, music, dancing and camp pranks. The story is rounded out by some history of transportation and tourism surrounding the park. We also included biographies on all the girls because by the time you are done with their adventure, you will want to know what else happens to these unique ladies.

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