Saturday, August 6, 2016

Parry Lodge Property History Timeline

Parry Lodge Property History Timeline (revised 8/6/2016)


  • 1892 – Original 1 ½ story farmhouse that is now the Parry Lodge was built by Mormon pioneer Justin M. (Jet) Johnson
  • 1915 – Gronway and his brother Chauncey purchased the Cedars Hotel and started a transportation company that shuttled passengers from the Los Angeles & Salt Lake Railroad to St. George.
  • April 1917 – Gronway and Chauncey Parry in partnership with William Wylie formed the National Park Transportation and Camping Company to be concessioners for lodging and transportation to Zion Monument. Younger brother Whit was brought in as a driver at age 13.
  • 1917 – At the start of WWI, Gronway and Chauncey joined the army Air Service. Gronway was soon mustered out because of the effects of a bad dose of smallpox vaccine, but Chauncey received flight training
  • 1919 – The Parry brothers, Gronway and Chauncey, started the Utah-Arizona Transportation Corporation.
  • 1920 – After returning from the service and having a dispute with his partner Wylie, Chauncey reorganized the company to become the Utah-Grand Canyon Transportation Company and expanded services to the North Rim of the Grand Canyon. Wylie, in debt, left the company. Chauncey invited his brother Gronway to join the company.
  • 1922 – The Parry brothers were hired to transport visiting film people and their equipment for the filming of “Deadwood Coach”, a western starring Tom Mix and his Wonder Horse. This was the beginning of their involvement with the movie industry.
  • November 22, 1922 – Gronway married Afton Leone Parrish
  • 1924 – Younger brother Whit became a partner in the transportation corporation.
  • 1925 – The three Parry brothers as owners of the Hiway Tourist Park and Camping Corporation bought the house that is now Jake’s Chaparral in Kanab from Lewis and Vinnie Farnsworth Jepson. The Parrys converted the Jepson house into the Parry Cafeteria to feed their tourist customers.
  • 1927 – The Parry brothers sold their transportation company including the Parry Cafeteria to Union Pacific Utah Parks Corporation due to increasing competition from the Union Pacific Railroad and other transportation companies. Chauncey Parry became the first Transportation Agent for the Union Pacific Utah Parks and subsequently designated as a special agent for the promotion of movies in Utah. He continued his employment with Union Pacific for 17 years. Gronway Parry also worked as a superintendent for the Union Pacific.
  • June 19 1928 -Chauncey Parry married Helen Claire Daynes
  • December1928 – Chauncey Parry purchased the Johnson farmhouse that is now the Parry Lodge.
  • March, 1930 – Chauncey began expanding the farmhouse into a hotel and dining room.  Additions included adding several small “summer cabins” just north and west of the lodge in 1931. A cafe and a large kitchen in the rear were also constructed at this time.
  • June, 1931 – The Parry Lodge opened for its first tourist season and was the first modern motel court in the city. Lodging was provided in both cottages and guest rooms in the lodge. According to an AAA pamphlet from that time, nightly room rates ranged from $1.50 to $2.50 for a room without a private bath and $2.50 to $5.00 for a cottage with a private bath.
  • 1930’s – Using his aviation skills acquired during WWI and flying his own biplane, Chauncey took photos of the scenery of Kane County and prepared a portfolio for his contacts in Hollywood. He promoted not only the scenery of the area, but the amenities provided by the Parry Lodge, which included catering, transportation, animals, local residents for extras, and craftsmen for set construction, in addition to lodging.
  • 1932 – Whit and his sister Kartryn assumed responsibility for managing the Lodge and creating “a top-notch establishment fit to lodge movie stars”. Chauncey was in charge of public relations and promotion. Gronway Parry handled transportation issues and also recruited, trained and managed local residents for movie extras.
  • 1938 – Chauncey acquired a parcel of land directly north and west of the original property to build additional cottages. Postcards from the era show the various changes that occurred to the cabins over this time period (from standalone cabins to a row of cabins with a common roof and covered parking spaces to the present M1/M2 facilities).
  • 1940 – Whit and his first wife, Grayce Beckett, were married
  • March 10, 1943 – Chauncey was killed in an automobile accident in Cedar City. He was buried in the Salt Lake Cemetery. After Chauncey’s death, Whit Parry took over the entire operation and bought Chauncey and Gronway’s interest in the business.
  • 1944 – Whit expanded the Parry Lodge property to a full half block when he bought a portion of the Gideon Findlay property from Dana Findlay and an old log cabin (constructed by George W. Adair in 1871) by quit deed from George Herber Robinson. The Gideon Findlay House originally constructed in 1919 was purchased after the death of Gideon’s wife, Dana, in 1967.
  • 1945 – Whit Parry refurbished the Adair log cabin at the back of the property with pool tables, a bar and slot machines for his movie star guests. The building, known as the “Black Cat”, was closed to local residents.
  • 1945 – The Lodge was featured in  Saturday Evening Post articles in 1945 and 1949
  • 1951 – The “Black Cat” burned in a fire caused by a discarded cigarette butt and was never rebuilt.  In its place, the upstairs front room of the Lodge was designated the “Red Room” due to its red carpeting and used by Whit Parry as a bar and dining room. The dumb waiter was used to bring food from the kitchen
  • early1950’s – A pool was constructed at the Lodge upon the request of John Wayne and his offer to pay for half of the cost. A concrete patio was built at the same time. This pool and patio were filmed in 1956 in “The Girl in Black Stockings”.  Also noted in the movie is that the lobby stairs to the second floor of the lodge were originally located in the hall between the kitchen and coffee shop. The employee time clock was probably added at the same time as the relocation of the stairs.
  • 1956 – Parry Lodge was voted “one of the 10 best roadside inns in the United States”. It was noted for the more than 300 photographs decorating its walls that showed over 250 movie stars that stayed at the Parry Lodge during the filming of the many movies made in the area. Many of these photographs were autographed by the celebrity.
  • 1957 – The front porch was extended to the west and the coffee shop roof changed from a simple gable to a flat roof and the ‘Coffee Shop” sign added. The current M1 and M2 facilities were probably built about this time replacing several of the individual cabins.
  • 1957 – Due to growing debts, Whit Parry sold the Lodge to Dean Ezra Vance. Dean and his wife Harriet operated the Lodge for a short time before Whit again took it over. Harriet managed the Pink Poodle, a clothing boutique at the lodge during this period.
  • 1960 – Whit and his 2nd wife, Barbara Langer, were divorced.
  • 1966 – Due to illness and the financial troubles of Whit Parry, the Parry Lodge was sold at a Sheriff’s sale to Bernell Lewis, Kanab mayor and friend of Whit’s. His sons renovated the motel rooms and changed the front landscaping.
  • 1966 – Whit Parry  opened a restaurant across from the Parry Lodge
  • June 2, 1967 – Whit Parry died from cancer in California
  • 1967 – The remainder of the Findlay property including the bungalow was purchased after the death of Dana Findlay that year.
  • 1968 – The Lodge was featured in a Life magazine article
  • 1968 – Gronway Parry sold his extensive collection of horse-drawn carriages and other vehicles to the Iron Mission Park Commission in Cedar City for half its value. He considered this a gift to the people of Cedar City. He began his collection in 1911 and became an expert in their restoration.
  • May 2, 1969 -  Gronway Parry died and was buried in the Cedar City Cemetery.
  • January 7, 1971 – Golden Circle Tours from Kanab bought the Parry Lodge from Bernell Lewis. They owned it for 6-7 years but poorly managed the property. During this time, the number of lodging units increased from 37 to 82.
  • 1972 – The “L” rooms were built providing 24 additional rooms.  Three cabins were removed at this time and taken to Angel Canyon for use by Tauke Tours.
  • 1978 – The 2-story lodging building was built with 32 additional rooms. At this time the “blue room” cabins behind the dining room were moved to the rear of the property adjacent to the “L” rooms to allow construction of the 2 story. These were named for the blue color of the carpeting.
  • November1978 – Steve Heaton, Brent Heaton, and Ken Broadhead bought the Parry Lodge property from Golden Circle Tours. Ken Broadhead, who is married to Steve Heaton’s sister, initially managed the property.
  • 1980 – The Dining Room was enlarged to be flush with the house.
  • 1980’s – The original M1, M2, L and Pool Cottage interiors were renovated. A hot tub-gazebo was added in the northwest corner of the fenced pool area
  • 1981 – The Parry Lodge property was sold to an investment group.
  • 1984 - Three years later, the investment group defaulted on the final balloon payment and Steve and Ken reclaimed the property.
  • December 2003 – The Parry Lodge was accepted under the National Register of Historic Places for its association with the development of tourism and the movie industry in Kanab, Utah in the early twentieth century.
  • April, 2015 – The Parry Lodge was sold by Steve Heaton to Forever Resorts

History of the Old Barn and the Findlay Rental House

  • The following information was provided by Christina Swanson Little, daughter of Sytha Findlay Swanson and granddaughter of Gideon Wilson Findlay.
  • 1919 – Gideon Wilson Findlay (born in 1886, died June 21, 1949 and buried in Kanab City Cemetery) built the house on the corner behind the King rooms. Supposedly the house is constructed with a brick layer between two layers of wood.
  • Gideon, while not a Morman, was a respected member of the community and a member of the school board.  He ran cattle up to and including the Kaibab.
  • 1910 – The old barn was built by Gideon. Gideon was a gambler and played poker in the barn. It burned down once and was rebuilt. He also raced horses, one of which starred in a movie made in the area.
  • Dana graduated from Kanab High School and on her senior trip hiked to the bottom of the Grand Canyon.  She ran the Kanab Selective Service after Gideon died.
  • 1944 – Whit Parry purchased a portion of the Findlay property.
  • 1967 – The Findlay house was purchased after Dana’s death in 1967 and was used as a rental property for a number of years
  • The Old Barn was used by the movie industry to provide shelter for horses and carriages during filming.
  • 1973 – the Old Barn was converted to a live theater and performances were provided by Parry Lodge employees to their guests for a number of years.
  • 2013 – The Findlay house was updated and added as a short term rental unit to the Parry Lodge property.

History of the Union Pacific Lodge

  • The original house was probably built for Frank and Lovinnia Farnsworth. The house passed through several owners, ending with Lewis and Vinnie Farnsworth Jepson in 1904. Vinnie was the daughter of Frank and Lovinnia Farnsworth. The Jepsons finished the upstairs of the 1½ story house, installing a wooden bathtub that was stated to be one of only two built-in bathtubs in Kanab at the time. The Jepsons probably added to the rear of the property at the same time.

  • They sold the house in 1925 to the Hiway Tourist Park and Company, a local tour bus operation owned by brothers Gronway Parry, Whit Parry and Chauncey Parry. The Parrys worked with William W. Wylie, a pioneer of tourism in Yellowstone National Park, to provide tour services in Grand Canyon's north rim, Zion, Bryce and Cedar Brakes National Monument. The Parrys converted the Jepson house for use as the Parry Cafeteria in 1925. The Parry brothers later established the Parry Lodge, which is still in operation today, at the corner of Center Street and 100 East, where they remodeled a frame house, and built several cottage-type motel units.

  • The Utah Parks Company was set up by the Union Pacific Railway to provide tourist services at the southern Utah parks. Under pressure from Union Pacific, the Parry brothers sold the cafeteria transportation company to Union Pacific in 1927, retaining some of the bus routes. Chauncey Parry became superintendent of the bus line. The railroad started a major expansion of the lodge, concluding in 1932 with a lobby, dining room and kitchen as well as toilets and a souvenir shop. The restaurant served only lunch, and only for bus tour patrons: it was not open to the general public. A 1938 laundry addition served as a central laundry for all of its park operations in the area.

  • As tourists increasingly arrived in their own cars, the bus business declined. The restaurant and curio shop closed in 1960, the laundry continuing until 1967. Vacant from 1967 to 1973, the property was acquired by Stan Clark who renovated the restaurant and converted the laundry to a theater, calling the operation The Old West Company, and continuing to 1978. In 1980 a partnership bought the property and opened the Territorial Inn Restaurant, which operated until 1987, when it became the Wok Inn restaurant. The restaurant known as Jakes Chaparral began operating at this location in 2014


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