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Public Use Sites

Orson B. Adams House

The Orson Adams House is located just off Interstate 15, 14 miles northeast of St. George, Utah.  Follow the signs to the Red Cliffs Recreation Area. Visitors are welcome to view the exterior of the home and its grounds, however the interior is not yet available to the public. The Adams house will be open for public visitation in the future, with volunteer docents helping to interpret the rich heritage and natural resources of the region. 

The St. George Field Office completed rehabilitation of a mid-19th century Mormon pioneer residence for adaptive re-use in 2006. This small sandstone masonry house was built in 1863 for the Orson B. Adams family, in the now abandoned Mormon agricultural settlement of Harrisburg. Critical to the successful completion of the rehabilitation project were partnerships with Washington County, the Utah Heritage Foundation, and the National Trust for Historic Preservation; technical assistance from the Utah State Historic Preservation Office; and volunteer labor during several phases of the project. 

Washington County, Utah State University (USU), and the Utah Chapter-American Society of Landscape Architects are working with BLM to draft a concept plan for public recreation use of the 215 acres that surround the Adams house. Quail Creek flows through the tract, creating a lush riparian area with tall cottonwood trees and willows. Other historic Harrisburg structures, terraced gardens, an orchard, fields outlined by native rock walls, irrigation ditches, and wagon roads are preserved on the property. In 2004, students and faculty from USU documented the features of this still-intact 19th century agrarian landscape, as part of the first Historic American Landscape Survey to be conducted in Utah. The final concept plan will integrate the Adams house with a system of linked hiking, mountain biking, and equestrian trails that connect to trails in the Red Cliffs Recreation Site, the Red Cliffs Desert Reserve, and the nearby historic Silver Reef mining district.

View of Orson Adams House before restoration with the Red Reef in backgroundView of McMullin House ruins with the Red Reef and Pine Valley Mountain in background


Location Map

Oral History about John Kemple

Orson B. Adams House Docent 


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