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History of Hurricane, Utah
Taken from the Utah History Encyclopedia (Links Added)
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Visitors driving through Hurricane today may stop long enough to see the remains of an irrigation canal, supported by walls of rock and masonry, connected in places by tunnels, winding its tortuous way along the precipitous mountainside high above the riverbed until it leaves the canyon to follow the famous Hurricane Fault and then encircle the green and productive benchland of the community.

John Steele of Toquerville and James Jepson of Virgin conceived the idea of a way to get water from the Virgin River onto the Hurricane bench. As a result of their survey, made with a spirit level, the Hurricane Canal Company was organized in Toquerville on 11 July 1893. A second survey indicated that if they went upstream seven and one-half miles above the hot springs and built a fifteen-foot high dam to divert water into a canal, they could irrigate about two thousand acres of excellent quality land. Fifty-three men signed the articles of incorporation, and the stockholders authorized contracts for building the canal.

With pick and shovel, wheelbarrows, crowbars, and hand-driven drills, the hazardous and laborious work proceeded. Most of the work on the canal had to come during the winter months--November to March--to enable the workers to support their farms and families. The ditch slowly took form; the first two diversion dams washed out but the third held. Flumes on trestlework spanned open spaces, and tunnels were hacked and blasted through solid rock. As years raced by the work slowed, with fewer and fewer workers staying on the job. Finally, the canal company ran out of money. Things came almost to a standstill. James Jepson was sent as an emissary to Salt Lake City to petition the LDS Church to subscribe for stock in the company. President Joseph F. Smith and the Council of the Twelve agreed to invest $5,000 in the effort. This boost from the church was what the project needed, and work sped forward rapidly. Water flowed through the canal to the thirsty area for the first time on 6 August 1904, nearly eleven years after the project was initiated.


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