Valley was home to prehistoric Anasazi and Sevier people who constructed
granaries and pithouses, dating from about A.D. 750 to 1250. Petroglyphs
of unusual variety from different periods were pecked into the stone
of Parowan Gap about twelve miles northwest of Parowan. Cedar City is
the tribal headquarters of the modern Southern Paiute Indians, whose
ancestors used the plants and animals of the basin/plateau environment
in a complex seasonal pattern.
The Dominguez-Escalante expedition passed through the area on 12 October
1776 on its unsuccessful search for a route to central California. The
Catholic fathers followed the Old Spanish Trail long used by Native
Americans to southern California. Fur trapper Jedediah Smith was the
first American to use the route on his amazing journey of 1826. Mormon settlers dispatched by Brigham Young established Parowan in January
1851 as the mother colony of the southern frontier. Cedar City (originally
Coal Creek) was founded the same year. Several pioneer log homes as
well as some English two-bay log barns now very rare in the state remain
in the county.