It wasn't until
1898 that a townsite was surveyed and brothers Joseph and Henry Gubler
as well as James Pectol came to La Verkin with their families. The town
flourished and gradually grew into an area of fruit production, turkey
growing, and dairying.
Utah Power Company agreed to enlarge and cement the canal from the west
entrance of the tunnel to the dam in exchange for the right to carry
water in the canal to its power plant in the Virgin River canyon west
of La Verkin. Later, in the 1980s, the open ditches in La Verkin were
converted to a closed pressurized system.
Bubbling up beneath
the ledges of the point where the Virgin River breaks through the Hurricane Fault are the warm mineral waters of the La Verkin sulfur springs. Fathers
Dominguez and Escalante probably visited the sulfur springs, since they
named the stream the "Rio Sulfureo." The Indians regarded the hot springs as sacred and healing spaces, available to friend or enemy. The grounds
were preserved as a peaceful sanctuary for everyone. The springs became
one of the first recreation spots for the early Mormon pioneers. They
dammed up the springs sufficiently that people could bathe. During the
years of canal building, the waters soothed and comforted the men who
swung the picks and pushed the wheelbarrows.