Although the railroad never came as far south and east as Kanab, the Deseret Telegraph
line came to town in 1871 and connected the area to the rest of the
world. Frederick Dellanbaugh, a member of the John Wesley Powell expedition
through southern Utah, described Kanab in his book Canyon Voyage: "The
village which had been started only a year or two was laid out in the
characteristic Mormon style, with wide streets and regular lots, fenced
by wattling willows between stakes. Irrigation ditches ran down each
side of every street. The entire settlement had a thrifty air as is
the case with the Mormons. Not a grog-shop or gambling saloon, or dance hall was to be seen; ordinarily the usual disgraceful accompaniments
of the frontier town."
As early as 1922 Kane County's scenery and climate attracted movie producers and actors
when Tom Mix filmed "Deadwood Coach," with the Vermilion Cliffs as
a backdrop. The motion picture industry provided a needed economic boost
for Kanab during much of the twentieth century. Kanab had always been
a cattle town, but its landscape became favored in many cowboy movies.
Since the 1920s hundreds of movies have been filmed locally. Of significance
to the development of Kanab was the construction of Glen Canyon Dam,
begun in late 1956. The population of Kanab grew because of the boost
to the economy.