The Evolution of 900 West and The People That Lived There

When my Grandparents built their home in Cedar City, Utah they were on the south western side of town. They had moved from Hamilton’s Fort about 15 miles south of Cedar City. They had four children, two boys and two girls, my father being the youngest; he was about 11 or 12. They lived in a sheep wagon and a tent until they were able to build their home. My Grandfather was a laborer and one of his skills was in carpentry.When the railroad came into town several of the buildings on the lots the railroad needed were demolished. My Grandfather got the contract to tear down several of these buildings if he could keep the bricks and usable materials as part of his pay. They used these materials to build their home. They moved into their new home in December 1925. That was the beginning of 9th west.

My Dad and his brother Reid learned to do carpentry as they worked along side their father and uncles. It was their intention to work cooperatively together to build a home for each other. Aunt Inez was to keep the family home and the other three would have a building lot and by working cooperatively together they would all have a home.

Grandpa Cox was not a well man and he passed away when my Father was a teenager, his Mother was also bed ridden and she passed away just a few years later. Aunt Inez being the oldest was already working full time as a secretary for the Power Company. She became the supporter of the family. Uncle Reid and Aunt Mary also did what they could for the support of the family. Aunt Mary and her husband lived in a small apartment in the basement until their home could be build. Then uncle Reid married Wanda Steele and the boys built them a home next to the family home.  Another small home across the street was provided for Aunt Mima, my Grandmothers sister who never married. Our little street was almost done.

By the time I came along in 1946, 9th west was still basically on the edge of the town. There was a large field of alfalfa, owned by the College, on the north end of our street, running the length of the block to 100 south. On the South was another large field where the Thorley family used to hold their sheep. On the next block to the East the College also had another large field they used to hold cattle.  We would sometimes cut through this field on our way home from school. You had to be careful and not step in any cow pies. I don’t remember when the College finally got out of the cattle business. I think they were using them for their agricultural programs. The City probably passed an ordinance to get rid of animals in the City limits. Our neighbors on the west of us also had a few animals. They had horses and a few milk cows and some chickens.

By this time our street consisted of seven homes. Three on one side and four on the other. We shared our home with my Dad’s oldest sister. She never married and she lived in the basement of our home. She was actually the owner of the home but since we had seven in our family she had us use the upstairs. There were three bedrooms, one bathroom, a large kitchen and a living room. Just north of us was my Dad’s brother, Uncle Reid and his family, They had three girls and one boy. Then next to them was Uncle Morris and his family, They had two boys and three girls. Across the street, lived the Dover’s, two brothers and their family’s, then our Aunt Mima. Then next to her was the Greens. Next to the Green’s was a vacant lot. The Greens and the Dover’s were related to each other but not to us. But all the adults were Aunts and Uncles to all the kids that lived on the street.

There was a wide range of ages for the kids on the street, some were five or six years older than me. There were some kids that were close to my age within one or two years each way. Then there were some that were five or six years younger. There was always someone to either play with or fight with. There were street games, kick the can, hid and go seek, baseball games in the street. We had big lawns that were great for mass sleeping out parties in the summer. Sometimes Uncle Dick Dover would set up a screen out on the lawn and show outdoor movies in the summer. It was always a favorite. He would show home movies and sometimes he would get some cartoons. So much fun; especially when he would run the movie backwards.

The middle of the street was paved but not the sides. We did have sidewalks on both sides. Eventually the city paved the entire street. No more muddy shoes when it rained.

When I was about nine years old my Dad started to build our own home on the vacant lot.   He did a lot of the work himself. He knew carpentry and how to run electricity. There were a few things he had to get others to help with but he and Uncle Reid did a large majority of the work.

On Thanksgiving the Cox family’s always had dinner together. Each family had an assignment. The tables would be set up at Uncle Reid’s. The kids were put to work making place cards out of marshmallows, gum drops and tooth picks to look like turkeys. I was very glad when I finally got to sit at the big table and not the kids table. One year after the roof and walls and windows were up in our new house we had Thanksgiving at our house. It was kind of cold but there was lots of room and it was really fun.

We finally moved into our new house. It was great to have three bathrooms and a room for my Mother to use for her sewing. Imagine, the sewing could be done without having to put everything away when we wanted to eat dinner.  A large bedroom that I still shared with my sisters but we had so much more room. My Brothers shared a room downstairs. Also down stairs my father had a work room for his hobbies, he hand tied fishing flies and repaired rifles. There was a garage for the car. No more having to scrap the windows during the winter. We were living large. There was room in the kitchen for a table were most of our meals were served. But we also had a “Dining Room”.  Sunday dinners were served in the Dining Room and of course if we had company.

I graduated from high school in 1964. Both my sisters were married, my oldest brother was about ready to go on his mission and my younger brother was ready to start high school. Our family was getting smaller. The other families on the street were going through the same transitions.

The next  biggest change to our street for many years came when the fields to the south of us were developed and a new street was added. A new ward house was built on that property and several homes began to appear. Around 1967 my Dad and Mother started to build a new home across the street from the new ward house.

Sometime in the  1980′s the College bought our street and several of the blocks around our street. They built their big Centrum sports arena and our street became a parking lot.  So now when I go to Cedar to attend some function at the Centrum I get to park where my house used to be.