Castle Valley Comments
May 30, 2013
by Ron Drake
May 30, 2013 | 1248 views | 0 0 comments | 10 10 recommendations | email to a friend | print
The other day Bob Russell emailed me with a question that was asked of him by a Canadian couple visiting the area. “How did Castle Valley get its name?” It is a good question for which I have no immediate answer, but I’ll have to ask around to see what I can come up with. The problem is that most of the old timers who might have an idea have passed on, taking a lot of our local history with them.

Betty Stanton, a descendent of several generations of forebears and a historian and writer of area accounts, thought Castle Valley was named after the famous Castle Rock, which stands as a monument over the valley. But she promised to do some checking among her vast amount of records and sources for a more definitive answer. One way or another, the name is sure to have come from the prominent and amazing rock formations that enhance the beauty of our valley.

I do know that Castle Valley has been on the map since well before Sid and John Pace entered the valley around 1888 when they bought Castle Valley property and a two-room rock cabin from a man by the name of Fish. The cabin had a dirt floor and a place for a door and window, but there was nothing in the space. A little later, John returned to Payson, Utah, which was named after his grandfather by Brigham Young, and came back to Castle Valley with his wife and three of his children.

A plaque at the old ranch cemetery states that “the Pace family had to descend the rock wall north of the Colorado River. All of the family belongings including the horses and wagons, were roped down the cliff. Ireta, born in 1891, was so little she was secured to a pillow and was also lowered over the cliff with the aide of ropes. After forging the river, the Pace family continued their venture into the valley. In the old ranch house,[still standing north of the Town Hall], John and Anna raised six children: Lynn, Zella, Ireta, Sid, LaSalle and Jack.”

Castle Valley and the mining town of Castleton, farther up the road, were thriving areas with many dances and social events to entertain the population. A school was built by the Pace brothers on the Castle Valley ranch and served the children of the area for many years. It drew kids from the Castle Valley ranches and kids from Castleton until it closed around 1922. Bill Buchanan grew up on the ranch and attended the school before it closed. He remembers families gathering at the old school on Friday nights and dancing the night away until dawn. The kids would be put to bed in the cloakroom of the one-room school house until the festivities were over the next morning.

This area was referred to as Little Castle Valley for many years during the pioneer times because of the large area in Carbon and Emery counties, which was and is still known as The Castle Valley. As the pioneers would travel between here and the metropolitan areas to the north, they would travel through the Castle Valley area of Price city to reach their destination, and to distinguish between the two, they referred to this valley as Little Castle Valley.

There is still confusion between the two Castle Valleys sometimes. Some time ago a church group was traveling in several vehicles from St. George to Castle Dale to attend the Castle Valley Pageant. The driver of one of the cars didn’t notice the other cars in the caravan turn north off of Interstate 70 toward Castle Dale. The woman in the car continued east to U.S. 191 and eventually ended up in Moab and was directed to our Castle Valley. When she asked for directions, somebody in Castle Valley referred her to me and I had to break the news to her that we don’t have a pageant. A gourd festival is about as close as we come and that was several months off, I told her. All she could do was to return home because by the time she would have arrived in Castle Dale, the pageant would have been over.

All of this still doesn’t answer Bob’s question of how Castle Valley was named, but I’ll try to come up with something. While we’re at it maybe we’ll find out how the other Castle Valley was named or how Castle Dale got its name.


There are a several deadlines looming in the distance for Castle Valley residents to consider. Those wishing to file as candidates for the town council have must do so between June 1 through June 7 during regular business hours, according to the Utah Legislature. In Castle Valley, that equates to June 3 through June 6 at 5 p.m., which are the regular business hours for the Castle Valley Town Clerk.

The four-year term for mayor will be up for election this year as well as one two-year term for town council and two four-year seats for town council. Those filing must have been a resident of the town for one year.

The Castle Valley Fire District will also have two open seats available this year. The terms of Dave Vaughn and Ron Mengel will expire and like the town, applicants must file between June 3 and June 6 at 5 p.m. with the commission clerk, Bob Lippman by calling him at 259-1182 to sign the papers.

The Castle Valley Town Council is accepting applications from 2013 graduating seniors for the annual Castle Valley Scholarship. A letter of interest accompanied by proof of acceptance at an accredited institute of higher learning, and proof of registration, must be submitted to the town clerk by 5 p.m. on Thursday, June 13. The scholarship will be awarded at the town council meeting Wednesday, June 19, at 6:30 p.m.

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