5 Fun Things You Probably Didn’t Know about Panguitch

Janine Brandt | 11.11.19

Every city has a story. One of the best things about exploring new cities is the chance to flesh out its story, to discover what makes it unique and creates its identity. When you visit Panguitch, you’ll find that this historic western town has a rich history and charming facade that sets it apart from any other city in the world. From its history to its location and beyond, Panguitch offers its visitors an experience that can’t be found anywhere else. You may think you know Panguitch, but every place has its share of secrets – and we’re here to tell them all. Here are five fun things you probably didn’t know about Panguitch.

Want to know even more fun and unique things about Panguitch? Download our free Southern Utah Vacation Guide for everything you need to know about planning the ultimate Panguitch vacation!

Panguitch is Native American for “big fish”

The first recorded use of Panguitch Lake was as a fishery by the local Paiute Indians. It’s plentiful trout led the Native Americans to name the area “Panguitch”, which means “Big Fish”. When settlers first came to the area, they dubbed the city “Fairview,” but it was later changed out of respect for the local tribe (and because, well, it makes sense). Today, Panguitch Lake is still home to some of Utah’s largest trout and is a popular fishing spot for anglers across the country.

It was a favored spot for Butch Cassidy

Panguitch played host to Butch Cassidy multiple times throughout his childhood. His childhood home was just 20 miles away in Circleville (it is still open today for tours). Cassidy frequented the larger town of Panguitch frequently to attend events and purchase goods. The nearby Cassidy Trail was named after the western outlaw when he was involved in a brawl at a dance in Panguitch and fled with his gang to the nearby Red Canyon trails to elude the law. Talk about a true western heritage!

The Quilt Walk festival is based on an actual event

The Panguitch Quilt Walk is a famed annual festival that celebrates all things quilting. What you may not know is that this festival doesn’t just represent a love of cozy quilts – it actually commemorates a historic event. In 1864, in the midst of a harsh, devastating winter, seven men ventured to the nearby town of Parowan to get much-needed supplies for the settlers. The ground was so cold and the snow so deep that the men had to walk, foot by foot, on quilts that they had brought with them for the journey. In this way, they made it to Parowan and back to deliver food and supplies to their struggling neighbors. Today, the Quilt Walk Festival celebrates their act of bravery and the city’s rich history.

The GEM Theater has cinematic history

Panguitch’s historic GEM Theater was first built in 1909, making it 110 years old (and one of the oldest movie theaters in the country). While the current building is not the original structure, the theater has a rich cinematic history that’s still alive today. During the last century, the theater has survived multiple fires, name changes, and new owners. Its rebuild in 1928 made it the first theater in South Utah to feature films with sound. 21st-century visitors can enjoy historic memorabilia and a retro cafe area on top of the day’s most advanced theater technology.

It is the largest city in Garfield County and the County Seat

Panguitch is known for its rich history and fun outdoor activities, both of which make it a popular tourist destination. But Panguitch also has a large local presence! It is the largest city in Garfield County and acts as the County Seat. As such, it houses the county’s legislature, courthouse, jail, house of records, and more. It’s a huge change from its gun-slingin’ western roots!

If you want to truly experience all that Panguitch has to offer, you’ll need the perfect vacation rental right in the heart of the action. We have plenty of rentals right in town that are homey, comfortable and immerse you in the Panguitch way of life. If you’re looking to stick with a fun historical vibe, check out our Heywood Heritage Home. You’ll feel like you’ve stepped back in time as you relax in the claw-foot bathtub and curl up next to the authentic wood-burning stove.

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