Zion Lodge

Known Name(s)

Zion Lodge


1 Zion lodge Springdale, UT

Physical Status



Photo of main building is in public domain.

Photo of sign is courtesy of Zion National Park, photographer Carl E. Jepson.

Detailed History

Zion was Utah's first national park, designated by Congress on November 19, 1919. Architect Gilbert Stanley Underwood designed the lodge to blend with the natural surroundings of sandstone and red rock. The building was complete in 1925 and served guests to until it burned to the ground in January 1966. According to historians at the National Park Service specializing in Zion and Bryce history, though both parks opened well before the federal government mandated desegregation, there is no historical record of institutional segregation in park facilities at either Zion or Bryce Canyon national parks. In the 1959 Greeen Book issue, the address is listed as: "Opens June 15th to Sept. 15th."I

t might surprise those familiar with the Civil Rights movement to find entries for Zion and Bryce Canyon National Parks in the Green Book during the 1950s and 1960s. In 1945, Interior Secretary Harold Ickes had ordered the desegregation of all national parks. Yet implementation of this new federal standard was varied and frequently unenforced. National parks often remained segregated or off-limits to Black travelers late into the twentieth century. Even after the Civil Rights Act of 1964, attempts to integrate public parks at times ended in violence. The Green Book continued to advise Black travelers of those National Parks friendly to travelers of color throughout the 1960s. Even as late as 2018, less than two percent of annual visitors were African Americans according to National Park Service data. Under President Barack Obama, the government launched a new effort to promote diversity in national parks. His memorandum of 2017 entitled, “Promoting Diversity and Inclusion in Our National Parks, National Forests, and Other Public Lands and Waters,” aimed to diversify the National Park Service and create exhibits honoring the historic contributions of people of color within the national parks.

Sources consulted:

"Zion Lodge," NPS,org https://www.nps.gov/zion/learn/historyculture/zionlodge.htm#:~:text=The%20Zion%20Lodge%20was%20completed,fire%20on%20January%2026%2C%201966

Author interview with NPS historian Peter J. Densmore, 02/13/2023, "In all of my reading and historic media browsing I've never seen anything to suggest that there were segregated facilities at either park," Author interview with NPS historian Emily E. Moran, "I have done some more searching and have not found any evidence of documented history regarding segregation," 02/24/2023.

Leslie Kelen, "Interview with Charles Nabors," December 15, 1983, Everett L. Cooley oral history program, 99.

David Scott and KangJae Jerry Lee, "People of Color and Their Constraints to National Parks Visitation," The George Wright Forum, 2018, vol, 35, no, 1, pp, 73-76.

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