A good way to find warm comfortable winter travel destinations in the Southwest is to look for the historic landmark winter homes. This is because the winter homes that the wealthy people built are nearly always located in a naturally warm comfortable setting. The Brigham Young Winter Home in St George, Utah is one such example and this historic museum is open for tours!
St George is only about 100 miles northeast of Las Vegas, so the winter temperatures are just about as mild. In contrast, St George is also about 300 miles south of Salt Lake City and the difference in winter temperatures can be more than 50ºF between these two cities. When considering that the average life expectancy in the 1800s was just over 40 years and the common cold was a life threatening disease, it becomes easy to fathom the importance of establishing a warm winter home during that period in history. Heading south for the winter when the temperatures up north plummet was the means for achieving better health and longevity back in the old west.
When Brigham Young built his St George winter home back in the 1870s he had already lived a full life and accomplished many great things. Brigham Young was in his early 70s when construction began. The decision to build the winter home in warm St George was based upon improving his personal health, which was quite amazing when considering what the average life expectancy was back in those days.
The contributions that Brigham Young made to the history of the west cannot be understated. Brigham Young was not only a religious man, he was a leader of pioneers that settled the west. Brigham Young was a president of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the founder of Salt Lake City and he was the first governor of Utah. This man was instrumental in the development of many Mormon communities throughout the west, which include St George and Las Vegas. Much more can be learned about the life and times of his legacy by visiting the Brigham Young Winter Home.
The winter home was abandoned sometime after Brigham Young passed away in the mid 1870s, so it sat empty for a while. Later in history the house was purchased and restored, then the land was entrusted to Utah State Parks and Recreation in the late 1950s. Soon after the winter home was listed with the National Register of Historic Places and has operated as a museum ever since.
Visiting the Brigham Young Winter Home is a good learning experience, even for those who have no religious affiliation. This is a state sponsored historic building and a prominent religious pilgrimage site all wrapped up in one package, so the visitor demographics are quite diverse. The price of admission is free and the informative guided tours of the home are complimentary. Walking around the grounds under the shade trees and looking at the beautiful gardens is free of charge too. The Brigham Young Winter Home sure must have been a comfortable place to be back in its day and this historic destination is well worth taking the time to visit when in St George!
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