Located in a broad mountain valley, Panguitch was settled in the late 1860s by Mormon pioneers. Though the landscape is beautiful, it can also be harsh, and Panguitch residents have forged their lives with resolute determination. Despite the austere, remote nature of the place in which they live—or perhaps because of it—Panguitch residents have developed a deep connection to their community. For folks in Panguitch, history and heritage aren't ideals, they're realities.
It's a set of no-nonsense, can-do attitudes that are shared by just about everyone in town. In fact, they probably wouldn't call it historic preservation—just simple common sense. That red-brick home is worth restoring because it's worth living in. That century-old storefront is worth rehabilitating because it's a good place to do business. The Social Hall is worth saving because—well, because it's the Social Hall, and if we didn't have that, where would we have our dances and wedding receptions and gymnastics lessons?
Nowhere is this broad-based involvement in preservation better demonstrated than in the achievements of the Panguitch Main Street program. Designated in 1997 as an official Main Street Partner, Panguitch Main Street has been a catalyst for positive change in downtown. As with any Main Street organization, Panguitch's has been a collaborative effort among business and property owners, city officials, and interested residents. Given their pragmatic approach to preservation, it's no surprise that nearly the entire community was designated in 2006 as a historic district on the National Register of Historic Places.
Perhaps there's a lesson here for all of us—that although preservation is often about the grand places and important people in our past, ultimately it's about how everyday people celebrate their past in their daily lives.
Utah Heritage Foundation presented the Mayor Lori Talbot of Panguitch a Heritage Award for the Panguitch Main Street's work as an organization.