Southern Utah News Articles
New Haunted House
There is a new Haunted House in town this fall, the House of Shadows. It will be in operation from October 28-30 from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m., honoring a piece of Kanab’s Haunted History.
Some might remember the Kanab Lodge, also known as the Parry Cafeteria. Others may remember the Parks Building, and still others may only remember the Kanab restaurant, Wok Inn.
The original section of the lodge is a house built in 1885, which was expanded between 1928 and 1932 by the Utah Parks Company to serve as a rest stop for tourists about halfway between the North Rim of the Grand Canyon and Zion or Bryce Canyon National Parks.
The original house was probably built for Frank and Lovinnia Farnsworth. The house passed through several owners, ending with Lewis and Vinnie Farnsworth Jepson in 1904. Vinnie was the daughter of Frank and Lovinnia Farnsworth.
The Jepsons finished the upstairs of the 1-1/2 story house, installing a wooden bathtub stated to be one of only two built-in bathtubs in Kanab at the time.
The Jepsons probably added to the rear of the property at the same time. They sold the house in 1925 to the Highway Tourist Park and Company, a local tour bus operation owned by brothers Gronway Parry, Caleb Parry and Chauncey Parry. The Parrys worked with William W. Wylie, a pioneer of tourism in Yellowstone National Park, to provide tour services in Grand Canyon’s North Rim, Zion, Bryce and Cedar Breaks National Monument. The Parrys converted the Jepson house for use as the Parry Cafeteria in 1925.
The Utah Parks Company was set up by the Union Pacific Railroad to provide tourist services at the southern Utah parks. Under pressure from Union Pacific, the Parry brothers sold the cafeteria transportation company to Union Pacific in 1927, retaining some of the bus routes. Chauncey Parry became superintendent of the bus line.
The railroad started a major expansion of the lodge, concluding in 1932 with a lobby, dining room and kitchen, as well as toilets and a souvenir shop. The restaurant served only lunch, and only for bus tour patrons: it was not open to the general public. A 1938 laundry addition served as a central laundry for all its park operations in the area.
As tourists increasingly arrived in their own cars, the bus business declined. The restaurant and curio shop closed in 1960, the laundry continued until 1967.
In the 1950s and 1960s, the laundry continued operating under the direction of Paul Prisbey and Harmon Judd. During these semi-vacant years, the building gained a reputation for being haunted.
A ghost, which Paul Prisbey named O’Toole, was supposedly the most frequent visitor, although at one time, the ghost of a Catholic nun was allegedly seen in an upstairs window.
Vacant from 1967 to 1973, the property was acquired by Stan Clark, who renovated the restaurant and converted the laundry to a theater, calling the operation The Old West Company, and continued to 1978.
In 1980, a partnership bought the property and opened the Territorial Inn Restaurant, which operated until 1987, when it became the Wok Inn.
New owner Casey Mower plans to renovate and utilize the old play house portion as a multiple use venue. During the day, it will be an enviroment suitable for families and their children including video games, pool, arcades, educational classes, dance lessons, internet access, competitions, as well as food concessions. The restaurant portion and apartments are being renovated for future potential lease.
The Kanab Lodge was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2003.
Please come enjoy the House of Shadows, the haunted house honoring one of Kanab’s oldest buildings and one of their only ghost stories.
We are excited to see Casey continue, preserving the history and protecting the legacy.