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Local volunteers form Kanab Preservation Foundation

The year 1912 was an eventful one - both locally and around the world. It began on the heels of Norwegian adventurer Roald Amundsen’s success in being the first to reach the South Pole. Arizona became the 48th state of the Union, and Alaska became a territory. The Girl Scouts of the USA organization was founded in Georgia. Some 3,000 cherry blossoms arrived in Washington, D.C., a gift from Japan. The world received news that the RMS Titanic had struck an iceberg in the North Atlantic. Western actress Dale Evans - who would visit Kane County years later while filming “War of the Wildcats” with John Wayne - was born in Uvalde, Texas.



Utah first all-women town council, Kanab 1912-1914. Left to right: Luella Atkin McAllister, Blanche Robinson Hamblin, Mary Woolley (Howard) Chamberlain, Tamar Stewart Hamblin and Ada Pratt Seegmiller.


Meanwhile, in the developing community of Kanab, the year 1912 arrived with Utah’s first, all-female town council assuming their positions after being elected the prior November: Mayor Mary Elizabeth Woolley (Howard) Chamberlain, Treasurer Luella Atkin McAllister, Councilor Blanche Robinson Hamblin, Clerk Tamar Stewart Hamblin, and Councilor Ada Pratt Seegmiller.


Mayor Mary said, “Our election was intended as a joke and no one thought seriously of it at the time. After some consideration and debate, the group decided to tackle the job and see what we could do.” As the first elected all-women government in Utah and one of the first in the nation, these pioneer mothers, ages 26-41, worked tirelessly to pass ordinances aimed at the town’s safety, sanitation and beautification. Mary said, “They were perfectly capable to carry on the work; always united in our labors, laid aside our personal feelings and worked for the public good.”



Kanab Preservation Foundation, Kanab 2024. Front row, left to right: Kathy Brock, Karen Alvey and Susan Honey. Back row, left to right: Judy Habbeshaw, Teresa Trujillo, Nina Laycook-Petty and Cindy Turnquist.


Now, 112 years later, a group of volunteers lay “aside their personal feelings and work for the good of the public.” They are Susan Honey, Kathy Brock, Teresa Trujillo, Judy Habbeshaw, Cindy Turnquist and former Kanab Mayors Karen Alvey and Nina Laycook-Petty. They have joined together to honor that first, all-female council and to support development of future, historic-preservation projects by forming the Kanab Preservation Foundation, a 501(c) (3) non-profit organization created with the mission “to protect and preserve our past, so as to educate and inspire future generations.”


The Foundation’s first effort is an historical monument that was the brainchild of Honey and developed over the past year in collaboration with Kanab City and grant funding from donors including the Mormon Pioneer National Heritage Area Grant. Having reached over one-half of its fundraising goal of $40,000.00 to pay for the monument, the group is now actively accepting donations to cover the balance.



The monument will be constructed by YESCO and placed in the area of 75 North 100 West in Kanab. It depicts photographs of that first council and the home that Mayor Mary designed and built, which once sat at that location. The Monument itself will be constructed in part from bricks and foundation stones from that historic structure.


Visit kanabpreservation.org to read more about the All-Women Town Council and make a donation to help build this monument. Donations may also be made via the QR code below.



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