On May 15, 1920, Zion National Park opened its gates to the public for the first time. But the park’s first “official tourists” had already spent a week there: six young women, including five University of Utah coeds, handpicked for a trip to help promote tourism in the region. And when a scrapbook of that trip ended up on eBay, artist and Zion enthusiast Melissa Clark knew she had found a fascinating little slice of Utah history.
Using photos from the scrapbook and excerpts from the tourists’ diaries, Melissa and her husband John reveal a time when Utah’s majesty was still almost mythical to most of the country. They also paint an intriguing portrait of young women—including a World War I U.S. Navy yeoman—who turned a pretty-face publicity opportunity into a genuine adventure, exploring nature with a freedom uncommon for their contemporaries. Join the authors for a presentation of the stories and pictures from that historic week.