seat and largest community of Garfield County, is built on the south
side of the Panguitch Valley, on the north slope of the nearby mountains,
and between Panguitch Creek on the west and the Sevier River on the
east. The elevation most quoted by citizens is 6,666 feet. The settlement
was first called Fairview, but the name was changed to Panguitch, an Indian word meaning "Big Fish," for nearby Panguitch Lake, a wonderful
fishing lake for both Indians and pioneers. The town's land is generally
arid and rocky, with sandy, fertile soil. The climate is severe, with
sub-freezing weather seven months of the year. In March 1864
fifty-four pioneer families led by Jens Neilson arrived the area from Parowan and other settlements. They came over much the same route followed
later by Highway 20. A fort was built on the present school square.
Cabins were built around the perimeter, pens and corrals were included
for cattle, horses, and sheep. Land was soon cleared and irrigation
ditches and canals were surveyed and dug. However, crops planted the
first year failed to mature; the settlers gathered and ate frozen wheat.