Area: 5,l58 square
miles; population: 3,980 (in 1990); county seat: Panguitch; origin of
county name: after President James
A. Garfield; principal cities/towns: Panguitch
(1,444), Escalante (818); economy: cattle,
lumber, tourism; points of interest: Bryce Canyon National Park, Lake
State Park, Panguitch Lake,
Escalante DUP Building, Escalante Petrified Forest, Boulder Mountain,
River and Lake Powell mark the eastern
border of remote, sparsely populated Garfield County. Other geographical
features include the Henry Mountains in the northeast and the forested, high plateaus in the western half
of the county. The two areas have eleven peaks over 10,000 feet. The Sevier River system runs north through western Garfield County, and
the Escalante River empties into the Colorado.
Traces of three
major prehistoric Indian cultures--the Sevier, Fremont,
and Anasazi--have been found in the county.
In historic times Southern Paiute and Ute Indians used the land.
The first white
settlers, under the leadership of Jens Nielsen, made the difficult trip
from Beaver and Parowan through the mountains to the Panguitch area
in March 1864. The village of Panguitch, abandoned during the Black
Hawk War (1865-67), was not resettled until 1871.