Southern Correspondent, 0621 UTBJ, Vol. 34, No. 3. 32

AuthorBY STEPHEN P. DENT IS AN ASSISTANT UNITED STATES ATTORNEY IN ST. GEORGE
PositionVol. 34 3 Pg. 32

The Southern Correspondent

Vol. 34 No. 3 Pg. 32

Utah Bar Journal

June, 2021

May, 2021

Southern Utah

BY STEPHEN P. DENT IS AN ASSISTANT UNITED STATES ATTORNEY IN ST. GEORGE

In 2019, I moved from the Washington, D.C. area to Washington County, Utah. Our home in Alexandria, Virginia, was surrounded with lush woods and wildlife. If you left your shoes outside at night, the neighborhood red foxes would turn them into chew toys and deposit them on the neighbor’s lawn. My daily commute to the District included glimpses of memorials, monuments, and the Capitol. Now, our home is surrounded by a stunning red-rock panorama with Pine Mountain in the distance. My (much shorter) commute includes glimpses of bluffs, buttes, and old sandstone buildings. We traded the east-coast humidity for southwest desert heat. It’s like trading a sauna for an oven.

What attracted us to St. George? Primarily, a dream job. Also, the region boasts beautiful landscapes, sunny winters, affordable housing, easy commutes, and friendly people. Hot summers are the price of admission for beautiful weather the rest of the year.

The quality of life in St. George is matched by the quality of law practice. In my eighteen months in town, I have met talented, collegial lawyers with expertise in various legal areas. These attorneys come from across Southern Utah – St. George, Cedar City, Kanab, and beyond.

St. George has transformed throughout the years. What began as a dusty desert settlement has grown to a burgeoning city with a dynamic local economy, world-class tourism, and high quality of life. The legal community has grown in numbers and has become busier and more specialized. But despite the change, some things have stayed the same.

Sandstone Courthouses

If you drive down St. George Boulevard, you’ll see a sandstone building near Angelica’s Mexican Grill: the Old Pioneer Courthouse, completed in 1876. Half a mile away, on Tabernacle Street, you’ll see another sandstone building: the Fifth District Courthouse, completed in 2009.

When the Old Pioneer Courthouse was built, St. George was a small settlement of a thousand or so people. Back then, there were county offices on the first floor, a courtroom on the second floor, and a jail in the basement. In 1880, the courthouse was a scene out of a Wild West movie. One night, a mob of miners from nearby Silver Reef stormed the jail in search of Tom Forrest, a fellow...

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