I love finding out new and unique things especially when they pop up in what seems to be the ordinary life around me. The other day I was told about these giant cement aviation navigation arrows that have been in Washington County since the mid-1920’s. I was floored that this was the first I had ever heard of these. Here is what they look like. I can’t believe that we haven’t seen or at least heard about them as we have trapesed across our wonderful desert.
According to the Washington County historical society, when the postal service began delivering mail by air, flying across country was somewhat dicey since the pilots had to rely on landmarks to navigate across the country. To solve the problem the Postal Service proposed “the world’s first ground-based civilian navigation system: a series of lighted beacons that would extend from New York to San Francisco. Every ten miles, pilots would pass a70-foot concrete arrow on the ground which was painted a bright yellow.” Eventually they created a route down to Los Angeles which is when the arrows in Washington County were installed. Some had beacon lights as well as towers. Once modern navigation systems took over the need for these navigation arrows was gone and the big cement slaps are all that are left. (http://wchsutah.org/aviation/navigation-arrows.php ) Click the link to get more details. I found it fascinating.
There are four arrows that have been identified in Washington County: one on the black ridge, one by Quail Creek, one on Shinob Kibe (Washington), one west of the Bloomington Walmart.
I guess my kids now know (or at least they’ll find out soon) where our next morning hike will be. Love learning new things.
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Call Chris at 435-313-3966
Photograph are from the Washington County Historical Society website.