Ghost Town: Grafton, UT


Site: Grafton
Alternate Names: Originally called "Wheeler"
County/State: Washington County, UT
Years of Occupation: 1859-1921
Status: Open
Classification: Class 3 - Abandoned Town
Type: Agricultural
Remnants: Several structures, some renovated in 1990's.
Location: Located 2 miles SW of Rockville, UT

Grafton was established on the South side of the Virgin River in 1859 as part of the "Cotton Mission" in an effort to grow cotton. Nathan Tenney was principal settler and initial town was called "Wheeler". In 1862 the Virgin River flooded and destroyed the town of Wheeler. The town was rebuilt one mile up river and given the name of Grafton. By 1864 there were 28 families in Grafton.

The Black Hawk War in 1866 forced settlers in Southern Utah to locate into towns of 150 people or more. Residents of Grafton relocated to nearby Rockville but continued to work their farms in Grafton by day. One of the obstacles for the people of Grafton was that it was one of the few settlements south of the Virgin River which served to isolate it from other people.

The Harvest in Grafton in 1866 consisted of 21 acres of wheat, 45 acres of corn, 18 acres of cotton, and 8 acres of sugar cane.

In addition several orchards were established in Grafton of both fruit and nut trees. Several of these orchards exist today.

By 1890 only 4 families remained South of the River and by 1921 the Grafton Ward was discontinued which signaled the end of the town, although one resident evidently remained until 1944.

The scenic setting of the town of Grafton along with the quality of the remaining structures have resulted in Grafton being used as a movie set for several motion pictures, the best known being Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.

In 1997 a group was organized to protect and preserve the town of Grafton. Some structures were renovated, the cemetery fenced in and 24 surveillance provided to the property.

Additional Links:
Last edited by a moderator:


Site Photos:

grafton 1.jpg




Last edited by a moderator:

Old Jeeper

EU Contributor
Some pictures from my one and only visit there in 1985


  • Image93.jpg
    120.3 KB · Views: 1,010
  • Image91.jpg
    107.7 KB · Views: 1,055
  • Image90.jpg
    134.8 KB · Views: 1,029
  • Image89.jpg
    85 KB · Views: 1,024
  • Image88.jpg
    87.9 KB · Views: 1,042
  • Image94.jpg
    113 KB · Views: 1,026
I was there again this last weekend and was interested in the little cemetery this time and the plaque that lists those buried there and their ages and what they died from. No wonder the average life span was so low back in those days. So many young people dying from diseases that are treatable now. And two teenage girls dying from "swing broke" Wonder if it was a swing over the river or why it would have killed them when it broke.