Maurice Graham Monument – Springdale, Utah - Atlas Obscura

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Maurice Graham Monument

Dedicated to an airmail pilot who never let go of his important payload.  


Maurice “Maury” Graham was a decorated World War I combat pilot whose skill was highly regarded by his peers. Like many other veteran pilots from the Great War, he became an airmail pilot in the fledgling days of airmail service. The conditions weren’t much improvement over combat, flying with an open cockpit in all weather with only rudimentary navigation equipment.

Graham helped pioneer the airmail route from Los Angeles to Salt Lake City, and when he missed his check-in point at Cedar City, Utah, on the night of January 10, 1930, no one at first was too worried even though a horrific winter storm was raging.

However, concern mounted as his flight became ever-more overdue, but a frantic search under appalling conditions turned up nothing. His plane wasn’t found until late the following spring after the snow had largely melted.

In a tribute to his piloting skills, Graham had managed to make a near-perfect emergency landing in a howling blizzard atop Kanarra Mountain. He then locked up the mail bags in the plane, except for the high-value securities mailbag which he took with him as he headed out into the blizzard. His body was found about six miles away, with the securities bag still clutched under his arm.

Know Before You Go

The memorial was erected on Kanarra Mountain not far from where Graham crash-landed (position 37.48956 N, 113.0194 W). The area is still remote and even in good conditions will require high clearance. Four-wheel drive will be necessary in wet weather, and in any case, the area remains inaccessible over the winter.

The memorial can be accessed either from Kolob Reservoir to the south or from Utah State Route 14 to the north. To get to Kolob Reservoir, turn north on the Kolob Reservoir Road Scenic Byway from the town of Virgin on Utah State Route 9. It's about 24 miles to the reservoir, where the pavement ends. Continue proceeding north on graded Kolob Terrace Rd about 5.6 miles to an acute intersection at 37.495958 N, 113.022955 W, and make a hard right. Proceed 0.5 mile; the memorial will be at a turn-out on the right.

To get there from Utah SR 14, proceed 4.9 miles east from the intersection of SR-14 with SR-130 in downtown Cedar City. Right Hand Canyon Road comes in from the right at this point; turn right (S) here. The road will wind around back to the west, climbing all the way. At 7.9 miles Black Mountain Road intersects from the left; do NOT turn here but continue to the right, where S Right Hand Canyon Road coincides with Kolob Road. Continue generally south 4.5 miles to an intersection where Kolob Road heads to the right. Turn right here and follow Kolob Road, which will wind around generally southward. The intersection described above is reached after about 6.7 miles.

Kolob Reservoir makes an interesting sidetrip while in the area.

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September 27, 2022

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