June 22nd, 10:26pm

At their home in Rockville, UT, we met with original resident Robert Cox and his wife Mary. This land, Bob pointed out, has been owned by the Cox family dating back to 1918. This property was purchased as a winter residence by his parents, who spent their summers in Little Rock House where it was cooler. When we first called Bob, he said he’d be happy to talk with us but he “only goes back in this area, about 1924.” We assured him this was plenty far back.

Bob remembered his days growing up in Rockville: working on the farm, raising pigs, and producing molasses from sorghum, using a car to process it when the horses got tired. He recalled how different the town was before the national park was established, most notably the traffic. Before the park you might have seen 3 to 4 cars pass by in a day—now, you might see 1 every 6 seconds.

He shared a few stories of growing up near the park. Bob’s father was part of the crew that built the Zion-Mount Carmel tunnel in 1930’s; blasted out of a mountain side, it was the country’s longest automotive tunnel at the time it was constructed. Bob’s father suggested the men and horses would accomplish more with one day of rest on the Sabbath, and was proven right, and thanked for his suggestion. He recalled secret swimming holes in the park, and riding bikes down the highway switchbacks, trying not to use their brakes. As an adult, Bob remembered hauling away food scraps from a now-defunct motel in the national park, as slop for his pigs.

As we wrapped up our interview, Bob insisted we leave with pecans and apricots. We left with a bounty, and are appreciative to Bob and his wife for taking the time to meet with us, especially in the week leading up to a big Cox family reunion!