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Hildale, Utah

Hildale, Utah
Approaching Hildale from the north on State Route 59
Approaching Hildale from the north on State Route 59
Location in Washington County and the state of Utah
Location in Washington County and the state of Utah
Country United States
State Utah
County Washington
Incorporated 1962
Became a city March 20, 1990
 • Total 2.9 sq mi (7.6 km2)
 • Land 2.9 sq mi (7.6 km2)
 • Water 0.0 sq mi (0.0 km2)
Elevation 5,049 ft (1,539 m)
Population (2012)
 • Total 2,921
 • Density 1,000/sq mi (380/km2)
Time zone Mountain (MST) (UTC-7)
 • Summer (DST) MDT (UTC-6)
ZIP code 84784
Area code(s) 435
FIPS code 49-35300[1]
GNIS feature ID 1450387[2]

Hildale is a city in Washington County, Utah, United States. The population was 2,726 at the 2010 census.

Hildale is a twin city to the better-known Colorado City, Arizona, which together straddle the border between Utah and Arizona. Hildale is the headquarters of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. Many adults in the community practice plural marriage. The United Effort Plan, the financial arm of the FLDS owns most of the property in the town. Since most government officials — including the police force — are FLDS members, some critics have likened the community's atmosphere to that of a prison.[3]


  • Geography 1
    • Climate 1.1
  • Demographics 2
  • History 3
    • 2010 search warrants 3.1
    • 2014 jury award 3.2
    • 2015 flood 3.3
  • Government and infrastructure 4
  • Education 5
  • References 6
  • External links 7


According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 2.9 square miles (7.5 km2), all land.


According to the Köppen Climate Classification system, Hildale has a semi-arid climate, abbreviated "BSk" on climate maps.[4]


As of the census[1] of 2000, there were 1,895 people, 232 households, and 215 families residing in the city. The population density was 644.2 per square mile (248.9/km²). There were 243 housing units at an average density of 82.6 per square mile (31.9/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 96.41% White, 0.21% African American, 0.47% Native American, 0.63% Asian, 0.63% Pacific Islander, 0.84% from other races, and 0.79% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.00% of the population. At 66.9% English Americans, Hildale is the most English city in the United States.

There were 232 households out of which 76.7% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 82.3% were married couples living together, 8.6% had a female householder with no husband present, and 6.9% were non-families. 6.0% of all households were made up of individuals and 4.3% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 8.17 and the average family size was 8.10.

In the city the population was spread out with 63.6% under the age of 18, 8.8% from 18 to 24, 18.4% from 25 to 44, 6.3% from 45 to 64, and 2.8% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 13 years. For every 100 females there were 96.2 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 75.8 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $32,679, and the median income for a family was $31,750. Males had a median income of $25,170 versus $16,071 for females. The per capita income for the city was $4,782. About 37.0% of families and 41.2% of the population were below the poverty line, including 42.0% of those under age 18 and 31.8% of those age 65 or over.

The Colorado City/Hildale area has the world's highest incidence of fumarase deficiency, an extremely rare genetic condition which causes severe intellectual disability. Geneticists attribute this to the prevalence of cousin marriage between descendants of two of the town's founders, Joseph Smith Jessop and John Yates Barlow. At least half of the double community's inhabitants are descended from one or both men.[7]


Hildale, formerly known as Short Creek Community, was founded in 1913[8] by members of the Council of Friends, a breakaway group from the Salt Lake City-based The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church). The Council of Friends membership desired a remote location where they could practice plural marriage, which had been publicly abandoned by the LDS Church in 1890. On July 26, 1953, Arizona Governor John Howard Pyle sent troops into the settlement to stop polygamy in what became known as the Short Creek raid. The two-year legal battle that followed became a public relations disaster that damaged Pyle's political career and set a hands-off tone toward the town in Arizona for the next 50 years.

After the death of Joseph W. Musser, the community split into two groups. Those were the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, which stayed in Short Creek, and the Apostolic United Brethren which relocated to Bluffdale, Utah. The FLDS Church changed the name to Colorado City and Hildale to eliminate any ties to the Short Creek raids.[8]

2010 search warrants

On April 6, 2010, law enforcement officials in Mohave County, Arizona and Washington County, Utah served five search warrants seeking records from town officers.[9] The warrants were served on government officials and departments, including Town Manager David Darger as well as Colorado City's fire chief.[9] As a result of the initial warrants, the Hildale-Colorado City Department of Public Safety was shut down, and emergency responders were prohibited from responding to calls without the approval of county officials. Firefighter Glen Jeffs indicated that the warrants referenced "misuse of funds."[10]

2014 jury award

On March 20, 2014, a jury hearing the case of Cooke et al v. Colorado City, Town of et al[11] ruled that the towns of Colorado City and Hildale had discriminated against Ronald and Jinjer Cooke because they were not members of the FLDS Church.[12] The Cooke’s were awarded $5.2 million for "religious discrimination".[12] The Cooke family moved to the Short Creek area in 2008 but were refused access to utilities by the towns of Colorado City and Hildale.[13] As a result of the ruling, Arizona's Attorney General Tom Horne issued a press release stating that he "wants to eradicate discrimination in two polygamous towns" and believes that the court ruling will give him the tools to do it.[14]

2015 flood

On September 14, 2015, at least 12 members of two related families from the community were killed in a flash flood while waiting for a low water crossing to clear at the mouth of Maxwell Canyon in Hildale. A thirteenth person was still missing as of September 16, 2015.[15][16][17]

Government and infrastructure

Colorado City, AZ/Hildale, UT Post Office

The United States Postal Service operates the Colorado City, AZ/Hildale, UT Post Office in Colorado City, Arizona.[18]


Hildale is within the Washington County School District. Water Canyon School, a K-12 school, is in the city.[19]

Students are zoned to:

  • Three Falls Elementary School
  • Hurricane Intermediate School
  • Hurricane Middle School
  • Hurricane High School

Around 1998, the city's elementary-age students attended the Phelps School in Hildale while many older students attended school in Colorado City Unified School District in Arizona.[20]


  1. ^ a b
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  7. ^ "Forbidden Fruit" by John Dougherty, Phoenix New Times, December 29, 2005.
  8. ^ a b
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  12. ^ a b
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  18. ^ "Post Office™ Location – COLORADO CITY." United States Post Office. Retrieved on March 20, 2011.
  19. ^ "Home page." Water Canyon School. Retrieved on May 20, 2015.
  20. ^ .

External links

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