Old Sorrel, Hero Horse Monument
Cedar City, Utah
Over a century ago, Cedar City was a Plain Jane rural community of about 1,500. No one gave it much chance of being chosen as the campus for Southern Utah State College, particularly with glamorous local burgs like Beaver and Dixie in the running. But Cedar City was selected -- most likely because it was the only town on the list without a pool hall or a saloon. Classes began in the fall of 1897 in Cedar City's new social hall.
Then, crisis. As winter set in, Utah's Attorney General ruled that Cedar City didn't deserve a college because it didn't have any real college buildings. Cedar City would lose SUSC if it didn't build proper facilities by the beginning of the next school year.
The town was in a fix. Cedar City had no money and no wood (all the logs had gone into building the social hall). So an expedition of men was sent into the mountains to bring back wood to build the college.
The snow was shoulder deep and the trail was obliterated. The temperatures plummeted to 40 below. It seemed as if all would be lost. Then the men put a horse, Old Sorrel, in the vanguard. The horse pushed and strained against the snow, throwing himself into the drifts again and again until they gave way. He would pause, heave a big sigh, then start all over again. The men made it back to Cedar City alive, the college got built, and Old Sorrel was hailed as "the savior of the expedition."
SUSC is still in business. But for all his posthumous praise, no one today seems to know when Old Sorrel died or where, exactly, he is buried. Still, the college canonized the horse with a dramatic bronze sculpture that's visible from the football field.