Hawaiian Ghost Town of Iosepa

Field review by the editors.

Iosepa, Utah

In 1889 Mormon converts from Hawaii came to Salt Lake City to help build its Temple. When their work was complete, the church leadership didn't send them home; it sent them instead to the isolated, dusty desert of Skull Valley to build their own town, which they called Iosepa (Yo-see-pa, Hawaiian for "Joseph" for then-Mormon-leader Joseph F. Smith). They worked hard to make the desert bloom, and were modestly successful -- but the church wasn't particularly supportive, and Joseph F. Smith ordered the town to be abandoned in 1917.

Today all that remains of Iosepa is the cemetery, thistles, lizards, and a large memorial topped with a bust of a Hawaiian warrior whose neck is usually draped with leis left by descendants of the settlers, who return to visit on Memorial Day weekend every year.

Hawaiian Ghost Town of Iosepa

Tc02745, Iosepa, UT
I-80 exit 77. Drive south on UT-196 for 14 miles. Turn left onto Tc02745 (a gravel road) and immediately bear right. Drive one mile. You'll see the cemetery and monuments on the left.
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