Snapshots of Downtown: Moab’s Streets Through Time

Main Street in Moab today is abuzz with activity as visitors to the region enjoy a bite to eat or purchase mementos to commemorate their trip to Utah. During most of the twentieth century, however, the town’s streets have been far sleepier, lined with businesses and shops serving a mostly local clientele. A rich array of photographs in the Moab Museum Collection show the transition of Moab’s downtown from a remote desert outpost to the busy Main Street of today.

Grand County’s first courthouse was built in 1903 out of sandstone quarried from around the Moab Valley and along the Colorado River. Constructed by local masons, the building was made for $10,000. The courthouse was nearly constructed in Castleton, which at the time had a population comparable to Moab’s, but residents rallied to have the building constructed in Moab. [Moab Museum Collection, 1900]
A view of Moab, including an early school building. [Moab Museum Collection, 1906]