Most people don’t know much about Vernal, Utah, eschewing the town for more famous counterparts, such as Salt Lake City, but Vernal has a rich history and community itself.

We wanted to share some things about Vernal that you may not know.

Vernal Wasn’t Settled By The Church Of Latter-day Saints

While most people know of Utah’s high Mormon population, and how the Church of Latter-day Saints settled the state, Vernal is not a part of that story.  In 1861, Brigham Young scouted the area, but termed it useless, and never sent pioneers.  That same year, Abraham Lincoln sent a man to “aid” the Native American reservation in the Uintah Basin, and settlers filtered into the area after that.

The Zion Bank Has An Interesting Backstory

In 1916, William Coltharp wanted to build a branch of Zion Bank in Vernal, but knew that shipping building supplies there by freight could be very expensive.  At the same time, however, shipping parcels through the mail was very cheap.  As a result, he mailed 80,000 bricks through the US Postal service, along with other building supplies.  Now, the bank is a historical landmark, and the USPS has taken precautions to ensure no other buildings are mailed.

Actor James Woods Is A Vernal Native

James Woods (Nixon, HerculesThe Virgin Suicides) was born in Vernal in 1947, and lived in town until high school, at which point his family moved to Rhode Island.

Vernal Has Close Ties With The Paleontology Community

Vernal is the locale of the largest dinosaur quarry in the United States.  Most of the fossils discovered there date back to the Jurassic period.  The fossils were first discovered in 1909, and by 1915, the land was named Dinosaur National Monument to protect it from being compromised.  Even now, new discoveries are often made – in 2010, a new herbivorous dinosaur was discovered.

Explore Vernal’s interesting history while you visit and the culture that’s grown from it!