New Butch Cassidy signs bringing hope to local communities
CIRCLEVILLE — When the temperatures rise and tourists start traveling, Kelli Cummings knows its time to open up the Butch Cassidy Hideout Cafe in Circleville for the summer.
Thanks to the restaurant’s name, it’s intriguing to travelers.
“Butch Cassidy is from this area,” Cummings said. “People come here from all over the country to my business because of Butch Cassidy’s name.”
Any business is good business at the Butch Cassidy Hideout Cafe and at any business in Piute County, a county in Utah still struggling to recover from the Great Recession.
“We all struggle. Our county is economically in trouble,” said Cummings. “Everybody in this county works hard to even survive.”
But Cummings thinks this summer will be different.
“There’s a little bit of hope,” she said. “I think in the 10 years I’ve been here, this is the most excited I’ve been about my summer.”
And it’s all because of a small, brown sign on the side of the road. A new sign, just installed by the Utah Department of Transportation, alerting drivers that a once hidden Utah treasure is just a half mile away.
Butch Cassidy’s Boyhood Home, a small cabin in front of big trees, has been in this spot for decades but it wasn’t until last week that an official sign told you so.
“You could drive by this thing a hundred times and not know what it was,” said Piute County Commissioner Darin Bushman. “One simple sign out on the road says what it is.”
Commissioner Bushman has been trying to get the signs put up ever since a restoration project began on the cabin a few years ago. There is now a parking lot, a walking path, and displays detailing the history of the famed outlaw.
“Just piece by piece, we’re going to turn this into a fabulous property,” Bushman said. “I say he’s Utah’s most famous celebrity. Of course, that’s debatable. Brigham Young? A few others might rank up there. Where he’s buried, that’s the greatest mystery of all time.”
And it’s that mystery that continues to make people interested in Butch Cassidy.
Now, Bushman thinks these signs will not only get those people to stop here but just might bring new visitors to the area.
“We’ve got businesses in Circleville that depend on traffic. We’ve got businesses in Junction and Marysvale that depend on traffic. Any traffic we can get to come down Highway 89 instead of taking the interstate will help Piute County,” said Bushman.
The signs worked to get Nathan Huntington to stop. He and his family were heading to Bryce Canyon from their Fairview home when they saw the sign and decided to give it a look.
“I had no idea. I had no idea it was here until I saw the sign,” said Huntington.
Already, locals are noticing more people and more cars in the parking lot.
“That’s why I’m opening a little earlier this year,” said Cummings. “I’m telling you there are people everywhere.”
It’s also why so many people in Piute and nearby Garfield County are excited. All because of a new sign with an old bank robber’s name.
“For our county, it’s real hope. Yes. It’s big,” said Cummings.
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