When you’re in Fillmore, you’re halfway there. Located between St. George and Salt Lake City, Fillmore is a small town that provides a good “stretch your legs” stop. Despite its small size, it’s loaded with history — Fillmore was Utah’s first capitol, back when it was a territory.
Once you’ve left the urban sprawl of the Salt Lake City area, there’s plenty of scenery to enjoy, but very little in the way of developed towns and cities. If you didn’t feel the urge to pull off in Nephi or Scipio, then you might be ready to explore by the time you get to Fillmore. U-99 provides a wide Main Street, with all the essential businesses…
… and some funky old neon signs, like this one for the Spinning Wheel Motel…
… and this one, for the Fillmore Motel. I sure wish the paint hadn’t worn off the face of the sleepy guy.
The Avalon Theater is also still in business. It dates back to 1926.
Fillmore is the county seat of Millard County, and you’ll find the courthouse along Main Street at the center of town. Yes, if you put Millard County together with the city of Fillmore, you getMillard Fillmore, the 13th President of the United States. The city and county were named in his honor.
Just behind it…
… you’ll find the closest thing to a tourist attraction that Fillmore offers: the Utah Territorial Statehouse. Construction on the statehouse began in 1852, a year after Fillmore was designated as the Utah Territory’s capitol. Once completed, it was used as the capitol building until 1856, when the legislature moved the capitol to Salt Lake City. (Completed is a relative term, since what you see today was just one wing of the original plan for a much more grand building.)
Nowadays, the Territorial Statehouse serves as a museum. It’s open 9-5, Monday through Saturday, and admission is $2 per person.
I didn’t go in the museum, but on a whim, I decided to drive out of town, headed due-west. My map showed a small town named Flowell, and I resolved to see what was there.
So what was there? Not a whole lot. There were some agricultural fields and some impressive irrigation equipment, and a handful of homes, and maybe a church. It’s certainly not worth the detour for sightseeing.
With my visit complete, I hopped back on Interstate 15, for the drive south. Next stop, Kolob Canyons.
Fillmore provides a good spot for a quick wake-up break on the drive through Utah. If you’re interested in Utah’s history, plan to spend a little longer, and visit the Territorial Statehouse museum.
Fillmore is located off of Interstate 15. If you’re southbound, use exit 167. If you’re northbound, use exit 163. State Route 99 connects the two exits, and travels through the middle of town.
Check out this time-lapse, dash-cam video of the drive from Salt Lake City to Fillmore…
… and Fillmore to Kolob Canyons: