George Baker

    July 1978 - Jan 1979

ST GEORGE—The St George LDS Temple Visitors Center is the largest single tourist attraction in the St. George area, according to George Myron Baker, director of the center.

"So far this year we have received 82.177 visitors to the center, an increase of 23.6 percent from 1977," said Baker.

"I don*t think there Is another tourist attraction in the area that can say have received more visitors than that." he added. The temple is easy to see as travelers pass through St. George on the freeway. They wonder what It is, and they stop to see. he explained.

"This year I think the largest number of visitors we have received was 1,200 in a day last summer during the busiest time* of the year," he said. "About 50 percent of the visitors are native Utahns. and we receive a lot 01 tour groups from foreign countries."

He said the center is a public service and is open daily year round from 9 am. to 9 p.m.

"Only two days a year is the center closed—on Thanksgiving and Christmas," he said.

Eight couples rotate duties at the center, and the two other LDS Church historical sites in the Washington County area. The other two are the Brigham Young home located in St. George and the Jacob Hamblin Home located in Santa Clara, west of St. George.

All the couples are older but we are called the same way the other missionaries for the Church are. We serve for 18 months," Baker explained.

IS Not everyone in the community realizes that the center is available for the local residents as well as the tourist passing by and the non-LDS Church members.

‘We have tours for missionaries and their contacts, stake missionaries and their contacts, members and non-members,

priesthood quorums, all church auxiliaries. leadership groups. home teachers arid their asigned families tours designed for their , families. for individuals, and tourist groups English and foreign," Baker said. Their present facilities he said, are too small to keep up with the increase of visitors.

"If the number of visitors continues to Increase we will outgrow the present facility. If next year*s increase follows the same pattern as the last couple of years we will have over 100,000 visitors in 1979," he added.

"Almost every week when two or more groups come on tour we could use at least two theaters to show the movies in."

"I remember one time when we had a French group in the theater viewing a movie and an English group of a large size waiting to see a film," said Baker.

He said the facility has films in four languages other than English. They are French, German. Japanese and Spanish. None of the eight couples speak a second language fluently, but some can speak a little Spanish.

"We want the people in the area to feel free to call us at anytime and arrange any of the possible tours we have because we are here to serve the community in any way we can," Baker concluded.

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19 Aug 2012