The Name Moab

A number of theories about how Moab got its name float around book stores and coffee shops. The most accepted is the biblical derivation. In the Bible, the name Moab occurs frequently referring to a dry, mountainous area east of the Dead Sea and southeast of Jerusalem. This etiology seems to fit in both its geographical relationship to Salt Lake City (and the Great Salt lake) and the geologic characteristics of the area.

Another less accepted derivation of the name is that Moab comes from a Paiute word meaning "mosquito water." Mosquitoes were abundant near the Colorado River. Wherever the name came from, it stuck, but not without challenges.

Attempted Name Change

In 1885 the postmaster attempted to change the name to Uvadalia. Later a petition to change the name to Vina also failed.

Town Beginnings
Prior to the completion of the railroad in 1883, most of Moab's supplies were brought in by wagon from Salina or Richfield. Moab was isolated and its settlers became self-reliant and self-sufficient. Home industry was the norm in Moab including gardening, soap-making, medicines, repairs, clothing, and tools.

In 1885 the first motel was constructed in Moab. Two years later there were enough travelers passing through to warrant construction of a second motel. The Darrow House, unlike the luxurious Maxwell House operated by Moab's first businesswoman Addie Taylor, attracted outlaws who were crossing the territory.