The ghost town of Grafton just outside of Rockville, Utah and Zion National Park. Said to be the most photographed ghost town in the West, it has been featured as a location in several films, including 1929's In Old Arizona—the first talkie filmed outdoors—and the classic Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.
The site was first settled in December 1859 as part of a southern Utah cotton-growing project ordered by Brigham Young (see Utah's Dixie). A group from Virgin led by Nathan Tenney established a new settlement they called Wheeler. Wheeler didn't last long; it was largely destroyed on the night of January 8, 1862 by a weeks-long flood of the Virgin River, part of the Great Flood of 1862. The rebuilt town, about a mile upriver, was named New Grafton, after Grafton, Massachusetts. The last residents left Grafton in 1944. A United Press news item dated May 23, 1946, stated that the town was purchased by movie producer Harry Sherman as a film location site. He bought it from William Russell, 80, a descendant of the co-founder, and one of the town's three current inhabitants.
In June 1997, the Grafton Heritage Partnership was organized to protect, preserve, and restore the Grafton Townsite. With cooperation from former Grafton residents, the Utah State Historical Society, the BLM, the Utah Division of State History, and others, the old church, Russell Home, Louisa Foster Home, the Berry fence in the cemetery, and John Wood home were restored, with new windows, doors, roofing and other structural enhancements to represent the period in which they were built. In addition, 150 acres (61 ha) of farmland were purchased, on which agricultural operations are performed to enhance the farming appearance. The site is under 24-hour surveillance.