In the spring of 1870 Brigham Young, President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and former Governor of the Territory of Utah, passed through the area on a tour of southern Utah settlements. Upon his return to Salt Lake City, President Young sent a group of 52 pioneers led by Levi Stewart to settle a community along the banks of Kanab Creek, a gentle stream of water flowing through the area.
Young returned in September of 1870 with surveyor Jesse Fox, "To lay out the town". The town consisted of one square mile, with a block in the center set aside for public buildings and designated Kanab's public square. The other blocks were divided into 4 lots each, and numbered. The head of each family then drew for a lot.
The Public Square (bordered by Center Street, Main Street, 100 North and 100 West) served as a center for community activities including: church meetings, education, recreation and entertainment. Four important buildings were erected on the Square: the Tithing Office, Academy, Ward Hall, and the pioneer Chapel. This aerial view shows the Public Square as it looked in 1950: the Chapel (southeast corner of the Square) is at the lower center; the Ward Hall (southwest corner) is at the left; both the Academy (northeast corner) and the Tithing Office (northwest corner) were gone. Plaques at each corner denote the buildings. Additional information is available at the Kanab Heritage Museum.