Back in 1916, Reuben (Ruby) Syrett brought his family to the wilds of Southern Utah and saw Bryce Canyon for the first time. He was so impressed by the beauty of the canyon that he built a lodge called “Tourists Rest” near the rim of the canyon. In 1923 when Bryce Canyon became a National Park, Ruby moved his lodge outside the boundary of the park and renamed it Rubys Inn.
Over the years, Rubys Inn has gone through many redesigns and rebuildings. Today there are several hotels, a dozen restaurants, a giant RV park, gas stations, and a post office at Rubys Inn. All the businesses are run by members of the Syrett family. Bryce Canyon City recently incorporated so that it could retain the tax revenue, but it is still a town based around the tourist industry with Rubys Inn.
Instead of driving back home after our long day at Bryce Canyon, Tom and I decided to spend the night at historic Rubys Inn. The Inn is currently a Best Western franchise. It has a big lobby, huge gift shop, two restaurants, and an indoor swimming pool.
We ate supper at the Cowboy Buffet and Steak Room because it was closest. The prices were a little steep (tourists) but the food was good. We got the buffet so there wasn’t any waiting and we could eat as much as we wanted.
After supper we wandered around the General Store and lobby. I bought a book on the history of Rubys Inn and read it that night (“Rubys Inn at Bryce Canyon” by A. Jean Seiler). I am always impressed by the industriousness of the Latter Day Saints. They work hard to build enterprises out of wilderness. Reuben Syrett did the same and today Bryce Canyon City employs close to 5,000 people during the summers.
If you go to Bryce Canyon, take some time to explore Bryce Canyon City. See the business that has grown from the tourism outside the park and appreciate Ruby’s vision of hospitality.