A BRIEF HISTORY OF CARBON COUNTY

by the Teachers, Pupils, and Patrons of Carbon District

***

Foreword

During the year of 1930, the primary teachers of the Carbon County School District, under the leadership of Lamont Poulter, Primary Supervisor, conceived the idea of assembling and compiling data concerning the early history and development of Carbon County. The principal object of this work was to provide a fund of interesting and useful information for use in the social studies of the upper primary grades.

In collecting material for this monograph, every available source of reliable information was contacted. Early settlers of the various communities were interviewed and first hand information solicited. County and ecclesiastical records were studied. Records of the various fuel companies were made available through the courtesy of company officials, and much interesting and reliable data gleaned from those sources. Various company officials and political officers prepared statements concerning industrial and political phases of our community life. In addition, many other records and individuals have aided materially in preparing this work.

In order to assure, as far as possible, accuracy of the data presented, the syllabus has been carefully read by persons qualified to judge its historical value. No effort has been made to present this data as a literary unity in the way of organizing subject matter or presenting it. The different articles are the products of as many different writers. It is believed that this variety of style will, of itself, add to the interest of the work.

In presenting this little monograph to the teachers and pupils of Carbon District, we desire to express again sincere appreciation to all who have aided in collecting and compiling the material assembled herein. If it aids, even in a small degree, in giving the youth of Carbon County a clearer picture of their homeland and a deeper appreciation of their sturdy pioneer ancestors and others who helped in the development of this section, the effort will not have been in vain, and those who have done the work will be amply repaid.



The following story was written in 1930 by the Teachers, Pupils and Patrons of the Carbon District. Please, read the foreword about this project. If anyone knows the names of the writers of these stories please notify Kathy Hamaker so credit can be given to those that deserve the credit.


Castle Gate

The town of Castle Gate is situated on the Price River, well up on the eastern slope of the Wasatch Range. It is a mile below that famed wonder of natural sculpture, the "Castle Rock" from which the town takes its name; and is almost at the western end of a series of towering sandstone crags carved in fantastic images known as the Book Cliffs. At an elevation of 6,120 feet, but protected by steep slopes on either side, both summers and winters are comparatively mild and equable.

The location of Castle Gate is due to the fact that coal outcrops at a convenient height to be screened and loaded into railroad cars. The D. & R. G. Western Railroad was under construction from 1881 to 1885, and three years after its completion no. 1 mine was opened by the Pleasant Valley Coal Company, now the Utah Fuel Company, and has been in practically continuos operation since that time.

Many years before the west was settled Jedediah Smith, William Ashley, and Eticane Provost passed through Price Canyon and in all probability explored the region that is now known as Castle Gate. The explorations of these men are portrayed in an interesting manner in Neihardt's "Splendid Wayfaring" which is the story of Jedidiah Smith and his comrades, the Ashley-Henry men, discoverers and explorers of the great central route from the Missouri River to the Pacific Ocean. Inasmuch as many of those explorers and early trappers passed through this section of the country it would be of interest to the student to read of their experiences as portrayed in this book.

This region was given its attractive name by sheepherders when they observed the striking similarity of the north entrance to the gate of a protected castle. They know very little of the vast wealth underlying the surface except that here and there out croppings of coal appeared. No development was thought of, however, until the D. & R. G. showed its faith in the region by establishing a narrow gauge railroad through this territory.

The Pleasant Valley Fuel Company, then operating a mine at Winter Quarters, desired to find a profitable coal bed near the main line of this new route. In 1910 they sent their chief engineer, Robert Forester, with a party of prospectors to explore this vicinity. The result of their exploration trip was the opening of No. 2 mine.

The first settlers who resided here lived in box cars provided by the railroad. Some of the oldest residents were Harry World, R.S. Robertson, John Young, Thomas Reese, Charles Checketts, William Jones and John Platt. The first boy born in this settlement was Glen D. Reese, on November 11, 1890.

The first school was held in what is now house No. 47. Instruction was given by James B. Crandall who was the only teacher. Enrollment increased until the building was overcrowded and two years later in 1890, school was held in the L.D.S. church building. The present structure was erected in 1920.

The first postmaster was Harry Nelson, who was also clerk of the Pleasant Valley Fuel Company. The first store was located just south of the present building, and the new structure was built by World and Robertson in 1890. These men also constructed the first tipple just prior to that time.

The opening of the coal field attracted eastern capitalists who acquired more coal land and changed the name of the corporation to the Utah Fuel Company. The output of metal ores of Utah created a demand for a high grade of coking coal. This call was not met by a poorer grade of coke which was being produced from the coal mine at Winter Quarters, therefore in 1889 coke ovens were built in lower Castle Gate and a better grade of coke was produced. The increasing demand for high grade stove coal mined from No. 1 mine and the knowledge of the large veins adjacent at Kenilworth, caused the Utah Fuel Company to develop another mine in Willow Creek Canyon. They were much disappointed, however, when they discovered that the vein was only four feet thick. However, the vein was opened and on the main haulage tunnel, two feet of the roof was blasted down to give sufficient height for the economical operations of the mine. Later, a diamond drill hole was put down from the surface and just below this four foot vein, the twenty foot vein of coal was discovered. Connections between the two mines were made by driving a pair of rock tunnels. This prospect proved to be one of the greatest coal deposits known.

In 1922 No. 3 was opened. It was located on the main line of the D. & R. G. Western Railroad between Castle Gate and Rolapp and was the only shaft mine in the West until the mine at Salina Canyon was opened a few years ago.

Castle Gate was granted the petition for the incorporation of a town, March 4, 1914, and held its first meeting April 1, 1914. The following were the first officers: "President, Robert Williams; Trustees, Andrew Young, Edward Edwards, Levi Davis, William Edmond; Clerk, J.C. Snow; Treasurer, Alfred Thorpe; Marshall, J.F. Cory; Quarantine Physician, Dr. E. M. Nehr.

First among the social organizations must be placed the Castle Gate Welfare Association founded under the guardianship of the Utah Fuel Company and maintained by deductions from employees and the company. The Association concerns itself with providing amusements, caring for the poor, and many other projects for the general welfare of the people. The L.D.S. Church and the Union Church care for the spiritual well-being of the community, as well as assisting in relief work.

The Amusement Hall was dedicated in 1918. In 1919, the $100,000.00 filter plant was put into operation. In 1920 the present attractive school house was finished and in 1924 the new building for convenient postal service was opened for public use.


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The following story was written in 1930 by the Teachers, Pupils and Patrons of the Carbon District. Please, read the foreword about this project. If anyone knows the names of the writers of these stories please notify Kathy Hamaker so credit can be given to those that deserve the credit.


Clear Creek

Clear Creek is situated six miles south of Scofield in a little valley which is surrounded by mountains on the east, west, and south, with an altitude of 8,300 feet. The valley slopes toward the northeast and the road leading from the camp follows the natural course of the canyon. This has been improved but few changes have been made from the original route.

In the autumn of 1898, C.K. Jensen and Neils Sanburg, both Americans, came to Clear Creek, which was then known as Mud Creek, to get timber for Mr. Kimball of Scofield, and also for the Pleasant Valley Coal Company which was later known as the Utah Fuel Company. In 1899 the Utah Fuel Company opened a mine, after considerable prospecting. Other early settlers were Mr. Harskinen, John Erkila, Finns, who came in 1899; Jimmie Mancuzi, Italian, came in 1901, and John Cunningham and Charles Snedden, both Scotch, who came to work immediately after the Winter Quarter's Mine explosion in 1900. David Gordon, Scotch, left his work at railroading and came to Clear Creek in 1901. At the opening of the mine the upper part of the valley was called Clear Creek because of the clear, sparkling stream of water which flowed through the valley. Those men were employed in the mining industry and experienced the inconvenience of living in tents until houses were built. All of the houses erected were of wood, lined with compoboard.

The growth of the camp was rapid due to the great demand for high grade coal. Liberal wages and regular hours were inducements to the ever increasing population. It is interesting to note that when the camp was flourishing, a regular branch of the D. & R. G. Railroad operated through there and trains came to Clear Creek twice daily, morning and evening. Few automobiles were owned so this service facilitated travel. At times the snow was four or five feet deep on the level and for weeks at a time remained thus. No one seemed to be dissatisfied as long as the railroad could be kept open. When the railroad became blocked with snow, the men could not work so all the mine employees worked for the railroad company helping clear the tracks. There was a good school with three or four teachers employed most of the time. At present there are but three.

Another factor which contributed to the rapid growth of the camp was excellent location of the mine. The coal vein occurred at tipple height above the bottom of the canyon eliminating outside haulage which necessitates the tramway to get the coal from the mine to the railroad cars. Another advantage that this mine had was good water for domestic and steam purposes. As this mine was opened before electric power was brought to the coal fields by the Utah Power & Light Company, available water for steam purposes was an asset of considerable importance. then too, an abundance of timber which covered the adjacent mountains, was suitable for timbering the mine and supplying the demand of the saw mill which shipped lumber to Castle Gate and Sunnyside.

At the mine it was below creek level, and there was a large quantity of water which had to be pumped out, naturally a great disadvantage. The discharge pipe from the mine used for conveying the water to the surface was twelve inches in diameter. This gives an idea of the volume of water which had to be pumped from the mine. When the mine was first opened for work the coal was so near the entrance that the men could walk out for lunch. Horses pulled the coal cars out of the mine to the tipple.

For a number of years the coal from this mine was sold as "Run-of the-mine" meaning that the entire produce can be sold without screening and no waste of slack. The first contract was with the Southern Pacific Railroad at Ogden and called for 2000 tons per day. At that time it was considered the cheapest coal in the state due to the advantages mentioned, which curtailed the expense of production. In 1908 there were about 450 men employed with an approximate production of 2,000 tons of coal per day. Until 1912 when machine cutters were installed the pick played an important part in the day's work. With the adoption of modern methods, further developments continued until there were about 200 rooms. The out put of coal for October 1903, was 44,513 tons, however this was not the peak of production as the period between 1917 and 1920 shows a much greater population, and in all probability the mine was employing more men.

The out-put for the month of December 1931, was 5000 tons while statistics for 1930 show a population of 256 giving evidence of a decided decline in prosperity. The coal is now sold on the domestic market in competition with all other coals. There is a long underground haulage and many conditions have changed since former times.

The camp was never incorporated and the only officers were Mr. Hampton, Justice of Peace, and Tom Marsh, Constable. Due to the isolation of the camp and the heavy snows in the winter, the amusements consisted mostly of winter sports and dances twice a week. A home dramatic troupe was organized which furnished many a good laugh; a man by the name of Uncle Bert Martin brought a picture to camp once a week; and the Walter's Theatrical Troupe included Clear Creek in its semi-annual circuit. The nationalities represented were Irish, Scotch, Welsh, Italian, Finn, Japanese and American.

The Japanese segregated themselves and were seldom seen at any social gathering except perhaps a celebration of importance. The Finns liked amusement, erected a hall (which is still used by various organizations) and had a great deal of fun among themselves as well as entertaining the community by playing with their brass instruments for the dances.

Many of the older people of the various nationalities have retained their native customs and habits, some of them never having learned to speak or write the English language. Others, of course, adjusted themselves more readily to the American ways and became naturalized. The younger generation includes many good scholars who adopt themselves readily to American ideals and ways.

For amusement now the people go to Scofield for picture shows. The L.D.S. church furnishes other forms of recreation. The majority of the people have cars and frequently go to Helper and Price for amusement and supplies.


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The following story was written in 1930 by the Teachers, Pupils and Patrons of the Carbon District. Please, read the foreword about this project. If anyone knows the names of the writers of these stories please notify Kathy Hamaker so credit can be given to those that deserve the credit.


Coal City

Coal City lies nine miles due west of Helper. It is a mining community of 70 inhabitants, bounded on the west by the Gentry mountains. Gordon Creek runs through the town. The elevation is 6,800 feet. The present site of Coal City was first settled by Alfred Grames who came in 1885 for agricultural purposes. He was also a squatter and trapper. Others to settle in the district a short time later were Wesley Gentry, William Warren, Victor Rambeau, Joe Noujuier, and Joe Vacher, all sheepmen and farmers. The place was known as Oak Spring Bench at that time. Later Noe and Edwards Aubert came and also Shekra Sheye and Nedje Sheye. These men were prospectors and also dealt in real estate. By this time the section was referred to as Cedar Mesa Farm.

On August 6, 1921, a petition was presented to the County Commissioners to approve and establish the townsite called "The Great Western". The petition was granted, the townsite laid off and named "Coal City" for the coal industry. A year later the Andreini's store (then known as the Andreini and Calzani building) was built and used as an office for the "Great Western" until 1925 when the mercantile business was started by Eugene Androni.

During 1923, Jack Dempsey, then the world's heavyweight champion, came to Coal City to train, and during this time the town was frequently referred to as "Coal City with a punch behind it".

The National railroad was built to the town during 1923 and 1924, years known as the construction period. The railroad also extended to other mines of the Gordon Creek District. Farming continued to progress during these years. The first school was held for one month in a log cabin in 1925 with Mrs. Henry Snyderguard as teacher. There were 24 pupils. At this time Coal City was a city of tents. Late in the same year J.W. Miller built the new cement block school house and school opened in January, 1926. Two other block houses were also built by Mr. Miller.

A year later the Coal City store and bakery were built. The bakery supplies baked goods to the entire Gordon Creek district. Additional houses were built during this time, and growth continued as mining developed.

In 1926, H.J. Fisher was elected Justice of Peace, and Robert Mack, Constable of Coal City. The townsite has been laid off in an attractive manner and offers possibilities to the miner for his own home and garden plot. Electricity and an ample water supply is also available. The people now residing at Coal City are mostly of foreign nationalities, miners by occupation.


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The following story was written in 1930 by the Teachers, Pupils and Patrons of the Carbon District. Please, read the foreword about this project. If anyone knows the names of the writers of these stories please notify Kathy Hamaker so credit can be given to those that deserve the credit.


Columbia

The town of Columbia is located approximately twenty-eight miles east of Price and three miles southeast of Sunnyside. It is a coal mining community and is the property of the Columbia Steel Company which is a subsidiary of the United States Steel Corporation. The mine is operated for the purpose of supplying coking coal to the company's by-product coking plant and blast furnaces, located at Ironton, near Provo, Utah.

Construction of the camp was started in 1922. A year later Thomas C. Harvey took charge as Superintendent of operations and through his efforts and foresight the mine and community have gradually improved until today it is one of the outstanding communities of the county. The present population approximates 650 people.

The first school at Columbia was held in a large tent with Mrs. Amanda Roberts as instructor. She taught eight grades with a total enrollment of forty-nine pupils. In the year 1925 a modern six room brick building was erected, giving the town the best of school accommodations.

The latest type of coal mining equipment has been installed in the Columbia mine, making the production of 2,000 tons or more a day possible, depending upon demands. In 1930 the entire property was purchased by the U.S. Steel Corporation.

Columbia townsite consists of dwelling houses, all of modern construction, and in addition there are bunk houses for the single employees. A store building, boarding house, confectionery, amusement hall and barber shop supply the community needs. All buildings are connected to a complete sewer system.

The community has been greatly improved since construction first started. Today there are many fine lawns, trees, and flowers, tennis court and swimming pool. One of the beauty spots of the camp is the rock garden belonging to Supt. Harvey. This is built in a picturesque setting on the side of a cliff near his home. At the foot of the garden is a small greenhouse where fine plants are kept during the winter months.


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The following story was written in 1930 by the Teachers, Pupils and Patrons of the Carbon District. Please, read the foreword about this project. If anyone knows the names of the writers of these stories please notify Kathy Hamaker so credit can be given to those that deserve the credit.


Harper

Harper is located in a long canyon, part of which is in Carbonand the remainder in Duchesne County. It is 26 miles from Price to the first cabin owned by Mr. Lund, first settler, 35 miles from Myton in Duchesne county and eighteen miles north of Sunnyside. The canyon winds in and out along the Carbon-Duchesne line, is eighteen or twenty miles long and varies in width from a few hundred feet to half a mile. The mountains are called the Book Cliffs of the Wasatch as in many places they resemble the leaves of a book.

According to government maps the name of the settlement is "Nine Mile", but according to Hank Stewart, an early rider of Mr. Lund, it was Minnie-Maude", named for two girls who lived there in the early days. The creek is still called the Minnie Maude creek. There is a distance of nine miles from Mr. Lund's home to the Beaver valley, his summer range, and the district is commonly known as Nine-Mile.

Alfred Lund came from Nephi, Utah, in the spring of 1885 with his cattle and was the first man to enter the canyon and make a home. Many men went through on their way west but did not linger in the canyon. Mr. Lund's first home, a log cabin, stands in ruins on the southside of the creek. He summered his cattle in an around the canyons and wintered them on the Uintah Desert.

At this time the government was freighting to Fort Duchesne over a road which passed through the canyon. This road is the lowest in elevation of any road between Price and the Uintah basin, being 1500 feet lower than the present route up Willow Creek which leads to Duchesne. During the years 1888 to 1895 there were 600 soldiers at Fort Duchesne who hauled their supplies over this route. As nothing of any consequence was raised at the Post everything had to be shipped in, thus all hay, grain, and other produce raised in the canyon found a ready marked to those engaged in freighting. During these days the canyon was prosperous. The old government telegraph line followed the same route. Poles which still stand are an inch and half iron pipe with wooden insulation at the top. The Indians also freighted their government rations. The freight was taken from Price and hauled to the reservation in wagons. Many Indians passed through Nine-Mile hunting and fishing, but left the white man unmolested. They brought blankets and baskets with them to trade for horses and cattle.

Wild animals were common, especially the coyote, bobcat, and lion. Today the first two are still found, enabling residents to profit from trapping in the winter months.

When the post office was established at what is now the Murray sheep ranch, the town was named Harper. At the present time there is no mail service. In 1890 other people moved in to take up homesteads.

The most votes cast was in 1900 with 72. At present there are 35 inhabitants. Until 1916 there were two schools - one in Carbon and one in Duchesne district. From 1916 to 1924 but one school was maintained. This was closed and not opened again until 1931. Cattle and sheep raising and farming are the principal occupations. The Uintah desert, ten miles northeast of Nine Mile, is used for the winter range.

The history of Harper has been told by Frank Alger, who came through the canyon in 1888 and returned in 1890 to live here since that time.


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The following story was written in 1930 by the Teachers, Pupils and Patrons of the Carbon District. Please, read the foreword about this project. If anyone knows the names of the writers of these stories please notify Kathy Hamaker so credit can be given to those that deserve the credit.


Heiner

Heiner is located in the heart of the mountains of the mouth of Panther Canyon, on the Price River, and on the main line of the D. & R. G. Western Railroad, halfway between Helper and Castle Gate. The elevation is 6023 feet. At present the population is 286 but this fluctuates from time to time depending upon the work available at the Panther coal mine, located a mile north of the village.

In 1911, Frank N. Cameron, a prominent coal mine operator of Carbon County began prospecting for coal in this region and was followed by John Crawford who later became the first mine Superintendent. his brother, A. J. Crawford, who enlisted in the U. S. Army during the World War, and who was the first Carbon County boy to die in service, was also interested in the development of the new coal field. Other early workers were: John Cavania, John Ceteria, Andrew Mininic, Joe Ricardi, Pete Milano, Ernest Juicia, and George Garavaglia.

Heiner was first called Panther because if its location in Panther Canyon, was later known as Carbon, and finally named Heiner in honor of the vice-president of the coal company.

To open the Panther mine it was necessary to go through approximately eighty feet of burned outcrop before commercial coal was reached. Coal was first shipped from Heiner February 13, 1914, by the U.S. Fuel Company. On May 1, 1915 the mine was leased to Frank Cameron and John Crawford. They began with a production of 100 tons of coal per day, and at the end of the lease, April 1, 1918, were producing 500 tons per day. At the expiration of the lease, the property reverted to the U.S. Fuel Company, which owned and operated mines at Hiawatha and Mohrland, Utah. The maximum output of the Panther mine was 700 tons daily, but has now decreased to less that 500 tons. At the present rate of production there is enough coal to last for a number of years.

In the beginning of the camp, tents were used until frame houses could be erected. It is now one of the best housed camps in the district.

School was first taught in 1914 in a small one room building and was later removed to a two room structure. In 1923 a modern brick building of four rooms was erected. It is the most pretentious building in camp. There is also a store and a post office for the convenience of the people, but no town organization, hence the laws are enforced by the camp deputy sheriff. Recreation is provided for the people by the school and the welfare association. Christmas is the most celebrated holiday of the year.

The population of the camp is quite cosmopolitan, consisting of Americans, Italians, Greeks, Austrians, Jugo-Slavs and Czechoslovakians. Old country habits and customs are quite prevalent and are most common at wedding feasts and on special holidays.


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