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ON THE ROAD AGAIN

With Ghost Town USA

 

A Tour Guide to the Ghost Towns Along

U.S. HIGHWAY 6

From Bishop, California to Price, Utah

 

 

 

PART 6

The Tintic Mining District, to Price Ut

 

 

 

CONTINUED from PART 5

 

The Tintic Mining District centers around EUREKA, a dusty, crusty old mining town that still functions as the seat of government for Juab County.  We won’t explore the TINTIC on this page, but for details on this fascinating mining district go to our Tintic Mining District page for a lot more information and numerous photos. 

 

After passing through EUREKA, the US Highway 6 swings to the east, descending towards Interstate 15, about 20 miles beyond.  Two miles west of Goshen, is the junction with SH 68, and the tiny, badly faded agricultural hamlet of…

 

ELBERTA

 

Named after the Elberta Peach, the faded crossroads hamlet of ELBERTA is located at the junction of US 6/SH 68, midway between Eureka and the Interstate. The 2000 census counted 278 people, and when we visited noted a couple of abandoned buildings, including the Currant Creek Convenience Store & Amoco gas station and an old Sinclair gas station across the street.  Other structures include a dozen or so homes, an old church and the newer post office.  When Elberta was established in 1896, it was originally known as called Mount Nebo.  BUT, its peak days seem to be behind it now, and this tiny agricultural community is going nowhere, slowly.

 

A couple miles east of ELBERTA, US 6 passes through the tiny town of Goshen (Milepost [MP] 153).  Then three miles beyond Goshen - at MP 156 - the magnificent ruin of a mining company mill building clings to a steep, terraced red slope just above the base of the hill to the south.  This is the site of…

 

HAROLD

 

During the 1921-1925 period the Tintic Standard Company’s reduction mill operated here, supported by a small company milling camp called HAROLD.  Silver ore from the company’s mine at DIVIDEND was processed here, but in 1925 the mill closed after operating only a few years.  Today, eight cyanide tanks remain atop red-stained concrete foundations and walls.  The site of the company town has been completely obliterated.

 

Just west of Santaquin, US 6 skirts the north side of some low hills, then at Santaquin we enter northbound I-15.  13 miles later we exit at the north end of Spanish Fork.  Leaving the superslab at Exit 258, we continue southeast on US 6/89 across town and up into the mountains. The first half of the road is best described as urban-mountain interface, a place where bustling urbanity battles with the quietude of the mountains for dominance. Chaotic traffic, road construction and people rushing to escape their urban environment makes for a tough area to explore old sites now being usurped by suburbia. Old maps show a number of sites along this portion of the route, but I wish you better luck than I had in finding and exploring them. 

 

CASTILLA HOT SPRINGS

 

Located along the north side of the highway, one of the most prominent sites worth looking for is this old hot spring spa.  CASTILLA HOT SPRINGS was established in 1891 and operated on and off until 1942 when it burned to the ground. Its central feature was a huge, three-story, sandstone hotel located in the wide area on the north side of the highway about 0.9 miles east of Covered Bridge Canyon Road and 1.4 miles west of Diamond Fork Road.  Because of heavy road construction in that area, I saw nothing from the eastbound side of the highway except road building equipment being stored at what I assume to be the old site.

 

THISTLE

 

Continuing east, we reach the junction of US 6/89, where the later highway separates itself and wends its way south.  THISTLE is located below that junction and is the now-pathetic remains of a once bustling railroad junction town.  It is located about 14 miles southeast of Spanish Fork and has a truly forgotten air about it.  In April 1983, it was heavily damaged by flooding.  Most of the pre-1983 ghost town books picture it a whole lot differently!  In 1930, back when it was very active, some 288 people lived here. Today, nobody lives here.  A handful of picturesque buildings remain, including the crumbling walls of the old school, foundations and numerous flooded-out buildings and old homes, including some completely submerged in the creek.  THISTLE has a weird, desolate air about it and a visit here can be problematic. The remains of the town can only be accessed off US 89, and that highway is busy and VERY narrow as it switchbacks off US 6 and unwinds on its run to the south.  There are very few safe areas to park, so extreme caution MUST be exercised while in this old townsite, much of which is posted. Please pay attention to any signs, and observe the posted structures from a SAFE location. 

 

In the upper-east end of town, there are several ruins and a large corrugated metal building, the only intact, non-flooded structure in town.  Unfortunately is has ZERO character, and the only reason I photographed it is because it WAS the only intact structure. The other major piece of eye-candy at that end of town is the rock foundation of what appears to have been a hotel or motor hotel.

 

From THISTLE, continue east on US 6 as it begins its 22-mile uphill run towards Soldier Summit.  Along this stretch of highway are a handful of forgotten old railroad and road towns that I did not explore as I didn’t know exactly where they were until after the trip.  This is an area where researching the sites prior to going is a must.  Many along the railroad can only be accessed from a couple parking areas and a long hike.  Others along the highway are so forgotten, nothing remains to mark them.  A slow drive with a good, well-marked map IS a necessity to find these sites.

 

SOLDIER SUMMIT

 

Next up is SOLDIER SUMMIT.  It is shown on most maps, and is definitely worth a stop.  This is one of those rare gems of a place that seldom makes press, yet is located directly on, and is bisected by, a major highway.  The site is filled with ruins and abandoned buildings, as well as a couple occupied ones.  According to the store clerk, the population in July 2008 was four.  In 1930 it was 319.  Where rows of houses once marched up and over the rolling hills on either side of the railroad tracks, only concrete foundations remain.  Stores, a school and numerous other buildings filled out this bustling railroad town plopped right at the top of Soldier Summit, 7477’ above sea level.  The empty shells and ruins invite exploration. Just pay attention to any buildings that are posted and abide by all signs. This is one of those wonderful little ghost towns that so often get overlooked by most folks.

 

The name of SOLDIER SUMMIT is derived from the fate of a number of US Army soldiers who were ill-prepared for blizzards in July 1861.  Not being prepared, and especially not expecting it, they perished in the freezing, summer blizzard.  No folks; that is not a mistake - it really was in JULY, not January!  I can believe it.  When I stopped there on July 6, 2008, it wasn’t hard to imagine how that could have happened. During my visit, the wind was howling and the temperature was quite chilly, probably in the low 50s. I didn’t have a thermometer, but even with my windbreaker on, I was shivering so hard it was difficult to take pictures.

 

The railroad town of SOLDIER SUMMIT was established in 1919 when the railroad company moved all its yards, repair facilities and a roundhouse uphill from HELPER. Support businesses quickly followed and SOLDIER SUMMIT incorporated as a city in 1921.  Some of the businesses included: 130 homes (most of whose foundations are still visible on the GNIS aerial photo), two automobile repair garages, a billiard hall, two churches, a hotel, jail, real estate office, restaurant, school (closed in 1973), three or four stores, a swimming pool and a YMCA.  In 1930 the railroad facilities were moved back to HELPER, along with all of the railroad-owned houses.  With nothing to support the town and busted flat by the start of the Great Depression, the population quickly declined from its late 1920s era peak of 300+.  Some sources claim the population was as high as 2500, but I personally think that is a bit of a stretch.

 

Today’s SOLDIER SUMMIT is way smaller!  Four people, a combo gas station/store and a couple houses complete the active part of town, while a handful of abandoned buildings, the remains of the school and jail all sit north of the highway.  Two of the best sit on a little knoll, overlooking the site.  Everywhere you look are concrete foundation walls peeking out of the windblown greenery.  South of the highway, neat parallel rows of house foundations march up and down the rolling hills. As the city of SOLDIER SUMMIT faded, it took until 1984 for the remaining 12 residents to disincorporate the old town, over a half-century past its zenith.

 

Beyond Soldier Summit, the highway rolls off downhill towards the south, passing several badly faded railroad towns.  Because of some pretty serious road destruction - I mean construction – I couldn’t access them.  Oh well! 

 

The highway continues to decrease in elevation, winding its way through colorful hills and dropping right into Carbon County, the heart of Utah’s Coal Country.

 

HELPER

 

Sitting just south of the base of the mountains and unlike most old coal mining towns in the West, HELPER still lives.  Strings of company houses dot the hills west of town, and the aura of railroads and coal still hang thick in the air here. I didn’t spend a lot of time exploring the gritty remains of HELPER, but it was easy to see its industrial roots. What I did see did make me realize this old town was worth another look-see, but I’ll leave it for you (for now.)  I did stop long enough to capture an old bar on film, but that’s about it. 

 

During its peak years, Helper served a dual role as a coal mining/shipping town AND a railroad town.  It is just one of five knocked-together, anonymously blended old towns lining the highway, the railroad and the Price River.  Today, some 14,000 people live in these five towns.  Only two of the five have actually shown any growth since 1940.  HELPER is NOT one of those two.  Even so, it’s far from ghostly, but is filled with enough empty and picturesque buildings to warrant a return trip – some day!.

 

PRICE

 

PRICE is the next town on the menu.  In 2000 it claimed a population of 8229, and that may actually have increased by the census this year.  It is home to almost every motel and fast food chain known to humanity, so food and accommodations are plentiful.  There is nothing ghostly about this town, and it IS one of the two towns in the area that have actually grown.  Not only grown, but thrived.

 

This is actually the end of our journey on US 6, BUT, there are a couple canyons to the west of PRICE filled with fascinating old coal camps that we will visit in PART 7. 

 

CONTINUED in PART 7

 

 

PREVIOUS – Part 6 - NEXT

 

PART 1: Bishop, CA to CA/NV State Line

PART 2: CA/NV State line to Tonopah, NV

PART 3: Tonopah to Warm Springs, NV

PART 4: Warm Springs, NV to NV/UT State Line

PART 5: NV/UT State Line to the Tintic Mining District, UT

PART 6: The Tintic Mining District to Price, UT

PART 7: Coal Mining Camps west of Price, UT

 

 

 

GPS and Standard Township/Range locations for the sites featured above

 

 

SITE NAME

ELEV.

LATITUDE

LONGITUDE

TOWNSHIP/RANGE

Castilla Hot Springs (Utah Co.)

4924’

40.0355115 / 40° 02' 08" N

-111.5260244 / 111° 31' 34" W

S½ Sec 18, T9S, R4E, SLM (Salt Lake Baseline and Meridian)

Elberta (Utah Co.)

4701’

39.9527303 / 39° 57’ 10” N

-111.9563298 / 111° 57’ 23” W

Corner of Sec 8/9/16/17, T10S, R1W, SLM

Eureka (Juab Co.)

6430’

39.9587016 / 39° 57’ 31” N

-112.1148700 / 112° 06’ 54” W

W2 Sec 18, T10S, R2W, SLM

E2 Sec 13, T10S, R3W, SLM

Harold (Utah Co.) – site info Warm Springs (GNIS)

4564’

39.9582870 / 39° 57’ 30” N

-111.8557694 / 111° 51’ 21” W

SW¼ Sec 8 , T10S, R1E, SLM

Helper (Carbon Co.)

5892’

39.6898648 / 39° 41’ 24” N

-110.8597000 / 110° 51’ 35” W

SE¼ Sec 13, NE¼ Sec 24, T13S, R9E

SW¼ Sec 18, NW¼ Sec 19, T13S, R10E, SLM

Price (Carbon Co.) 

5564’

39.5994095 / 39° 35’ 58” N

-110.8107148 / 110° 48’ 39” W

Sec 16, SE ¼ Sec 17, NE¼ Sec 20, Sec 21, T14S, R10E, SLM

Soldier Summit (Wasatch Co.)

7470’

39.9285694 / 39° 55' 43" N

-111.0779446 / 111° 04' 41" W

SE¼ Sec 24, NE¼ Sec 25, T10S, R7E, SLM

Thistle (Utah Co.)

5043’

40.0371781 / 40° 02' 14" N

-111.5288024 / 111° 31' 44" W

Corner Secs 28, 29, 32 & 33, T9S, R4E, SLM

 

 

 

Historians estimate that there may be as many as 50,000 ghost towns scattered across the United States of America. Gary B. Speck Publications is in process of publishing unique state, regional, and county guides called: The Ghost Town Guru's Guide to the Ghost Towns of “STATE”

 

These original guides are designed for anybody interested in ghost towns. Whether you are a casual tourist looking for a new and different place to visit, or a hard-core ghost town researcher, these guides will be just right for you. With over 30 years of research behind them, they will be a welcome addition to any ghost towner's library.  Thank you, and we'll see you out on the Ghost Town Trail!

 

For more information on the ghost towns along this portion of US HIGHWAY 6, contact us at Ghost Town USA.

 

E-mailers, PLEASE NOTE: Due to the tremendous amount of viruses, worms and “spam,” out there, I no longer open or respond to e-mails with unsolicited attachments, OR messages on the subject lines with “Hey”, “Hi”, “Need help”, “Help Please”, “???”, or blank subject lines, etc.  If you do send E-mail asking for information, or sharing information, PLEASE indicate the appropriate location AND state name, or other topic on the “subject” line.  THANK YOU!  :o)

IMPORTANT

 

These listings and historical vignettes of ghost towns, near-ghost towns and other historical sites along this portion of US HIGHWAY 6 above are for informational purposes only, and should NOT be construed to grant permission to trespass, metal detect, relic or treasure hunt at any of the listed sites.

 

If the reader of this guide is a metal detector user and plans to use this guide to locate sites for metal detecting or relic hunting, it is the READER'S responsibility to obtain written permission from the legal property owners. Please be advised, that any state or nationally owned sites will probably be off-limits to metal detector use. Also be aware of any federal, state or local laws restricting the same. 

When you are exploring the ghost towns along US HIGHWAY 6, please abide by the

Ghost Towner's Code of Ethics.

 

 

 

 

Also visit: Ghost Town USA’s

 

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FIRST POSTED:  July 17, 2010

LAST UPDATED: June 15, 2014

 

 

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