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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 7

Coal Mining Camps west of Price, Ut

 

 

 

CONTINUED from PART 6

 

Hidden in little parallel canyons off to the west of the little string of towns between Helper and Price are a double handful of old coal mining camp sites strung along the bottom of the canyons.  Having researched Spring Canyon and Consumers Wash from some outdated ghost town books, I arrived here with the expectation of seeing a string of abandoned towns with lots of standing, haunting empty buildings fitting the stereotype of a ghost town.  IF that is your intent, then you WILL be disappointed.  However, tangible remains are very generous, and dozens of interesting ruins remain of these dozen or so old coal mining camps.  I was shocked by what I found – or didn’t find – BUT, I was far from being disappointed.  As I stated in my September 2009 Ghost Town USA column in Western & Eastern Treasures magazine:

 

I’d heard about the many standing buildings and the haunting character of these towns.  Like a novice, I expected to see a chain of towns filled with still-standing buildings just waiting for me to visit – neglecting to do any online research prior to leaving. I also forgot to notice the copyright dates on the books!  Time marches forward, untended buildings fail, ghost towns fade away.  I was shocked at what I found; but I was NOT disappointed.  Our beautiful string of pearls is now battered and worn, filled with chipped and discolored gems.  Others have broken and fallen off the string. Yet, what does remain is well worth a visit.”

 

We’ll start our tour with Spring Canyon.

 

PEERLESS

 

Helper sits at the mouth of Spring Canyon, so it is relatively easy to find.  Once threaded through the maze of roads, Spring Canyon Road reaches a railroad bridge and the start of the journey up-canyon begins.  Just 1.3 miles west of the bridge is the scattered remnants of PEERLESS.  The coal mine near here was operated by the Peerless Coal Company, and the shipping town was named for it (Surprised???)  During its peak years in the 1920s and 1930s, the population managed to reach around 300.  This company town had all the amenities, including housing, company offices and a clubhouse for company officials.  Because it was so close to Helper, many of the miners commuted from that larger town.  For the non-commuters, there was the ever-present company store, a pool hall, post office, saloon, school and 30 houses.  The school closed in 1950 and the mine in 1953.  Only rubble and a few ruins remain.

 

STORRS / SPRING CANYON

 

The next coal camp was located 1.2 miles above PEERLESS.  It sat a couple hundred yards north of Spring Canyon Road, up Sowbelly Gulch.  The coal here was first mined by Jesse Knight to produce fuel for his Tintic District mills.  In 1912, the Spring Canyon Coal Company-owned town was established and named STORRS, after a company official.  Like his other towns, Knight allowed no saloons or gambling dens.  By 1914, STORRS consisted of 60 stone houses, a church and school, hotel, stores, mine offices, and additional homes, enough to house the population of 1000 or so.  Knight also built a railroad spur line from Helper to his camp.

 

Later, the Rio Grande Railroad added onto the end of Knight’s line.  The Utah Railway also joined in rail building, and punched through to the end of the canyon.

 

In 1924, the name of the camp was changed to SPRING CANYON. And for the next two decades remained a bustling town.  In 1940, some 300 people still lived here, and in 1946 production began decreasing.  In 1950 the population began to drop, with only 250 folks remaining.  By 1954 only a few miners remained, and in 1969 the mine closed.

 

In George Thompson’s 1982 book, Some Dreams Die – Utah’s Ghost Towns and Lost Treasures, Thompson paints a picture of an impressive ghost town. 

            “Today, Spring Canyon is one of the most impressive ghost towns the state has to offer, with entire blocks of well built stone buildings still standing. 

            Scores of businesses and rows of abandoned homes line the canyon bottom for a mile or more.”

 

Things have really changed!  About the only evidence a town ever existed is the railroad grade and the foundation and ruins of a structure on the northwest side of the canyon junction.  There was nothing else visible.

 

STANDARDVILLE

 

About a mile to the west, at the junction of Spring Canyon/Gilson Gulch was the site of STANDARDVILLE.  Here in 1912 another small coal camp got started.  In 1914 and the coming of the railroad, STANDARDVILLE became a  bustling mining and shipping center, seeing as much as 1000 tons of coal a day pass through.  A state-of-the-art company town was laid out.  It included architecturally compatible lawns and landscaping, apartments, a barbershop, butcher shop, general store, homes, hospital, post office, recreation hall and a school.  Over 500 people lived here and during WWII, production increased to over 2000 tons of coal a day.  After the war ended the boom dissipated, and by 1950 the population had dropped in half to 250 people.  Shortly after, the mines and the town’s main businesses all closed.  By 1953, STANDARDVILLE was a ghost town.

 

STANDARDVILLE in 2008 had numerous ruins, BUT I’ve heard the site is now posted.  If so, please abide by any signage and view all ruins from the roads.  Dressed rock and plaster-faced red-brick walls remain of many of the buildings and a couple roofless ruins of larger structures can also be seen.  A huge curved concrete wall dominates the site.  This town has the most extensive ruins of any of the other towns in the canyon.

 

LIBERTY / LATUDA

 

Just a tad over a half mile further west is the site of LIBERTY/LATUDA.  It is located at the junction with Robinson Gulch and named after the Liberty Coal Company.  The Liberty Company opened the mine in 1914, followed by a second mine lower down in 1917.  In 1918, a company-owned support camp called LIBERTY was located at the lower mine. During the 1920s, 35 additional houses were built, along with a doctor, mine company office/ hotel, post office and school.  A post office was applied for under the name Liberty, which was turned down.  The last name of Frank Latuda, the owner of the Liberty Coal Company was offered and accepted. LATUDA was a quiet camp of 300 to 400 people that also faded after WWII ended.  By 1950, only 100 folks remained.  The mines here shut down in 1954 and by the early 1960s only a few miners working at the Spring Canyon Mine remained. By 1967 they were gone and the buildings moved elsewhere.

 

Today only the rubble of a rock-walled dugout, steps and a few foundations remain.

 

RAINS

 

RAINS is about a half mile west of LATUDA at a fork in the canyon.  Here the coal veins were 18’ wide, the thickest, in the canyon.  As a result, in 1915 L.F. Rains and the Carbon Coal Company opened up a mine and established a company-owned mining camp with its 60 houses lined up in a double row alongside the main road.  The population reached 500, and those folks were served by a boarding house, company store, post office and school. However, despite the thickness of the coal vein, production waned by the late 1930s.  In 1940, the population had dropped to 400, but increased during WWII years, peaking in 1946. After the war ended mining nearly ceased.  In 1950 only 73 people remained to see the mine close completely in 1958.  Some of the remains include an old wooden train trestle, and the roofless shells of a rock and a concrete block

building.  The old railroad line is still visible in the paved road on site.

 

MUTUAL

 

Located in the North Fork of Spring Canyon (Ciochetto Canyon), about a half mile north of and adjacent to Rains was MUTUAL.  The Mutual Coal Company opened their mine and established their mining camp in 1921 but shut down in 1938.  The town supported about 250 residents, who also worked in nearby mines. Even though the camp was small, it was home to the massive, cut stone company store, which still stands as a roofless shell. It remained open until 1954.

 

LITTLE STANDARD

 

Located just south of RAINS at the mouth of the South Fork of Spring Canyon was the coal camp of LITTLE STANDARD.  It operated 1925-1938 and was nothing more than a small tent camp with a 14-room (bed?) bunkhouse.  When the nearby Mutual Mine shut down, most of the tent-dwellers packed up and relocated to the empty cabins in MUTUAL.  Nothing but a small cabin, tumbled wooden rubble and a rock wall remain.

 

This is the end of Spring Canyon, so now return to Helper and head south to the town of Spring Glen.  Then head west, up Consumers Wash.  Unlike Spring Canyon, there is an active coal mine in this canyon, and the huge coal trucks aren’t looking for passenger vehicles so drive with caution.  The road is narrow and has limited visibility over much of the route.

 

3.2 miles west of Spring Glen and the junction of US 6/50 and the Consumers Wash Road is a railroad crossing and a large coal shipping center.  All mileages will be from this point.

 

COAL CITY

 

COAL CITY is not visible from the main canyon road.  At mile 5.1, a short, poorly marked dirt road heads up a slight hill to the north and around a small knob.  Just a half mile in, there is a wide parking area for a wildlife sanctuary.  This is the site.

 

Visible a couple hundred yards to the north, on top of a slight rise, is the roofless ruin of one of the rock-walled stores in what was once called COAL CITY.  Today, the town’s remains are sparse but interesting.  There is a roofless cut-rock store building, a pair of tumbled wooden piles of former residential buildings.  A scattering of smaller collapsed wooden buildings and a topless rock-walled cistern/well also remain.  Be careful around it.  A tumble here could prove to be a day-ruining experience for you and whoever finds your remains!

 

Up until the late 1970s, there were two store buildings.  The of one is now just a barren scar of scraped earth.  The other still stands solid, or at least did in July 2008.

 

The story of COAL CITY dated to 1885 when it was a small agricultural community called Oak Spring Bench.  A coal seam was discovered here in October 1921, and the Great Western Coal Mines Company was incorporated. They laid out a town which was going to be called GREAT WESTERN. Somehow it was christened COAL CITY instead. 

 

In 1922, the Andreini and Calzani building was built and used as offices for the Great Western Company.  Three years later, Eugene Androni opened a store in the building.  It is said that at this time, famed World Champion boxer Jack Dempsey came to Coal City to do some fight training.  It’s also claimed that the locals tried to get him to invest money in the town, and if he did they’d rename the town DEMPSETVILLE or DEMPSEY CITY after him.  Apparently he didn’t bite at the invitation. 

 

The mid-1920s saw much growth once the railroad arrived in 1923.  A year later a log cabin school housing 24 students was built in 1925.  A year later a large concrete block school replaced it.  1927 saw a pair of block houses and the Coal City Store and bakery opening.  Despite all the growth, bankruptcy dogged the parent company, and coal mining stopped and started in fitful surges. The town’s dream of glory died, and by 1930 only some 70 folks remained.  By 1940 it was dead.

 

NATIONAL

 

Located about 2.3 miles west of COAL CITY is NATIONAL, the first of a trio of related coal camps.  The mines here were discovered as early as 1908 but not developed until the 1920s.  Ruins of this old town sit south of the road, making exploring the site an exercise in brushbusting, and pain management! Photos from the 1970s show extensive ruins, but most of those ruins are either are long gone of buried by thorned bushes.  The National Coal Company operated the mine and support camp here.  This was the largest of the three camps in the area and contained its own company store, as well as a shared post office and school.  The town faded and died by the late 1940s.  Some of what remains include: foundations of what may have been the company store or offices, foundations of an unidentified building and a collapsing wood-frame building.  Looking at some of the details shows fancy concrete work along the steps leading up into the largest ruin.

 

CONSUMERS

 

On the west end of NATIONAL is a side canyon heading the northwest.  Just over a quarter mile up the canyon is the site of Consumers.  However, the site of the town has been scraped clean and is now an active coal mine.  The old town sat where today’s massive mine equipment now sits.  The CONSUMERS name is remembered in the canyon and the mine.

 

CONSUMERS began around the early 1920s and also had a company store.  The district hospital and an amusement hall were located here.  It was originally called GIBSON, after Arthur Gibson, the discoverer of the coal mine in 1921.  When the Consumers Mutual Coal Company took over, the name was changed. In 1927, the Blue Blaze Coal Company purchased the mine and camp, continuing to operate until 1938.  Ownership changed and mining was off and on until the 1950s.

 

SWEET

 

West of NATIONAL, up another canyon is the site of Sweet, of which very little remains along the flat part of the canyon bottom.  There is a gate at the mouth of the canyon, but the sparse remains are about a quarter mile hike along a flat canyon bottom road.  I discovered a couple rock walls and some foundation pits near a small reservoir, the remains of railroad trestle supports and a few foundations.

 

This early 1920s camp lasted until the early 1950s.  The mines were discovered by William Sweet and named after him.  The Gordon Creek Coal Company operated them, but in 1925, the company changed its name to the Sweet Coal Company.  The maximum population reached about 200, and the camp had the company-owned Sweet Mercantile and a saloon.  I have not seen that claim in writing, but there are tokens known bearing the Sweet Mine Beer Parlor name.

 

Again, ownership was off and on until the 1950s when it all shut down for good. Almost all the tangible evidence of a town was also removed.

 

 

 

 

This is the end of our journey along US 6 between Bishop, CA and Price, UT.  Someday soon, I’ll again hear the siren call of this road, and continue this journey to the east.  Until that happens, there are other roads to explore and thousands of other ghost towns to photograph!

 

Keep the greasy side down and the shiny side up.  Happy journeys and we’ll see you On The Road Again!

 

END

 

 

PREVIOUS – Part 7 – END

 

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: 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

Coal City

7132’

39.6666304 / 39° 40' 00" N

-111.0162773 / 111° 00' 59" W

SW¼ Sec 27, T13S, R8E, SLM (Salt Lake Baseline and Meridian)

Consumers

8100’

39.7005185 / 39°42' 02" N

-111.0626677 / 111° 03' 46" W

NE¼ Sec 18, T13S, R8E, SLM

Latuda

6860’

39.7038521 / 39°42' 14" N

-110.9459970 / 110° 56' 46" W

SW3 Sec 8, T13S, R9E, SLM 

Little Standard

NOT LISTED IN GNIS

NOT LISTED IN GNIS

NOT SHOWN ON GNIS TOPO

Mutual

7333’

39.7144073 / 39° 42' 52" N

-110.9687754 / 110° 58' 08" W

NE3 Sec 12, T13S, R8E, SLM 

National (NOT shown on GNIS, is on Topo map)

39.689290

-111.051693

S-Ctr Sec 17, T13S, R8E, SLM

Peerless

6447’

39.6941301 / 39° 41' 39" N

-110.9109960 / 110° 54' 40" W

SE3 Sec 16, T13S, R9E, SLM 

Rains

7106’

39.7094074 / 39° 42' 34" N

-110.9632197 / 110° 57' 48" W

W-Ctr Sec 7, T13S, R9E, SLM 

Spring Canyon

6634’

39.7038521 / 39° 42' 14" N

-110.9196073 / 110° 55' 11" W

S-Ctr Sec 9, T13S, R9E, SLM 

Standardville

6739’

39.6999633 / 39° 42' 00" N

-110.9334966 / 110° 56' 01" W

NE¼ Sec 13, T13S, R9E, SLM 

Sweet (NOT shown on GNIS)

 

39.689505

-111.056725

SW¼ Sec 17, T13S, R8E, 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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Ghost Towns | Treasure Hunting | License Plate Collecting | Genealogy

 

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FIRST POSTED:  August 06, 2010

LAST UPDATED: December 17, 2010

 

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