Utah/Wasatch Counties, UT
SOLDIER SUMMIT is the scattered remains of a nearly dead railroad and road town sitting athwart the Utah/Wasatch county line at the summit of the same name on US 6, between Spanish Fork and Price, which is located in the heart of Utah’s coal country. It mostly sits on the Wasatch side, but at its peak overlapped into Utah County.
This old community is marked on most state maps, and even the most jaded ghost towner will see a reason to stop. In 2009, the population was only four, according to the store clerk. This is way lower than in 1930, when it was 319. At that time, rows of houses marched up and over the rolling hills where today only foundations remain. North of the highway, stores, a school and other buildings made up a bustling railroad town. Today empty shells and ruins reign over the quiet that is only punctuated by the ever-present wind and traffic along the highway.
This old railroad ghost got its name from some woefully unprepared soldiers who died here in July, 1861 – during a blizzard! At the time of my visit in July 2008, the wind was blowing strong and the temperature was in the low 50s. A few scattered clouds helped the sun play hide and seek, preventing any true warmth from settling over the blustery countryside.
Soldier Summit was established in 1919 when the railroad moved its yards, repair facilities and a roundhouse up the hill from Helper. The town incorporated as a city with 130 homes in 1921. Some of the businesses located here included: 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 and most of the people. The population quickly declined from over 300 at its peak in the late 1920s. Some sources claim the population was as high as 2500, but I personally think that is a bit of a stretch. The city finally disincorporated in 1984 at which time the population was only about 12.
Today, four people, a gas station/store and a couple houses complete the active part of town, while a handful of abandoned buildings, the ruined remains of the school and jail and other foundations dot the brushy hillside north of the highway. On the south side of the highway, scores of house foundations lined up like soldiers in parallel rows march over the terrain, the tops of the foundations barely peeking over the gray-green brush.
Soldier Summit is a unique place to visit, and most people cruising by on the highway see only foundations and the still-active store/gas station. Ghost towners see the history and are willing to stop and absorb it! Again, please abide by any signs posted on the site.
For numerous photos of the site, go to the Soldier Summit portion of our Highway 6 travelogue.
This was our Ghost Town of the Month for November 2011.
· NEĽ Sec 25, T10S, R8E, Salt Lake Baseline & Meridian
· Latitude: 39.9285694 / 39° 55’ 43” N
· Longitude: -111.0779446 / 111° 04’ 41” W
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FIRST POSTED: November 14, 2011
LAST UPDATED: December 04, 2011
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