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Carbon County Ghost Towns & Mining Camps

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Carbon County Ghost Towns:


Consumers Road:

Coal City/Dempsey




Spring Canyon Road:


Spring Canyon/Storrs





More Carbon County:

Castle Gate

Clear Creek







Winter Quarters





Blue Blaze Coal Mine, Consumers, Utah, 1936

The Blue Blaze Coal Mine in Consumers, Utah in 1936, photo by Dorthea Lange. There is nothing left of the mine today.

This image available for photo prints & commercial downloads HERE!



Kenilworth, Utah Company Houses

Unlike many "company towns", families were allowed to buy their homes, some of which are still occupied today, Kathy Weiser-Alexander, April, 2008.

This image available for photo prints & commercial downloads HERE!




Active coal mining in Carbon County, UtahSituated south and east of the Wasatch Plateau and west of the Book Cliffs, Carbon County’s history dates back thousands of years to when the Fremont Indians lived extensively throughout the area, leaving behind numerous rock art panels. And before these ancient natives called it home, the land was roamed by dinosaurs, the footprints of which have been found in many of the area coal mines.   

The first white settlers; however, were the Mormons, who began to cross the Wasatch Plateau, building numerous small communities all along the Price River in the late 1870s. The initial roads into the region included paths off the Old Spanish Trail, the Nine Mile Canyon freight road from Price to the Uinta Basin, and a route over Soldier Summit, were utilized by the early farmers and ranchers for transporting goods and supplies.

However, it was in the early 1880s when the Denver & Rio Grande Western Railroad began to seek a route from Denver to Salt Lake City that the area really began to be populated. As the railroad opened up the area, they discovered coal and mining further developed the area as numerous coal companies moved in, often building and running many of the mining camps. Within no time, the mining camps were populated with immigrants from all over the world, so much so that Helper became known as the town of "57 Varieties" due to its ethnic diversity.


Though the new mines brought people and prosperity to the region, it also brought tragedy and violence in mining explosions and major strikes. However, coal mining continues to play a vital role in county’s economy.


Ghost Towns and Mining Camps:

Consumers Road:

Just south of Helper, Utah, Consumers Road (UT-290/139) heads west off of US-6/191 into the mountains to the old mining camp sites of Coal City, National, Consumers and Sweet. Though a few old buildings can still be seen along this vintage path, active coal mining still exists, which has no doubt taken its toll on many of the remains of these once thriving mining camps. Most provide only a view of a few old foundations.


Coal City/Dempsey - The site of this old mining camp was originally settled around 1885 when it was called Oak Springs Bench and later, Cedar Mesa Ranch. However, early settlers found the 7,000 foot elevation unsuitable for farming and ranching and soon moved on.


When coal was discovered in the area, small scale mining began, but due to the town’s distance to the nearest railroad, it was never a huge success. However, in August, 1921, plans were made to change that and an official town was platted and named Coal City. The Great Western Coal Mines Company was incorporated in October, 1921 and coal shipments began a few years later, hauled by wagon to the nearest railroad.


During 1923, Jack Dempsey, the famous heavyweight fighter, was training in Coal City and as locals tried to get him to invest in the mining operations, the town was frequently referred to as "Coal City with a punch behind it," which soon grew into Dempseyville or Dempsey City. However, when Dempsey didn’t invest and moved on, the town name reverted to Coal City.


The mine got a reprieve when the National Coal Railway began operations around 1924. Though the city was primarily made up of tents, school was first held in a log cabin in 1925 and the following year, a new cement block school house was built, which housed about 24 pupils. A mercantile store and bakery were also built and many of the tents were replaced with permanent housing.


However, the mine was seemingly doomed from the beginning. The company’s president, George A. Storrs was indicted for mail fraud for soliciting bond investments through the U. S. Mail. Though he was cleared of the charges in 1926, the mining company was struggling and the same year went into bankruptcy proceedings and by December, had discontinued operations. Mining resumed briefly resumed in October, 1928 for just a couple of months before it ended for the last time.


The town’s population was primarily made up of foreign immigrants, which peaked at about 70 people. Today, there are just a few buildings left at the site. Coal City is located about nine miles west of US-6/191 on Consumers Road (UT-290/139).



Continued Next Page

Carbon County, Utah ghost town building

This old stone building has withstood the ravages of time and new coal operations along Consumers Road, probably Coal City, April,  2008, Kathy Weiser-Alexander.

This image available for photo prints & commercial downloads HERE!


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From Legends' Photo Shop

Unique Greeting Cards Exclusive to Legends of AmericaCustom Greeting Cards - Combining our great vintage photographs with words, wisdom and proverbs of the Old West, these photo cards are unique to the Legends of America.


Unique Greeting Cards Exclusive to Legends of America


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