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Carbon County Ghost Towns - Page 5

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Latuda - Located about seven miles west of Helper is the old townsite of Latuda. The settlement began when Francisco Latuda and Charles Picco, both of Trinidad, Colorado, bought approximately 326 acres of coal lands on August 1, 1917 and began development of the Liberty Mine and formed the Liberty Fuel company. The first shipment of coal was sent from a temporary tipple in January, 1918.   

 

Initially, the settlement that grew up around the mine was comprised of only a few houses, with the rest of the town made up of tents. However, new structures began to replace the tents in 1918 and the camp was known as Liberty. When a post office was built, the name was changed to Latuda, in honor of the mine owner.

 

Latuda, Utah

Latuda about 1940, photo by William Shipler, courtesy

 Utah State Historical Society.

 

 

 

In 1920, a mine office was built of stone, which also housed a hotel for visiting executives on its top floor, as well as a doctor's office. A school building was constructed in 1921, which was also used for meetings and social functions.  Additional homes were built to house the miners in 1922.

 

Coal production increased steadily as the company continued to make improvements and in 1926, was one of the first mines to utilize mechanical loading inside the mine.

 

One of the town’s earliest problems was with water, which had to be hauled in from Helper, before a small spring was tapped from some distance, and piped into the town. Another problem for the "city” was snow slides. Surrounded by mountains at an elevation of some 6,700 feet, Latuda was subject to snow slides, two of which occurred on February 16, 1927, killing two miners and burying a row of houses a nearly a mile of railroad track.

In 1928 the Liberty Fuel Company built a new "modern" four track steel tipple, which increased capacity to 1,500 tons per day.

 

By the mid 1940s production had begun to fall, reduced to just about 1,000 tons per day and by 1954, the company had shut down much of its operation.

 

In 1966, the mine was closed permanently, and the entrance blasted shut. The Population in the town peaked at about 400 people, but by 1967 no one was left.

 

Rains - Just beyond Latuda at the upper end of Spring Canyon, are the remains of three small mining camps – Rains, Mutual and Little Standard. These were so closely grouped together that the towns blended one into the other. Rains got its start in 1915 when prominent mining engineer Leon Felix Rains garnered the interest of  P.J. Quealy, a coal operator from Wyoming, in investing in the coal lands west of Standardville.

 

Soon, the Carbon Fuel Company was organized, the land was purchased from the government and Mr. Rains served as president of the company. Interestingly, Rains had been a grand opera singer until he became interested in the coal industry, first gaining his experience selling coal in California. Later, he worked as the general manager for the Standard Coal Company from 1913 to 1914, before starting the Carbon Fuel Company.

 

Probably Rains, Utah

Rains today is a private ranch, April, 2008, Kathy Weiser.

This image available for photo prints & commercial downloads HERE!

 

The 18 foot coal seams in this area were so thick that the company had little development work to accomplish before taking out its first load, which was shipped in November, 1915. The coal camp that grew up around the mine took on the name of its president, and the company built some 60 houses for its employees, as well as a school, a boarding house, a bath house, and a store.

 

By June, 1916 the Carbon Fuel Company was shipping about 300 of coal per day on its own railroad spur built from the end of the line at Standardville. Later the Liberty Mine at Latuda would use the spur. In 1919, the Denver & Rio Grande bought the railroad property between Standardville and Rains.

 

The mine continued to prosper until 1930, when a portion of the operations were shut down. However, in 1938, the Carbon Fuel Company extended its underground workings and began working the adjacent and by then, defunct Mutual Coal Mine.

 

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