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Carbon County Ghost Towns - Page 5
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
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.
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
Latuda about 1940, photo by William Shipler, courtesy
State Historical Society.
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.
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.
Somewhere along the line, the mine was sold
as by late 1945 it was under the ownership of the
Utah-Carbon Coal Company
and in 1951, was operated by the Hi-Heat Coal Company. But the coal was
gradually being depleted and in 1958 the mine was shut down completely.
During its peak, the mine produced about 1200-1500 tons of
coal per day, employed about 200 men, and the town was called home to
about 500 residents.
Today, the townsite still has
several foundations, walls, and buildings, which are located on a private
ranch. but it is difficult to determine what belonged to Rains and the
other nearby towns of Mutual and
Mutual - Just
northwest of Rains was the mining camp of Mutual developed by the Mutual
Coal Company in 1921. Along with the Mutual Mine, there were also a number
of smaller operations in the area. Located so close to Rains, the Mutual’s
population utilized the Rains school and post office, but had its own
large company store and a number of miners’ homes.
From 1921 to 1931, the Mutual Mine
produced more than 1.5 million tons of coal, which was rated one of the
best domestic coals in the territory. The mine closed in 1938 and its
workings were taken over by the
adjacent Carbon Fuel Company by extending its own underground workings
into the Mutual mine.
Numerous mining remains dot the end of the canyon and the old
walls of the Mutual Company Store still stand, amongst corrals and