About five miles
west of the present
Utah town of Helper, lies a small treasure hidden
since the early 1920s. It isn’t a large treasure, but is certainly
there to this day and would be a great find for someone.
Up Spring Canyon,
there were a total of six mining camps, some of them towns of
considerable size. One was
Standardville. The town was built beginning
in 1912 when F.A. Sweet opened a coal mine just a quarter of a mile
north of the main canyon—the mine portal still exists.
Because the town was
exceptionally well-designed and built, it became a "standard” for
other mining towns and hence the name,
Standardville. The town boasted
a steam-heated swimming pool, fine billiard hall (the mosaic tile
still exists) and very modern company general store.
Not far from the company
offices near the billiard hall was a two-inch pipe protruding from the
ground. It was uncapped and in the days before OSHA was not unusual. But
what lies at the bottom of that pipe is.
A small girl living in
one of the company houses near the office and billiard hall found a cigar
box her daddy had placed in a bureau drawer. It was very heavy she said,
and she took it outside to play with it. After prying on the lid held in
place by a small nail, she found the wooden cigar box contained newly
minted silver dollars.
She said she played with
them for awhile and then walked over to the pipe and, one by one, dropped
them into the pipe protruding from the ground. After they were all gone,
she took the cigar box back to her home.
Needless to say, when
her father found them missing, he questioned the family and she confessed.
Her father asked her to show him where she had put them and she walked
back to the area just east of the billiard hall and office. There they
found a row of pipes that had been cut off—she could not tell which pipe
she had dropped them into!
Today, little remains of
the once-bustling town. In the mid-1970s most of it was bulldozed down,
but there remain a few remnants of the town, including a few pipes
protruding from the ground.
© Chuck Zehnder, Added July, 2007
Mining ruins in Spring Canyon in the 1960's.