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Castle Gate Coal Mines

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Castle Gate Coal Mine

In his original 1881 survey for D&RGW, Micah T. Burgess, the road's chief engineer, stated that a coal vein was located about a mile up Willow Creek. In his report, Burgess stated that development of the coal vein would require a 4,000 foot railroad spur line and a 1,100 foot gravity tramway from the mine. (D&RGW: 1881 Engineer's Report, p. 15)

Pleasant Valley Coal Company, operator of the Winters Quarters mine, in 1888 sent their chief engineer, Robert Forrester, with a party of men to prospect the coal veins which showed at the surface at Castle Gate. (Madsen, p. 29)

The first formal discovery of coal at Castle Gate came in 1888:

"In August, 1888, Alexander McLean and a few others made the actual discovery of coal in the mountains adjacent to the location of Castle Gate and commenced work at once. The first test of making coke was undertaken by these men in October, 1888, and as the experiment proved successful, a coal-mining town soon sprang into existence, and before the year was ended the first carload of coal was shipped from the mine so recently opened. Among the employees at the mines were Latter-day Saints, who were organized into a branch of the Church in November, 1888." (Andrew Jenson, Encyclopedic History of the Church, p. 121)

The mine known as Castle Gate No. 1 was opened by the Pleasant Valley Coal Company in 1888 to develop the good coking coal found there. The first coke ovens in lower Castle Gate were opened in 1889. (Watts: First Mine, p. 39)

(Madsen, page 28, states that Castle Gate No. 1 was opened soon after D&RGW's arrival at Castle Gate in 1883.)

The Castle Gate Coal Company was incorporated on May 21, 1898. The corporation was voluntarily dissolved on November 8, 1950. (Utah corporation, index number 2233)

(This was the first of three companies with the Castle Gate Coal Company name, and may have been the name used by Utah Fuel for the Castle Gate mine.)

Utah Fuel Company was organized in New Jersey in 1887 as a subsidiary of Denver & Rio Grande Western Railway (of Utah) to operate the Clear Creek and Sunnyside mines in Utah and the Somerset mine in Colorado. The original Winter Quarters mine and the Castle Gate mine was operated by the Pleasant Valley Coal Company, which merged with Utah Fuel in 1899. (Powell, Next Time We Strike, p. 21)

Utah Fuel Company was the new name for Utah Coal & Coke Company of New Jersey, which had increased its stock in 1901 for the purpose. (Wilson, p. 108)

(Utah Fuel may have existed prior to this particular 1901 corporate move, but no other information is available.)

Utah Fuel purchased the Winter Quarters mine in 1882, the Castle Gate mine in 1888, and developed the Sunnyside mine in 1900. (Alexander, p. 237)

Utah Fuel Company remained a subsidiary of the railroad when it was reorganized as the Rio Grande Western in 1889, and was sold to the Denver & Rio Grande along with the Rio Grande Western in May 1901. The D&RG was forced to sell all of its stock in Utah Fuel in June 1918. The coal company was sold to William Salomon of New York for $4 million. (Athearn: Rio Grande, pp. 194, 195, 236)

Utah Fuel Company was incorporated on April 17, 1901. (Utah corporation, index number 3111)

By 1901, Utah Fuel operated all of the former Pleasant Valley Coal Company mines, with the Pleasant Valley company serving as the retail outlet for the coal. (Higgins: Industries, p. 13)

The first mention of Utah Fuel Company in the property records was on June 18, 1902 when E. L. Carpenter sold 2,446.93 acres at Castle Gate to Utah Fuel Company. (Carbon County Miscellaneous Records Book 3, p. 575)

A. C. Watts, the chief engineer for Utah Fuel at the time, stated in a 1913 article that the coal deposits at Castle Gate on the mainline of the RGW were opened in 1889, and that the Castle Gate mine was the second commercial mine in Carbon County, after Winter Quarters. The Castle Gate mine was also notable because it was the first mine to sprinkle coal dust with water to control the fire hazard and the first to use electricity in a coal mine. (Watts: Carbon County, p. 400)

The first tipple at Castle Gate was built by World & Robertson in either 1889 or 1890, ("1890…just prior to this time"), just before they completed the Wasatch Store building, which contained the company offices. (Madsen, p. 29)

The first coke ovens at Castle Gate were built in 1889, and they were immediately put into commission producing coke for the Salt Lake smelters. (Madsen, p. 29)

In 1896 the 104 coke ovens at Castle Gate produced 20,448 tons of coke. The State Mine Inspector in his 1897 report called the Castle Gate operation the most extensive one in the state. The coke wasn't of the best quality, and was acceptable only until the coke from Sunnyside took its place. (Watts: First Mine, p. 39)

There were 201 coke ovens by November 1901, producing about 5,000 tons of coke per month. The coke was produced from slack shipped from the Sunnyside mine. (Higgins: Industries, p. 14)

All coal from Sunnyside from 1899 to 1902 was sent to Castlegate to be made into coke. In the years 1902-1903, 480 coke ovens were built at Sunnyside. These were increased to 550 in 1912, to 624 in 1914, and again to 713 ovens in 1917, although not all ovens were in operation at the same time. The first coke was produced at Sunnyside in April 1902, and the volume grew steadily until the late 1920s. In 1929 coking operations were practically suspended. Coke production was suspended at Castlegate in 1905. (Madsen, p. 53)

In October 1907 the coke ovens at Castle Gate were closed. (Coal Index: Eastern Utah Advocate, October 3, 1907, p. 3)

In November 1910, 201 coke ovens at Castle Gate were returned to production. (Coal Index: Eastern Utah Advocate, November 3, 1910, p. 8)

By early 1910 Castle Gate was known as one of the first coal mines in the United States to demonstrate the possibilities of using electricity underground, including, along with the Sunnyside mine, the safety of "shot firing", or the use of electricity to remotely detonate the blasting of coal with all men out of the mine. (Harrington, p. 21)

(Willow Creek Canyon, which meets Price River Canyon at the Castle Gate rock formation, is the route of today's U. S. Highway 191 between Castle Gate and Duchesne. Utah Power's Castle Gate power plant is at the mouth of Willow Creek canyon.)

In 1912 Castle Gate No. 2 was opened, located in Willow Creek canyon. (Watts: First Mine, p. 39)

The first coal seam opened by Utah Fuel in Willow Creek canyon was a disappointing four feet thick. Later explorations showed a twenty foot seam directly below, which was reached by a pair of rock tunnels. The coal from the Willow Creek (Castle Gate No. 2) mine was found to be the finest coal in the region. (Madsen, p. 29)

During the summer of 1912 a steel tipple was erected at the Castle Gate mine, being the second steel tipple in the state, and also the second steel tipple for a Utah Fuel mine. (Watts: Carbon County, p. 404)

The steel tipple of the Castle Gate Coal Company was built by the Ottumwa Box Car Loader Company. (Lewis, p. 19)

In May 1912, Utah Fuel had five mines operating in Utah. The company was building fifty cottages for workers at Willow Creek for the opening of production of that new mine. (Coal Index: Eastern Utah Advocate, May 23, 1912, p. 5)

(In July 1913 the U. S. government filed suit against D&RG over its ownership of Utah Fuel. (Coal Index: Eastern Utah Advocate, July 17, 1913, p. 2))

(RESEARCH: Find court proceedings for U. S. government suit against D&RG and Utah Fuel, circa July 1913.)

(Mr. T. A. Ketchum filed a suit against Pleasant Valley Coal Company, Utah Fuel Company, and D&RG. (Coal Index: News-Advocate, December 24, 1915, p. 1) Ketchum was from Portland, Oregon, and organized the Ketchum Coal Company at Castle Gate. The mine was under development in July 1914. (Salt Lake Mining Review, July 30, 1914, p. 32; August 15, 1914, p. 28))

(RESEARCH: Find proceedings for Ketchum's suit against Utah Fuel, Pleasant Valley Coal and D&RG, circa December 1915.)

Castle Gate mines 1 and 2 were located on opposite sides of the canyon from each other. The opening for Castle Gate No. 1 was about 600 feet southwest of the tipple, which straddled D&RG's mainline between Price and Salt Lake City. The opening for the No. 2 mine was in Willow Creek canyon, about mile to the northeast, and the coal mined there travelled to the tipple over a 5,300 foot long electric haulage tram, being pulled by an electric 15-ton General Electric mine locomotive. The gauge of this tramway was forty inches and it was built on a two percent grade in favor of the loaded mine cars. The tramway passed through two tunnels, one was 1,000 feet long and the other, 400 feet. The tipple at Castle Gate screened the coal into four different sizes: dust coal passed through a 3/8-inch screen; screened slack was from 3/8-inch to 1-5/8 inch; nut coal was from 1-5/8-inch to 6-inch; and lump was everything greater than 6-inch. A box car loader was used to load nut and lump coal into box cars. During mid 1914, output of the No. 1 mine was about 850 tons per day and about 600 tons per day from the No. 2 mine. (Lewis, pp. 19,20)

In 1922 Castle Gate No. 3 was opened. The new mine was located between Castle Gate and the Bear canyon mine to the north, and was the first vertical shaft coal mine in Utah. (Madsen, p. 29)

(PHOTOGRAPHS: Photo of Castle Gate No. 2, the Willow Creek mine, was in Coal Age, Volume 3, number 33, January 18, 1913, p. 90)

(PHOTOGRAPH: Castle Gate mine with wooden tipple, Wilson, p. 114, from Colorado Historical Society.)

Castle Gate mine explosion killed 180 men on March 8, 1924. (Coal Index: The Sun, March 14, 1924, p. 1)

Casualties were changed to 171 killed. (Coal Index: The Sun, March 21, 1924, p. 1)

By late July 1924, the mine was declared safe by the state mine inspector and was reopened. (Coal Index: The Sun, July 25, 1924)

The Castle Gate mines, both No. 1 and No. 2, started to work five days a week in late November 1933, until the end of February 1934. The average daily output of the mines was 2,500 tons. (Coal Index, Sun Advocate, November 30, 1933, p. 8)

Utah Fuel opened a new $300,000 coal washing and preparation plant at Castle Gate on February 24, 1940. (Coal Index: Sun Advocate, February 15, 1940, p. 1)

The new Castle Gate coal plant produced coal that had been cleaned of dirt and rock, washed, and treated with oil to enhance its market value. (Madsen, p. 31)

By 1947 the Castle Gate No. 1 mine had been closed because of a fire, and Castle Gate No. 3 had also been closed, leaving the No. 2 mine as the only producer. (Madsen, p. 29)

In 1950 Kaiser bought Utah Fuel, and operated the properties at Sunnyside, Clear Creek and Castle Gate as the Utah Fuel Division of Kaiser Steel. Kaiser later sold the Castle Gate and Clear Creek operations to Independent Coal & Coke, which later sold both operations to North American Coal Company. North American later sold the Castle Gate property to McCulloch Oil Company, and the Clear Creek property to Valley Camp Coal Company. (Sun Advocate & Helper Journal, Special Edition, January 2, 1975, p. 5)

Utah Fuel Company, incorporated on April 17, 1901, became the Book Cliffs Coal Corporation on March 5, 1951. (Utah corporation, index number 3111)

Utah Fuel Company was merged with Book Cliffs Coal Corporation, a Kaiser subsidiary, on December 5, 1950. (Carbon County Miscellaneous Records Book 15-D, p. 4)

Book Cliffs Coal Corporation was merged with Kaiser Steel Corporation on February 23, 1951. (Carbon County Miscellaneous Records Book 15-D, p. 59)

In December 1951 the Independent Coal & Coke Company purchased the holdings of the Utah Fuel Company, including the mine at Clear Creek, and the mine and coal washing plant at Castle Gate. At that time, most of the coal being mined from Kenilworth was being transported around the mountain by rail from Kenilworth to the Castle Gate coal washing plant. (HAER: Kenilworth, pp. 27,28)

November 1954
Utah Power & Light constructed its Carbon Steam Generating Plant at Castle Gate in the mid 1950s. The first unit went into operation in November 1954, and the second unit came on line in August 1957. (McCormick: UP&L, p. 121)

In 1958 Independent Coal & Coke began a 5,000 foot rock tunnel that was drilled north from the 1924-built Aberdeen tunnel to the main slope of the former Utah Fuel Willow Creek mine. With the completion of this new tunnel in 1959, coal was gravity fed down to the Castle Gate mine's main haulage tunnels and exited at the Castle Gate portals, adjacent to the coal washing plant, eliminating the cost of hauling coal around the mountain by railroad. (HAER: Kenilworth, pp. 27,28)

Castle Gate No. 2 was officially closed on February 4, 1960, the same date that the new Castle Gate No. 4 was officially opened. The old Castle Gate No. 2 would after that date only be used as a main artery between the Kenilworth and Castle Gate mines. With the closure of the No. 2 mine, all workings were sealed and the track gauge changed from forty inches to forty-two inches. Work on a tunnel to connect the Kenilworth workings with the Castle Gate workings was to be completed in March 1960. The tunnel would permit moving of Kenilworth coal to the Castle Gate facilities and eliminate tipple work at Kenilworth and a heavy freight expense. Kenilworth was producing about 1,800 to 2,000 tons per day, and Clear Creek was producing about 800 tons per day. Operations at the mines of the Independent Coal & Coke Company were reduced due to the depressed coal market, with the company cutting back from a five day week to a four day week, and laying off ninety-one miners from their operations, fifty from Castle Gate, twenty-eight from Kenilworth, and thirteen from Clear Creek. (Deseret News, February 5, 1960)

Independent Coal & Coke later sold both Castle Gate and Clear Creek to North American Coal Company. (Sun Advocate & Helper Journal, Special Edition, January 2, 1975, p. 5)

Independent Coal & Coke Company sold its coal interests at Castle Gate/Kenilworth and Clear Creek to North American Coal Company in 1968. North American Coal sold the same properties to an undisclosed company in February 1973. North American Coal closed the Castle Gate mine in 1972 when Utah Power & Light purchased the Deseret Mine from the LDS church to supply coal for power generation. At its peak the North American mine produced about 650,000 tons, about 375,000 tons of that production was sold to Utah Power & Light. (Salt Lake Tribune, February 17, 1973)

North American Oil later sold the Castle Gate property to McCulloch Oil Company. (Sun Advocate & Helper Journal, Special Edition, January 2, 1975, p. 5)

The town of Castle Gate was dismantled in 1974, and the remaining 200 residents relocated to sixty new homes in a new Castle Gate subdivision, located at the mouth of Spring Canyon. The new community was annexed to Helper. (Sun Advocate & Helper Journal, January 2, 1975, p. 4)

In 1974 the Castle Gate townsite was sold to McCulloch Oil. The town of Castle Gate was gone by May 1974. Many of the old homes were moved to the Castle Gate subdivision at the mouth of Spring Canyon in West Helper. (Zehnder, pp. 12,13)

On March 22, 1989 Castle Gate Coal Company, a subsidiary of AMAX Coal Industries, shut down its Castle Gate Mine, due to safety concerns caused by unstable geology in the mine. The closure caused the lay-off of 156 miners and 41 salaried workers, leaving seventeen salaried workers still employed after June 22, 1989. Castle Gate began operations of the mine in 1986, and produced 544,000 tons (5,440 carloads, 15 cars per day) of coal in 1988. (Deseret News, April 9, 1989)

September 27, 2000
Utah Railway operated the last coal train to be loaded from the Willow Creek mine at Castle Gate. The mine was closed due to an accident on July 31, 2000 where two workers were killed. (CTC Board Railroads Illustrated, January 2001, page 15)

As of late 2013, Rocky Mountain Power's Carbon Power Plant at Castle Gate was having its coal supply (1,800 tons per day) supplied by 75 trucks that hauled form other coal mines in the area. The plant was reported as being prepared for closure in April 2015 due to more strict emissions regulations, and the lack of room to install the needed improvements to meet the new regulations. (Salt Lake Tribune, October 21, 2013; Daily Herald, October 25, 2013)

(click here for more information about Utah Power & Light, its predecessor Utah Light & Traction, and successor Rocky Mountain Power.)

U. S. Fuel's Panther Mine

Frank N. Cameron was working 30 men during late 1911 at the Panther mine and expected to open the mine soon. (Coal Index: Eastern Utah Advocate, January 4, 1912)

Cameron was working 20 men at the Panther mine, where the development work was providing about four cars of coal per week. The coal was hauled to the D&RG cars by wagon. (Coal Index: Eastern Utah Advocate, May 30, 1912, p. 5)

The Panther mine was located only about a half mile south of the Castle Gate rock formation. (USGS: "Castlegate", 1 to 62,500, 1916)

In July 1912 Cameron sold his mines at Panther and Castle Gate to the W. G. Sharp interests. (Coal Index: Eastern Utah Advocate, July 11, 1912, p. 1)

Castle Gate Coal & Coke Co., corporation was dissolved in July 1912. The coal lands of the Castle Gate Coal & Coke Co., consisted of about 700 acres, and were sold to the W. G. Sharp interests. (Coal Index: Eastern Utah Advocate, July 18, 1912, p. 4)

The "Willow Creek" and "Castle Gate" properties of F. N. Cameron were taken over by the W. G. Sharp interests. (Coal Index: Eastern Utah Advocate, July 18, 1912, p. 6)

The Castle Gate Coal Company was incorporated on August 5, 1912. (Utah corporation, index number 9704) The Castle Gate Coal Company became the Panther Coal Company on September 8, 1913. (Utah corporation, index number 10280)

(This was the second of three companies with the Castle Gate Coal Company name, and may have been the corporate vehicle used by United States Smelting to purchase Cameron's Panther coal mine.)

(A third company with the same Castle Gate Coal Company name was actually incorporated as the Castle Gate Coal, Coke & Fuel Company on September 8, 1913. This third company became the Castle Gate Coal Company on July 29, 1948, which was sold to the Bamberger Coal Company (incorporated on June 30, 1939) on January 17, 1949. This was the third of three companies with this name, and may have been a retail coal dealer.) (Utah corporation, index number 10281)

Panther mine was incorporated on August 5, 1912 by the Castle Gate Coal Company. Succeeded by the Panther Coal Company on September 8, 1913. The Panther mine began operation in 1914. (Utah Railway: Coal Mines)

First coal shipment from the Panther mine was on February 12, 1914. The Panther mine was leased by W. G. Sharp to Frank Cameron and John Crawford, the mine's first superintendent. Improvements at the Panther mine during 1914 included a new mine opening into the Castle Gate coal vein, along with a cable operated tramway between the mine and the tipple, located on a spur of the D&RG. (Salt Lake Mining Review, October 30, 1914, p. 21)

The Panther mine was served by D&RG until Utah Railway began their own operations in December 1917, then the Panther mine was served by Utah Railway. (Utah Railway: Coal Mines)

The Panther spur was shown in 1919 map of Utah Railway as being the property of the United States Fuel, and was located about a half mile north of Utah Railway Junction. (map of Utah Railway, as of January 1, 1919)

The lease to Cameron and Crawford expired on April 1, 1918 and United States Fuel, who had taken over all of the Sharp coal interests, took over the operation of the mine. (Madsen, p. 39)

A town for the mine workers was built in a flat area located at the mouth of Panther canyon, about one mile south of the mine, along the Price River and the mainline of the D&RG. The town was known as Panther, served by the Carbon post office, a branch of the Helper post office (USGS: "Castlegate", 1 to 62,500, 1916)

At first, Frank Cameron named the town at the mouth of Panther canyon as Panther, after the canyon. Later the name was changed to Carbon for short period of time. Finally the town was known as Heiner. (Zehnder, p. 14)

A post office was established at Panther in October 1918. At that time, the name was changed to Heiner, named for Moroni Heiner, vice president of United States Fuel Company. (Coal Index: The Sun, October 18, 1918, p. 6)

(The Sun-Advocate & Helper Journal, January 2, 1975, page 3, states that the exact reason Panther wasn't chosen for the town's name is unclear, but that early newspaper accounts state that the U. S. Post Office would not accept the name of Panther because it was the name of a wild animal. The 1916 USGS map shows the town as "Panther, Carbon PO")

The Panther mine was established by the United States Fuel, which operated a cable tramway from the coal mine down to the tipple and the railroad. (Clark, p. 109)

An upgrade to the tipple at the Panther mine was completed in October 1924 to include better screening and a loading boom for Panther-brand nut and 3-inch by 8-inch lump coals. (United States Fuel: Firing Line, Volume 1, number 7, November 1924, p. 2)

In 1931 the Panther mine was leased to another operator and eventually closed in 1937. (United States Fuel: Thirty Years, p. 8)

The Panther mine only worked what was called the B seam throughout the 23 years of its operation. After that seam was exhausted in 1937, the Panther mine was closed. (Sun Advocate & Helper Journal Special Edition, January 2, 1975, p. 3)

The Panther mine was closed because United States Fuel Company could obtain coal more economically from their other properties. (Madsen, p. 39)

The Panther mine was closed on April 17, 1937 due to depletion, and the Utah Railway's spur line was removed. (Utah Railway: Coal Mines)

Bear Canyon Mine

(NOTE: First called Cameron, then later known as both Rolapp and Royal; H. H. Rolapp was the name of the owner of the Royal Coal Co.)

Cameron Coal Company was organized by F. N. Cameron for new mine at Castle Gate. (Coal Index: Eastern Utah Advocate, November 6, 1913, p. 4)

Cameron Coal Company was incorporated on September 26, 1913. The corporation was involuntarily dissolved on April 29, 1965. (Utah corporation, index number 10303, or 10313)

(The Cameron mine was located at the Castle Gate rock formation, and two miles northwest of Frank Cameron's previously developed Panther coal mine, which he had sold to United States Smelting in July 1912.)

The new tipple was completed during early April 1914, having been built by Sam C. Sherrill of Salt Lake City. The coal company owned 360 acres and was producing about five to six hundred tons per day. (Salt Lake Mining Review, April 15, 1914, p. 28, "The Cameron Coal Mines")

The company store and twenty-two new worker's cottages were completed in late July 1914. (Salt Lake Mining Review, July 30, 1914, p. 32, "Coal Notes & Personals")

The Cameron Coal Company mine was located near Castle Gate. (Coal Index: News Advocate, June 23, 1916, p. 4)

Frank Cameron first developed the Bear Canyon mine near Castle Gate in 1913. The first mine worker's cottages were completed in August 1914. The town was first named Cameron. (Cunningham: Tours, p. 15)

The mine was located at Cameron, at the Castle Gate rock formation. (USGS: "Castlegate", 62,500 to 1, 1916)

Sometime in October 1914, the Cameron mine was purchased by "the Browning interests" of Ogden. (Salt Lake Mining Review, October 30, 1914, p. 21, "Cameron property recently purchased by the Browning interests")

The Bear Canyon mine was sold to Henry H. Rolapp in November 1919 and the town's name was changed to Rolapp, then later to Royal, after the mine's owner, the Royal Coal Company. In 1919 the Royal Coal Company was sold to the Spring Canyon Coal Company. (Cunningham: Tours, p. 15) (Rolapp was also a District Judge in Ogden, and an officer in the Amalgamted Sugar Co.)

In 1917 Henry H. Rolapp bought the Cameron interests, after which the Royal Coal Company was the owner. In 1930 the property was sold to the Spring Canyon Coal Company. (Madsen, p. 54)

The Royal mine was operated by the Spring Canyon Coal Company from 1930 until the mine was closed in 1962. (Sun Advocate & Helper Journal, Special Edition, January 2, 1975, p. 3)

(Stephen Carr, in Ghost Towns, page 72, wrote that the mine was sold to Rolapp in 1917. The Sun-Advocate & Helper Journal, January 2, 1975, page 3, says 1917. The newspaper also states that the mine was sold to the Spring Canyon company in 1930.)

(RESEARCH: Find a definite date for the sale the Bear canyon mine to both Rolapp [1917 or 1919] and to Spring Canyon Coal [1919 or 1930].)

Production for August 1918 was 12,000 tons. (Salt Lake Mining Review, September 15, 1918, p. 30)

The Bear Canyon mine was referred to as the Royal mine in 1924. (Coal Index: The Sun, February 15, 1924, p. 1)

The Bear canyon mine was referred to as the Royal Coal Company in 1934. (Coal Index: Sun Advocate, June 7, 1934, p. 2)

In 1947, the stated capacity of the Royal mine was 1,000 tons per day. (Madsen, p. 54)

In 1951 the Royal mine at Royal was still being operated by the Royal Coal Company. (D&RGW: Traffic Circular 36-E, p. 86)

The town of Royal was deserted by the late 1950s. The site is now the water treatment plant for Price City. (Cunningham: Tours, p. 15)

The mine was closed by the Spring Canyon company in 1962. During its fifty-seven years of operation (1905 to 1962), the mine produced 7,101,000 tons of coal, or about 124,000 tons per year (413 tons per day for a 300 day year). (Sun-Advocate & Helper Journal, January 2, 1975, p. 3)

New Peerless Mine

Development of the coal lands of the New Peerless mine were started in the mid 1920s, using the modest profits gained by the Peerless Coal Company as it "phased-out" its operations in the Castle Gate A seam in its Spring canyon mine. (Cederlof, pp. 3,12)

The mine at New Peerless was located about a mile north from the Royal mine. The mine was opened in 1930 by the Thompson brothers, sons of Ezra Thompson. owner of the Peerless mine in Spring Canyon. The mine used a thirty degree incline to reach two coal seams, one was 1,900 feet below the surface and the other was 2,300 feet below the surface. The mine opening was located on top of the canyon walls above the tipple, which was located adjacent to the D&RGW mainline. The mine opening was connected to the tipple by use of a tramway. The tipple was reported to have cost about a half million dollars to construct. The new mine was forced to shut down just a year later, in 1931, due to financial conditions in the country. (Madsen, p. 46)

The New Peerless mine was located adjacent to the Royal mine in Price River canyon. The mine itself was a tunnel driven at a thirty degree downward incline into the Castle Gate B (twenty-four feet thick) and D (sixteen to eighteen feet thick) seams on property owned by and leased from Emmett Olsen and Culbert Olsen. At this point, the seams were 1,100 feet below the Price River. Railroad yards were built, served by the D&RGW, and a new McNally-Pittsburgh Steel tipple was built. The New Peerless mine "made gas", and there was an explosion in March 1930 in which five men lost their lives. The mine began operations in about 1929 and continued until June 1931, when the mine was closed. The reason stated was because of the stock market crash of 1929. The tipple was sold to Utah Fuel in 1943 and was incorporated into Utah Fuel's plant at Sunnyside. (Cederlof, pp. 13,14)

(The actual reason for closure of the New Peerless mine may have been the financial stress from paying claims to the miner's families, if the cause for the explosion was found to be negligence on the part of the coal company.)

The Peerless Coal Company remained in operation, leasing its original Spring canyon property to the former superintendent, for a royalty of twenty-five cents per ton of coal mined. The coal mined was taken by mining the pillars and allowing the rooms to collapse. (Cederlof, pp. 13,14)

The original Peerless mine had produced 1,500,000 tons from the A seam between 1917 and 1930, and from 1931-1932. The New Peerless produced 100,000 tons from the Price canyon property between 1929 and 1931. Mining of the low seams at the original Spring canyon mine by the successor company, Peerless Sales Company, from 1932 to 1953 produced 1,900,000 tons. (Cederlof, p. 47)

Hardscrabble Canyon Mine

(NOTE: The Utah Railway shops at Martin are located at the mouth of Hardscrabble canyon.)

The Carbon Fuel Company's mine is located in Hardscrabble canyon. Carbon Fuel is owned by Braztah Corporation, a subsidiary of McCulloch Oil Company. Carbon Fuel started out as the Helper Coal Company, organized by John and George Diamanti in 1916 to mine coal in Hardscrabble canyon. During the 1930s, John Diamanti and his sons, Steve, Jim and Chris organized the Hardscrabble Coal Company and began to mine the low coal in the Castle Gate Sub II seam in Hardscrabble canyon. During World War Two, another son, Lee, joined the family run business. In 1945 the family moved to another location in the canyon. The mine was operated under a lease from Utah Fuel, and in 1950, after Kaiser bought Utah Fuel, the Hardscrabble property passed to Salt Lake City attorney James White in return for his legal work for Kaiser. White later sold the Hardscrabble property to the Diamanti family. The name of the company was changed from Hardscrabble Coal Company to Carbon Fuel Company, after that name became available with the closure of the earlier company's mine at Rains in Spring Canyon. During 1975 the company planned on opening already worked coal seams in Spring canyon, calling the new workings No. 4 and No. 5, conveying the mined coal underground to the Castle Gate coal preparation and stockpiling facilities of McCulloch Oil Company. (Sun Advocate & Helper Journal, January 2, 1975, p. 9)

Carbon Fuel Wins Hanford Contract -- Carbon Fuel Co., Helper, Utah, submitted the low bid on supplying 120,000 tons of coal to the Hanford Works of the Atomic Energy Commission in the state of Washington.

The bids for the 1961 fiscal year were received July 6. Carbon Fuel bid on coal shipments from its Castlegate, Utah, mines. The AEC indicated that it plans to purchase 320,000 tons, but no more than 120,000 tons from any one bidder. Plans are to purchase 200,000 tons from other bidders in the labor surplus areas if they agree to meet the price in Carbon Fuel's bid, which was 30,000 Btu's delivered for one cent." (Coal Age, Volume 65, number 8, August 1960, p. 53)

McCulloch Oil Company reached an agreement in June 1974 with American Electric Power Company to furnish AEP's subsidiary Indiana & Michigan Electric Power with 140 million tons of coal. The coal was to be produced by McCulloch's Utah-based coal producing subsidiary, Braztah Corporation. Braztah's coal properties were a combination of several former mining operations in the Helper, Utah area. (Salt Lake Tribune, June 20, 1974)

The coal from Braztah for the AEP contract was to be shipped by two 100-car unit trains per day from a loading station at Helper to barge loading stations on the Mississippi River for delivery to AEP power plants. The first year was to see 800,000 tons shipped (twice the 1973 production), building to 6.5 million tons per year. The operation was projected to have a life cycle of twenty-five years. (Salt Lake Tribune, June 29, 1974)

By September 1975 the Castle Gate loading station was loading a fifty-five car unit train every other day, with two fifty-five car trains being joined into a single 110-car train at Pueblo for the trip to the Mississippi River. By October 1975 the company expected to begin loading a train per day. (Salt Lake Tribune, September 12, 1975)

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