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Spring Canyon Coal Mines

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This page was last updated on July 23, 2013.

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(This is a work in progress; research continues.)

Overview

(NOTE: This narrative for the Spring Canyon region is presented in the order of location on the D&RGW's Spring Canyon Branch, from the lowest part of the canyon (Peerless Coal Company) to the upper most part of the canyon (Mutual), followed by a narrative for the general railroad development for the canyon.)

(The D&RGW branch serving Spring Canyon was built by D&RG for the benefit of the coal companies, with the cost of construction for the branch and various extensions being paid to D&RG by the coal companies in the form of fuel for its locomotives. The dates given for when D&RG "bought" the branch may actually be the date that the construction costs had been equalized, and D&RG assumed formal ownership.)

The existence of coal in the Spring Canyon area was known for many years prior to its first fully commercial operation. Coal was mined, and hauled by wagon, from an opening in Manazine Canyon (originally called Sheya's canyon), and from an opening opposite the upper part of Spring Canyon town. (Gibson: Spring Canyon, p. 222)

Coal mining in the canyon actually started prior to 1912 when two wagon mines, one operated by the Shey (or Sheya) Brothers and the other by George Sawyer, began producing a small amounts of coal for local consumption in the Helper and Price region. (Sun Advocate & Helper Journal, January 2, 1975, p. 4)

(During the next ten years, from 1912 to 1922, Spring Canyon became the focus of the next coal mining boom in Carbon County. The companies included the Spring Canyon Coal Company at Spring Canyon (originally called Storrs), the Standard Coal Company at Standardville in 1912, the Liberty Fuel Company at Latuda in 1914, the Carbon Coal Company at Rains in 1915, the Peerless Coal Company at Peerless in 1917, and the Mutual Coal Company at Mutual in 1921.)

The coal mines were located adjacent to the railroad branch line that was built by the coal companies. The first to be completed, in late 1912, was the railroad of the Spring Canyon company, to Storrs, about four miles from the junction with the D&RG's tracks. Then in October 1913, the Standard company completed a one-mile extension from the Spring Canyon mine to its mine at Standardville. The Carbon company built its railroad in 1915 by construction of an almost two mile extension from Standardville to its own mine at Rains, bringing the branch line to approximately seven miles in length. When the Liberty company began shipping coal from its new mine at Latuda, about a half mile down canyon from the Carbon mine, it was over the Carbon company's tracks, which were operated by D&RG, as was the other trackage in the canyon. The Peerless began shipping coal from its mine in 1917, located about a half mile down canyon from the Spring Canyon company. (letter from D&RG to Public Service Commission of Utah, January 17, 1919)

The Spring Canyon district was home to over 800 (actually over 2,000) miners, mine company officials, store owners, and their families. Each of the six mining camps (Peerless, Spring Canyon, Standardville, Latuda, Rains, and Mutual) had its own post office and identity. Each town had its own grade school, with Latuda being selected as the location of the single junior high. (Sun Advocate & Helper Journal, January 2, 1975, p. 4)

The mines remained in production until the late 1940s — in 1946 the total production for the Canyon area was thirty million tons. Most of the mines were abandoned in the mid-1950s. (Carr: Towns, p. 76-79)

The Spring Canyon mines received a new attention with the development of the coal resources in the early 1970s by McCulloch Oil Company's Braztah subsidiary. The development began in the vicinity at the Spring Canyon Fuel Company mines and was to be by truck haulage to a coal preparation plant located at Castle Gate on the D&RGW mainline. (Sun Advocate & Helper Journal, January 2, 1975, p. 3)

By 1975 almost 43 million tons had been extracted from the several mines located in the canyon. (Sun Advocate & Helper Journal, January 2, 1975, p. 3)

Map

Peerless Coal Company (Peerless)

Peerless is the first mine and townsite that one encounters in Spring canyon. It lays on the right as one proceeds west, up Spring canyon. (Cederlof, p. 1)

In 1915 mine developers from Ogden discovered a 440 acre tract of potential coal lands in Spring canyon that had apparently been overlooked by the Spring Canyon Coal Company and the Utah Fuel Company. Prospective buyers were leery of the property due to its location and characteristics, thinking that it might be a "white elephant". (Madsen, p. 47)

The coal lands of the Peerless Coal Company were first owned by the Crystal Coal Company in 1916. The land was sold to William H. Sweet and Charles N. Sweet. The Sweets developed the Peerless property, including the construction a gravity tramway and a tipple on the canyon floor at the railroad spur. In 1917 the property was sold to the Peerless Coal Company, organized by James Murdoch and Ezra Thompson, both of Salt Lake City. Thompson was a former mayor of Salt Lake City. The first superintendent was Robert Howard, a former state coal mine inspector. As development proceeded, burned coal was encountered and the estimates of minable coal in the already thin seams was reduced sharply from the original 310 acres. By the end of operations in 1930, just 97 acres had been mined. The mines owners feared that the returns would not cover their initial $300,000.00 investment. The boom that stemmed from World War One allowed the debt to be paid and a small profit was recovered. This profit was used to develop the New Peerless property near Castle Gate, beginning in the mid 1920s. (Cederlof, pp. 1,2)

The 440 acres that composed the land of the Peerless mine were sold on August 8, 1917 by the Ogden owners to a group of capitalists headed by C. N. Sweet in Salt Lake City. The group organized the Peerless Coal Company, with C. N. Sweet as president, James C. Murdoch, as vice president, W. H. Sweet, as secretary-treasurer. Other officers include Ezra Thompson, L. H. Thompson, both of Salt Lake, C. M. Croft and W. I. Norton, both of Ogden. The Peerless company was to be filed as a corporation "probably…today". (News-Advocate, August 10, 1917)

The Peerless property was located by William H. Sweet and Charles N. Sweet in 1916. The Sweets sold the property to the Peerless Coal Company in 1917. The Peerless company had been organized by James Murdoch and Ezra Thompson, a former Salt Lake City mayor. The coal mined by the Peerless company was hard to wrest from the ground because of the split seams and burned portions of the coal seam. Peerless' fortunes varied, with a coal boom coming because of World War One. The mine closed at least once in the 1930s, and was only opened again after new mining technology came along which reduced the cost of mining. (Senulus)

The coal seam worked by the Peerless mine was the same as that at the Spring Canyon mine, but did not exceed four feet in thickness. (Gibson: Spring Canyon, p. 231)

The coal seam worked by the original Peerless company was the Castle Gate A seam, which was about twelve feet thick at the Peerless location. There was a Castle Gate B seam, about eight feet thick, located above the A seam, and two sub seams, No. 2 and No. 3, located below the A seam. The No. 3 seam was found to not mineable due to impurities and an uneven floor. The No. 2 sub seam was what was called "low coal", any coal seam less than four feet, and generally considered to uneconomical to work because of the difficulty of a miner not being able to stand up in the seam while mining and loading the coal. The No. 2 sub seam varied from forty-two inches to twenty-seven inches thick. The original Peerless operation mined the A seam, from 1917 to 1930. In 1930 operations were moved to the New Peerless mine near Castle Gate. The original Peerless company went bankrupt in 1931. Later a reorganized Peerless company began operations in the low coal subseams at the original mine, using new mechanical mining technology. Renewed production in the original mine was still limited due to the costs of mining the low seams. The reorganized Peerless remained in operation from about 1932 to 1953, basically as a small, family run operation. (Cederlof, pp. 2,3)

In 1917 the Peerless Coal Company developed its mine in Spring canyon, using tramway to deliver coal to railroad on canyon floor. (Carr: Towns, p. 76)

The mine at Peerless was developed by the Peerless Coal Company, and shipments began over the D&RG in 1918. Shipments began over Utah Railway's Spring Canyon Branch in September 1921, after the construction of the Utah Terminal Railway. (Utah Railway: Coal Mines)

The yards and tipple of Peerless Coal Company were under construction during September 1917. (Salt Lake Mining Review, September 15, 1917, p. 28)

The contracts for the construction of the tramway, tipple, and other improvements were let in September 1917 to Ely Construction Company and Wasatch Grading Company. The tramway was to be a gravity tramway and 3,700 feet long. The company consisted of C. N. Sweet, W. H. Sweet, Ezra Thompson, J. D. Murdoch, I. W. Boyer, Lawrence Green, and Leon Sweet, all of whom were "prominent business and mining men in Salt Lake." (News-Advocate, September 27, 1917)

Peerless Coal's railroad tipple yard was half completed by late November 1917. The company expected to be shipping coal by late January 1918. (Salt Lake Mining Review, November 30, 1917, p. 35)

Peerless Coal Company was to go into production about April 15, 1918. The company president was C. N. Sweet. (Salt Lake Mining Review, March 15, 1918, p. 36)

Coal was delivered from the Peerless mine down a sixteen to twenty-two degree gravity tramway in "trips" of six loaded mine cars to the Peerless tipple. (Cederlof, p. 4)

Peerless was located 3.5 miles up Spring canyon. The Peerless began shipping coal from its mine, located at mile post 3.5, down canyon from the Spring Canyon company, in 1917. (letter from D&RG to Public Service Commission of Utah, January 17, 1919)

In 1930 the Peerless mine in Spring Canyon was permanently closed and operations began at the New Peerless Mine in Price Canyon. (Ax-I-Dent-Ax, April 1930, p. 23)

The Peerless Coal Company discontinued operations at the Peerless mine due to depletion of the mine in July 1930, at which time the D&RG removed its tracks to the Peerless mine. Operations were moved to a new mine near Castle Gate at Lynn on the D&RG. Development of the new mine did not progress and the original mine at Peerless was reopened on September 12, 1930, with small scale shipments solely over the Utah Railway beginning in October 1930. Operations at the new mine at Lynn were discontinued on June 1, 1931 due to physical and financial difficulties. The original Peerless mine was leased to Howard & Turner in August 1931, with shipments over the Utah Railway beginning in September 1931. In May 1932 the Peerless Sales Company took over the Peerless mine, with the bulk of shipments from the mine being made by truck. (Utah Railway: Coal Mines)

The New Peerless mine was located adjacent to the Royal mine in Price River canyon. The new Price canyon mine was in operation from about 1929 until June 1931, when it was closed due to financial problems. The Peerless Coal Company remained in operation until about 1932, 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)

(Stephen Carr, in Ghost Towns, page 76, and United States Bureau of Mines Information Circular 6277, page 4, both wrongly state that the Peerless Coal began development of a new mine at Rolapp, in Price canyon in 1938.)

The original Peerless mine was taken over by a new company by the name of Peerless Sales Company, a reorganization of the Peerless Coal Company. The mine was purchased from the old company for $16,000.00. The new company intended to mine the low coal in the sub seams, with operations beginning in May 1932. (Cederlof, p. 15)

In 1939, the Peerless mine purchased a second hand Ottumwa Box Car loader and continued to mine the low, twenty-seven inch seams. (Cederlof, p. 26)

Mining continued from the low seams at the Spring canyon mine, with operations gradually declining, until March 1953, at which time the mine was completely closed and all assets liquidated. 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, and the mining of the low seams at the original Spring canyon mine from 1932 to 1953 produced 1,900,000 tons. (Cederlof, p. 47)

In 1954 Peerless Coal closed mine in Spring Canyon. (Carr: Towns, p. 76)

Spring Canyon Coal Company (Spring Canyon)

The existence of coal in the Spring canyon area was known to the residents of the Helper area many years before any coal seam was developed commercially. Coal was hauled by wagon and team from an opening on the side of the mountain opposite what was called upper town, in Sowbelly Gulch. Wagons were also used to ship coal from another coal seam that showed at the head of Sheya's Canyon, later known as Magazine Canyon. (Madsen, p. 50)

The mine in Sowbelly Gulch was first worked by Teancum Pratt in 1895 when he built a wagon road into a small side canyon to get coal for local residents of the Helper area. That original wagon mine was located "where old town used to be". (Zehnder, p. 20)

Pratt became sole owner of the mine in about 1897-1898. Union Coal Company was organized on February 28, 1911, and further exploration began. (Zehnder, p. 20)

The proposed railroad of the Union Coal Company was to run four miles west of Helper, then four miles along the coal fields. (Eastern Utah Advocate, March 2, 1911, "Railroad Out of Helper")

The coal company was later incorporated as the Union Coal & Coke Company. (Eastern Utah Advocate, March 9, 1911, "Spring Canyon People Are Now Incorporated")

(In 1912 Jesse Knight and other Provo businessmen began development of 2,000 acres of coal lands located in Spring Canyon, and organized the Spring Canyon Coal Company. The coal company's organization included the construction of a railroad to connect the mine in Spring Canyon with the D&RG at Helper, four miles away. The loading tipple of the Spring Canyon Coal Company was located at the junction of Sowbelly Gulch and the main Spring Canyon, 4.1 miles up Spring Canyon.)

By mid May 1912, Jesse Knight had purchased all of the land needed for the right of way for his new railroad in Spring Canyon. (Coal Index: Eastern Utah Advocate, May 16, 1912, p. 5)

Five or six miners were working on developing a six-foot coal vein owned by Jesse Knight. The work was in the charge of ex-sheriff Storrs. (Coal Index: Eastern Utah Advocate, May 30, 1912, p. 5)

The coal property in Spring Canyon was purchased by the Knight interests from Utah Fuel Company. (Coal Index: Eastern Utah Advocate, June 6, 1912, p. 5)

The property purchased by Knight from Utah Fuel had been originally filed on by Utah Fuel as stone and timber land, and contained 160 acres. (Coal Index: Eastern Utah Advocate, August 1, 1912, p. 5)

In July 1912, Jesse Knight announced that his railroad in Spring Canyon would be graded by Straw & Welch, of Springville. The railroad would be five miles in length and would be completed within sixty days. (Eastern Utah Advocate, July 11, 1912, from Provo Herald of July 4)

The railroad as built had an average grade of two percent, with one section of three percent. The tipple yard at Storrs was almost level. (Higgins: Spring Canyon, p. 10)

On July 27, 1912 the Spring Canyon Coal Company was incorporated by the "Knight interests" to develop coal mine in Spring Canyon. (Eastern Utah Advocate, August 1, 1912)

Spring Canyon Coal Company was organized by Jesse Knight to furnish coal to his mines and smelter located near Eureka. (Carr: Towns, p. 76)

Coal from the mine was delivered to the tipple on the canyon floor by way of an aerial tramway. The tipple is served by the company's own railroad, built four miles from a connection with D&RG at Helper. Grading for the railroad was begun in mid July, with the work being done by Straw & Welsh of Springville. (Eastern Utah Advocate, July 11, 1912)

Mr. John Cronin was in charge of the Spring Canyon Railroad and the Eureka Hill Railway, both of which were railroads owned by Jesse Knight. (Coal Index: Eastern Utah Advocate, September 5, 1912, p. 5)

The new railroad was essentially complete by late October 1912, with grading, bridging, and laying of rails done in the preceding three months. The railroad was five miles in length. (Coal Age, October 26, 1912, p. 590)

The railroad was completed with 3.8 percent grades and ten degree curves and used 75-pound rails. Two locomotives were used to operate the new line. The roundhouse and water tank was located at the Helper end of the railroad. (Elliott, pp. 112-117)

On January 15, 1913 Spring Canyon Coal Company received its new locomotive. The coal company's railroad was privately owned and six miles long. George A. Storrs, a former Utah County sheriff, was the superintendent of both the railroad and the coal mine. (Eastern Utah Advocate, January 23, 1913)

The 80-ton locomotive was purchased in September 1912. (Coal Index: Eastern Utah Advocate, September 5, 1912, p. 5)

By October 1912 Spring Canyon Coal Company began shipping its first coal. Several cars of coal, hauled from the mine by wagon, were shipped before the aerial tramway was completed. (Madsen, p. 51)

The new steel tipple for the Spring Canyon mine was under construction during March 1913. This was the third steel tipple in the State of Utah, and the first for a mine not operated by Utah Fuel. (Watts: Carbon County, p. 404)

The new steel tipple was built by the Ottumwa Box Car Loader Company and included two of that company's box car loaders on the outside tracks. (Elliott, p. 116)

The new tipple had a stated capacity of 2,000 tons per day. (Knight, p. 71)

In 1913 the Denver & Rio Grande acquired the railroad property of Spring Canyon Coal Company, from Spring Canyon Junction to Storrs. (LeMassena: Rio Grande, p. 125)

Along with the Spring Canyon company's railroad, the D&RG acquired at the Spring Canyon Coal Company's 2-8-0 locomotive. D&RG renumbered it to their road number 958, and later to number 915. The locomotive was retired and dismantled in 1937. (Colorado Railroad Museum: Rio Grande, p. 45, photo on p. 46) (An additional photo is on page 127 of LeMassena's Rio Grande to the Pacific.)

The first coal was shipped from the tipple in May 1913. (Knight, p. 70)

By June 1913 the mine was shipping 600 tons per day, with production expected to reach 1,000 tons by August. Fifty percent was lump coal, twenty-five percent was nut coal, fifteen percent was pea coal, and the final ten percent was made up of slack coal. (Higgins: Spring Canyon, p. 10)

By January 1914 the Spring Canyon mine was shipping 20 carloads per day. (Zehnder, p. 20)

By the end of 1914, Spring Canyon Coal at Storrs was producing 1,000 tons per day. (Coal Index: Carbon County News, December 3, 1914, p. 9)

In July 1914 the Spring Canyon company added two separate four by thirty foot coal picking tables, for nut and lump coal, located at right angles to the shaking screen. These picking tables loaded nut and lump coal directly into the railroad cars, and required an addition to the south side of the tipple. (Salt Lake Mining Review, July 30, 1914, p. 32)

The aerial cable tramway and mine haulage system at the Spring Canyon mine combined into a unique operation which used the mine cars as buckets on the cable tramway. The tramway buckets were designed to allow two of them to be placed on a suitable truck and run into the mine like a typical mine car. After loading, the two buckets were attached to the tramway cable, conveyed from the upper terminal to the lower terminal at the tipple, and returned to the upper terminal to be sent back to the mine for more coal. (Elliott, p. 114,115)

The Bleichert aerial tramway of the Spring Canyon Coal Company conveyed the coal from the mine to the tipple at Storrs, located 3,200 feet distant and 350 feet lower. The tramway buckets each had a capacity of 2,400 pounds each and were used in pairs, mounted on a special truck, as mine cars, replacing the old fashioned "pit cars" used at other mines. At the upper terminal of the cable tramway a special transfer station allowed the buckets to be removed from the mine trucks and hung singly from the cable. The buckets traveled to the lower terminal where they were dumped automatically and returned to the upper terminal to again be mounted in pairs to the mine trucks and returned to the mine for reloading with coal. The loaded in pairs on the mine trucks, the cable tramway buckets were hauled between the upper terminal and the mine opening by one of two 15-ton General Electric electric mine locomotives in "trips", or trains of twelve cars, making each trip responsible for moving twenty-eight tons of coal from mine to cable tramway. To gather the loaded mine cars inside the mine, three 6-ton electric locomotives were used. (Higgins: Spring Canyon, pp. 10-12)

During July 1918 the Spring Canyon Coal Company was in the process of building a surface tramway that was to be in service about October 1st. (Salt Lake Mining Review, July 30, 1918, p. 30)

In April 1919 the Spring Canyon Coal Company completed a new surface tramway to replace their aerial tramway. (Madsen, p. 51)

Jesse Knight died on March 14, 1921. He had organized the Knight Investment Company in 1906 as a holding company to manage all of his business and financial interests. (Knight, pp. 65,93)

Shipments began over the Utah Railway's Spring Canyon Branch in September 1921. (Utah Railway: Coal Mines)

In 1922, the Knight Investment Company sold the Spring Canyon Coal Company to James B. Smith and his associates of San Francisco, California. Mr. Smith and his associates still owned the mine in 1940. (Knight, p. 72)

In 1924 the Town of Storrs changed its name to Spring Canyon. (Reynolds, p. 223)

(The town name may have been changed because George A. Storrs, a Utah County sheriff, and former Spring Canyon Coal Company mine superintendent after whom the town had been named in 1912, had been indicted on mail fraud charges in November 1924 in connection with his promotion of his Great Western Coal Company in Gordon Creek canyon. (Coal Index: The Sun, November 7, 1924, p. 6) By late December 1926, Storrs had been cleared of the charges. (Coal Index: The Sun, December 17, 1926, p. 4))

The town of Storrs changed its name to Spring Canyon after permission was received from Washington D. C. The town's population was 1,100 people. Spring Canyon Coal Company shipped 166,000 tons in 1924, an average of 554 tons per day for a 300 day year. (Coal Index: The Sun, June 19, 1925, p. 4)

Spring Canyon Coal Company completed a new tipple in June 1925. (Salt Lake Mining Review, June 30, 1925, p. 18)

By 1940 the Spring Canyon mine was ranked as the fourth largest producer in the state. (Knight, p. 71)

By 1948 the Spring Canyon Coal Company was operating the Spring Canyon mine, the Standard mine, and the Royal mine. (Reynolds, p. 265)

In 1954 Spring Canyon Coal shut down much of its Spring Canyon operation, and in 1970 the original Spring Canyon mine was closed. By that time, the mine was owned by Spring Canyon Fuel Company, which also worked seven other mines, including the Standardville mine. They also owned the Royal Coal Company near Castle Gate. Leonard E. Adams was the president and general manager of the combined Spring Canyon, Standardville, and Royal properties. (Sun Advocate & Helper Journal, January 2, 1975, p. 4)

By 1954 the mining crew at Spring Canyon was a skeleton force and most residents of the town had left. The mine was closed in 1969 and the town abandoned. In 1975 the town was bulldozed, leaving only parts of the tipple trestle. (Zehnder, p. 21)

Standard Coal Company (Standardville)

The Standardville mine was opened by the Standard Coal Company in 1913. The company was organized in 1913 by F. A. Sweet, who had previously organized and developed the Independent Coal & Coke Company at Kenilworth in 1907, and the Consolidated Fuel Company at Hiawatha in 1908. (Reynolds, p. 226)

Standard Coal Company was incorporated on June 3, 1913. The contract for the grading of the new 3-1/2 mile railroad had been let to the Wattis Construction Company. The railroad was to connect with the railroad of the Spring Canyon Coal Company at Storrs. (Eastern Utah Advocate, July 3, 1913, "Sweets Back In Coal Game")

F. A. Sweet, president of Standard Coal Company, announced a new railroad to be built from the Standard coal mine to the Spring Canyon coal mine at Storrs. (Coal Index: Carbon County News, July 8, 1913, p. 6)

Standard Coal Company let a contract to build a 3-1/2 mile railroad from Storrs to its mines. (Salt Lake Mining Review, July 15, 1913, p. 29)

The Standard Coal Company contracted with the L. R. Wattis Construction Company to build its railroad. (Coal Age, Volume 4, number 3, July 19, 1913, p. 104)

Construction started on the Standard Coal Company's railroad on July 10, 1913. (Higgins: Standard, p. 13)

The railroad of the Standard Coal Company was about one mile long and the tipple yards about 1,000 feet long and built on a two percent grade. The empty cars were moved above the tipple and allowed to move by gravity to one of the four tipple tracks, after passing over a Fairbanks Morse 150-ton full suspension scale. The empty portion of the tipple yards had a capacity of eighteen cars, together with one car under each of the tipple loading stations. After loading, the railroad cars passed over another scale and dropped onto the two make-up tracks for pickup by the D&RG. The loaded portion of the tipple yards had a capacity of nineteen cars and the make-up yard could store twenty-nine cars. (Higgins: Standard, pp. 18,19)

The name Standard was selected because the mine and its adjoining town would be the standard for all others to follow. (Madsen, p. 52)

The equipment and layout of the Standard mine was unique among all the mines in Spring Canyon and Utah. The design included an all-steel and concrete tipple, with a massive concrete wall below the loop track for the lower terminal of the mine's double track gravity tramway. The tipple retaining wall was forty-six feet high at its highest section, the mine car rotary dump. It was said at the time that the construction of the Standard tipple and its retaining walls used as much concrete as the then-new state capital building in Salt Lake City. Concrete was chosen to make the structure fire-proof and to eliminate any vibration, both to ensure longevity. The design of the tipple allowed a capacity of approximately 4,000 tons daily. The tipple's Ottumwa box car loader completely tilted a box car towards an end at a sixty degree angle to fill one end. The car was then tipped towards the other end and filled, with the center being filled upon the car being returned to the level. A car could be filled in about five minutes by this method. The screens and coal separating equipment in the tipple were furnished by the Link Belt Company of Chicago. In addition to the shaker screens in the tipple, the slack coal was conveyed to a rescreening hopper and separated into pea coal and dust. Pea coal was loaded into a railroad car. The dust coal was conveyed through a sixteen inch iron pipe to either a waste pile or the mine's own steam power plant for use as fuel. The 4,300 foot long, double track tramway in Gilson Gulch between the mine and the tipple was a straight line tram with one break in grade, from 12.4 percent to 7.1 percent. The track gauge used was forty-two inches and moved the loaded mine cars in trips of eighteen cars, with 3.5 tons each, from the mine to the tipple. The grading for the tramway was contracted to the L. R. Wattis Construction Company, and required much blasting and filling in the upper portion of the grade. (Higgins: Standard, pp. 14-19)

The coal company built a town for its miners and other workers, called Standardville. (Reynolds, p. 226)

On February 10, 1914 the company shipped its first coal. (Eastern Utah Advocate, June 11, 1914)

The first coal from the Standard mine arrived at the Standardville tipple on February 10, 1914. (Higgins: Standard, p. 13)

Standard Coal Company announced that their coal would be marketed as "Castle Gate Coal". (Coal Index: Eastern Utah Advocate, July 8, 1913, p. 6)

By April 1914, none of the workers' homes had been completed. (Higgins: Standard, p. 19)

(Reynolds, page 227, in a more generalized statement says that the mine was "ready for operations during the fall and winter of 1913.)

In July 1914 the Standard company added a Manierre box car loader for handling egg coal. (Salt Lake Mining Review, July 30, 1914, p. 32)

A additional box car loader for nut coal was installed in September 1914. (Salt Lake Mining Review, September 15, 1914, p. 24)

In 1917 the Denver & Rio Grande bought the railroad property of Standard Coal Company, from Storrs (later Spring Canyon) to Standardville. (LeMassena: Rio Grande, p. 131)

In 1939, the Standardville mine was sold to satisfy its bondholders. (Coal Index: Sun Advocate, November 16, 1939, p. 15)

The Standard mine was closed in February 1939 due to non-payment of wages to the miners. (Coal Index: Sun Advocate, February 2, 1939, p. 1)

The company was unable to meet its payroll on January 25, 1939. The 265 miners voted unanimously to work only for food to save the mine from closing. Fred Sweet, Jr. was company president and general manager. (Ogden Standard Examiner, February 1, 1939, p. 5)

The Standard mine was closed on April 5, 1939. The company was sold under foreclosure on November 3, 1939, and reorganized as Standard Coal, Incorporated (of Nevada). Shipments resumed on December 1, 1939. (Utah Railway: Coal Mines)

The mine was reopened in September 1939 after the company had been reorganized. (Coal Index: Sun Advocate, August 24, 1939, p. 1)

Standard Coal Incorporated of Nevada bought the property of the Standard Coal Company in November 1939, which had been ordered sold by the federal court. (Coal Index: Sun Advocate, November 9, 1939, p. 8)

During World War Two, the mine of the Standard Coal Company produced 2,000 tons per day. (Carr: Towns, p. 77)

By 1948 the Spring Canyon Coal Company was operating the Standard mine, along with the Spring Canyon mine, and the Royal mine. (Reynolds, p. 265)

In 1950 Standard Coal Company mine was closed. (Carr: Towns, p. 77)

The mine office remained open until the early months of 1974. By that summer the office had closed and the two families still living in town had left. (Zehnder, p. 22)

Maple Creek Mine

Maple Creek Coal Company was incorporated on June 10, 1926. The corporation was "suspended" on March 15, 1955. (Utah corporation, index number 17501)

The Maple Creek mine was opened in 1927 on a known but undeveloped coal seam located up a small side canyon. In September 1927 construction started on the tipple for the Maple Creek Coal Company. First coal was shipped on February 15, 1928. Production capacity of the tipple was about 150 to 200 tons per day. Coal was hauled to the tipple from the mine down as 3,500 foot tramway. Most of the miners lived in Standardville. In April 1931 a fire destroyed the tipple, destroying the dump, motor, and scales. The mine was not reopened. (Zehnder, p. 19)

The Maple Creek mine was located between Standardville and Latuda, located on the south side of the canyon. (Gibson: Spring Canyon, p. 231)

In 1948 the Maple Creek mine was being operated by the Pacific Coal Company. (Reynolds, p. 265)

In 1951 the Maple Creek mine at Maple Creek was being operated by the Hudson Coal Company. The same company also operated the Sweet mine at Union in Gordon Creek Canyon. (D&RGW: Traffic Circular 36-E, p.)

Liberty Fuel Company (Latuda)

Francisco Latuda and Charles Picco, both of Trinidad, Colorado, paid $39,948.25 to the U. S. Land Office in Salt Lake City for approximately 326 acres of coal lands on August 1, 1917. (Utah State Historical Society clipping file: Eastern Utah Advocate, August 2, 1917)

The mine was prospected by Charles Leger, John Forrester and Frank Gentry for Frank Latuda at about the same time that L. F. Rains was locating his Carbon Fuels property. These same three men also did the preliminary work of the first opening of the mine. (Gibson: Spring Canyon, p. 229)

Latuda first developed the mine in 1914 at an opening much higher on the south canyon wall. The mined coal was moved down to the canyon floor using a tramway. In 1917 he opened the Liberty mine closer to the canyon floor. (Carr: Towns, p. 78)

The Liberty Fuel coal company was organized by Frank Latuda and Frank Cameron in 1917. (Madsen, p. 45)

In 1917 the Liberty Fuel Company began shipping coal. (Parker, p. 2)

The first shipment of coal was loaded into railroad cars from a temporary tipple in January 1918. (Madsen, p. 45)

About a year and a half after its 1917 opening, Liberty Fuel Company replaced its temporary bar-screen screening plant located at the base of the tramway with a small, wooden processing plant and tipple that spanned three railroad tracks. The temporary plant had been installed due to the difficulty of obtaining proper coal screening equipment caused by shortages from World War One. The new processing plant was completed with screening equipment to produce three separate sizes of coal: eight-inch regular lump; six-inch domestic lump, and three-inch run of mine. The mining process of machine undercutting the coal face and blasting of the face to produce loose coal, and loading that loose coal through mechanical rather than manual means, produced at times very large, sometimes, enormous pieces of coal. The first step in the processing of the "run-of-mine" coal was to pass it over a adjustable "cracker" that broke the pieces into sizes smaller, between eight inches and twenty-one inches. During the winter season there was a market for lumps larger than eight inches, but in the remainder of the year there was little demand for what was called 8-inch plus coal. In the winter season, coal was marketed as regular lump, domestic lump, and 3-inch minus sizes. In the off-season, coal was generally sized as lump 8-inch minus, 3-inch minus and slack (less than 1-5/8 inch). The three sizes were loaded directly in railroad cars at the Liberty tipple. Slack coal was conveyed to a separate storage bin for screening out of the dust, or fines, and similar rail car loading. (Parker, pp. 2-4)

In 1926 the Liberty mine, along with the Kenilworth mine of Independent Coal & Coke, were the first mines to use mechanical loading inside the mine. (Gibson: Spring Canyon, p. 229)

The town of Latuda was victim of at least two snow slides on February 16, 1927. The snow slides resulted in the deaths of at least two persons, Gus Goodart, the mine foreman, and Moroni Mower, the barn boss. (Madsen, p. 45)

(These snow slides may have destroyed the tipple completed in 1920, resulting in the construction of the new tipple in 1927-1928.)

In 1927 a steel tipple was completed. (Gibson: Spring Canyon, p. 229)

In 1928 the Liberty Fuel built a "modern" four track steel tipple, which produced four differing grades of coal: 8-inch lump; Stove (three to eight inches); Nut (1-5/8 to 3 inches); and slack. The three larger sizes were loaded directly in rail cars at the tipple. The slack (less than 1-5/8 inch) was conveyed 200 feet away to be re-screened into market pea coal (less than 3/8 inch) and market slack and dust (or fines) for separate loading bins. Dust coal was loaded directly into railroad cars. The new tipple was capable of loading either open-top cars or boxcars. Boxcars at the Liberty mine were loaded using a Mannierre extension-type boxcar loader which extended into the boxcar interior and loaded any coal size onto the floor at either end of the car. (Parker, pp. 2-4)

During 1934 the daily production of the Liberty mine amounted to 1,600 tons. About a third was slack coal, another third was stove coal, and the last third was split between lump and nut coal. (Parker, p. 5)

In 1942 a coal cleaning method was introduced that used a combination of air and sand, and was the only one of its kind in the west. (Gibson: Spring Canyon, p. 229)

By the mid 1940s, the mine was producing 1,000 tons per day, with all of the coal being mined and hauled mechanically. (Gibson: Spring Canyon, p. 229)

In 1954 Liberty Fuel shut down much of its operation. (Carr: Towns, p. 78)

In 1966 Liberty Fuel closed its mine. (Carr: Towns, p. 78)

In 1966 the mining company blasted the mine entrance shut. Zehnder, p. 25)

Carbon Fuel Company (Rains)

Leon Felix Rains of Los Angeles filed an application to purchase coal lands on March 12, 1913. (Coal Index: Eastern Utah Advocate, March 13, 1913, p. 2)

Carbon Fuel Company was incorporated in September 1915. L. F. Rains was its president. (Coal Index: News Advocate, September 17, 1915, p. 3)

In 1915 the Carbon Fuel Company began the development of a coal mine at upper end of Spring Canyon. The town site for the workers was called Rains, to honor L. F. Rains, the developer of the coal mine and former general manager of the Standard Coal Company. The coal property was organized by Rains in 1914. The coal seam at the Rains mine was eighteen feet thick and was an excellent producer from the start. Shortly after the mine was opened, a school, a boarding house, a bath house, and a store were opened in the new town of Rains. (Senulus, p. 1)

Carbon Fuel's railroad was to be in commission sometime in November 1915. (Coal Index: News Advocate, November 5, 1915, p. 3)

Carbon Fuel's railroad was to be in operation in early November 1915. Coal shipments were to start on November 10th. (Salt Lake Mining Review, October 30, 1915, p. 19, "in a few days")

The first coal shipments began in November 1915. (Madsen, p. 47)

In mid June 1916, Carbon Fuel Company was shipping about 300 tons per day. (Coal Index: News Advocate, June 23, 1916, p. 4)

Rains was located 6.7 miles up Spring Canyon. The railroad was 1.8 miles long, extending from the end of the railroad of the Standard Coal Company at Standardville, owned by Carbon Fuel Company, and operated and maintained by D&RG. The railroad also served the Liberty Fuel Company at Latuda, 0.4 mile down canyon. Negotiations between the coal company and D&RG for D&RG to purchase the line from the Carbon Fuel Company fell through due to federal control of the railroads. (letter from D&RG to Utah PUC, January 17, 1919)

In 1919 the Denver & Rio Grande bought the railroad property of the Carbon Fuel Company, between Standardville and Rains. (LeMassena, p. 131)

In 1930 Carbon Fuel Company, at Rains, closed part of mine. (Carr: Towns, p. 79)

In 1938 the Carbon Fuel Company extended its underground workings and began working adjacent, defunct Mutual Coal mine. (Carr: Towns, p. 79)

The mine at Rains was mentioned as belonging to the Utah-Carbon Coal Company in late 1945. (Coal Index: Sun Advocate, December 13, 1945, p. 10)

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

In 1958 the mine shut down due to increasing costs and decreasing demand. (Carr: Towns, p. 79)

Mutual Coal Company

Mines in the Mutual area included the Morton No. 1, opened by Thomas Lamp in 1917. The Thompson Rains wagon mine also opened in 1917. The Morton No. 2 mine was opened by Walter Dake in the fall of 1918. The Annis & DeMyer mine started to ship coal in February 1921. The Mutual No. 3 was opened in March 1925 by Albert Shaw. These mines were known collectively as the Mutual mines. (Madsen, pp. 47,48)

In 1921 the Mutual Coal Company developed a mine at the upper end of Spring Canyon. The mining company was unusual due to its ownership scheme. The promise that stock ownership also meant that all shareholders would receive their coal at a discount. The scheme worked and the diversity of the stockholders grew, along with the coal mine itself. (Senulus)

In 1924 the Consumers Mutual Coal Company developed mine in Gordon Creek canyon. (Carr: Towns, p. 81)

There was a Consumers Fuel Company incorporated on December 27, 1911. This may have been a reorganization of an earlier company with the same name, or the renaming of another company, incorporated on May 11, 1911. (Utah corporation, index number 8991) There was also a Consumers Coal Company, incorporated on July 16, 1934. (Utah corporation, index number 21077)

The mine at Mutual closed in 1938. The workings were taken over by the adjacent Carbon Fuel Company by extending its own underground workings into the Mutual mine. (Carr, p. 79)

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

MacLean Mine

(The MacLean Mine was also called the Little Standard Mine)

In about 1919 the Standard Coal Company opened the MacLean mine, also known as the "Little Standard", located about a mile up canyon from its Standardville mine. The output of the MacLean mine was about 500 tons per day for a number of years. (Gibson: Spring Canyon, p. 228)

During late 1922, the MacLean mine near Rains was leased to the Sweets, who controlled the Standard mine. (Coal Index: The Sun, December 29, 1922, p. 6)

The MacLean Coal Company was incorporated on January 27, 1923. The corporation was "revoked" on June 2, 1943. (Utah corporation, index number 15649)

In 1925 the Little Standard developed its mine at upper end of Spring Canyon. (Carr: Towns, p. 79)

Many of the miners moved from tents at Little Standard to homes in Mutual when the mine closed in 1938. (Carr, p. 79)

In 1945 the Little Standard mine closed. (Carr: Towns, p. 79)

The MacLean mine was closed in 1945 due to an underground fire that continued to burn through 2011. (Deseret News, November 5, 2011) (link)

Utah Terminal Railway

The Utah Terminal Railway built a 3.64 mile line from a connection with Utah Railway at their mile post 2.4 (later called Jacobs) to the coal mines of the three coal companies. (Utah Railway: Manual, p. 23)

Competition for Utah Railway's Spring Canyon Branch was from the D&RGW's own Spring Canyon Branch. The longer D&RGW line served eight mines in the canyon, including the three also served by Utah Railway. (72 ICC 90)

The D&RG's inability to furnish sufficient cars and switching service was the reason that the major mining companies in Spring Canyon organized the Utah Terminal Railway in 1920. This company built parallel to the D&RG's branch into the canyon and connected with all of the major mines. The actual trackage was constructed by the Utah Railway and operated by them as a branch until 1921 when that company purchased the track outright. (Anderson: Ax-I-Dent-Ax)

The Utah Terminal Railway was incorporated on May 12, 1920 to construct a railroad line from a connection with Utah Railway at or near the mouth of Spring Canyon, up said canyon to Standardville, a distance of about four miles. The company's incorporators included F. A. Sweet of Salt Lake City, with 2,500 shares, L. H. Curtis of Salt Lake City, president, with 2,500 shares, Lynn H. Thompson of Salt Lake City, vice president, with 2,000 shares, R. E. Allen of Provo, secretary-treasurer, with 1,500 shares, and J. Will Knight of Provo, with 1,500 shares. The corporation was involuntarily dissolved on November 9, 1974, along with hundreds of other inactive Utah corporations on the same day. (Utah corporation, index number 14450)

(F. A. Sweet was president of Standard Coal Company, L. H. Curtis was president of Utah Railway, Lynn H. Thompson was president of Peerless Coal Company, and J. Will Knight was president of Spring Canyon Coal Company.)

The Utah Terminal Railway was incorporated by owners of Spring Canyon, Peerless, and Standard Coal Companies, to construct a rail line in Spring canyon that would provide competition to D&RG. (72 ICC 91)

The Utah Terminal Railway was given permission, on May 12, 1920, by the Public Service Commission of Utah to operate intrastate service by through rates with the ten railroads in Utah. The ICC denied them permission for interstate rates, based on the lack of evidence in their application showing need. The original contention was that the D&RG did not furnish enough cars for the three coal companies to ship all of the coal that they felt they could. The facts later showed this not to be true, and at the time of the hearing, the car supply was determined to be adequate. Until the fall of 1920, D&RG was unable to get back its own equipment from its connecting lines. They owned 2,700 cars assigned to the Utah coal trade, with about seventy percent of its coal traffic going to connecting carriers. Empty cars originating off of the Union Pacific's Oregon Short Line took 7.24 days to reach the Spring Canyon mines, while empty cars originating off of the Western Pacific took 6.45 days to reach the mines for loading. D&RG added 700 more cars to its Utah coal fleet in January and February 1920. The ICC denied the application saying that there was no need, other than the three coal companies that owned the Utah Terminal merely wanting to ship their coal on another carrier (i.e., Utah Terminal to Utah Railway to Union Pacific). The commission stated that competition would be good for the region, but that the competition should come from Utah Railway, an already established line. (72 ICC 94,95)

During July 1920 Utah Terminal Railway began construction. (72 ICC 90)

On August 31, 1921 the Utah Railway bought the assets and interests of the Utah Terminal Railway and operated it as the Spring Canyon Branch. Coal shipments began on August 21, 1921. (Utah Railway: Manual, p. 23)

The ICC's decision for denial was appealed by both the Utah Terminal and the Utah Railway, and another hearing was held on October 10, 1922. At the hearing, testimonies of the public utilities commissions of both Nevada and Idaho, along with testimonies of the Standard Coal Company, the Spring Canyon Coal Company, the Peerless Coal Company (the three owners of the Utah Terminal Railway), and the Carbon Fuel Company were all heard to be in support of interstate rates for the Terminal company, and acquisition of the Utah Terminal by the Utah Railway. This time the application was granted, based on the D&RG's inability to furnish cars to meet built-up demand caused by a coal miner's strike between April and August 1922, together with a shopman's strike from July to September 1922, which affected the availability of locomotives for use on coal trains. The D&RG's inability to furnish the badly needed cars in a period of unusually high demand convinced the commission that competition was indeed needed, and the coal companies got their wish of not having to depend on a single carrier to ship their coal. (79 ICC 187)

The terminal company had applied to the Interstate Commerce Commission for interstate through rates, but was denied. Upon appeal, the ICC reheard the case and approved the application on April 3, 1923. Interstate shipments over the by-then Utah Railway Spring Canyon Branch began on May 21, 1923. (Utah Railway: Manual, p. 23)

The ruling grade of the Utah Terminal Railway was in favor of the loaded cars, a steady 4.9 percent down from Standardville to Jacobs, the connection with Utah Railway. (Utah Railway condensed profile, 1933)

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