Venice, Utah


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The first settler in the Venice area was Francis George Wall, an early resident of Glenwood. In 1875, Wall bought an 80-acre tract of land, then called the Cove River Ranch, on the south side of the Sevier River. He built a cabin and moved his family from Manti. As other settlers moved in, the settlement was named “Wallsville”.

One of the most important structures in town was the bridge across the Sevier River. The first such bridge was built as early as 1885. A log meetinghouse was built in Wallsville in 1887, and used for both school and church meetings. A post office was established in the local general store in 1894, and in 1900, a ward of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was organized. Residents voted to rename their community “Venice”.

In 1900, a white brick schoolhouse was built. This school operated until 1924, when the school district built a new building in Venice, and the old building was sold to the LDS Church. This building, with numerous additions over the years, served as the ward meetinghouse until it was torn down in 1984. The school was closed in 1950, but still stands as a Venice landmark.

The Marysvale Branch of the Denver and Rio Grande Western Railroad was formerly the most important transportation corridor in the area. It ran through the northwestern corner of Venice, transporting farm products as well as passengers. The railroad line was closed down after the 1983 landslide at Thistle.

Salina, Utah


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The first permanent settlers (about 30 families) moved into the area in 1864 at the direction of leaders of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. They found abundant salt deposits nearby so they named the area “Salina”.

In 1866 troubles with Indians who used the area as their hunting ground the Black Hawk War  forced the white settlers to retreat to the Manti area. They returned to Salina in 1871, organized a militia, and constructed a fort and buildings for a school and a church. At that time they discovered coal deposits in “almost inexhaustible quantities” in the canyon east of the settlement.

A creek north of the settlement was tapped to provide water for irrigation, domestic purposes, and to power various enterprises such as sawmills, grist mills, salt refineries and generation of electricity. The Sevier River was tapped in 1874, and by 1908 the area west of the settlement was being fully cultivated.

In June 1891 the settlement was connected to the state’s railroad system, and that year the central area was incorporated as a town. It soon became the shipping terminal between the area settlements and the rest of the state. In 1913 the town was re-incorporated as a city.

During World War II, Salina contained a POW camp, housing 250 German prisoners both of the Wehrmacht and the Waffen-SS. On the night of July 8, 1945, Private Clarence Bertucci climbed one of the guard towers and took aim at the tents where the prisoners were sleeping. He fired 250 rounds from a light machine gun and managed to hit some thirty tents in his fifteen-second rampage. By the time a corporal managed to disarm Bertucci, six prisoners were dead and an additional twenty-two were wounded (three would later die of their wounds).

This incident was called the Salina Massacre. Bertucci, who was from New Orleans, was declared insane and spent the remainder of his life in an institution.

Maple Mountain / Spanish Fork Peak


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Maple Mountain is above Mapleton and Spanish Fork, I grew up in Mapleton and hiked that mountain more times that I could count or remember.    It’s a gorgeous hike but a longer one, there’s a nice pond we call Maple Lake when you’re most of the way up and it’s a great place to stop for a while before finishing.

The trail starts at the top of Whiting Campground, a quarter-mile after that you cross the creek to take trail 007 and can’t miss it from there.
I’ve had the hike take 12 hours up and back many times including time to play in the lake and catch salamanders but when hurrying and when in Shape I’ve gone up in 2 hours and come back down about that quick.

There’s plenty of wildlife and scenery and amazing views of the valley from the saddle (after the lake and before the top.)





Independence Temple


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The Temple in Independence, Missouri, is a house of worship and education “dedicated to the pursuit of peace”.[1] It dominates the skyline of Independence, Missouri, USA, and has become the focal point of the headquarters of the Community of Christ (formerly, the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints). The temple was built by the Community of Christ in response to a revelation presented to their 1984 World Conference by church prophet-president Wallace B. Smith. The revelation culminated instructions shared over the course of more than 150 years by prior prophet-presidents recognized by the Community of Christ. Groundbreaking for the temple took place Friday 6 April 1990, and the completed structure was dedicated on Sunday 17 April 1994.


Utah Ore Sampling Company – Pallas Yard


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The best I can tell from research online this is the old Utah Ore Sampling Company at the Pallas Yard.

Utah Ore Sampling Company built this sampler in 1909. Consolidated mining companies did their own sampling. This was the largest independent sampler between Missouri and California. After the ore was crushed and analyzed for content and quality, smelters decided on the basis of the samples, whether to buy larger quantities of the ore. Ore came here from all over the west. Most of the ores sampled here went to the ASARCO smelter for processing. The close proximity of the two plants allowed the railroads to treat them as a single destination for billing purposes. The large “Thawed House,” where loads of frozen ore were completely thawed before they were run through the sample plant, still remains. This mill was unique because it contained the only railroad spur that connected to both the Denver and Rio Grande and the Union Pacific Railroads. The company operated until the 1950’s, when the smelting industry in Murray ceased. (Salt Lake Valley Historical Tour, Ron Andersen, 1997)

News item about the Utah Ore Sampling Company closing its plant in Park City due to the larger plant in Murray going into operation. (Salt Lake Mining Review, Volume 19, number 1, April 15, 1917, p.33)

Article about the Utah Ore Sampling plant at Murray. (Salt Lake Mining Review, Volume 27, number 9, August 15, 1925, p.9)

Utah Ore Sampling Company was constructed between the Union Pacific Provo Subdivision and the Rio Grande mainlines at 53rd South and 3rd West. UP had quite a sizable yard at Pallas (between 53rd South and 59th South) used to store and classify cars for the Sampler and the large Murray and Midvale smelter complexes. The Rio Grande always referred to this location as Sampler long after the facility was closed. (James Belmont, February 5, 2008)

Utah Ore Sampling Company was an independent third party that assayed the mineral content, and amount of ores shipped from mines to smelters. They got their start in Park City, at a joint trackage location between UP and D&RGW inside UP’s wye. That location closed in 1917 when the Murray plant was built, and the existing structure was built in 1925 to expand on the original operation. There is a nice article in the August 15, 1925 issue of Salt Lake Mining Review.

The ore we are talking about is known as galena, a mix of lead and silver ore, with lots of other bits like zinc, cadmium, antimony, arsenic and bismuth, thrown in just to make the lives of smelter men interesting. Galena is the principle silver ore in the western U.S. Every load of ore, usually in classic GS gondolas, was different and the smelters needed to get the proper mix of ores and flux-ores to make each smelter run as economical as possible.

As the rail cars from the various mines from all over the west, but mostly from Utah and Idaho, arrived at the Murray/Midvale smelting complex, the loaded cars had to be “sampled” to determine the mix of ores in each load. The trackage at the Utah Ore Sampling Company was jointly owned and operated between UP and D&RGW, as well as portions of the trackage at Pallas itself.

As loads of ore arrived, they were switched to the sampler where samples were taken. The cars were then switched to Pallas to be held and used as each car’s particular mix of ore could best be used. UP kept a full time switcher and crew at Pallas, as did D&RGW at Midvale. If I recall, the two roads cooperated heavily in the movement of in and around Murray and Midvale. I would guess that at any one time, there would not be more than 50-60 cars in the Pallas yard. But like everything else with Utah railroads, there is much yet to be researched.


As can be seen, the trackage was still extensive even in this 1985 version. I’ve seen earlier track maps, and there was a lot of tracks in the area. There were lots of spurs to the 10 or so big and small smelters in the middle of Salt Lake Valley, which from 1900 to about 1920, was the smelting center of the western U.S. It would be an interesting subject to model, especially if you throw in the inbound coal in Utah Coal Route GS gons, and the outbound loads of lead and silver.

A side note from today is that UTA’s TRAX lightrail uses the old UP spur from Atwoods just south of Pallas, to get to its shops at Midvale, by way of an undercrossing under the D&RGW mainline. UTA will also use the old UP line to Midvale to get from its shops to the old D&RGW Bingham Branch to extend light rail all the way west to Daybreak.(*)


Samak, Utah


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Samak is a small town in Summit County.

The name is simply the reversal of the name of the nearby city of Kamas.

Samak is home to the Samak Store and Smoke House, a general store known for its homemade smoked meats, including beef and turkey jerky and trout. The store is operated year-round and is a popular destination for tourists headed into the Uinta Mountains.



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