Driving highway 6/50 between Price/Helper and Spanish Fork, in Price Canyon not too far from Helper, Utah you can see an area to pull off the highway with a lot of history to read.
The first of five markers, coming from the South is placed in celebration of the 40th anniversary of the Carbon Plant a coal fired power plant at Castle Gate, Utah.
This monument is dedicated to the Carbon Plant, located SE of this site, the fourth coal-fired facility built by Utah Power. Construction on the $26 million plant began the summer of 1953, in cooperation with the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 57, the local community and many other organizations. Unit 1, as 66,000 kw unit, was completed in 1954 and Unit 2, a 100, kw unit, was completed in 1957. Operation continuously longer than any other steam plant in the Utah Power system, the “Castle Cate Plant” burns around 1800 tons of coal daily to produce steam which spins turbine blades to generate 4.248 MW hours of electricity, serving the needs of over 300,000 people. The plant employs approximately 100 full-time workers. Over the years, union and management at the plant and the community have worked hand in hand through cooperation, compromise, and support to make this facility a great success in this area.
Next we have a marker for the Willow Creek Mine Explosion.
On July 31, 2000, at approximately 11:48 p.m. an explosion and fire rocked the Willow Creek Mine taking the lives of Shane Stansfield and Cory Jordon Nielson and sending 8 other miners to the hospital. The explosion marked the end of a short and troubled life for the Willow Creek Mine. It was sealed and reclaimed following this tragic accident.
Then we have the Castle Gate Mine Disaster Memorial.
At 8:30 a.m., March 8, 1924, ans explosion occurred in the Castle Gate No. 2 Mine, located one half mile to the southeast of this site, instantly killing 171 miners. Rescue teams were rushed to Castle Gate from the surrounding mines. Wearing oxygen breathing apparatus, the crews initially made explorations in the main haulage road, but no bodies were found. Repairs were started on the caved haulage road portal, this being necessary on account of gas issuing from this point. During one of these exploration trips, George Wilson, aged 29, married, Captain of the Standardville No.1 Rescue Team, was killed by inhalation of carbon monoxide, caused by the removal his nose clip on the breathing apparatus.
The majority of miners killed were immigrants. Fifty-seven of the miners were single, 115 were married. They left 417 dependents, including 241 children and 25 expectant mothers. Nearly all of the miners were buried in the Price City Cemetery.
Then we learn of Utah’s Coal Industry.
The name Carbon County appropriately suggests the importance of carbon products to the economy and history of this area. The first commercial development of coal occurred in this vicinity in the 1870’s and soon out-distanced production in other sections of Utah. The great impetus to the industry and settlement of the area came with the extension of the Denver and Rio Grande Railroad from Colorado through this canyon to Salt Lake City in 1883. Particularly during World War II, coal from Carbon County placed Utah among the leading coke and coal producers of America with vast reserves still to be developed. In addition oil shale and tar sands offer a rich potential as a source of petroleum. A major use of coal is destined to be in the production of electricity as occurs in the Utah Power and Light Company steam plant near this site.
And finally, a marker telling of Butch Bassidy’s robbery nearby.
Near this site stood the Pleasant Valley Coal Company office and store. On April 21, 1897, in of of the most daring daylight robberies, Butch Cassidy, Elsa Lay and Bob Meeks robbed paymaster E.L. Carpenter and made off with over $8000.00 in gold and silver of which only approximately $1000.00 was ever recovered.