Peerless is a ghost town in Spring Canyon near Helper.
Peerless, just 3 miles west of Helper, was the first mine developed in the Spring Canyon District. The property was purchased in 1916 by brothers William and Charles Sweet. They developed the coal operation including a gravity tramway and a tipple on the canyon floor.
In 1917 the Sweet brothers sold the property to the Peerless Coal Company organized by James Murdoch and Ezra Thompson. Robert Howard, a former mine inspector was the first superintendent. Coal production peaked during World War I at 2000 tons per day. At the end of the war, they had contracts to ship coal to Idaho, Washington, Oregon, the Hawaiian Islands and were producing 500 tons of coal per day. During the boom the coal produced paid for the project and cleared a bonded indebtedness of $400,000. By 1920 the mine was free from outstanding obligations.
At its peak the town of Peerless was home to around 300 people of which 150 were miners. It consisted of about 30 houses, a store, a school, the company mine office, a post office, a pool hall, and a clubhouse for company officials.
In July 1930 the Peerless Coal Company discontinued operations due to low production and high production costs. Peerless Coal Company declared bankruptcy the following year.
In August 1931, the mine was leased to former superintendent Robert Howard and Robert Turner. Utilizing new mining technology that reduced costs they began shipping coal in September of 1931. Less than a year later, in May of 1932, the mine was taken over by the Peerless Sales Company. Around 1938 coal mining activity began to decline and people began to move away. After World War II the mine operated sporadically, and few residents remained.
The mine closed in 1953, its assets were sold, and the last residents left.*