, , ,

If You Were an Outlaw, Where Would You Shop?

Diagonally across the street from you was the Ashley Cooperative Mercantile. It began in 1881 as a small, one-story log and rock building. By 1900, a new two-story general merchandise store with groceries, meat, dry goods, hardware, shoes, and a men’s department was constructed. Area residents also used the store to deposit and exchange money, to obtain loans, and to make investments. The volume of money became more than the Co-op could handle, resulting in the establishment of the first Bank of Vernal. The bank opened inside the Co-op in 1903. To discourage local outlaws, a large walk-in vault and a bulletproof screen surrounding a steel-lined counter became added security features to the new bank.

In the early 1880’s, two gun-toting horsemen robbed the Co-op. At closing time, the robbers caught the store clerk up on a ladder, where he was showing off a new, brimmed hat to two customers. In response to the clerk’s reply, they fired a shot, grazing the store clerk’s hatband before making off with the money.

Butch Cassidy (Robert Leroy Parker) was also a Co-op customer. In 1896, he purchased a Colt .45 single-action revolver which may have been used by the outlaw on his exploits with the notorious Wild Bunch.

This is #5 of the 21 stop history walking tour in downtown Vernal, Utah. See the other stops on this page:

This marker is located diagonally across the street from and about the building at 4 West Main Street in Vernal, Utah.