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.
Peerless Coal Company, anticipating the exhaustion of the “old Peerless” coal reserves, leased coal property in Price Canyon adjacent to the Royal mine at ROLAPP. This property contained 2 coal seams, one measuring 24 feet thick and the second measuring 16 to 18 feet thick. The elevation of New Peerless was 6300 feet. To reach the coal the mine tunnels had to be driven through rock on a 30-degree downward incline. The seams were encountered at 1900 feet and 2300 feet. A distance in excess of two mines and about 1100 feet below the level of the Price River. The mine portal was located on top of the canyon walls above the tipple. The tipple was constructed in 1929 by the Pittsburg Boiler and Machine Co. and had a capacity of 400 tons per hour and was located on the canyon floor adjacent to the D&RGW mainline. Coal was delivered from the portal to the tipple by an aerial tramway. By mid-January of 1930 the mine was producing coal. New Peerless was a “gassy mine” and disaster struck on March 8, 1930, when an explosion in the mine killed 5 miners and injured 8 others.
- Clement Turner
- Daniel Turner
- Lester Curtis
- William Curtis
- James Jensen
- A. L. Ross
- Tony Canrinker
- B. W. Hall
- L. S. King
- Ole Swanson
- Roy Story
- Frank Hensley
A second explosion occurred on June 3, 1930, but this time there were no injuries. On January 28, 1932 The New Peerless mine was closed, and the mine’s assets were sold off to satisfy creditors. The closure was blamed on low demand for coal during the depression and the high debt load incurred during development. During the life of the mine from 1929 to 1931 a total of 100,000 tons of coal were produced.
This historic marker is located on the Price River Parkway Gold Medal Mile in Helper, Utah and was dedicated by the Matt Warner Chapter 1900 of E Clampus Vitus on September 18, 2021
6026 Year of Our Order