Francis Marion Ewell
First Presiding Elder, Johnson and Black Hawk War Veteran
This monument pays tribute to Francis Marion Ewell and the sturdy pioneers who settled here.
Mr. Ewell was born November 3, 1835, the son of William Fletcher and Mary Bland Ewell. William was a member of the famous Mormon Battalion, which helped secure the southwest territory from Mexico in 1846-47. This made it possible for the L.D.S. Church to settle under the U.S. Constitution in the “everlasting hills”.
In 1882 Francis Ewell built a two-story house directly west of here. The original well is still in use north of the house. From 1882-1889 the upper floor, called the “Ewell Hall”, was used for all the church, school, political and recreation meetings. It was at Ewell Hall where the town name Spring Glen was chosen. Spring Glen was called Ewell from 1910 to 1925 in honor of F.M. Ewell. Helper was part of Spring Glen until 1891. There, too, the plans of the townsite and Spring Glen Canal Company were first made. The Ewell’s oldest daughter, Sarah Ewell Pratt, wife of Helper’s Founder Teancom Pratt, was the first school teacher in the Ewell home.
Mr. Ewell’s wife, Frances Mary Weech, sold the farm in 1906 to Baptista Clerico. The Ewell home was destroyed by fire in 1920.
GENEVA COAL MINE
HORSE CANYON COAL MINE
In the early years of World War II, the United States Government determined that it was necessary to locate strategic defense industries in locations that would not be subject to immediate attack in the event the Japanese invaded the West Coast of the United States.
The Utah coal reserves in the Book Cliffs were the logical source of metallurgical grade coal for the steel making process and Orem, Utah, was the location selected for a large steel making facility to support the war effort.
The Geneva Steel Mill was built in Orem and the Geneva Coal Mine was developed in the Book Cliffs coal fields in 1942. The construction and operation of the steel mill and coal mine were overseen by the Defense Plant Corporation from 1942 to 1945.
At the end of the war United States Steel Corporation purchased the Geneva Steel Mill and the Geneva Coal Mine, operating these facilities until the 1980’s. In 1982, the Geneva Coal Mine was closed and subsequently sold to the Kaiser Coal Company. Kaiser Coal Company never opened or operated the Geneva Coal Mine.
During the 40 years of operation the Geneva Coal Mine produced over 30 million tons of coal, almost exclusively for use at the Geneva Steel Mill. During the war years the mine operated at peak production levels approaching one million tons per year, employing nearly 800 people.
Over the years, a number of mine employees etched their place in history by welding their names on large steel plates covering sumps and pits in the mines maintenance buildings. These steel plates have been preserved as a tribute to all employees of the U.S. Steel Corporation’s Geneva Coal Mine
In 1990 the Intermountain Power Agency (IPA) acquired the Geneva Coal Mine and South Lease coal Reserves from the Kaiser Coal Company. In 1990-91 IPA reclaimed major portions of the surface mining facilities.
This monument dedicated by IPA in 1991 as a tribute to those men named here and to the Utah Coal Industry.
12 STEEL PLAQUES CONTAIN WELDED NAMES OF MINE EMPLOYEES
- Castle Gate Historic Marker Highway Pull-Off
- Central Cemetery – Austrian Lodge Cemetery
- Coal Mining, Then and Now
- Francis Marion Ewell
- Geneva/Horse Canyon Mine Monument
- Traveling Roundhouse
Helper is located approximately 120 miles southeast of Salt Lake City in Carbon County. Known as the “Hub of Carbon County,” and situated seven miles north of Price, the county seat, Helper has always reflected an ethnically diverse population, with southern and eastern European groups rising to positions of prominence within the community.
The initial settlement of the Helper area commenced in the early 1880s with the arrival of Teancum Pratt and his plural wives Annie and Sarah. However, only after the arrival of the Denver and Rio Grande Western Railway in 1881-82 did Helper begin to develop as a population center. Pratt also mined coal, supplying the residences throughout the fledgling town.
By 1887 the D&RGW had erected some twenty-seven frame residences, with more built later in the year. This was done in anticipation of making Helper a freight terminal upon the changing of the line from narrow to standard gauge, which began in 1889. Here, “helper” locomotives would stand in readiness to aid trains traveling up the steep grade to Soldier Summit, thus the name Helper.
Check out my list of Utah places here.
The Fraternal Organizations of Spring Glen and Helper established this central cemetery in early 1930. Low or no-cost burial places became necessary when members of the lodges, as well as others, died here while their families remained in the Old Country. Most lost their lives in coal mine accidents or due to occupational disease and could not afford to be sent overseas to be buried with their families. Also, many were bachelors with no one to see to their burials at all. Members of the Fraternal Lodges saw to the needs of these lodge members and many others by making this exceptional overlook into a beautiful resting place in their honor. This land was acquired for this sole purpose from the Ku Klux Klan. Carbon County Clan No. 4, and was named the Austrian Lodge Cemetery, by which it is still known today.
Around 1891 after the D & R G W railroad replaced the narrow gauge, with standard gauge track. The division point was consolidated in Helper. At this time a 15 stall roundhose, a new depot and other accommodations were built. In 1919 the division point was relocated to Soldier Summit. The roundhouse was moved piece by piece to the new location. In 1929, adverse weather conditions at 7,700 feet forced the railroad to move operations back to Helper.
The roundhouse was again dismantled and moved back to its original location. The roundhouse operated until the steam locomotive was phased out and replaced with diesel electric power in the 1950’s.
In Helper I stopped by a cool little park that was more of a mining equipment museum.
The Four Steps Necessary For Mining Coal
Coal must be broken away from the face of the coal seam.
In the early mines picks were used to break the coal away from the face, then holes were drilled in the face and dynamite was into the hole and detonated (1900 – 1950).
Coal must be gathered up and loaded into a conveyance to haul it out of the mine.
In the first mines, coal was gathered up and loaded by hand with a coal shovel into the car.
Coal has to be transprted out of the mine.
The first coal cars were pushed out of the mine by hand, then mules were used to pull the cars.
The coal is prepared and delivered to the consumer.
In the early mines the coal was brought out of the mine in big chunks and loaded onto a horse-drawn wagon.