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Book unveils history of Utah coal town Winter Quarters

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Chris Bairdhttp://www.servedaily.com
Chris is a family man with a beautiful wife and four kids. Three Girls, One Boy. He enjoys playing basketball, being outdoors, and the old normal.

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I decided to review my own book this month after I discovered it is apparently available now as an ebook. This came as quite a surprise since I own the copyright! I’m happy with my 5 out of 5 rating, but I wonder who decided I was worthy of such high marks?

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It appears on more than one ebook site offering a free download with a subscription fee, which is also suspicious, so don’t go there. It looks legitimate with the entire back page appearing on the site. If you want to read my book, it would be safer to contact me for a copy or head to any school library in Utah where they will lend you a copy.

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“Utah Ghost Towns” focuses on Winter Quarters Utah, “a ghost town locked behind gates in a narrow canyon” near Scofield, Utah. It is famous for the worst mining disaster in Utah history when 200 men and boys died in a coal mine explosion there on May 1, 1900.

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The book describes what it was like to live in this unique mining town. Although only crumbling walls of the three-story company store are all that’s left standing of Carbon County’s first commercial coal mine, Winter Quarters was once a thriving coal mining town of 1,000 residents with five rail lines running through its main street.

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The town and the Pleasant Valley Coal Company were founded in about 1875 by Milan O. Packard of Springville. He hired local farm families, including the Burts, the Strongs and the Sumsions, to grade the narrow gauge line up Spanish Fork Canyon. One of the many interesting stories in the book tells how Packard paid his workers with calico, which gave the new railroad the nickname “The Calico Road.” He had purchased bolts of this popular cotton fabric from a bankrupt store back East and traded it for labor.

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One disturbing story I found in journals from Winter Quarters and confirmed in an interview recalled how Chinese workers brought in to work on the railroad and build the mine entrance were loaded on a box car and pushed out of town. Newly arriving European miners were worried about their jobs, so they pushed the box car filled with workers down the rails. When the runaway car overturned 20 miles down the canyon at Tucker, the men were able to escape but never returned.

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The mines prospered for several years and supplied coal to many cities in Utah. Even after the tragic mining disaster in 1900, Winter Quarters continued to produce coal along with other nearby mines in Carbon County. By 1928, coal miners had dismantled their wood homes and moved them to other mining towns. Aging equipment, the expense of transporting coal and the decline in prices brought about the closing Winter Quarters, Utah.

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The book contains many historical photos from the Perry Special Collections at Brigham Young University, the Utah Historical Society and private family collections.

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The book is available for sale at the Western Mining and Railroad Museum in Helper, Utah, or by contacting the author at debbalzotti@yahoo.com. I would definitely not download it from these new sites on the Internet that gather your information and charge fees for membership.

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America will never be destroyed from the outside. If we falter and lose our freedoms, it will be because we destroyed ourselves. – Abraham Lincoln

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Freedom is something that dies unless it’s used. Hunter S. Thompson

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Avatar
Chris Bairdhttp://www.servedaily.com
Chris is a family man with a beautiful wife and four kids. Three Girls, One Boy. He enjoys playing basketball, being outdoors, and the old normal.

More from Author

Serve Daily: August 2020

Enjoy the 99th issue of Serve Daily. This issue is full of great articles by local Utah County writers and made possible...

Every day can be a better day, despite the challenge

Life is full of challenges. We knew that last year and we know that now. Life, at any time, has at least...

Giveaways: Summer Giveaway

Click to View our Sponsors Websites

Mapleton youth wins Arbor Day tree poster contest

Emma Beach, a fourth-grader at Mapleton Elementary, recently won the Sweepstakes Award for the Utah Arbor Day Tree Poster Contest. 
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