in Castle Country
Coal miners, railroad workers and Mormon Pioneers from around the globe settled Castle Country. The resulting communities were some of the most diverse settlements in the country - with wild histories. Area cemeteries give evidence to our settler's ethnic diversity and remind us of the mining disasters that took many lives.
Outlaws like Butch Cassidy and Matt Warne frequented the area and made the San Rafael Swell their hide out. In the late 1800s the "dirty dozen" and Cassidy's "wild bunch" made their homes in the plateaus of southeastern Utah and along the famous Green River. In fact, one of the boldest robberies in US history was pulled off here in Castle Country. Butch Cassidy was the mastermind behind the Castle Gate Payroll Robbery, the most daring robbery of all time. Cassidy waited until the payroll bag was unloaded off of the train and then, standing on the front steps of the office, with 100 people watching, Cassidy took $8000. He and his gang hid at a place called "Robbers Roost" east Hanksville and later on the Green River. The gang was never caught.
Railroad and Coal Mining History
Coal. Castle Country was built on coal... The vast coal fields of the Book Cliffs make this one of the richest coal producers in the West. Carbon and Emery Counties are the center of mining and railroad activity in Utah. Through the history of the counties there have been over 30 operating coal mines. Around each mine there was a community of hard working miners and their families. Thousands of immigrants gathered from around the world.
Helper received its name from the helper engines that pulled the trains over the steep mountain passes. Castle Country was once a criss-cross of railroad tracks - as most of the mines had railroad spurs to transport the coal.
On May 1, 1900, 200 coal miners were killed in the Winter Quarters Coal Mine disaster. It was the 5th largest mine disaster in United State's history.
The Helper Mining and Railroad Museum chronicles the areas history. It is an amazing resource. Along with 4 floors of exhibits, the archivists have hundreds of photographs, written accounts and histories. Also, visit the Carbon County Gen Web page to read many detailed histories of miners, coal mines and the railroad.
Quick Facts: Helper art galleries, brewpub, museum and antique stores
Location: Southeastern Utah 120 mi. from Salt Lake City on Highway 6
How many towns can boast that nearly every building on Main Street is on the National Historic Register? Helper, Utah can. Now a home for the arts, the town was once the hub of Utah's transportation and mining industries.
Stores and banks built in the 1900s are now artists' galleries, restaurants and brewpubs. An antiques mall, a saddle-maker and the Helper Mining and Railroad Museum remind visitors of the town that once was. An ideal place to visit, Helper's Main Street is complete with an old-time bed-and-breakfast.
The town was named after the "helper" train that provided the extra power that trains needed to get over the mountains to Salt Lake City.
Similar to many Utah towns, Helper was settled in 1881 by Teancum Pratt, a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Ten years later, the town aspired to become the division point for the Denver and Rio Grande Western Railroad. Immigrants poured into Carbon County.
One resident Helen Papanikolas recalled, "For years on a mountain slope south of Helper, the giant numbers 57 were painted in white. The numbers advertised the fifty-seven varieties of Heinz pickles, but residents said they referred
Price City Hall Murals
Murals were painted inside the city hall that tell the history of the settlement of Price. These beautiful paintings are a fun addition to any tour and literally fill the City Hall with artistic and historical decadence.