Pleasant Valley Mines
Index For This Page
This page was last updated on October 24, 2021.
(This is a work in progress; research continues.)
Modern era mines include:
- Skyline Mine, first developed in 1980
- Valley Camp Mine, first developed in 1975
Coal production of the Pleasant Valley Coal Company approximately doubled in five year intervals: in 1882 it mined about 87,500 tons; in 1888, 164,500 tons; in 1893, 315,214 tons; in 1898, 555,000 tons. Production for 1900 was 1,082,000 tons. Coke production showed similar growth: in 1889 (the first year), it produced 760 tons of coke; in 1894, 16,000 tons; and in 1900, 35,200 tons. The projected production for 1901 was about 55,000 tons of coke. (Higgins: Industries, page 19)
Railroad Service To Pleasant Valley Mines
The following mile posts are from the 1892 RGW timetable:
- Pleasant Valley Junction (MP 0.0) (also known as PV Junction)
- Scofield (MP 15.3)
- "Coal Mine" (MP 16.3)
- Mud Creek (MP 18.3) (Changed to Clear Creek in 1899)
The following mile posts are from the 1926 D&RG timetable:
- Colton (MP 0.0)
- Scofield (MP 15.2)
- Utah Mine (MP 17.7)
- Clear Creek (MP 21.1)
D&RG's Scofield Branch shipped about 1,400 tons of coal per day in early 1917. (Coal Index: News Advocate, January 18, 1917, page 5)
January 17, 1919
"Distances from junction with Pleasant Valley Branch, at Colton, to certain mines are as follows: Scofield (formerly called Union Pacific Mine) 17 miles; Winter Quarters, 17.5 miles; Utah Mine, 17.7 miles; Clear Creek, 21.1 miles." (Letter, January 17, 1919, D&RG Railroad general superintendent of Utah Lines, to Utah Public Service Commission)
May 19, 1922
Surveyors were at work on the new railroad line in Pleasant Valley to clear the valley for the new Scofield dam and reservoir. (Coal Index: The Sun, May 19, 1922, page 1)
June 13, 1924
Construction of the Scofield dam began in June 1924. (Coal Index: The Sun, June 13, 1924, page 1)
In 1925 the Denver & Rio Grande Western's Scofield Branch was relocated to allow construction of Horseley dam and associated reservoir, owned by Price River Conservancy District. The Horseley dam was replaced in 1947 by Scofield Dam, which was under construction by the federal Bureau of Reclamation beginning in 1943. The Horseley dam was an earthen design and had always leaked. The owners never filled the Horseley reservoir to its designed capacity for fear that it would fail. When the Scofield dam was completed in 1946, the Army Corps of Engineers stated that the Horseley dam had never properly compacted itself over the preceding twenty-five years. (Madsen, pp. 13,14)
(LeMassena: Rio Grande, page 145, states that the first reservoir was known as the Scofield Reservoir.)
In addition to the steady stream of coal traffic coming off the branch, in 1938 a small number of sheep was handled at Scofield. The summer grazing of sheep was an important local industry. In 1938 the operating coal mines included the Clear Creek Mine of Utah Fuel (the heaviest producer), and the Glenn Coal Company, both at Clear Creek, the Klean Heat Coal Company, Money Coal Company, and the Scofield Coal Company, all at Scofield. The Winter Quarters mine of Utah Fuel had discontinued operations in 1933. The ton-miles on the branch, including coal, mail, express, and a small amount of miscellaneous traffic, diminished from a ten-year high in 1928 of 2,426 ton-miles to 1,005 ton-miles in 1932, to 888 ton-miles in 1937. (D&RGW: 1938)
Winter Quarters Mine
E. M. Crandall, in an article in the Western Mineral Survey, stated that his father, Martin P. Crandall was the first to discover coal in the Pleasant Valley Coal Fields, in the spring of 1873. Martin P. Crandall was born in 1830 in New York and traveled to Utah with other Mormon pioneers, to Springville, where he died in 1895. While living in Springville, Crandall was a well known contractor and freighter. "While stopping in Thistle Valley, San Pete County, Utah, at a ranch operated by John Sanders, Martin P. Crandall, my father, met some Indians from whom he learned the location of this coal deposit. Upon investigation, he found a large vein of coal, now called Winter Quarters." Crandall took a party of twenty-one men, his two sons, Myron and E. M. Crandall, two yoke of oxen, and a span of black mules, and built a temporary road up to Soldier Summit from the end of a sixteen mile road already put in place by a lumber company to Mill Fork (near today's Castilla crossover on SP/D&RGW). Upon discovery of the coal mine, along with the abundant fish, game, timber and grass, they built a road from the coal mine down to what was later known as Tucker. Two men were left at the mine over the winter of 1873-1874. In the spring of 1874, Crandall interested "Milon" Packard of Springville, and along with Smith & Doremus, engineers from Salt Lake City, built a good wagon road from Springville to Pleasant Valley. In 1876 construction was begun on a narrow gauge railroad. In 1881, the interests of the Martin P. Crandall & Company was sold to George Scofield and George B. Gaus. (Western Mineral Survey, September 30, 1938, from Utah State Historical Society clipping file)
Coal was first discovered on the Wasatch Plateau in 1874 and mining started in 1875 when Fairview Coal & Coke Company opened a mine in Huntington canyon and established a settlement called Connellsville. By 1876 the Fairview company was mining coal from several openings in both Huntington and Coal Canyons and producing coke from eleven coke ovens. A railroad was surveyed from San Pete Valley, up Fairview Canyon, over the ridge and down Huntington Canyon to the Connellsville mine, but the line was never built. The Connellsville mine operated for a few short years, however, the quality of the coke, and the cost of shipping the coal and coke to Springville by wagon was too great and the mine and settlement were both abandoned. (United States Fuel: Thirty Years, page 5)
Coal was first discovered in the Wasatch Field, the region of the Wasatch Plateau (along the western edge of what later became Carbon and Emery Counties), in 1874. Mining started in 1875 when the Fairview Coal & Coke Company, organized in May 1874, opened a mine in Coal canyon near the head of Huntington Canyon and established a settlement called Connellsville, after the noted source of coked coal in Pennsylvania. Coking operations were carried on for approximately three years using eleven coke ovens. Wagons were used to haul the coke to Springville, but the cost of transportation, along with the inferior quality of the coke brought a short life to the enterprise. (Powell, Next Time We Strike, page 18, from Salt Lake Tribune, January 1, 1875)
Fairview Coal Mining & Coke Company was incorporated on May 2, 1874. ("1874-An Eventful Year", Our Pioneer Heritage, Volume 18, 1975, page 5)
Coal discoveries were made in the Pleasant Valley area in July 1875. The railroad and most of the "leading" mines were owned by "Messrs" Child, Packard, Pritchard, Crandall, and others. After the discovery of the Pleasant Valley coal mine in July 1875, a wagon road was constructed at a cost of $11,000.00. (Deseret News, September 5, 1877)
The Winter Quarters mine was opened in the spring of 1875 by George Matson, of Springville, along with Phil Beard and John Nelson. These three men arrived in Pleasant Valley, laid out the Pleasant Valley township, assessed the mine claim, and drove the first hundred feet of tunnel for the Winter Quarters mine. In an article in the August 23, 1928 issue of the Sun Advocate, Matson stated that he helped dig the first load of coal to come out of the Pleasant Valley area. That first load of coal was sacked at the mine, hauled by mule down the hillside, and loaded into wagons. The wagons were hauled by mules to Springville by Milan Packard and Myron Crandall. The name Winter Quarters came from the fact that John Nelson and Abram Taylor "wintered" there during the winter of 1875-1876, holding the mining claims for the owners. During 1877 Peter Moran and a group of miners from San Pete Valley settled the town and began to continuously work the mine, with formal work beginning in June 1877. These miners were caught by an early winter storm that fall and were forced to stay at the mine through the winter. They stayed until their supplies ran out in February 1878 and then left the area, walking to Tucker. Once the Castle Gate mines were opened in 1888, the coal from Winter Quarters was used by the railroad for its locomotives. (Zehnder, Chuck. A Guide To Carbon County Coal Camps And Ghost Towns, page 4)
December 11, 1875
Commercial development of the coal resource in what is now Carbon County began in 1875 with the organization of the Pleasant Valley Coal Company by Milan O. Packard, M. P. Crandall, and Nephi Packard, all of Springville. At the same time, on December 11, 1875, these same individuals also organized the Utah & Pleasant Valley Railway to build a rail line between Provo and their new mine in Pleasant Valley. (Utah corporation, index number 4301)
During the winter of 1875-1876, John Nelson and Abram Taylor camped at the site of Winter Quarters to stake out a coal mining claim on the area for the Pleasant Valley company. The town and mine were given its name in their honor. (Powell, Labor, page 14)
(QUESTION: Did the name Winter Quarters come from the continued practice of a party of men spending each winter at the mine, during the three winters of 1873-1874, 1874-1875, and 1875-1876?)
(The Winter Quarters name may have been applied to the camp because of circumstances similar to the Mormon experiences (the San Pete Valley miners were most likely Mormons) on the Missouri River at Council Bluffs, Iowa over the winter of 1846-1847 prior to their leaving for Utah in 1847. That camp on the Missouri River was also called Winter Quarters.)
A wagon road was constructed beginning in the spring of 1876 to move the coal from the Winter Quarters mine and Springville. The first opening for the Winter Quarters mine was made that summer of 1876. The coal was mined and packed by mule down the hillside and loaded onto wagons for the trip into Springville. The Pleasant Valley Coal Company began shipping coal in the fall of 1876, by way of the new wagon road to Springville, the round trip taking four days. At Springville the coal was sold locally for $4 to $5 per ton. (Watts: First Mine, pp. 33-35)
(The mine owners had difficulties finding financial support for the railroad until they could show that it had sufficient traffic to pay its way. To show that the traffic truly existed, it was necessary to develop the coal mine and begin shipping the coal to market by wagon prior to building the railroad.)
Grading for the new railroad line was begun at Springville in April 1877. Warren G. Childs of Ogden was the principle contractor, keeping between 160 and 300 men on the project throughout the summer through early winter 1877. By year's end, the road's construction engineer, J. Fewson Smith, reported that twenty-six miles of grading had been completed. (Reeder, page 370, from Deseret News, March 28, 1877, May 30, 1877, December 26, 1877, Salt Lake Tribune, June 10, 1877, Salt Lake Herald, December 21, 1877)
The first actual miners for the new mine came in June 1877 from the San Pete Valley area when Peter Moran and fourteen other men of Scottish and Welsh ancestry were hired, possibly because of their previous mining experience from the Wales mine. They worked at the mine for the season, but an early snow storm kept them at the mine camp over the winter of 1877-1878, after which they walked out, north to the railroad construction camp at Clear Creek (later called Tucker). (Watts: First Mine, page 35)
September 5, 1877
The railroad was graded sixteen miles. (Deseret News, September 5, 1877)
Development work on the new Winter Quarters No. 1 mine began in June 1878, with the prospects of the soon to be completed Utah & Pleasant Valley Railway. Twelve beehive coke ovens were built, but they found that the coal had poor coking qualities. (Watts: First Mine, pp. 35-37)
By mid-1878 the Utah & Pleasant Valley Railway had not yet laid any rail, and was having problems paying the interest on its construction bonds, which meant that it might not be able to complete its line to the mines. It was rescued in October 1878 by Charles W. Scofield, an investor from New York City who had also saved and taken control of both the Bingham Canyon & Camp Floyd Railroad and the Wasatch & Jordan Valley Railroad -- two narrow gauge lines which traversed the Salt Lake Valley between the mining camps of Alta and Bingham Canyon, meeting and connecting with the Utah Southern Railroad at Sandy. (Reeder, page 372, from Poor's, 1879, page 923)
(With Scofield's support the Utah & Pleasant Valley was able to complete its line into Pleasant Valley and the coal company's mine there. In return Scofield was given control of the railroad which meant that he and his associates controlled three of the most important rail lines within the state at that time.)
August 29, 1878
Tracklaying began on the Utah & Pleasant Valley line at Springville. (Reeder, page 370, citing the Salt Lake Tribune, August 29, 1878)
September 7, 1878
The construction of the Utah & Pleasant Valley Railway, the "Calico Road", was started on September 7, 1878. (Mendenhall, page 150)
September 16, 1878
After a mile and a half of track was laid, using a construction train pulled by horses, the railway company's first locomotive was put on the rails. (Reeder, page 371, from Salt Lake Tribune, September 17, 1878)
This first U&PV locomotive was a Porter & Bell 0-6-0, with a four-wheel tender, and had been the American Fork company's second locomotive. American Fork Railroad had shut down just two months earlier, in June 1878. Charles Scofield bought the rolling stock and rails of the American Fork company and used them in the construction of the Utah & Pleasant Valley. (Reeder, page 208, from Deseret News, June 12, 1878)
During the construction of the new line, coal was loaded from the wagons to the rail cars at the end of track, where ever that might be as construction proceeded up the canyon. By early and mid May 1879 coal was being hauled into Springville by rail. On May 9th, five cars of coal was received at Springville. (Territorial Enquirer, May 10, 1879)
The new line was built using rails that weighed twenty pounds to the yard (compared to today's regular use of one hundred thirty-three pound rails). Coal was hauled in five-ton wooden cars with twelve cars making up a train, sixty tons of coal per trip. (Watts: First Mine, pp. 35,36) (Today, a single coal car carries 100 tons, nearly twice as much coal.)
November 5, 1879
The Utah & Pleasant Valley railroad was completed to the mines and immediately began hauling coal to Springville. (Reeder, page 371, from "Spanish Fork", in Railway World, November 15, 1879) (A. C. Watts, chief engineer of Utah Fuel, in his article in the March 15, 1913 issue of Coal Age magazine, wrongly stated that the Utah & Pleasant Valley commenced operations between the Pleasant Valley mines and Springville in 1876. This was the date that wagon operations began.)
In 1880 the Winter Quarters mine was owned by the Pleasant Valley Coal Company, but the mine was leased to Bishop Williams. At the same time, the same company began development of the Mud Creek mine, an action that was protested by Williams, arguing that another mine in the area was not needed because his mine would be able to furnish all demand. (Watts: First Mine, pp. 36,37)
In 1880 the Winter Quarters mine was leased to David Williams, the Mormon bishop in Winter Quarters. (Powell, Next Time We Strike, page 20)
March 3, 1881
The first mention of the Pleasant Valley Coal & Coke Company in the property records was on March 3, 1881 when Alexander A. Atkins sold 198.28 acres to the coal company. The property was in Section 32, T12S, R7E and Section 5, T13S, R7E. (Carbon County Miscellaneous Records Book 3, p. 18)
The Winter Quarters mine was shown as the "Williams Mine" in the 1884 measurement of side tracks done by the D&RGW's Utah division engineer. (D&RGW: 1884 side tracks)
In 1885, Pleasant Valley Coal Company, under the new management of W. G. Sharp, took over the operation of the Winter Quarters mine and shut down the Mud Creek mine. (Watts: First Mine, page 38)
During 1886, the Winter Quarters mine shipped 71,814 tons of coal, which was shipped principally to points in Utah and western Colorado, and to Butte, Montana. The Winter Quarters mine coal was being extracted from a vein that was 11 feet thick. (Charles A. Ashburner, "Coal Production In Utah, 1886," AIME Transactions, Volume 16, 1887-1888, page 357)
May 1, 1900
A fire an explosion in the Winter Quarters coal mine near Scofield, Utah, caused the deaths of 200 men.
July 21, 1900
Pleasant Valley Coal company offered $500 per person as settlement for victims of the Scofield mine disaster. (Engineering and Mining Journal, July 21, 1900)
During late 1901 the Winter Quarters mine, located about one and a half miles above Scofield, was producing 1,200 tons per day from the No. 1 opening, and about 400 tons daily from the No. 4 opening. The No. 5 opening was still being developed. The No. 1 mine was first worked in 1879, but was not vigorously worked until about 1895. After that time the yearly output was about 350,000 tons per year. In the No. 4 mine, an electric hoist was used to drop the loaded mine cars out of the mine workings, through a rock tunnel to the mine opening. The loaded cars were then eased down a 1,500 foot gravity tramway from the mine opening to the tipple, with the loaded cars lifting empties back to the mine opening. (Higgins: Industries, page 19)
January 30, 1908
Utah Fuel forced all of the workers in its Winter Quarters mine to live in the company-owned town of Winter Quarters. Some were living in the private-land town of Scofield. Those who had not yet moved to Winter Quarters by January 31st were told to "get their time and settle up." The Scofield (former Union Pacific Mine) and Winter Quarters mines were working three days per week. (Coal Index: Eastern Utah Advocate, January 30, 1908, page 6)
March 26, 1908
The mines at Winter Quarters and Clear Creek were producing about 2,000 tons per day, working three days per week. (Coal Index: Eastern Utah Advocate, March 26, 1908, page 8)
April 15, 1909
In April 1909 the Winter Quarters and Clear Creek mines were producing 1,800 tons per day. (Coal Index: Eastern Utah Advocate, April 15, 1909, page 1)
During late 1909 the first steel loading tipple in the state was erected at Utah Fuel's Winter Quarters mine. (Watts: Carbon County, p. 404)
"At the Winter Quarters mine of the Utah Fuel Co., in the Pleasant Valley district, the first steel tipple and screening plant was built in the winter of 1909-1910. At the Castle Gate mine of the same company the second steel tipple and screening plant was built in the summer of 1912, while the third installation of this kind is being erected by the Spring Canyon Coal Co." (A. C. Watts, "Coal Mining in Carbon County, Utah," in Coal Age, March 15, 1913, page 404)
June 11, 1914
The Winter Quarters mine and the Clear Creek mine planned to increase the production to four days per week. The Sunnyside mine had never been lower than six days per week. (Coal Index: Eastern Utah Advocate, June 11, 1914, page 2)
The Winter Quarters mine produced 379,000 tons of coal during 1909 (or about 7,580 fifty-ton car loads, about 25 cars per day for a 300 day working year), making it the third largest producer in the state. The coal is slightly higher in moisture and ash than other coals, but was regarded as good domestic and steam coal, and was very extensively used by the D&RG for its locomotives. (Harrington, page 21)
(PHOTOGRAPHS: A photo of the Winter Quarters tipple was in Coal Age, Volume 2, number 22, November 30, 1912, page 747.)
The coal mined at Winter Quarters was of inferior quality, compared to Castle Gate coal. The low quality of the coal made it hard to market, and because the mine was owned by the Denver & Rio Grande railroad, the railroad began using the coal for its locomotives. Production decreased after 1920, due mostly to the long underground haulage, which increased operating costs so that the coal was even too expensive for the railroad to continue using. In 1928 the original Winter Quarters mine was closed. (Madsen, page 55)
(United States Fuel: Thirty Years, page 6, says that the Winter Quarters Mine was opened in 1884, and abandoned a few years later.)
The Clear Creek and Winter Quarters mines were leased to the Littlejohn Brothers and Bishop T. J. Parmley to keep them open. (Coal Index: The Sun, March 20, 1925, page 1)
April 2, 1925
The Winter Quarters and Clear Creek coal mines of Utah Fuel company were leased to former employees to keep the mines open. An order had come from D&RGW headquarters New York City to close the mines permanently. The Winter Quarters mine was leased to William Littlejohn, who resigned as general superintendent of the Castle Gate mine, and his brother J. W. Littlejohn. The Clear Creek mine was leased to T. J. Parmley, who resigned his position to take the lease. Both leases took effect on April 1, 1925. (Coal Age magazine, April 2, 1925)
April 6, 1933
The abandonment of the Winter Quarters Branch was announced, for the purposes of a public hearing. (Coal Index: Sun-Advocate, April 6, 1933, page 6)
On April 28, 1933 the Denver & Rio Grande Western received ICC approval to abandon the 1.7 mile Winter Quarters Spur, from the Scofield wye to Winter Quarters, including 1.3 miles of yard tracks at Winter Quarters. Utah Fuel Company had closed their mine at Winter Quarters in 1928 and they removed all of the machinery in September 1930. (193 ICC 21)
Union Pacific Mine
(Also known as the Scofield Mine)
Located east of the town of Scofield, served by a spur of D&RGW's original Utah & Pleasant Valley track.
Union Pacific lost its coal monopoly over northern Utah when Rio Grande tracks reached Salt Lake. Union Pacific was supplying coal from its Wyoming mines and from the mines near Coalville. The completion of the Denver & Rio Grande Western allowed that new company to furnish coal from the Pleasant Valley mines. To combat the Rio Grande, the Union Pacific began exploring for its own coal in the Pleasant Valley region. In 1882 the Utah Central Coal Company, controlled by the Utah Central Railway, which itself was controlled by the Union Pacific, began development of what was called the Union Pacific mine, near Winter Quarters. (Watts: First Mine, page 38)
To transport the coal from their newly acquired coal mine, on October 10, 1881, Union Pacific interests organized the Utah Central Railway, Pleasant Valley Branch, to build a railroad line from Spanish Fork to the Pleasant Valley coal lands, with Sidney Dillion, UP's president in New York City, owning more than ten times the shares as the other organizers. Just three months later, on January 20, 1882, the Utah Central Railway amended their articles of incorporation to include a branch line from Spanish Fork to the coal lands in Pleasant Valley. The amendment was formally filed with the Territory of Utah until February 13, 1882. Apparently the new railroad never got beyond the planning stages. (Utah corporation, index number 579)
By March 1882, the planning for the Utah Central Pleasant Valley Branch had been suspended indefinitely. (Reeder, page 383, from Salt Lake Herald, March 26, 1882)
The coal property at the Union Pacific mine was first discovered by a Mr. Hatch of Springville in 1876. The property was almost opposite that of the Winter Quarters mine west of Scofield. By June 1877, a Mr. Pugsley of Salt Lake City had acquired the mine. He worked the mine with about five or six miners and shipped the coal to Utah valley by wagon. The coal mine was purchased by the Utah Central Coal Company in 1881. That company opened a twenty-foot seam of coal. In 1884 Utah's first coal mine related deaths occurred here, on January 1, 1884. The wooden tipple caught fire, setting fire to the coal inside the mine. As a result of this fire the mine opening was closed and permanently sealed. In 1885 a second opening was developed and mining continued. The Utah Central Coal Company was sold to the Union Pacific Coal Company in November 1890, including the townsite of Scofield. Homesteaders had settled in Scofield and Union Pacific went to court to establish their ownership of the townsite. The homesteaders won. The Union Pacific mine was always subject to the freight rates of a competing railroad, the D&RG. Union Pacific Coal Company found it to be more economical to furnish coal from its Wyoming mines rather than from the Scofield mine, subsequently the Union Pacific mine at Scofield was usually operated at a very low rate of production. (Cunningham: Tours, page 9)
The coal seam opened by the Utah Central Coal Company at Scofield was twenty-eight feet thick, and called the Pleasant Valley Seam. On January 1, 1884 the tipple caught fire, burned down, and set the coal in the mine on fire. The original No. 1 opening was permanently closed. In the early spring of 1884 additional property was purchased and another, second, Pleasant Valley No. 1 mine was opened nearby to continue working the Pleasant Valley Seam. W. G. Sharp was superintendent from 1887 to 1892. The coal from the Scofield mine was used by Union Pacific to supply engine coal for its Utah Division. On October 1, 1891, UP applied to the RGW for a reduced rate, from $1.25 to $1.00 per ton, to ship its coal from Scofield to Salt Lake City. RGW declined and UP began getting its Utah Division engine coal from its Rock Springs, Wyoming mine. With that change, the Scofield mine was only "worked to take care of the commercial trade." The demand for commercial coal went down with the "financial panic of 1897", and the mine was closed and sealed. (Union Pacific Coal Company, pp. 124,125)
The Union Pacific Coal Company was incorporated in Utah on November 23, 1891. The corporation was "withdrawn" on May 4, 1944. (Utah corporation, index number 1011)
The Union Pacific Coal Company was incorporated in September 1890. (Union Pacific Coal Company, page 123, "...November 1890, the Coal Company had been incorporated but two months.")
Scofield was more of an agricultural town than a coal town. The earliest settlers in the open part of the valley came in 1879 and 1880 for the grazing for their cattle. By 1882, there were 800 residents. Scofield became a formal, organized town in 1893. The town had wider streets, blocks clearly laid out, and more importantly, room to expand. The pleasant surroundings made the town the preferred settlement in the Pleasant Valley area, and many miners lived in the town and traveled to their mines at Winter Quarters and Clear Creek. In 1924 the large, open hay fields were covered by the waters of the Horseley dam. (Zehnder, pages 8-9)
During 1877 there were six to eight ranches in the open portions of grazing lands near Scofield, with large herds of cattle and horses. (Deseret News, September 5, 1877)
(United States Fuel in its booklet, "Thirty Years of Coal Mining", on page 6, wrongly states that the Union Pacific mine No. 1 and the Winter Quarters mine were both opened in 1884, and abandoned "a few years later".)
The Union Pacific mine remained closed from 1897 to 1907. In 1907 the mine was re-opened and operated until June 1, 1911, when the mine was closed again due to a lack of demand for the coal. (Union Pacific Coal Company, page 125)
Production of the Union Pacific Pleasant Valley mine between 1883 and 1911 was 1,578,778 tons of coal. (Union Pacific Coal Company, page 15)
In early 1907 the Union Pacific mine at Scofield was to be reopened to supply coal to the Oregon Short Line. (Coal Index: Eastern Utah Advocate, February 28, 1907, page 1)
Union Pacific mine was to be reopened in February 1907 after being idle for ten years. (Coal Index: Eastern Utah Advocate, March 7, 1907, page 6)
(The Eastern Utah Advocate in its June 20, 1907 issue, page 7, wrongly states that the Union Pacific mine was formerly the Mud Creek mine and in 1907 was called the Utah Mine.)
In early 1908, the Union Pacific mine was working four to five days per week. (Coal Index: Eastern Utah Advocate, January 30, 1908, page 6)
In February 1908, Union Pacific hired the former mine clerk of the No. 2 mine, Bernard Newren, back from the Utah Fuel Company, and assigned him the task of extinguishing the fire in the original No. 1 mine that started in 1884. Newren later became the superintendent of the Scofield mine, and in 1932 he became the vice president and general manager of the Scofield Coal Company. (Union Pacific Coal Company, page 125)
By March 1908, the Union Pacific mine was producing 400 tons per day. (Coal Index: Eastern Utah Advocate, March 26, 1908, page 8)
By mid 1908, the Union Pacific mine was shipping 1,200 tons per day. (Coal Index: Eastern Utah Advocate, June 11, 1908, page 1)
Production by spring 1909 was reduced to 1,000 tons per day. (Coal Index: Eastern Utah Advocate, April 15, 1909, page 1)
Work was progressing in late October 1908 on reopening of the Union Pacific mine after the fire. Mine opening had been cleared and the opening re-timbered. (Coal Index: Eastern Utah Advocate, October 22, 1908, page 1)
The Union Pacific mine was referred to as the Pleasant Valley mine of the Union Pacific Coal Company in 1910. The mine produced about 278,400 tons in 1909, about half of Sunnyside's 550,600 tons during the same period. The coal veins at the Union Pacific mine varied from fifteen to thirty-six feet, and was badly cut in various directions by faults. The coal mined was not screened, but was shipped as "mine run" for locomotive use on the Harriman system of railroads -- the Union Pacific, the Southern Pacific, the Oregon Short Line, and the Oregon Railway & Navigation Company. Scofield was the only incorporated town of all of the Carbon County coal camps. (Harrington, pp. 20,21)
Demand for coal increased during 1917 due to World War One, but the Union Pacific Coal Company was out of the commercial coal business, concentrating all its facilities on the production of railroad fuel. The result was that the Union Pacific mine was leased to the Scofield Coal Company on May 1, 1917. The Scofield Coal Company was organized by George E. Pexton, O. E. Bradbury, and J. H. Martin, all of Evanston, Wyoming. (Union Pacific Coal Company, page 125)
In 1917 the Union Pacific mine was leased to the Scofield Coal Company, and by 1936 the mine had been abandoned. (Cunningham: Tours, page 9)
Operated as the Kinney Mine from 1920-1926. (Doeling)
Sometime after 1932, because of "excessive taxation", the Scofield mine was abandoned by the Union Pacific Coal Company. The taxes levied on the mine "far exceeding any rental and royalty return." (Union Pacific Coal Company, page 125)
During the 1930s the Union Pacific mine was not being operated and was taken by the county for non-payment of taxes. In 1939 the mine was to be opened soon. (Coal Index: Sun Advocate, September 14, 1939, page 1)
The Union Pacific Mine at Scofield was served by a switchback spur from the Scofield yard. (D&RGW Branch Line Report, 1938)
The fire in the Union Pacific mine had been burning for the last fifty years. (Coal Index: Sun Advocate, December 21, 1939, page 1)
(QUESTION: Was this the same fire that started at the tipple in January 1884?)
By January 1940 the fire had been put out. It had been actively burning for the last five years (and apparently smoldering for the fifty years before that). (Coal Index: Sun Advocate, January 11, 1940, page 1)
May 27, 1942
D&RGW approved the retirement of the spur track that served the "U. P. Mine." (D&RGW AFE T-9412, dated May 27, 1942, courtesy of Jerry Day)
During 1946, Bernard Newman, who had operated the mine for thirty years, wanted to reopen the Union Pacific mine through a new opening. (Coal Index: Sun Advocate, August 29, 1946, page 13)
(RESEARCH: Look in the state mine inspector's records for reports of the Union Pacific mine and continuing fire.)
Monay and Colombine Mines
In 1951, the former Union Pacific mine at Scofield was known as the Monay mine of the Carbon Coal Company. (D&RGW: Traffic Circular 36-E, page 86)
Carbon Coal Company as a corporation was dissolved on April 13, 1953. (Helper Journal, February 5, 1953)
(This Carbon Coal Company, with its mine near Scofield, should not be confused with the Carbon Fuel Company, which operated the former Rains mine in Spring Canyon. The name Carbon Fuel Company was later used for the Hardscrabble mine, in Hardscrabble Canyon.)
Operated as the Monay Mine from 1946-1956. (H. H. Doelling, "Central Utah Coal Fields")
("William Monay, 60, owner and manager of the Monay Coal company with offices in Salt Lake City and a mine at Scofield, Utah, died June 24, 1937 in a Salt Lake City hospital after an operation for peritonitis." -- Coal Age magazine, August 1937, page 388)
The railroad spur had remained in place, with parts of the track structure removed by D&RGW at various times after the last trains were operated in the late 1950s.
"The Kinney mine is located between the Blue Seal and Colombine mines; it operated between 1920 to 1926 producing 687,000 tons of coal probably on the Castlegate "A" bed. The mine was probably reopened as the Monay mine in 1946 and produced an additional 63,000 tons." (H. H. Doelling, "Central Utah Coal Fields")
"The Colombine mine began operations in 1960 and is presently active (1970); it may be the same as the older McAlpine mine or Olsen mine. The McAlpine operated from 1946 to 1960. Sixty-nine thousand tons of production are assigned to the Colombine mine." (H. H. Doelling, "Central Utah Coal Fields")
By September 1953 there was a McAlpine Coal company operating a coal mine near Scofield. It had been the subject of a federal Bureau of Mines inspection. It employed five men and produced 50 tons per day. (Helper Journal, September 24, 1953)
By December 1960, there was a Colombine Coal company operating a coal mine near Scofield. (Helper Journal, December 15, 1960)
The Colombine mine was reopened by Standard Metals Corporation, with an anticipated production of 500 tons per day. A new coal preparation plant was to be built. The new company name was Standard-Colombine Coal Company. (Coal Age magazine, January 1964, page 44)
The last reference in available online newspapers for the Colombine Coal company was in April 1971, which might explain the photo in H. H. Doelling's USGS monograph (published in 1970) showing the mine as the Colombine Mine.
(jump to 2005...)
In December 2005, Carbon Resources, LLC, was granted permission to begin exploring for coal in the area near Scofield. The permitting process was begun in February 2008 to develop the resources of what was known as the Kinney No. 2 mine, located on 448 acres either at the same location, or immediately adjacent to the location of the original UP Mine. Known as Utah Oil Gas & Mining permit area no. C0070047. The development was proceeding by Carbon Resources LLC of New Mexico.
As of August 2012, exploration activity by the Kinney project was inactive.
(Also Known As The Mudd Creek Mine)
(Watts: First Mine, page 35, says that the Utah Mine was owned by the Utah Fuel Company.)
The first large mine in the Carbon County (or what, after 1894, would become Carbon County), was the Mud Creek Mine in Pleasant Valley, opened in 1878. The Mud Creek mine was located three miles south of Scofield and the same mine was later owned by the Pleasant Valley Coal Company as the Utah Mine. (United States Fuel: Thirty Years, page 6)
The Mud Creek mine was developed in 1880 by the Pleasant Valley Coal Company. That same coal company also owned the Winter Quarters mine, but the Winter Quarters mine was leased to other operators. (Watts: First Mine, page 38)
In 1885 the Pleasant Valley Coal Company, under the new management of W. G. Sharp, shut down the Mud Creek mine. At the same time the company took over the operation of the Winter Quarters mine. (Watts: First Mine, page 38)
The Mud Creek mine, renamed the Utah Mine in 1907, was first opened "twenty years ago" (in 1887) but never developed. During spring of 1907, Utah Fuel was about to re-open the mine. (Coal Index: Eastern Utah Advocate, April 25, 1907, page 6)
By June 1907 rails and ties were being re-laid to the mine. (Coal Index: Eastern Utah Advocate, June 6, 1907, page 7)
By October 1907 the Utah Mine was producing fifty tons per day. (Coal Index: Eastern Utah Advocate, October 3, 1907, page 3)
(The Eastern Utah Advocate in its June 20, 1907 issue, page 7, states that the Union Pacific mine was formerly the Mud Creek mine and in 1907 was called the Utah Mine.)
During 1914 the Utah mine of Utah Fuel Company produced 86,000 tons of coal, one-third to one-fourth of the totals for Utah Fuel's other three mines, Castle Gate, Winter Quarters, and Clear Creek, and one-ninth that of the Sunnyside mine. (Gibbs, page 62)
The following comes from the Skyline Mine files at the Utah Division of Oil Gas and Mining; Permit C0070005:
- Skyline No. 1 development began in June 1980 and production began in June 1982.
- Skyline No. 2 development began in 1992 and production began in (??). It was idled in May 2004, and reactivated in January 2005.
- Skyline No. 3 development began in June 1980 and production began in October 1981. Formal dedication and opening took place of December 11, 1981.
The three Skyline mines are located in Eccles Canyon, 2.8 miles south of Scofield, then 2.7 miles up the canyon. A conveyor belt parallels the road in the canyon from the mine to the railroad loadout at the mouth of Eccles Canyon.
Coastal States, 1978
In August 1978 Coastal States Energy Company acquired about 6,400 acres in federal coal leases, known as the McKinnon property, from Energy Fuels Corporation and Routt County Development. Production was expected to begin in 1982. (Provo Daily Herald, August 10, 1978, page 17)
Coastal States Energy Company was a subsidiary of Coastal States Gas Corporation. In March 1979 Coastal States signed an agreement with Getty Oil Company in a joint venture to develop two coal mines, on 6,400 acres near Scofield. The property was to be operated by Coastal's subsidiary company, Utah Fuel Company, with the mine being known as the Skyline mine. (Salt Lake Tribune, March 18, 1979)
June 24, 1980
The Skyline Coal Project of Coastal States Energy Company and Getty Mineral Resources had its official beginning, when its underground mining permit was signed. It was the first underground mining permit released under the Surface Mining Control & Reclamation Act of 1977. Construction of the mine was to begin immediately. (Deseret News, June 25, 1980)
August 5, 1981
Torkelson-Kellog of Salt Lake City was awarded the contract to construct the the coal storage facility and unit train loadout for the Skyline mine. The initial capacity was to be to store 30,000 tons of coal, and to load 5,000 tons per hour. (Sun-Advocate, August 5, 1981)
November 18, 1981
L-E Loudermilk of Helper, Utah, was awarded the contract by the Utah Department of Transportation to build 2.4 miles of new paved county road in Eccles Canyon, to connect with the developing Skyline coal mine. (Sun-Advocate, November 18, 1981)
"Coastal States Energy Company opened its lower mine, Skyline No. 3, in the fall of 1981." (Utah Mineral Industry Activity Review 1981-1982, published by Utah Geological and Mineral Survey, Circular 72, May 1984, page 13)
December 11, 1981
The first of three coal mines in the Skyline complex was formally opened and dedicated, with a public open house, on December 11, 1981, a Friday. (Emery County Progress, December 16, 1981)
Coastal States' Skyline No. 1 and No. 2 mines were reported to be one of several sources for coal being shipped to the Intermountain Power Project coal-fired generating plant near Delta. (IPA news release, dated July 2, 1985)
Coal Age magazine reported, in error, that Cyprus Plateau was about to buy a 50 percent interest in the Skyline mine: "Cyprus Minerals, of Denver, formerly Amoco Minerals, was recently spun off recently as a separate company by Amoco shareholders. Cyprus is buying two western coal properties from Texaco. Texaco acquired the properties it was selling in its 1984 $10.1-billion takeover of Getty Oil. Cyprus is acquiring the Plateau underground mine near Price, Utah, and 50% interest in the Skyline underground mine near Scofield, Utah." (Coal Age, Volume 90, Number 8, August 1985, page 27)
(The above news item from Coal Age was in error; Cyprus Plateau did *not* buy an interest in the Skyline mine.)
June 22, 1992
Coastal States received approval to construct its new conveyor system between its Skyline mine and the rail car loadout at the mouth of Eccles Canyon. The conveyor system included a ground clearance of 10 feet to allow unimpeded passage of elk. (Salt Lake Tribune, July 6, 1992)
July 28, 1993
After ten months of construction, the conveyor system from the Skyline mine to the rail loadout went into operation. (Gunnison Valley News, July 28, 1993)
In July 1993 Coastal States bought the Soldier Creek coal mine, northeast of price, Utah, from a subsidiary of Sun Oil Company.
Canyon Fuel and Arco Coal, 1996
Coastal States Energy Company sold its coal mining properties in Utah to Canyon Fuel Company, a new company owned jointly by Arco Coal (65%) and Itochu of Japan (35%).
December 20, 1996
Canyon Fuel Company, a new company owned jointly by Arco Coal (65%) and Itochu of Japan (35%), was the result of the merger of Coastal States Energy Company with four coal mining companies in Utah, including Soldier Creek Coal Company; Sage Point Coal Company; Southern Utah Fuel Company; Skyline Coal Company; along with Coastal Development Company, and Utah Fuel Company. (Utah Division of Oil Gas and Mining, Permit C0070039; Dugout Canyon Mine)
"Effective December 20, 1996, Canyon Fuel Company, LLC was formed as a joint venture between ARCO Uinta Coal Company (65% ownership) and ITOCHU Coal International Inc. (35% ownership) for the purpose of acquiring certain Utah coal operations and an approximate 9% interest in Los Angeles Export Terminal, Inc. from Coastal Coal, Inc. and The Coastal Corporation. Effective June 1, 1998, ARCO Uinta Coal Company's ownership of the Company was acquired by Arch Western Resources, LLC." (Arch Coal, Inc., SEC Form 10K, dated March 2, 1999)
(Read more about the Sufco mine) (Includes brief histories of Arch Coal and Arco Coal)
Canyon Fuel and Arch Coal, 1998
March 23, 1998
Atlantic Richfield announced that it would sell its coal mining operations in Utah and Colorado to Arch Coal, Inc., for a reported $1.14 billion, making Arch the second largest coal mine operator in the nation, selling 110 million tons of coal per year, about 10 percent of the nation's total. (Deseret News, March 23, 1998)
August 31, 2001
Skyline Mine, Utah -- Coal miners in Utah's Skyline mine near Scofield have been working seven days a week since August 16th to contain flooding in the mine. Miners struck a large sandstone formation saturated like a "rock sponge" pouring 4,700 gallons of water per minute into the mine. All mining operations have been suspended while 234 miners work to move mining equipment to higher ground and set up electric pumps to redirect the deluge. The company has purchased 53,000 feet of 12-inch pipe at a cost of $13 per foot and dozens of pumps at a cost of $6 million. Some of the water has been diverted into nearby Eccles creek which drains into Scofield Reservoir. Overworked crews are weary of working around the clock, and it appears they will need to work through Labor Day weekend. (Salt Lake Tribune, August 31, 2001)
Canyon Fuel Company, announced that it would close its Skyline mine by the summer of 2004, due to low coal prices and insufficient markets. The Skyline mine had produced about 3.5 million tons during 2002. Canyon Fuel Company was a subsidiary of Arch Coal (65 percent) and Itochu Corporation of Japan (35 percent). (Salt Lake Tribune, May 28, 2003)
Arch Coal closed its Skyline coal mine due to low coal prices. (Seattle Times, November 17, 2005, "two years ago")
July 15, 2004
"Arch Coal, Inc. announced today that it has signed a definitive agreement to acquire Itochu Corporation's 35% interest in Canyon Fuel Company, LLC for a contract price of $112 million. With the completion of this transaction, Canyon Fuel will become a wholly owned subsidiary of Arch Coal." "Canyon Fuel owns and operates two longwall mines in Utah - Sufco in Sevier County and Dugout Canyon in Carbon County. In addition, the company owns the currently idle Skyline mine, which also is located in Carbon County. In total, Canyon Fuel controls approximately 161 million tons of high-quality, low-sulfur coal reserves in Utah. In 2003, Canyon Fuel produced approximately 13.0 million tons of coal." (Arch Coal, Inc., press release dated July 15, 2004, "today")
"The Skyline mine in Carbon County was forced to close midway through 2004 when it was inundated with water percolating through the Wasatch Plateau." The mine was reopened in February 2005. (Salt Lake Tribune, October 7, 2006)
November 17, 2005
Arch Coal announced that it would re-open its Skyline coal mine, after it had been closed "two years ago." (Seattle Times, November 17, 2005)
Bowie Resource Partners, 2013
August 16, 2013
Bowie Resource Holdings completed its purchase of 100 percent interest of Canyon Fuel Company, a subsidiary of Arch Coal Company. The purchase included the Soldier Canyon mine, along with the Dugout Canyon mine, the Banning loadout, the Sufco mine, and the Gordon Creek mines (previously owned by Mountain Coal Company). The purchase agreement was first signed on June 27, 2013.
August 19, 2013
"Arch Coal, Inc. today announced that it has completed the sale of its subsidiary, Canyon Fuel Company, LLC to Bowie Resources, LLC for $423 million in cash. The sale includes the Sufco and Skyline longwall mines, the Dugout Canyon continuous miner operation and approximately 105 million tons of bituminous coal reserves, all located in Utah." (Arch Coal, Inc., press release dated August 19, 2013, "today")
"The Skyline loadout is located just south of the road up Eccles Canyon." (Wess Sorensen, General Manager, Canyon Fuel Co., Bowie Resource Partners, email dated November 19, 2013)
Wolverine Fuels, 2018
The following comes from the November 8, 2018 issue of the Sanpete Messenger newspaper:
Bowie appointed a new chief executive officer, and last month it announced it would change its name to Wolverine Fuels, LLC and move its headquarters from Grand Junction, Colo. to Sandy.
Newly appointed Wolverine Fuels CEO James Grech said, "This move will allow the executive team to be closer to our mines, our workforce and our customers."
In regards to the name and location, Grech said, "In conjunction with the recent management changes and recapitalization of the company, we wanted to offer our employees a fresh start and new identity with the name change. Our workforce is tough and resilient, very much like a wolverine, so we think our new namesake will resonate very well with our employees and the communities in which we operate."
Clear Creek Mine
(The incorporation papers for the Carbon County Railway of 1899, Utah corporation number 2749, shows as its route "from main of Rio Grande Western at or near Scofield Station, south to Clear Creek (ex Mud Creek)".
The Clear Creek Mine at the head of Pleasant Valley was opened in 1899. (United States Fuel: Thirty Years, page 6)
June 19, 1899
Mud Creek changed to Clear Creek. "Change Station Names -- Mud Creek Becomes Clear Creek and Latter is Tucker -- Several changes will soon be made in the names of stations on the Rio Grande Western. Clear Creek will bear the name Tucker and Mud Creek will be changed to Clear Creek. The Sunnyside station on the main line will be abolished and Mounds will be the main station in the neighborhood. The name Sunnyside will be given to the terminus of the new line in Whitmore canyon." (Salt Lake Tribune, June 19, 1899)
October 1, 1899
RGW has completed the extension from Scofield to Clear Creek, ""which point was reached yesterday." (Salt Lake Tribune, October 1, 1899)
Clear Creek was first a logging camp, built to supply timbers for the Winter Quarters mine. A coal seam was discovered and a mine was developed. (Zehnder, page 6)
The Carbon County Railway (of 1899), in addition to its line from Mounds to Sunnyside in the eastern part of the county, also built the present six-mile D&RGW branch south from Scofield to the Clear Creek Mine of the Utah Fuel Company. (Utah corporation, index number 2749, projected to be seven miles long.)
During late 1901 the Clear Creek mine used twenty Clydesdale horses to move the mined coal from the extreme interiors to the mine opening. Most other camps used mules for this work. The Clear Creek mine was the highest of all of Utah's coal mines, at an elevation of 8,200 feet. (Higgins: Industries, page 19)
March 28, 1908
The mines at Clear Creek and Winter Quarters were producing about 2,000 tons per day, working three days per week. (Coal Index: Eastern Utah Advocate, March 26, 1908, page 8)
The number of miners working at the Clear Creek mine reached its peak of 450 in 1908. (Madsen, page 33)
Production in 1908 was 2,000 tons per day. (Zehnder, page 6)
April 15, 1909
The Clear Creek and Winter Quarters mines were producing 1,800 tons per day. (Coal Index: Eastern Utah Advocate, April 15, 1909, page 1)
In 1909 the Clear Creek mine ranked second only to Sunnyside in its production. The coal was remarkably clean and hard and was known as the premier domestic coal at the time. (Harrington, page 22)
June 11, 1914
The Clear Creek mine and the Winter Quarters mine planned to increase the production to four days per week. The Sunnyside mine had never been lower than six days per week. (Coal Index: Eastern Utah Advocate, June 11, 1914, page 2)
Mechanical mining came to the Clear Creek mine in 1912, with the associated increase in production. (Zehnder, page 6)
September 15, 1914
Utah Fuel constructed a new opening for the Clear Creek mine in late 1914, east of the original 1899 opening. Two new tunnels were being driven and were 2,000 feet long by mid September. (Salt Lake Mining Review, September 15, 1914, page 24)
The new tunnels for the Clear Creek mine were driven at a rate of 303 feet per month, and by late 1914 had struck a virgin area of coal in the same Clear Creek coal vein across a faulted zone from the earlier opening. (Gibbs, page 62)
March 20, 1925
The Clear Creek and Winter Quarters mines were leased to the Littlejohn Brothers and Bishop T. J. Parmley to keep them open. (Coal Index: The Sun, March 20, 1925, page 1)
Utah Fuel completed a new steel tipple at Clear Creek, equipped with shaker screens and loading booms. The new tipple had a daily capacity of 1,500 tons. "A feature of the design is a rescreening plant to treat minus 3-in. coal on high-speed shakers." (Coal Age magazine, November 1930, page 689)
By 1931, production at the Clear Creek mine had been reduced, although production per man had been increased by "the inauguration of better facilities." (Madsen, page 31)
Production at Clear Creek was reduced to just 5,000 tons for the entire month of December 1931. By the mid 1950s the mine was shut down. (Zehnder, page 6)
(The underground mining methods of the Utah Fuel company's Clear Creek mine were the subject of a two-page article in Coal Age magazine, September 1944. The article included a few photos of the underground operations, and a diagram of the mine workings.)
The Clear Creek mine was included with other Utah Fuel Company mines when Utah Fuel was sold to Kaiser Steel in 1950.
Kaiser sold Utah Fuel Company to Independent Coal and Coke in December 1951.
Independent Coal and Coke sold the Utah Fuel mines to North American Coal Company in 1968.
Valley Camp of Utah (later White Oak)
Development work on the Belina No. 1 mine by Valley Camp of Utah, began in September 1975. The mine complex was located in Boarding House canyon, about two miles west of Clear Creek, and about 2.4 miles south of Eccles canyon, where the Skyline loadout is located. The Belina mine was in what was known as the O'Connor block of the McKinnon Lease. The adjacent Connelsville Block of the same McKinnon Lease was north of the O'Connor block and was developed by Coastal States Energy as the Skyline mine. Operation of the Belina No. 1 mine began in 1979, with full production starting in 1981. Valley Camp's Belina No. 2 mine was opened in 1982.
The mines and loadout were operated by Valley Camp of Utah, Inc., a subsidiary of Valley Camp Coal Company, itself a subsidiary of Quaker State Corporation. Valley Camp Coal Company also had coal mines in the Wheeling and Moundsville areas of West Virginia's panhandle, and in the the Charleston area. (Quaker State SEC Form 10-K, fiscal year ending December 31, 1993, dated March 23, 1994; Pittsburgh-Post Gazette, June 21, 1979)
The first seam of the new Belina No. 1 mine was to be mined by the fall of 1976, the second seam in the fall of 1977.
June 27, 1973
"Valley Camp completes coal purchase -- The Valley Camp Coal Company completed its purchase of the Utah properties formerly owned by The North American Coal Corporation on June 27. It was announced by Herbert S. Richey, president of Valley Camp, the properties are located near Castle Gate, Clear Creek and Kenilworth and consist of coal reserves and mines which have been inactive for the past year." (Helper Journal, July 5, 1973)
Construction of the Valley Camp mine began in May, with three employees and a supervisor. Two shifts of miners would be needed when mining started in July. (Helper Journal, June 13, 1974)
December 17, 1975
Valley Camp announced plans for a second mine, to be located close to its existing mine. The new mine was to produce one million tons of coal per year when full capacity was reached in August 1977. A new rail car loading facility was also to be constructed. Work was to begin in June 1976, with production to be started in October 1976. (Helper Journal, December 17, 1975)
January 28, 1976
"Kanawha and Hocking Coal and Coke Company, a West Virginia corporation and a wholly owned subsidiary of Valley Camp Coal Company, has applied for a competitive lease sale of 160 acres of federal coal land." "The surface is in private ownership. The tracts are proposed to be mined through Valley Camp's Utah #2 mine. The mining is underground and no new surface facilities are planned." (Helper Journal, January 28, 1976)
Valley Camp Coal Co. completed a rail car loading facility at its Utah No. 2 mine, replacing a more expensive truck haulage system. By April 1976, the mine had reached an annual production of 500,000 tons. (Salt Lake Tribune, April 20, 1976)
March 3, 1976
Valley Camp of Utah, Inc., applied for a coal mining permit for Belina Mine No. 1, using the room and pillar method, using continuous mining sections with shuttle cars and conveyor belt haulage. Elevation was 9,032 feet, and the coal would be taken from the O'Connor Upper Seam, which was 14.5 feet thick. (Documents on file with Utah Division of Oil, Gas and Mining, Coal File 0070001)
March 3, 1976
The following comes from the March 3, 1976 issue of the Salt Lake Tribune newspaper:
Coal Firm Launches 'Unit Train' Move -- Price -- Valley Camp Coal Co. has started modified "unit train" shipments of coal from its properties south of here to Nevada Power Co. power plant at Moapa, Nev. About 4,000 to 5,000 tons of coal are to be shipped twice weekly in 40 to 50 carload groups, according to Roger Markle, president of the Western Division of the Cleveland-based Valley Camp.
Unit trains usually make large deliveries of 100,000 tons or more in cars exclusively committed to the particular cycle. The cars in this schedule, however, do not necessarily return to Valley Camp for additional loads. However, the cars are filled "on the move" by a unit train loader system which Valley Camp recently built at the site.
Valley Camp bought the Scofield and Clear Creek Reserves of North American Coal Co. in 1973, and began production from underground mines in 1974.
The Denver & Rio Grande Railroad operates the train as far as Provo. Union Pacific is the operator between Provo and Moapa.
The loadout was known by the D&RGW railroad as Val-Cam, and was located north of the town of Clear Creek. Railroad service was provided during the 1970s, including the shipment of coal to UP&L's Gadsby plant in Salt Lake City, and to the Reid Gardner Plant at Moapa, Nevada.
"In spring of 1981, Valley Camp Coal Company, a subsidiary of Quaker State Oil Company, opened the Belina mine No. 1." (Utah Mineral Industry Activity Review 1981-1982, published by Utah Geological and Mineral Survey, Circular 72, May 1984, page 11)
"Valley Camp of Utah, Inc., laid off 30 percent of its work force (101 mine workers and office personnel) at its mine near Scofield, following termination of its lease with a Japanese company." (Utah Mineral Industry Activity Review 1981-1982, published by Utah Geological and Mineral Survey, Circular 72, May 1984, page 14)
In March 1989, Valley Camp placed its mine in Utah on standby status following an out-of-court settlement with Utah Power & Light, concerning coal shipments to UP&L's Carbon Generating Plant north of Price, Utah. Valley Camp was charging $40 per ton of coal, which UP&L thought was much too high, compared to coal from its own Deer Creek, Wilberg, and Cottonwood mines, which was priced at $21 per ton. The contract between Valley Camp and UP&L was what was called "take or pay," meaning that UP&L could not take the coal, but was still liable to pay for it. The settlement was for the fee that UP&L paid to terminate the contract, which called for the delivery of 450,000 tons per year. The result was that UP&L was free to obtain its coal from other sources, but also that the Valley Camp was shut down due to lack of coal shipments. (Deseret News, March 15, 1989)
The Valley Camp mine was idle until July 1989 when a contract was completed between Valley Camp and Intermountain Power Agency to furnish 450,000 tons for the one-year period starting July 1, 1989. (Deseret News, July 7, 1989)
On June 30, 1992, Valley Camp's Belina No. 1 mine was placed on standby status pending new contracts. Since 1989, Valley Camp of Utah had produced an average of 544,000 tons per year, which was 17 percent of the national total of 3.2 million tons per year for its parent company, Valley Camp Coal Company, a subsidiary of Quaker State Corporation. (Valley Camp news release dated July 2, 1992)
November 17, 1992
Quaker State announced that it would sell its interest in Valley Camp of Utah and its Belina mine. (New York Times, November 18, 1992, "yesterday")
White Oak, 1993
On September 13, 1993, the Belina mines were sold to White Oak Mining & Construction Co. for $3,175,000. (Quaker State SEC Form 10-K, fiscal year ending December 31, 1993, dated March 23, 1994)
In November 1992, Quaker State announced that it would sell the Valley Camp mine, the last of the coal mining properties owned by the oil company. The mines were transferred to White Oak Mining & Construction Co., Inc. in 1994.
On January 1, 1995, White Oak signed a ten-year contract with Tennessee Valley Authority to furnish 1.5 million tons per year to TVA's Allen Plant near Memphis, Tennessee. Although there had been numerous cases of spot-market sales, this was the first time in ten years that Utah coal had started to flow to electric utilities in the East on a long term basis. A similar ten-year was also signed between TVA and Genwal to furnish 500,000 tons per year. (Utah Coal Report, 1995, page 24)
In July 1999, Loadstar Energy, Inc., part of the Renco Group, purchased the White Oak mine, and the Horizon mine of Horizon Coal Corporation, in Gordon Creek Canyon. (Energy, Mineral, and Ground-water Resources of Carbon and Emery Counties, Utah, Utah Geological Survey Bulletin 132, 2003, page 48)
July 16, 1999
Lodestar Energy, Inc., acquired the assets of White Oak Mining and Construction company, including the White Oak coal mine, which had been idle since the second quarter of 1999. At the same time Lodestar acquired the Horizon mine in Gordon Creek canyon. (Lodestar Energy press release dated July 19, 1999)
Mining was done with two radio control continuous mining machines, and average production was 5000 tons per day.
White Oak No. 1 and No. 2 were closed in 2001 after the mine's coal reserves had been exhausted. The surface coal was shipped out beginning in October 2001, and continued through February 2003, when the entire mining complex was closed.
Lodestar Energy declared bankruptcy in 2001. Work by the bankruptcy trustee to stabilize the site of the mining complex began in the fall of 2003. Lodestar Energy, Inc. settled with the State of Utah for the costs of reclamation in August 2004. Reclamation work started in late 2004, and was completed in November 2005. Additional reclamation work started in 2010.
"The Valley Camp Loadout was several miles to the north of the existing Skyline loadout. It is just east opposite of the Alpine School District Camp (green roofed buildings). You should be able to see it in Google Earth. You can see where the switch and loading track splits off to the west parallel to the main line track. Note the old cuts that have been reclaimed on the hillside to the east of the tracks." (Wess Sorensen, General Manager, Canyon Fuel Co., Bowie Resource Partners, email dated November 19, 2013)
Other Pleasant Valley Coal Mines
In December 1899 Utah Coal & Coke Company sold part of its property in Sections 10 and 11, T12S, R7E, near Hale, the future site of the Scofield dam, to the Peoples Coal Company. (Carbon County Miscellaneous Book 3, page 368) (This sale shows that Utah Coal & Coke was an active company in 1899, and may have been the predecessor to Utah Fuel.)
The first railroad into Pleasant Valley was the Utah & Pleasant Valley Railway, completed in November 1879, replacing a wagon road completed in 1876. D&RGW bought the Utah & Pleasant Valley line in 1881, and in 1882, completed a new route that entered the valley from the east, rather than over the ridge, the route completed by the U&PV. This new route, completed in November 1882, the new line became D&RGW's Pleasant Valley Branch, and remains in service today (2013) as Union Pacific's Pleasant Valley Branch.
Utah & Pleasant Valley Railway 1875-1881 -- Information about the narrow gauge line built between Springville and the coal mines at Winter Quarters, by way of Spanish Fork Canyon; sold to D&RGW in 1882.
Doeling, "Central Utah Coal Fields"