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Clear Creek
Clear Creek

Downtown Clear Creek

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Clear Creek, mile post 21.1 on the Pleasent Valley Sub. The track is not in real good shape from here to Skyline. Clear Creek is situated six miles south of Scofield in a little valley which is surrounded by mountains on the east, west, and south, with an altitude of 8,300 feet. The valley slopes toward the northeast and the road leading from the camp follows the natural course of the canyon. This has been improved but few changes have been made from the original route.

In the autumn of 1898, C.K. Jensen and Neils Sanburg, both Americans, came to Clear Creek, which was then known as Mud Creek, to get timber for Mr. Kimball of Scofield, and also for the Pleasant Valley Coal Company which was later known as the Utah Fuel Company.

In 1899 the Utah Fuel Company opened a mine, after considerable prospecting. Other early settlers were Mr. Harskinen, John Erkila, Finns, who came in 1899; Jimmie Mancuzi, Italian, came in 1901, and John Cunningham and Charles Snedden, both Scotch, who came to work immediately after the Winter Quarter's Mine explosion in 1900. David Gordon, Scotch, left his work at railroading and came to Clear Creek in 1901.

At the opening of the mine the upper part of the valley was called Clear Creek because of the clear, sparkling stream of water which flowed through the valley. Those men were employed in the mining industry and experienced the inconvenience of living in tents until houses were built. All of the houses erected were of wood, lined with compo board.

The growth of the camp was rapid due to the great demand for high grade coal. Liberal wages and regular hours were inducements to the ever increasing population. It is interesting to note that when the camp was flourishing, a regular branch of the D&RG operated through there and trains came to Clear Creek twice daily, morning and evening. Few automobiles were owned so this service facilitated travel. At times the snow was four or five feet deep on the level and for weeks at a time remained thus. No one seemed to be dissatisfied as long as the railroad could be kept open. When the railroad became blocked with snow, the men could not work so all the mine employees worked for the railroad company helping clear the tracks.

Another factor which contributed to the rapid growth of the camp was excellent location of the mine. The coal vein occurred at tipple height above the bottom of the canyon eliminating outside haulage which necessitates the tramway to get the coal from the mine to the railroad cars. Another advantage that this mine had was good water for domestic and steam purposes.

As this mine was opened before electric power was brought to the coal fields by the Utah Power & Light Company, available water for steam purposes was an asset of considerable importance. then too, an abundance of timber which covered the adjacent mountains, was suitable for timbering the mine and supplying the demand of the saw mill which shipped lumber to Castle Gate and Sunnyside.

At the mine it was below creek level, and there was a large quantity of water which had to be pumped out, naturally a great disadvantage. The discharge pipe from the mine used for conveying the water to the surface was twelve inches in diameter. This gives an idea of the volume of water which had to be pumped from the mine. When the mine was first opened for work the coal was so near the entrance that the men could walk out for lunch. Horses pulled the coal cars out of the mine to the tipple.

For a number of years the coal from this mine was sold as "Run-of the-mine" meaning that the entire produce can be sold without screening and no waste of slack. The first contract was with the Southern Pacific Railroad at Ogden and called for 2000 tons per day. At that time it was considered the cheapest coal in the state due to the advantages mentioned, which curtailed the expense of production.

In 1908 there were about 450 men employed with an approximate production of 2,000 tons of coal per day. Until 1912 when machine cutters were installed the pick played an important part in the day's work. With the adoption of modern methods, further developments continued until there were about 200 rooms. The out put of coal for October 1903, was 44,513 tons, however this was not the peak of production as the period between 1917 and 1920 shows a much greater population, and in all probability the mine was employing more men.

The out-put for the month of December 1931, was 5000 tons while statistics for 1930 show a population of 256 giving evidence of a decided decline in prosperity. The coal is now sold on the domestic market in competition with all other coals. There is a long underground haulage and many conditions have changed since former times.

The camp was never incorporated and the only officers were Mr. Hampton, Justice of Peace, and Tom Marsh, Constable. Due to the isolation of the camp and the heavy snows in the winter, the amusements consisted mostly of winter sports and dances twice a week. A home dramatic troupe was organized which furnished many a good laugh; a man by the name of Uncle Bert Martin brought a picture to camp once a week; and the Walter's Theatrical Troupe included Clear Creek in its semi-annual circuit. The nationalities represented were Irish, Scotch, Welsh, Italian, Finn, Japanese and American.

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Last Update 07/22/01

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