Situated 4.7 miles east of Helper, Kenilworth boasts a spectacular view looking out over the valleys and mountains to the west. The Kenilworth mining camp was known as one of the most attractive camps in Carbon County.
In the early spring of 1904, Heber J. Stowell, a resident of Spring Glen was hunting horses in the mountains northeast of his home when he saw the large veins of outcropping coal. Stowell showed samples of this coal to W.H. Lawley, of Price, who was favorably impressed, and in 1905 these two men began prospecting. Money was scarce and the prospecting difficult until James Wade of Price and Fred Sweet of Salt Lake City became interested and financed the enterprise.
The first development work was done by Lawley and Stowell in Bull Hollow, on the northeast side of the mountains. This proved too difficult, so entry was made on the south side of the mountains where live coal was found on the surface. The south entrance was about halfway up the mountainside, making a sloping entrance to the mine. A very steep tramway led from the tunnel down the fill on the outside. The inside rails on the tramway were gauged 30 inches apart. Miners had wooden shoes or sleds made to fit over the rails, enabling them to travel quickly down the mountainside. Some interesting stories are told about this steep incline. Many of the men, coming home from work would sit on a sled, a shovel or a board placed on the rails, and after a flying ride would reach the bottom of the mountain.
As the work progressed, a track was laid between the new mine and the D. & R. G. Western Railroad at Helper, a distance of three miles. With completion of the line, coal was shipped out for market. The company soon became know as the "Independent" because it was the first independent coal company in the county of Carbon. An interesting reference of old world history featured in the selection of a name for the new camp. Three peaks rising above the camp reminded the prospectors of the three spires of the Kenilworth Castle in Scotland, so they named the new town "Kenilworth".
In 1926, a new and more convenient railroad from Helper to the mine, was constructed to replace the one which passed through the main part of town, and which eliminated the dangers of the old steep grade. To make trackage conditions better and to accommodate a growing market, the second tipple was built in 1927, and a third one built in 1931. The latter tipple was know as the largest coal mining tipple west of the Mississippi River. On busy days all the tipples are kept busy loading railroad cars for shipment.
By the early 1960s, it became much easier to mine Kenilworth coal from Castle Gate's side of the mountain. Kenilworth mine was eventually closed and the company sold the houses to private individuals.
One of the few original company towns, Kenilworth has since become a private residential community. Gone are the railroad, mine, tipple and other coal operation buildings. The mountain has been reclaimed.
Last Update 07/22/01
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