The valley was called Pleasant Valley. A few early pioneers had built cabins along the valley floor and grazed their cattle here. It was pleasant and peaceful until about 1875 when coal was discovered. When reports of this reached the settlers of Fairview, Sanpete County a Welsh coal miner led a group of twelve men and one woman up and over the mountain into Carbon County. They built a road, opened a small mine and began hauling coal to the settlements in Sanpete County. Their camp was pitched in Lettle Gulch.
In 1875, George Matson, Phil Beard and John Nelson of Springville started taking the first coal from a five foot vein. The coal was loaded in sacks, placed on mules and taken down the mountain to waiting wagons. Coal claim owners Milan Packard and Myron Crandall drove the wagons to Springville.
During the winter of 1875-76, John Nelson and Abram Taylor wintered at the mine site, holding the claims for the the owners. The area was subsequently dubbed Winter Quarters. The name was reinforced by Sanpete coal miners who leased the site from Pleasant Valley Coal Company and were stranded there during the winter of 1877-1878. Winter had came early and they were stranded in the mountains that first winter. They almost froze to death.
Several groups of miners from Sanpete County soon established claims to these deposits. The coal had to be hauled by horse and wagon over a 9300 foot mountain or down the natural course of the canyon to Soldier Summit and on down the Spanish Fork Canyon also by horse and wagon. By 1877 hundreds of miners came and a town was built. It became Utah's first commercial underground operation and coal town. The mine operated from 1875 to 1928.
Though the need for coal was great there was little profit to be made. Wagons pulled by two and four horse teams came from Springville for the coal the round trip took four days and sold for $4.00 to $5.00 per ton. There was now a great need to find a way to get a better way to market.
In spring, 1876, Pleasant Valley Coal Company was incorporated, with Milan Packard as president. Packard formed Pleasant Valley Railroad Company in 1877. Mr. Milan Packard, a freighter and merchant from Springville could see the need for a railway to these newly discovered coalfields. So, he sponsored and financed the building of a narrow gauge railroad from Springville to Pleasant Valley. Before the line was completed, it was renamed the Utah & Pleasant Valley RR.
He was his own contractor and hired many sub-contractors. It was a great undertaking for the amount of money that was available. Merchandise was given from Mr. Packard's store as part of the men's pay. Calico was the prized cotton material used for clothing at that time. Many of the workers took calico as pay, so, it was called the "Calico Railroad." But officially it was named the Utah and Pleasant Valley Railroad. The trains pulled 12 five ton cars.
Last Update 01/30/01
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