Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Hunting for Winter Quarters, Utah

My husband and I flew to Salt Lake City to visit relatives and planned to visit the "ghost towns" where my great uncle and great aunt and family lived between 1913 and 1924 or so. These have such charming names as Tucker, Gilluly, Soldier Summit, Castle Gate, Helper, Rains and Winter Quarters. I have a drawing of part of Tucker done by my great-grandmother and she waited for the birth of her first grand-daughter Margaret. The drawing shows the house, cellar, nearby church, hills, railroad and creek and I had had such hopes of being able to find a foundation or two and perhaps match up the drawing with the terrain. Alas, what is left of Tucker is now buried under a vastly improved road. We didn't have time to find the little cemetery that is supposed to be on the hill on the other side of the highway, but sometime hope to see if there is a little headstone for a cousin Ruby who was either stillborn or only lived a short while. So, Tucker was buried, Gilluly was only a sign along the highway with not so much as a hole in the ground to give perspective. Soldier Summit still survives with a gas station and a few houses, no longer the bustling train center it once was. We chatted with a local man who remembered Tucker and who said that the drawing looked very much like what he remembered. He told us about the museum at Helper and there we learned about the fact that all the houses at Castle Gate had been moved to land on the outskirts of Helper. So perhaps the homes of my relatives are now there, but there is no way to know which house might have been which. Castle Gate is now the coal source it was then, but fires an electric plant to keep us all warm, fed and on line with all our gadgets. I don't imagine Dora and George would recognize it now. Our last attempt, late in the day, was to find our way to Winter Quarters. Rains is now on private property and for all intents and purposes is not easily found. But we had hopes for Winter Quarters. We drove to Scofield, but then couldn't seem to find the road that was supposed to lead to Winter Quarters. As we were leaving later we saw a gas station, but by then it was too late. While there we didn't see anyone outside, driving around or otherwise available to ask for directions. So we gave up and headed back to Salt Lake. Over all it was a fun day, somewhat disappointing, but the autumn colors were spectacular and well worth the trip in and of themselves. Later, at my second cousins house, we discovered a few photos of Winter Quarters. So while we didn't make it there this time, we have these old photos to share. This photo says that it is George Sherwood, Homer Lidell and Neil Carswell, Trackman. This was taken in December of 1920. The middle man looks like George, I'm guessing that Homer is on the left and Neil on the right. But am open to being corrected about that. The photo of the saloon at the top of this entry has instructions on the back. We are NOT to hyphenate Frank's last name because if you do it "sounds like something naughty."