About seventy years ago, Spring Canyon, located just off of US Route 6 near Helper, Utah, was alive with activity. Heavy steam locomotives brought thousands of tons of coal out of the canyon on a daily basis and six mining camps were bustling with activity. The canyon was the picture of modernism; high-tech mining methods were used to extract the coal from the seams in the mountains. The mining towns also had many modern amenities such as asphalt roadways, electricity, and underground plumbing and watering systems. Over 4,000 people called the canyon home.
Just ten years after the end of the war, as alternative energy sources were explored, the need for coal decreased drastically. Most of the mines by this time had been exhausted and closed down, but a few of the larger mines continued small scale production into the 1960s. These mines were ultimately shut down because they became too large to safely maintain and were closed down after the passing of the Federal Coal Mine Health and Safety Act of 1969.
Today, Spring Canyon has become a shell of its former self. Though the sands of time have begun to reclaim the mining camps and mines, dozens of ruins and abandoned mines line the canyon walls for several miles. My second official photo series (the first one being my Intermountain Indian School series [check that out if you haven't already]) is dedicated to the history of this canyon. By publishing this photo series, I hope to preserve the canyon's legacy as well as to promote the exploration and preservation of historic locations such as this one.