Tuesday, October 12, 2010

The Ghost Town of Mohrland

Mohrland is worth a visit!
Mohrland Town. The school can be seen near the center of the photo at the base of hills.

The Mine Portal and the Tram
About a year ago I began corresponding with two men from Iowa who were brothers. They were both very interested in family history and had found that their grandfather worked in a coal mine and lived in Mohrland where he met his wife. Her father ran the boarding house at the time. They were looking for photographs of the area. They had a couple of them which they promised to send to me, and wanted my help in finding any information I could about their grandfather and grandmother.

Well I was happy to help, because that is my job--and I LOVE my job. I did some research and found some records that had a similar name, with a slight change of spelling. I began to collect photographs of Mohrland. I went to the Western Railroad and  Museum in Helper which has a wonderful collection of photographs, and had a few copied and printed. I forwarded those photos to the Jones brothers. Our communication dwindled for a time, and then I got another phone call saying that one of them was planning a trip to Utah--just to see Mohrland, and he hoped to stop by the Archives and meet me.

 l- r  The Mine Office, The Store, and The Butcher Shop
I told him I would arrange for someone to take us on a tour of Mohrland. We have a Historical Society filled with very knowledgeable people who know this county very well. Vernell Rowley, Mervin Miles and Ed Geary are the three I call on all of the time for help and clarification of history. They are all walking history books! Vernell and Ed and I met Mr. Jones and we proceeded on a tour. I had printed out some photographs that would help him see what it looked like in its heyday.

Our guides were fabulous. They showed us the foundations where Silk Stocking Row used to be; where Main Street was; explained what the standing walls of buildings were used for. We hiked through the sage brush that has been diligent in its effort to reclaim this ghost town and found what is left of the Mohrland School. We saw Gobbler's Knob--the main housing district;  other locations were pointed out where different nationalities lived. They had names that are no longer politically correct to say or write.

The Tipple at Mohrland
Vernell and Ed explained where the Tipple was located; where the Tram Tracks were located that took the coal from the mine to the tipple. We saw the Fan House, the Bathhouse, the Machine Shop, which is the best of the ruins. It all came to life for us as we wandered around the area "trolling for ticks" as 
Mohrland Main Street. Amusement Hall on the left of the photo.
my husband says when we are moving through sagebrush. The ticks left us alone that day, but the ghosts of the place were seen and heard in our imagination as we listened for the laughter of the children walking down the hillside of steps from a day of school, the splashing of the fishpond behind the hotel, the dancing and music at the Amusement Hall, the clanking and rumbling of mine equipment as it goes in and out of the mine and the tram as it rolls along the tracks that are still there. We found that the  little town of Mohrland, seemingly quite dead, still lives on through the memories and knowledge of the people who treasure the past and want to help the rest of us understand it.

Here is the link to Emery County Archives photos
Be sure and look at the Western Railroad and Mining Museum photos as well.  
 See the Historical Society Trip to Mohrland: 
Emery Progress Article on Historical Society and Mohrland 

1 comment:

  1. This is a wonderful article. It gave me a couple of tingles. One because I was born (at home) in Mohrland and one because my father was one of the school teachers there in the 1930's. It also helps becasue I am sort of a History Buff.