1960: TV wars and a new Safeway
Editor's Note: This is one of a series of articles about the history of the Sun Advocate and the county it covers as a newspaper. These articles are being prepared in commemoration of the 120th anniversary of the newspaper's birth in 1891.
The new year of 1960 arrived with two babies born almost immediately after midnight, and both in the Dragerton Hospital. The first, born at 12:02 a.m. was not only the first in the county also one of the first in the state. The second, also a girl, showed up at 12:32 a.m. at the same hospital.
The next week a new baby of a sort was also born as the new Safeway Market in Price opened its doors. The store, which had been remodeled from the old Walton Motor Company opened on Jan. 18 on the northeast corner of 300 East and Main Street. At the time it was the first "large" grocery store to open in the area which had been populated mainly by mom and pop operations on corners all over the the county.
Later in the month it was revealed that several recommendations had been submitted to make improvements at Carbon College. One of those changes came in the form of a new name: The College of Eastern Utah. While not adopted at the time, the change would stick as people throughout the area began to support the idea of the name change. It was felt that the localized name had been holding the college back and it was not being perceived as a regional institution.
Now that the county's new transmitters (put up in 1959) for television relay were working, another problem that had not been seen in the operation popped up. Some of those that were opposed to the county operating the transmitters had set up a transmission system themselves and the signal was interfering with the relay. The county went to court in February to put a restraining order against the cable companies and others that were operating the signal. The action, which had actually be filed in December claimed that the defendants had "willfully, intentionally, and maliciously (transmitted) a signal designed to interfere with the transmission operations of the county" the paper reported. "The county contended that unless the defendants were restrained an investment of thousands of dollars of tax money would be lost and the county's television television relay installation (would be) rendered useless."
The restraining order was upheld. The transmissions had not only caused problems for those that lived in areas that had availability to the cable systems, but also those that lived outside the cable systems reach.
In May, for the first time in history of the county, three high schools prepared to graduate 383 seniors. The new Carbon High School (200 seniors), the new East Carbon High (79 seniors) and Notre Dame High (31 seniors) all prepared to pass on their classes to the world. On the other hand, even with new high schools and optimism, in the fall it was announced that the elementary school in Kenilworth would be closed and the children transported to Helper for classes. The building was torn down in the fall and parts of it were used to construct another building in Price.
In August the beginnings of the eventual Prehistoric Museum began to stir in the community. At a luncheon of the Price Chamber of Commerce, members of the Castle Valley Gem Society suggested that the basement of the new city library become a museum in which to display rocks and fossils. While that was not looked upon as a good solution by members of the library board who were there, one person also suggested that the upstairs in the Price City Hall could become a museum of sorts to display the gems. Within a couple of weeks it was determined that a museum to house the collection would be started on the upper floor of the city hall.
The year of 1960 was also the year of a census, and when the figures came through it was found that Carbon County had dropped in population considerably since the 1950 survey. In October it was announced that while the state had grown over 29 percent (from 688,862 to 890,627), Carbon had lost 3,766 people from the 1950 census. It was the first drop in the census numbers for the county since 1900. At that time the population of the county was 5,004.
In mid-October a rare armed robbery took place in Price when two men robbed Southside Market (430 South Carbon Avenue). They forced owner Walter Kelley to hand over $219 dollars and fled with another man driving the getaway car. However they were captured in Ferron by the Utah Highway Patrol at a road block set just to get the culprits.
In mid-November a fire at Carbon Motor Sales destroyed the business and also damaged the Price Steam Laundry building that was attached to it. The motor company, which were located on Carbon Avenue between Main Street and 100 North, suffered over $200,000 in loss, which included 15 vehicles, some of which were new 1961 models. The laundry suffered about $5,000 in damage.