Clampers dedicate plaque to Rolapp/Royal
Members of the Matt Warner Chapter of E Clampus Vitus dedicated their 36th historic plaque Saturday, this one commemorating a small town near Helper that had three names in its short history.
The plaque is set at the gazebo near the north end of the Price River trail near the Martin neighborhood of Helper.
Its text memorializes a mining camp that began in 1913 when Frank Cameron opened a small coal mine near Castle Gate. The town was appropriately named Cameron.
The town got renamed in 1917, when Henry Rolapp bought the mine from Cameron. So the settlement then became Rolapp.
It got the name Royal in the 1920s when the Royal Coal Company purchased the property.
As with other mining operations in the county in those days, Cameron/Rolapp/Royal had its share of tragedy. Three miners were killed there when it was called Cameron. Twenty-four more died in the mine during the Rolapp/Royal days between 1923 and 1957.
The history of the town parallels that of other mining camps during the 20th Century. It began in the teens, flourished for a few decades, and became a ghost town by the second half of the century.
The newest plaque stands beside one that that was dedicated last year to the nine coal miners who died in the 1963 explosion at the Carbon Fuel mine in nearby Hardscrabble Canyon.