Looking back at the future
I find it interesting that I work at a newspaper but never read one until I turned 16 when I moved to Montana to finish high school. When in Canada we lived over 150 miles from the nearest town that published a newspaper and they just weren't part of my life growing up. I have worked for newspapers since my high school days, which equals nearly 40 years of doing so.
I also find it interesting that my most passionate past-time is traveling, yet I never took a vacation until I was married and in my mid-20s. Not once in my youth did our family ever go on vacation and other than church camp, I don't ever remember leaving home.
Just after Christmas Erroll Holt from Zion's Bank handed me a small-sized booklet called "Tourist Guide, Price Utah". He found several copies in a storage room of the bank when they completed their remodel a couple years ago. Although there is no publication date, on the large fold-out map on the inside back cover it had a copyright date of 1922.
Everything in the booklet is fascinating, but it is clearly a Chamber of Commerce publication that is geared to attract tourism to Price. The advertising in the publication is typical of any 1922 piece, but the one announcement from Utah Carbon Motor company bragged that they now had a ladies' rest room. Business names we are familiar with today were also leading advertisers back then. Names like Texaco and J. C. Penney. Most of the businesses that advertised are no longer here and being relatively new to Utah I am not familiar with them. Names like Schramm-Johnson Drug, Co., Eastern Utah Wholesale and Retail Co., Eko Theater, Garden Store Merc. Co. and Purity Service Station.
But what I really found fascinating were the stories and material promoting Price. Some things haven't changed in over 80 years and some things have changed dramatically.
Here are some examples of what is in the booklet.
"Price is the gateway to an empire between the Rockies and the Wasatch range of mountains located in Eastern Utah. It is 125 miles south of Salt Lake City and 190 miles west of Grand Junction along the Midland trail and Pikes Peak Ocean-to-Ocean highways, and commercially represents one-quarter of the area of the State of Utah and one-tenth the population.
"Carbon County, of which Price is the county seat, ranks third in the wealth of the state with untold millions of undeveloped coal fields.
"The Denver and Rio Grande Western Railroad parallels this territory and now has the largest passenger locomotives in the world as well as some of the largest freight engines which are used in moving the heavy trains over Soldier Summit.
"The United States Government has established at Price the largest automotive rural mail service route in the world, which is used in distributing the largest quantities of parcel post and mail into the Uintah Basin on the north to Vernal, and Castle valley on the south to Emery.
"Carbon county ranks first in coal production throughout the west and has the largest coke and coal mines and also the largest soft coal steel tipples in the United States. It has 25 coal producing mines which completely surround Price and makes her the distributing center. With these producing properties and the railroads Carbon County has a monthly payroll of approximately $1 million dollars.
"Price has a population of nearly 4,000, is blessed with a wonderful climate, is well lighted by a splendid system; has plenty of pure water piped from the large springs at Colton a distance of 25 miles; has a good sewerage system and is building more; has eight miles of paved sidewalks and is now putting in more than one mile of street pacing; a magnificent court house and public buildings. The residential district is filled with hundreds of modern homes, beautiful lawns and flower gardens which display a feeling of satisfaction. While in our community we want you to be at home and feel free to express yourself and seek information as we assure you the spirit of welcome here abides.
"Before leaving Price do not forget that many side trips can be made from this point and obtain either from the chamber of commerce, some garage or service station a full line up and all information regarding them such as to the Uintah Basin on the north where the government has maintained an Indian Reservation for many years."
Some other numbers and references were also interesting: they had two parks for tourists to camp in free, large mercantile establishments, large garages, machine shops, and service stations, 12 hotels, four large lumber years, commission houses, three banks, two theaters, a Carnegie Library, and four splendid church buildings.
I can't help feel we have come so far in the past 80 years, but at the same time in some instances have slipped or lost ground from the original visions and dreams.
What will future journalists be writing in 80 years about the Price and Carbon County of 2005?