|Sunnyside city is looking to expand their local cemetery. The Valley View Cemetery was formally established in 1900 and revamped completely during the 1990's. During that time local residents used grant money to lay sod, install a sprinkling system and digitally catalog all makers within the cemetery gates.|
During Sunnyside council's regularly scheduled meeting March 20, officials approved mailing a letter asking a private landowner to donate property near the cemetery to the city.
If acquired, the land would be used to expand the city's cemetery. The cemetery is approaching the capacity level.
"We need to insure that the citizens of our town have the access to plots here, I believe a cemetery is something every city needs to provide its citizens," said Sunnyside Councilmember Mike Marquez.
Valley View Cemetery is located on U.S. Highway 123 about 150 feet to the left of Valley View Drive. According to the Utah History and Research Center, the cemetery has 600 plots and was formally established in 1900.
"While the cemetery was established in 1900 many of the plots date from the late 1800s," said Sunnyside city recorder Polly Sanderson.
Addressed to the landowner on March 14, the letter pointed out that the city cemetery is outgrowing the property availble at the site and will soon run out of burial plots.
The letter indicated that the city is interested in acquiring a 10-acre portion of a large block of property located southwest of parcel 1B-0502-0000.
The section is landlocked by Utah Highway 123 and by properties owned by Carbon School District, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and Sunnyside city.
The letter explained that the city has a population of 339 residents, according to the 2000 United States Census. Sunnyside officials wish to continue to offer the services the city has always provided. Providing a cemetery to bury the city's dead is one of the services.
"It is important that we respect and provide for the citizens for our town," continued Marquez.
Sunnyside has a colorful history, described by author Frank Farlaino in Bring me men to match my mountains.
According to the book, one person responsible for the mine and town at Whitmore Canyon was Jefferson Tidwell.
The author indicated that Tidwell, a colorful Carbon County pioneer, and four sons began working the coal seam in 1896. The number grew to six when Tidwell took on a partner, George Holliday, in 1897.
The coal extracted from the mine was better for coking than the fossil fuel produced at Castle Gate and the Sunnyside operation began to prosper.
Pleasant Valley, later known as Utah Fuel Company, bought the Sunnyside mining property from the two partners in 1898.
In 1899, construction began on a railroad from Sunnyside to Mounds on U.S. Highway 6 and was completed that same year.
The mine began hiring additional men in the following months as more mules became available for the underground work.
As mining of coal continued to increase at Whitmore Canyon so did the people in the Sunnyside district. Sunnyside was detached from Wellington and a new school district was created.
Early residents lived in tents. Four-room wooden houses were later built, followed by rock homes.
All supplies, coal, food and other items during the summer months had to be carried over the mountain by a mule train.
When water became a problem for the growing community Utah Fuel Company installed pumps across the mountain in Range Creek.
This growth caused the town to formally establish a cemetery of their own in 1900.
During the 1990's, city officials and citizens including John Cartwright, Tom Anderson and Genelle Howell obtained funds from the state and a community development block grant to improve the aging facility.
"There had never been any grass or adequate watering system installed," said Howell.
The group used the funds to sod and install sprinklers on the property as well as map and archive the graves electronically with the help of the Utah Historical Society.
"It has really become a beautiful little cemetery. And because of that a lot more citizens have expressed the desire to be buried there, we need to do something to get more room," pointed out Howell.