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East Carbon gets a history lesson

Johnny Martinez, left, and Benjamin Johnson stand outside East Carbon City Hall after they presented the city council with a book of East Carbon's early history and framed map with other materials that showed East Carbon, formerly Dragerton, as it was in the past.

Sun Advocate reporter

For at least one night, the East Carbon City Council took a trip down Memory Lane.

At the city council meeting on Tuesday, council members were presented with pieces of history from the early days of the town when it was formerly known as Dragerton.

Johnny Martinez, an Orem resident, presented the city with over 20 copies of his book, East Carbon, Whispers From the Past Part I: The Land Before Coal, which is a complete history of the early days of East Carbon. Martinez, a former postmaster in Price for seven years, said that online sales of the book through his Website, which are selling for $10, from people outside of East Carbon have been "brisk and good."

Martinez grew up in Dragerton and over his life he developed a curious nature of wanting to read and learn more about the area he lived in. But his attempts came up short when he found nothing. "Being the curious person that I am, I decided to do some investigating concerning East Carbon and I found out that there was nothing out there," Martinez said. "So I set out to do some researching and the end result was this book."

Martinez told the council he hopes that the book will leave a lasting legacy in the area and that people are interested in learning more about the past.

"I have a natural curiosity and I love to do research. And I had a lot of time after retiring from the postal service at the age of 55," Martinez laughed.

Another piece of history that was presented to the city was a large framed map of East Carbon from its early days. Benjamin Johnson, a resident of Cedaredge, Colo., wanted to honor his father, Fred Johnson, a former Dragerton resident dating back to 1943, by presenting materials he found in an unusual place: his father's trash can. Inside of the large frame includes a map of East Carbon, original sewer and water manuals and fire reports that were gathered from Fred's work as a fire chief for about 20 years, according to Johnson.

"I thought this was worth some value to the citizens of East Carbon," Johnson said. "I'm very glad to return it to the city."

Like Martinez, Johnson said he wanted give the old pieces of history back to the city where they can be viewed and appreciated by residents and visitors to East Carbon.

"It took me long enough to get it back here," Johnson laughed. "We have quite a history here in East Carbon and I'm hoping that the citizens will be proud of it."

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