Print Page

1940: Site work on airport begins

Rex Berry, who went on to play for the San Francisco '49ers, was a star athlete at Carbon High School in 1940.

Sun Advocate publisher

Editors 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 as the 120th anniversary of the newspapers birth approaches in 2011.

Few people in Carbon County remember the location of the airport in the county that existed before the one that exists today. But in

1940 the airport's location where it presently is was a dream that was just beginning.

In August of that year crews began to clear brush and juniper trees from the area "near Dead Man Canyon Road northeast of the Price Cemetery and about four miles from Price" (Sun Advocate, August 22, 1940).

At the time the airport site contained 1,000 acres of which 120 were owned by the county and the rest by the federal government. At the time the county was in the process of enacting a trade with them for the rest of the property. Once that was done the county hoped to get a Works Progress Administration go ahead to use workers employed by the agency to finish the job.

At the time, with the elephant in the room that few wanted to acknowledge (a war coming) the county publicly admitted that they hoped that the airport as it was constructed would become a pilot training site for the military.

The project was one of many that the Sun Advocate's ownership and editor supported during the early years of the 1940s.

One of their pet peeves was the sales tax. The paper attacked sales taxes as unfair and that the assessment "cost each man, woman and child in the state where this belly-robbing method is in operation about $10 per year or $35 for an average family." These costs were a lot of money at the time of the Depression.

Editorials praising many things in the community were noteworthy. The paper constantly mentioned people who performed a service for others or had in some way achieved recognition.

At certain times, like today, the paper reminded residents of their responsibilities as citizens. The paper asked that voters consider their candidates carefully and also supported moves to pay legislators better.

And like today the paper exhorted people to keep their town clean, to support local businesses, to attend community functions and events, to keep in touch with their schools and even once to smile more often.

As with the new airport, they supported projects that seemed very necessary for a community to be a community. The paper pointed out a need for a swimming pool and an organized fire department that covered everywhere in the county.

They also challenged things they thought were wrong. As the war years began, the Office of Price Administration OPA) came into being. The OPA was established within the Office of Emergency Management. The functions of the OPA were originally to control prices and rents. It later became an independent agency under the Emergency Price Control Act.

The OPA had the power to place ceilings on all prices except agricultural commodities and to ration scarce supplies of other items, including tires, automobiles, shoes, nylon, sugar, gasoline, fuel oil, coffee, meats and processed foods. At the peak, almost 90 percent of retail food prices were frozen. It could also authorize subsidies for production of some of those commodities.

The paper also took the county government to task for not working to attract more tourists to the local area. Other issues that were addressed included such subjects as parking meters (which once existed in Price), school lunches, the bond-a-month plan and vandalism in the community.

As 1940 wound up, an upbeat event took place in the community involving the Carbon High football team. The team went to state and ended up making it to the championship game of the A class schools. In those days instead of today's five classes of schools there were two. Schools under 500 students were in the Class B division and all schools larger were in the A division.

Carbon played the Jordan Beetdiggers in the championship game in late November after having gone undefeated the entire season.

According to the Sun Advocate (Nov. 24, 1940) over 1,500 Carbon fans traveled to Salt Lake to watch the game that was held at the University of Utah football field (The field was where Rice-Eccles Stadium now stands. It was located just south of the Einar Neilsen Fieldhouse that still stands today, but was almost a new facility at the time.)

In the end the Beetdiggers beat the Dinosaurs (the Dinos nickname came later) 7-6.

"The first half was nearly all Jordan's; the second half, all but the glory, was Carbon's," reported the paper.

The first half was defensive battle until 20 seconds remaining in the half when Jordan scored and and their quarterback, who was also their kicker punt the ball over the uprights for the extra point.

The score remained 7-0 until just at the beginning of the fourth quarter, when Carbon's Jim Mullins threw a shovel pass to Rex Berry and Berry went left and scored the touchdown. The extra point however, failed and the final score resulted.

As the year ended people were looking to see the depression end and employment and prosperity return. Little did they know that the next year would not be that different from 1940, with the exception of the end of the year, when the country and Carbon County would be plunged into World War II.

Print Page