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1959: County opens new high schools

Construction of a new community hotel was well underway before it was realized that the project was not going to work. The main floor, as shown here, was nearing completion when the New Hotel Company sold it to the Elks Club. Originally designed to be near a dozen stories high, additional floors were never added to the building.

Sun Advocate publisher

Editor's 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 in commemoration of the 120th anniversary of the newspaper's birth in 1891.

The idea of a community hotel, owned and operated by local business people died in January of 1959 when the New Hotel Company, sold the partially finished building and the property to the Price Lodge 1550 Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks.

The hotel had been a dream for six years and had sold almost 2,900 shares of stock. The organizers, one of which was at the time Mayor J. Bracken Lee, had dreamt of a multi-story hotel that would be the showpiece of the city and a place for weary travelers to stay and relax. It was expected that the hotel would not only accommodate visitors, but also would be of such quality that it would become a destination. But financial problems and other squabbles ended the dream as the property was sold, with only one ground story of the building done. Today that building is the Elks Lodge on Carbon Avenue and 100 North.

The debate over television broadcasts also was still on-going in 1959. In January the Carbon County Commission asked the county clerk to get applications from the Federal Communications Commission for putting a translator that would relay Salt Lake televisions stations to Carbon County somewhere on the mountains above Wattis. At the time some private concerns that had been broadcasting television in the area had lodged a complaint seeking a restraining order against the county on such action in district court. But the complaint had gone no further at the time and the county decided to proceed. By October, nearly $4,000 in equipment had been ordered and the road to the mountains above Wattis was nearly complete to install it when it arrived.

But the controversy wasn't over. In late October a restraining order was once again sought from owners of local cable television systems and some private citizens challenging the constitutionality of a state statute that allowed government to operate broadcasting systems.

In late January the new courthouse that had been under construction for a year and a half was ready to be moved into and dedicated. The building cost more than a half million dollars and was considered state of the art at the time. Over 500 people attended the dedication and open house that followed.

In May as the school year ended, a tradition also ended. Up until that time from 1938 on, Carbon College and Carbon High School had operated on the same campus. With the construction and completion of the new Carbon High School building where it sits today, that operation agreement ended. In July the first principal of the new school was appointed. He was Loman P. Hutchings who came to the area from Roosevelt. At the same time students from the east county area who had been attending the old Carbon High, were being moved to the new East Carbon High School as well. School at both buildings opened in September, and dedications for the buildings were held in December. At the time Carbon High had 810 students and East Carbon High had 333.

Water restrictions on Price residents were put into effect in June. Price residents could not use outside water at all including watering lawns, nor for washing cars.

"This action was taken by the city council yesterday morning when it became apparent that the (city's) water tanks were being depleted faster than the water was coming into them," stated the Sun Advocate on June 11. "In fact, Tuesday night the tanks were almost empty and water was turned off in certain sections of the city to allow a build up within the tanks."

At the time the city was installing a new water line from Castle Gate and the rapid growth and demand for water in the area was outstripping the system's capacity. On June 18 it was reported in the paper that the restrictions, once thought to be very temporary had to be continued. The next week a schedule of outside water use was set for alternative days based on the odd/even number of the address of the property.

A bond issue for an even bigger water line was being considered at the time as well. On Sept. 1 a bond election was held to garner another $500,000 for a new water facility to help solve the problems. It passed by a 9 to 1 margin.

On July 1, Carbon College became a branch of the University of Utah. This was done when Governor George Clyde signed a bill from the legislature in March that had proposed the change. At the time it was felt that this affiliation would lead to expanded programs, a higher sense of visibility for the college and eventually many four year programs on campus.

A fire in early August destroyed Price Lumber and Hardware. The fire was started when lightning struck and air conditioning unit on the building, subsequently causing nearly $70,000 in damage. The lightening actually traveled through the entire electrical system of the building, causing the breaker boxes to fuse together and creating a force that blew out all the windows in the back of the building. The overheated, melted wires then set fire to the wood structure of the building.

At the end of the year tragedy struck the East Carbon area as the swimming pool at the new East Carbon High claimed a victim. A swimming party after a basketball game between Grantsville and East Carbon led to the drowning of John Allan Frasier of Grantsville. The boy drowned on a final swim across the pool with two other players from his team at about 9:30 p.m. On Dec. 23. He was the last one off the diving board as the other players went into the dressing room and missed a few minutes later. Before the team could react to look for him a student saw him on the bottom of the pool from the balcony.

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