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1962: Fire station burns, Green River gets missiles

A shopper walks the aisle of the old Keller's market in Price.

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 year began with a hot story from Wellington when the city hall there burned nearly to the ground. The building that had served the community well since 1934 when it was moved from Nine Mile Canyon where it had been a school building. Ironically as the building burned along with it went a lot of fire fighting equipment that was in the remodeled part of the structure which served as the fire station for the town. The fire was detected by a passer-by who alerted Carl Olsen, the volunteer department's fire chief. However, because of the fire in the building he was unable to use the siren to alert the volunteers from the community. He then called the Price Fire Department which arrived in about 12 minutes to fight the blaze. The Price fire fighters were able to roll out Wellington's fire truck, even though it was burning. Damage to the building was estimated to be $25,000. The building and equipment were insured.

In February, once again, officials from the area traveled to Washington D.C. to argue against the North Sanpete Watershed Project (the Gooseberry Project). The Soil Conservation Service was at this point pushing for the project which would divert 8,000 acre feet of water from the Price drainage to the Sanpete Valley. A petition was filed with the Seventh District Court by Carbon interests in April questioning the water rights that would be available for such a project. In May the project got federal budget approval to the tune of $6,795,855. In August a Congressional committee was held to look into the proposed project, and there things started to cool down. Opposition to the project came from a wide group of congressmen who felt the conflict between the two counties in Utah over the project made it untenable.

In April the Independent Coal and Coke Company announced that the Castle Gate mine would be temporarily shut down. The move put another 68 people out of work, in a time when the coal industry was already depressed and the area was suffering from unemployment. It was the first time since 1888, when the first mine opened in Castle Gate, that at least some coal would not be produced there.

In August, Keller's Market in Price was burglarized for a second time in the same way that happened only a few months before. Thieves drilled holes in the roof and took out a section of it to slip down into the store. However, according to the reports in the paper the robbers got absolutely nothing in the robbery, either because they didn't find what they wanted or were scared off. But the damage repair costs were expensive just the same.

Also in August, petitions requesting the installation of a natural gas delivery system in Price were protested by the United Mine Workers of America. Frank Stevenson, president of District 22, told the Carbon County commissioners that installation of gas could cost the coal 150,000 tons of coal sales a year which he stated would bring a reduction of $375,000 in pay for local miners. He asked the commission to pass a resolution opposing the allowance of a natural gas franchise what would compete with the local coal industry.

In October, the Price River Water Improvement District held a public meeting concerning the expansion of the agency's responsibilities to include the planning, engineering and construction of a sewage system within its boundaries. The agency, which was only a couple of years old and had only been handling culinary water issues and construction, now had a new charge after the meeting and immediately filed applications to the state and federal government for funds to start the process. Those at the meeting had provided no opposition to the new charge of the agency, but did ask a lot of questions about what would come. At the time the plans were for sewage lines to run from Castle Gate to Wellington, where a water treatment plant would be constructed to treat the sewage.

In November, the United States Air Force announced that the Green River area had been selected as a launch test site that would work in conjunction with the White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico. While not in Carbon County, the launch site would have some definite economic impact on the entire area over the years, including employment of a number of Carbon County residents.

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