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1910: Depot fire hits the heart of Price

Historic photo shows the D and RGW Railroad station as it was before fire destroyed it in 1910.

Sun Advocate publisher

In a year where the county dedicated a brand new $75,000 County Courthouse, and the town of Colton almost burned to the ground, another event came as a blow to the area that hit at its heart.

On June 22, 1910, a fire was discovered in the attic of the Rio Grande Depot in Price and within a couple of hours it had burned to the ground.

"Where the building stood yesterday is this morning a pile of ashes and charred timbers, iron and debris," stated that Eastern Utah Advocate in its June 23 issue.

The fire started when an east bound coal steam locomotive buzzed by the depot heavily loaded and working very hard throwing out embers. One of those embers lodged in the structures shingles on the northeast side of the building and that is where the fire began.

The fire could have been much worse though. A hotel (the Clarke), Dumayne's Saloon and Restaurant, and the Lowenstein Store (general merchandise) were nearby but were saved from damage. A number of train cars were parked by the station, but were quickly pulled away. The cars contained merchandise of all kinds.

"Luckily for the railroad company and adjoining properties owners the wind was favorable or the entire western end of town might have gone," stated the Advocate.

The fire destroyed the offices of the railroad and burned about 500 letters and packages that were bound to be headed east.

At the time a fire department in the area was just about non-existent. It was composed pretty much of untrained volunteers. The other paper in town at the time, The Carbon County News, stated that hose stated that the men running the hoses saved the property around the station, not the wind.

"Soon after the fire was discovered the residents began to come out to see the fire until nearly all )the people in town) were present," said the News. "When it was learned that a car of giant powder was in the warehouse just east of the depot, including a lot of dynamite for mining purposes, some of the visitors were ready to take a walk up the railroad a few miles. But braver men continued to throw water on the flames until it was sufficiently low that there was no longer danger of the explosives becoming entangled in the flames."

The News estimated the loss at between $2-3,000 at the time which would translate into between $50-70,000 today.

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