|People stroll the streets of Helper just before the parade started on Friday night. The historic downtown district is considered a treasure by many who live in the town and others who visit.|
|Helpers historic downtown in the early days of the 20th century.|
Many people seem to have known it for a long time.
Helper is a great place to visit and to live.
Now the rest of the United States knows it too. True West Magazine, a national publication, has voted Helper as one of the Top 10 True Western Towns of 2006.
"This is a great honor," said Western Mining & Railroad Museum Director SueAnn Martell, the person that nominated the town for the award. "We are included in a list with some of the best and most well-known towns in the West."
The towns included in the list are Sheridan, Wyo., Cody, Wyo., Carson City, Nev., Silver City, N.M., Guthrie, Okla., Prescott, Ariz., Leadville, Colo., Pendleton, Ore.,Goliad, Texas, and Helper.
True West Magazine chose to give this honor to towns that are preserving their outstanding history and hope that it will encourage federal, state and local governments to fund preservation efforts and to help showcase these towns and their historical relevance to the nation.
"Helper has always been thought of as a Mecca for railroad buffs, now we will have people from all over the country coming to celebrate our outstanding western history as well," Martell stated. "We are doing everything we can to get Helper's name out there and let people know what we are all about," Martell said. "In the past year Helper has published two brochures, developed plans for a new museum expansion and hosted a number of special events including the Annual Heritage Week which drew nearly 1,000 people to the week-long event."
In 2004, visitors to the Western Mining & Railroad Museum totaled nearly 8,000.
"We are doing this without much money and without any outside marketing help. We are our own best advertising."
The entire town of Helper has been called a living museum with original buildings dating back to the early 1900s. Visitors can really feel the past come alive as they stroll up and down the streets.
The City of Helper and particularly the Western Mining & Railroad Museum are using this to their advantage by seeking more ways to increase the heritage tourism aspect of the town.
"We are truly the Welcome Center to Castle Country, people get their first impressions here and we want to make them good ones," Martell said.
True West Magazine has a readership of 192,500 people through subscriptions and newsstand sales and is published monthly. Copies of the January-February 2006 issue are on the newsstands now and are also available at the Western Mining & Railroad Museum.