[Floodgap Roadgap presents the Summer of 6]

Floodgap Roadgap's Summer of 6 -- U.S. Highway 6, Part 6: US 6 in Utah (Delta to Interstate 15; Millard County, Juab County, Utah County)

Go to: Part 5 | Main US 6 page | Part 7

US 6

Having left US 50 behind temporarily, we cross three western Utah counties in this part as we take US 6 up to the former Arrowhead Trail, later US 91 and now I-15, through the desert of the eastern Great Basin.

Mile 90 leaving Delta. Despite being "eastbound," we're actually on the northeasterly cut of a great arc through the state.
Outside of town is U-136, a small cutoff heading back to US 50 on its way east. In this situation, UT 136 functions essentially as a complete bypass of Delta for through traffic.
Distance signage at the UT 136 junction.
Crossing the Sevier River again, which in these parts is inconsistent (see Part 5).
Mile 99.
Junction U-174.
UT 174 is a short highway that serves the Intermountain Power Plant, operated by the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power with an installed capacity of 1,900 megawatts. Built in 1981, it was the largest coal-fired power project in the United States at the time, but its emissions have become a substantial concern as 80% of its output is bought by the city of Los Angeles while the emissions remain in the region. It is scheduled to be converted to natural gas by 2025, at a cost of $500 million.
Mile 102.
Entering Lynndyl.
Lynndyl started as a small railroad junction in 1907. Apocryphally, the name comes from a traveler to Salt Lake City who asked the local telegrapher the name of the town. It had none, so the telegrapher tried to think of one, saw the industrial town of Lynn, MA printed on her shoe, and christened the town "Lynn." However, the post office objected, saying there was already a town of Lynn in Box Elder county; the "-dyl" suffix was added for country charm. The town today is primarily agricultural and has 106 residents [2010].
Through central Lynndyl.
Junction U-132. UT 132 connects to US 89 at Pigeon Hollow Jct via I-15. We will reach US 89 in the next Part.
Distance signage leaving Lynndyl. The railroad still serves Lynndyl to this day.
Juab county line.

Juab County, UT

We will see little of this arid county because its primary dimension is east-west and we are crossing it nearly due north. The name comes from an uncertain Native American term for "valley" or "thirsty valley" now lost to antiquity. The modern county has 10,246 residents [2010] with its county seat at Nephi to the east.

Mile 114.
Looking at the arid grasslands and sagebrush.
After the long drive in the flatlands through the last Part and this, we start a new set of ascents.
Turnoff for the Little Sahara Recreation Area, maintained by the US Bureau of Land Management. Remnants of the long-lost Sevier River delta from approximately 12-20,000 years ago, its quartz sand dunes and sagebrush flats are popular with ATV enthusiasts. 9,000 acres is a designated Natural Area and off-limits to vehicles. The Recreation Area covers 220 square miles.
Utah has interesting markers for federal aid routes, which are only occasionally signed (more info). The REF appears to be the terminal mile point. These little miniature markers sit at junctions with matching tiny BEGIN and END banners.
EB US 6 as we continue our slow climb.
Mile 127.
Continuing over the hills and sagebrush towards the East Tintic Mountains.
The Tintic region is named for a local Ute Indian chief who also lends his name to the local Tintic wars of 1856 between settlers and the drought-afflicted natives who stole their cattle. These wars were part of the larger skirmishes in the region, most notoriously the Walker War (1853-4).
The "first" junction with U-36 as we enter the mountains near Tintic Junction, at the old ghost town of Silver City. This is in fact a spur of UT 36, originally UT 67, but changed to the same number due to motorist confusion.
Silver City was founded around the old Sunbeam Mine circa 1869-70. Unlike many nearby boomtowns, the Tintic mines required hard rock mining which slowed development and discouraged prospectors looking for an easy buck. However, enough silver was extracted to support a modest town around the turn of the 20th century until mine companies, drilling ever deeper for ore, eventually struck water and flooded their shafts. The increased cost of pumping made them uneconomical and the town dwindled.

In 1907, local miner Jesse Knight tried again with a new smelter, taking advantage of Silver City's more level ground. Called the "Mormon Wizard" for his unerring ability to find ore, he rapidly grew his new Utah Ore Sampling Company to almost 1500 employees using his own power plant to more efficiently maintain the shafts. The railroad proved his undoing in a few short years, however, as dropping freight costs made distant but less intensive operations more profitable. In 1915 the smelter was moved away and the mines closed in 1930. As late as 1940 a small population of 111 was recorded, but today it is uninhabited.

Mile 138. Other than a couple houses, this is all that's left.
Junction U-36 proper. UT 36 leaves north to Tooele and then Saint John Station near the old town of Clover, and then to Mills Junction, where that leg was part of the Lincoln Highway (Part 4). The modern highway terminates at Interstate 80 near Lake Point, the modern inheritor.
Entering Eureka.
Eureka was originally called Ruby Hollow, presumably after one of its original inhabitants, but the modern name came from the mining days, of course. It was the financial centre of the Tintic Mining District, which was first organized in 1869 and exploded in the 1880s. By 1890 the town had increased by 10-fold and by 1900 was one of the biggest mineral producing areas in the state. The city was incorporated in 1892.

In 1911, Eureka was a growing town with many services, including the second-ever J.C. Penney store; the view from the hillside is shown in the USGS photograph at left. At this time in its history, it boasted almost 3,500 residents. Eureka's "Big Four" mines were the linchpin of its survival, because its role as the regional hub ensured that there was enough of a local economy to remain after the mines folded. Today, the modern city is still incorporated, with 667 inhabitants [2012]. In 1979 it was placed in the National Register of Historic Places.

The Bullion Beck mining headframe at right, constructed in 1890, is restored and typical of the underground operations of the Tintic region. Approximately 60 feet tall, this "A-type" headframe served to transport men, mules, supplies and ore to the multiple mine sublevels. The headframe was connected to a hoisting works behind it which pulled the cable to raise and lower the cages driven by two 500hp engines. We saw a smaller version in Tonopah (Part 2).

The Bullion Beck was part of the Bullion Beck & Champion Mining Company, one of Eureka's "Big Four." In 1925, the entire plant was demolished except the headframe, which was later put back into service due to World War II demand and was still operating as late as the early 1960s. It was rebuilt for the historic district in 1987.

Central Eureka, with many of its historic buildings still standing.
Tintic High School, the local junior high and high school, with approximately 120 students in grades 7-12.
And shortly after, the Utah county line and Mile 141.
Utah County, Utah

No, that's not a typo; Utah county really is named after the state, one of seven in the United States to share its state's name (the others are Arkansas, Hawaii, Idaho, Iowa [which we reach in Part 24], New York and Oklahoma). Like the state, the name comes from the Spanish name yuta for the indigenous Ute Indians; their name means "land of the sun" in the Ute language. The language and people are related to the Southern Paiutes and Chemehuevi. The county's seat is Provo, which US 6 does not reach (but we will, mostly for convenience), and was formed in 1852. It is the second-most populous county in Utah with a population of 516,564 [2010].

Floodgap Roadgap mostly deals in California, which has been a Democratic Party stronghold for some years and features some astonishingly liberal districts, so it's an interesting change to be in what has been called "the most Republican county in the most Republican state in the United States." In the 2012 election, Mitt Romney (also Mormon) received a staggering 88.32% of the vote; in 2004, George W. Bush got 85.99%.

6% downgrade! Narf narf narf!
The descent down the other side of the Tintics is no laughing matter, though.
Into the Goshen Valley.
Mile 147.
Entering Elberta.
Elberta is named for the popular Elberta peach variety, apparently for no good reason, because peaches have never been grown there in any substantial quantity. Originally founded as Mount Nebo, its suitability for agriculture dried up as the water did in 1901. The property was purchased by investor Matthew Whitney in 1907 who gave it the later name; it did not improve the town's fortunes. Today its population is 256 [2010].
Junction U-68.
From this relatively unauspicious junction UT 68 becomes the backbone of the western Wasatch Front in the Salt Lake region, connecting I-215, I-80 and I-15. It terminates at US 89 in Woods Cross on the southeast side of the Lake. The southern road is a small local stretch and not part of the highway.
Distance signage leaving Elberta.
Mile 151.
Entering Goshen.
Goshen and the surrounding Goshen Valley (of which Elberta approximately sits in the centre) were named, as are all of the many Goshens in the United States, for the Biblical location in the ancient Egyptian eastern Nile River delta. (In this case, the naming is via Goshen, Connecticut, by ward bishop Phineas Wolcott Cook who named it after his hometown.) The Bible describes it as what was then the most suitable location for crops and livestock, and the Israelites' success there after settlement by Jacob motivated the Egyptians to enslave them to check their growing power; presumably the name refers to the former and not the happenings of the latter. The town was first settled by farmers in 1857, but was not incorporated until 1910. It has 933 residents [2012].
Central Goshen.
Looking at the hills hemming the valley at Mile 154.
Entering Genola.
In 1867, Brigham Young declared there would be towns on both the eastern and western sides of the Goshen Valley. For a time the western prediction proved true until the water ran out in Elberta, but the eastern side was parched and the earliest settlers practiced "dry farming" with rye, which did relatively well, and wheat, which didn't. Other than some local quarry operations, the eastern valley did not fulfill Brigham Young's declaration until the East Warm Creek Irrigation and Canal Company finally made local agriculture realistic in 1910. By 1916, the local Farm Bureau called a town meeting in what was then called Idlewild and asked for a new name. No one knows where "Genola" came from, but everyone seemed to like it. The Strawberry Irrigation Water Company came in 1916 and further improved local farming to the point orchards were possible, unlike poor Elberta to the west. Incorporating as a city in 1935, it has 1,390 residents [2012].
Junction U-141.
UT 141 is an odd highway, connecting to UT 147 which is its direct continuation in McBeth Corner west of Payson. The use of a different designation for the southern leg is a historical accident because UT 147 originally started in Payson, traveled west and turned north; UT 141 simply terminated at it in a conventional intersection. In 2000, UDOT agreed to maintain 800 South in Payson as UT 178 if Utah county and the City of Payson would accept the east-west alignment of UT 147; they did, and it was deleted from the state highway system, leaving UT 141 and UT 147 connected together with different numbers on an apparently continuous routing.
Remember, this used to be US 6 and US 50 (Part 5), and some of the street signs still date from that era.
Mile 157.
The Wasatch Range south of Payson, which we enter in the next part.
Entering Santaquin, the southwestern extent of the Wasatch Front.
Both the Front and Range's name come from either the Ute term for "mountain pass" or the Shoshone leader Wasattsi ("blue heron"). The Range's highest point is Mount Nebo, named for the Biblical Mt Nebo traditionally held to be Moses' place of death, at 11,928'. The Front, which takes its name from the Range, is Utah's largest metropolitan region with 80% of the state's population, roughly a narrow irregular quadrilateral stretching from Santaquin to Brigham City containing Salt Lake City, Provo and Ogden. Because of the valley width it never exceeds a width of 20 miles.

Santaquin grew from the friendship of Ute chief Guffich and pioneer Benjamin F. Johnson, whose alliance enabled white settlers to peaceably coexist until the Walker War forced them into nearby Payson for several years. When the settlers returned in 1856, the younger Indians decided to raid them. Guffich was chagrined to hear his son Santaquin was involved, and he warned Johnson in advance, enabling the settlers to flee. The raiders found the town deserted except for the chief, who remonstrated with them, and peace was re-established. The grateful settlers wanted to name the town for the chief, but he demurred, and asked them to name it for his son instead. The 1856 schoolhouse from that era still saw use until the 1980s.

In addition to farming, various small mineral strikes were found on the nearby Santaquin Ridge and enough water from irrigation projects to maintain mulberry trees and a brief but notable local silk industry. Some orchards of mulberry and fruit trees still grow in the town. After the railroad came the Arrowhead Trail, and finally Interstate 15 in 1968, cementing its role as a local hub. The modern city was incorporated in 1932 and has 9,674 residents [2012].

Main Street in Santaquin at 200 West. This is where US 91 came from the south and is the old Arrowhead Trail alignment, and the end of original UT 26.
Mile 160 as the Interstate becomes visible in the distance.
Junction Interstate 15.
Continue to Part 7
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