This unique canyon was once home to over 7 different coal mining camps, and over 1000 residents at its height, though it is mostly abandoned today. While searching for the cache, you may notice the unique holes in the stone; to learn more about them, see the earthcache: You're Just Tafoni!.
Right: Prominent Mormon mining magnate "Uncle Jesse" Knight
The most prominent of these settlements was the town of Spring Canyon, founded by "Uncle Jesse" Knight (see photo), a prominent Mormon mining magnate, in 1912 when Mr. Knight purchased 1,600 acres of land in this canyon west of Helper, UT. He organized the Spring Canyon Coal Company, and constructed sixty homes. Knight also built a railroad in 1913 to the Denver and Rio Grande Western Railroad line in Helper.
Knight named the new town Storrs, after the mine superintendent George Storrs. Because Knight was a Mormon, he banned saloons and gambling houses from being constructed in the town (which as you may know was unusual for a mining town). Unlike many other rich "robber barons" of the era, he was also unusual in that he got along with his workers well, and treated his workers fairly and was a generous man, giving and helping those he employed rather than building oppulent mansions for himself (hence his nickname "Uncle Jesse"). In 1914, a schoolhouse and a church were constructed for the townspeople, who were mostly members of the LDS Church. By the end of 1914, 1,000 tons of coal per day were being shipped.
Below: The Spring Canyon Coal Company in its heyday,
By 1924, Storrs had 1,000 residents, a hotel, a heated swimming pool, and well-built houses, offices, and stores. At this time, George Storrs was charged with mail fraud, and due to the scandal, the town's name was officially changed to Spring Canyon. From 1924 to 1943, 1,000 tons of coal per day were mined, and in 1940, the Spring Canyon mine was ranked as the fourth largest coal producer in Utah. During World War II, over 2,000 tons of coal per day were being mined. By 1946, the Spring Canyon mine had transported and mined eleven million tons of coal, and by 1948, the Spring Canyon Coal Company (see photo) was also operating the mines in Standardville and Royal.
However, the need for coal began to diminish, and by 1954, only a small group of miners remained in Spring Canyon. The last mine closed in 1969 due to low production and increasingly high costs. Only three families were living in Spring Canyon in 1969, and by the end of the year, Spring Canyon was abandoned. When the mine first closed in 1969 and the town's residents relocated, few buildings were removed. The Spring Canyon Hotel, most of the homes, and the mine offices were left. However, in 1975, every building in Spring Canyon's business district was demolished. Today the railroad trestle and the ruins of the residential section of town are some of the few remnants of the former coal mining town (see photo).
Left: The Latuda Mining office, the supposed abode of the White Lady
There are even ghost stories associated with these ruins. Those from the local area all know the story of the White Lady of Spring Canyon. There are several different versions of why she is there, but most involve the death of her husband, a miner, as well as the death of her children. She is said to still haunt these parts, particularly the Latuda mining camp , though if she is there to lead people to their deaths in an abandoned mine shaft, or to warn others to stay away, is still debated. Locals have come at night searching for the White Lady (supposedly she is most likely to be seen at the old mining office), and if you are brave enough to look, perhaps you might see her, in a white dress (hence her name), still wandering the ruins of the old mine camps.
So whether you are looking for ghosts, old mines, ruins, or just a quick drive thru while visiting, Spring Canyon is sure to leave an impression (for more info about the White Lady, see this link). To see more info about this area, see: http://www.castlecountry.com/
Sources: wikipedia.com and legendsofamerica.com, adapted by josephaw