Henry T Williams.

Pacific tourist : Adams and Bishop's illustrated trans-continental guide of travel, from the Atlantic to the Pacific Ocean : a complete traveler's guide of the Union and Central Pacific railroads online

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Online LibraryHenry T WilliamsPacific tourist : Adams and Bishop's illustrated trans-continental guide of travel, from the Atlantic to the Pacific Ocean : a complete traveler's guide of the Union and Central Pacific railroads → online text (page 20 of 62)
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Near Evanston there are a number of cattle
ranches where hay is cut, and cattle have to be
fed and sheltered during the winter. There have
also been some successful experiments in raising
potatoes, cabbages, turnips, parsnips, radishes, let-
tuce, onions and other " garden truck," while oats,
barley and wheat can undoubtedly be raised in
favorable seasons. Notice the altitude of this
place, and then the traveler can form the best
opinion as to whether agriculture, as a steady busi-


ness, can be made successful. Candor compels
us further to say that frosts may happen during
every one of the summer months.

Sjtortinf/. Evanston, however, possesses all
the attractions which delight the sportsman.
The mountains to the north and south, and the
high hills in the immediate vicinity, are full of
game, while Bear River is renowned for its trout.
The streams flowing into Bear River, on
either side, both north and south of the
town, are full of trout, and afford excellent
sport in those seasons of the year when their
catching is not prohibited by law, while

Bear Lake, some
sixty miles
north, from all
that we could
learn about it,
is the chosen
home of trout
and the very
paradise of fish-
ermen. Sport-
ing parties can
obtain guides,
outfits, and
at E v a n s t o n ,
fro m w h i c h
place they can
hunt, fish, visit
the Sulphur
Mountains, and
search for fos-
sils, etc., to their
heart's content.
It is one of the
most favorable
points on the
line of the road
for recreation
and amusement,
and will, event-
ually, become a
noted resort for

Chinamen be-
gin to thicken

as you proceed west. At Evanston they have
quite a settlement, the shanties and buildings
on the right of the track and opposite the depot
being "China Town." Here they have their
" Joss " house, saloons and residences. A h Say,
their head man, speaks very good' English, has
his Chinese wife with him, and with the excej-
tion of the inevitable " cue," dresses and appears
like the Americans, with whom he has now lived
for about fifteen years.

About three miles from Evanston, on the east
side of Bear River, is Alma, the coal miners'
town. Here coal mines belonging to the Cen-
tral Pacific, the Union Pacific, and to S. II.


Winsor are worked. Mr. Winsor is just open-
ing his mine which is nearest to Evanstou
while the other mines have been worked for
some time. " The Rocky Mountain Coal Com-
pany," is the name of the corporation which
supplies the Central Pacific with coal. In 1875,
this company mined 98,897 tons, or 9,890 cars
of coal. They have three mines open. In one
year, not long since, they mined about 150,000
tons, or 15,000 cars. The Union Pacific having
other mines along their road do not, of course,
mine as much here as does the Rocky Mountain

A Mountain on fire.

Do not be startled at this announcement, yet
this is a genuine fact ; the companies operating
these mines, have been put to immense labor and
expense to keep under control an immense fire in
their coal veins. These mines took fire from
spontaneous combustion in this way. They
perhaps took out too much coal in the first
place, that is, did not leave pillars enough
to support the overhanging walls; what is
called " slack " coal that has crumbled by
action of air was also allowed to accumulate
in the mine. The vein of fire clay next
above the vein of coal fell down on this slack,
and caused spontaneous combustion of the
coal underneath it. A fire with a perpetual
supply of fuel is rather a hard thing to master,
and in a coal mine generally awakens no small
amount of anxiety. In fact, it is very danger-
ous. As soon as it was discovered, and its loca-
tion fixed, the company immediately began to
wall around it ; they ceased all operations in its
immediate vicinity, and with rock, lime and
sand, made their air-tight walls along " the
slopes," between " the rooms " and across " the
air passages," until the outside air was com-
pletely shut out, and the fire entirely shut in,
and awaited further developments. Occasionally
it breaks out over a piece of this wall, and then
they begin farther back and wall again. But
the fire is not extinguished and probably never
will be. Water will not quench it, its action on
the fire clay only increases the difficulty. Inside
of these fire walls, pillar after pillar of the coal
left standing to support the roof has been con-
sumed, and the earth and rocks above have
fallen into the cavity, leaving great craters on the
side of the mountain, and the rock-ribbed pile
itself has seamed and cracked open in places above
the burning fires. Air has thus got in and the
rains and melting snows of spring run into these
fissures and craters, dissolving the fire clay, and
thus add to the extent of the burning mass.
But everything goes on around the mine with-
out excitement, and as though nothing had hap-
pened. Watchmen are kept on duty all the time,
and the first appearance of the fire near the
walls is detected and a new wall built. And

thus while the smouldering fires are burning up
the coal in one part of the mine, men are taking
it out unconcernedly in another part, to supply
the locomotives with the power to generate

How long the fire will burn no one can tell.
It will only stop when the fuel upon which
it feeds is exhausted, and this can only be
cut off by mining all around it, taking out
the full thickness of the vein 26 feet and
thus exhausting the supply. It will then cave
in and the rest of the mine can be saved.
Coal mining has its dangers, not the least
of which are " slack and waste " which result
in fires. In Mine No. 1, of the Rocky Mount-
ain Coal Company, the fire is confined in a space
250 by 600 feet In Mine No. 2, owned by
same company, it is confined by a space 175 by
1,100 feet.

A Valuable Coal Mine. Leaving Evans-
ton, in about two miles the branch to Alma
turns off to the right, and the town with
hoisting works of the coal companies can
be plainly seen, together with a beautiful view
down the Bear River Valley. On what is called
Twin Creek, down this valley, the Wyoming Coal
& Coke Company, have discovered and located a
coal mine 41 miles due north from Evanston.
The mine is on the east side of Bear River.
This company has what it claims to be a mount-
ain of coal. The veins on the ground level are
four and one-half feet thick, above it there are
about six feet of slate ; then a ten foot vein of
coal ; then sandstone about five feet thick
what miners call " Winn rock ; " then three
feet of fire clay ; then two feet of coal ; then al-
ternate layers of fire clay and coal 26 feet ; then
125 feet of solid fire clay ; then sandstone, lime-
stone, etc., to the summit, it being about 400
feet above the level surface around it. A shaft
has been sunk from the ground level, and an-
other vein of coal struck ten feet below the sur-
face. We are minute in giving this description
of this coal mine, because it is claimed that the
coal it furnishes will coke, that it will give 50
per cent, coke, and coke is the great demand of
the smelting furnaces in the mining regions of
this part of the Continent. It is claimed that
the tests which have been applied to this coal,
establish conclusively its coking qualities and
ovens for coking purposes have been put in.
The work of the present year will, satisfactorily
determine the question whether coking coal can
be found in the Rocky Mountains. The history
of rich mineral-producing regions is that the
metals are usually (because cheaper) brought to
the fuel instead of carrying the fuel to the metal.
Hence if these coal mines are proved to produce
good coke, a town of smelters must spring up
near by.

Wahsatch, a telegraph station, on the divide
between Bear River Valley and Echo Canon. It

1. Bromley's Cathedral 2. Castle Rock. 3. The Great Eastern. 4. Hanging Rock.


is 968 miles from Omaha, and reported to be
6,879 feet above the level of the sea. The road
here crosses a low pass in the Wahsatch Range
of Mountains. As you ascend the beautiful val-
ley leading to this station, the grim peaks of the
Uintahs tower up in the distance on your left,
while the adjoining hills shut out the higher ele-
vations of the Wahsatch Range, on the north.
Leaving Evanston, the road turns abruptly to
the left, and the town and valley are soon lost to
sight. Four miles out, on the left side of the
track, the traveler will notice a sign put up on a
post the east side of which reads, " Wyoming,"
the west side, " Utah." Wahsatch was formerly
a terminus of a sub-division of the road, and
contained the regular dining-hall of the company,
with roundhouse, machine and repair shops, etc.
The water in the tank is supplied from a mount-
ain spring near by, and a " Y " for turning
engines, and a small house to shelter one, is
about all that is left of a once famous town.

Artesian \Vells. It has been our candid
opinion that the great plains, basins and alkali
deserts which lie between the Rocky Mountains
and Sierras can all be reclaimed and soil made
fertile by the sinking of artesian wells. The en-
tire Humboldt Valley can be made productive
by this means alone. As a proof of the success
of sinking artesian wells, we can mention
several along the Union Pacific Railroad. Com-
mencing at Separation and terminating at Rock
Springs, a distance of 108 miles, the Union
Pacific Railroad has sunk successfully six arte-
sian wells :

One at Separation, 6,900 feet above sea level,
is 1,180 feet deep, the water rising to within 10
feet of the surface.

At Creston, 7,030 feet elevation, the well is
only 300 feet deep, furnishing abundant supply
of water at that point.

At Washakie, 6,097 feet elevation, the well is 638
feet deep. The water rises 15 feet above the sur-
face, and flows at the rate of 800 gallons per hour.

At Bitter Creek. 6,685 feet elevation, the well
is 696 feet deep, discharging at the surface 1,000
gallons per hour, and with pumping, yields 2,160
gallons per hour.

At Point of Rocks, elevation 6,490 feet, the
well is 1,000 feet deep, and the supply of water
abundant, although it does not rise to the sur-
face nearer than 17 feet.

At Rock Springs, at an elevation of 6,280 feet,
the well is 1,156 feet deep, and discharges at the
surface 960 gallons per hour, or at 26 feet above
the surface, 571 gallons per hour.

As the elevation of all these places is 2,000 feet
or more above the Salt Lake Valley, and also the
Humboldt Valley, there is every probability that
the sinking of artesian wells in these valleys
would result in an immense flow of water.

Chinese Workmen. The Chinese are em-
phatically a peculiar people, renowned for their

industry and economy. They will live comfort-
ably on what the same number of Americans
would throw away. Their peculiarities have
been so often described that a repetition of them
to any great extent is not needed here. Never-
theless a sight of them always awakens a curios-
ity to know all there is to be known concerning
their customs, habits, social and moral relations,
etc. A great deal that they do is mysterious to us,
but perfectly plain and simple to them. In their
habits of eating, for instance, why do they use
"chopsticks" instead of forks? "Same as
'Melican man's fork " said one as we watched its
dextrous use. Their principal articles of diet
seem to be rice and pork. They reject the great
American fashion of frying nearly everything
they cook, and substitute boiling instead. In
the center of a table, or on a bench near by, they
place a pan filled with boiled rice. To this each
one of the " mess " will go and fill his bowl with
a spoon or ladle, return to the table and take his
"chopsticks" two slender sticks, about the
length of an ordinary table knife, and operate
them with his fingers as if they were fastened
together with a pivot, like shears, lifting the
bowl to his mouth every time he takes up the
food with the "chopsticks." The pork for a
" mess " will be cut into small pieces and placed
in one dish on the table from which each one
helps himself with these " chopsticks. " In
other words " they all dive into one dish " for
their pork. They are called " almond-eyed
celestials " but did you ever notice how much
their eyes resemble those of swine?

The first gang of Chinamen you meet with on
the road are employed near Table Rock ; for-
merly they extended to Rawlins, but they are in-
efficient laborers, although industrious, especi-
ally in the winter. AVe shall see more of them
by the time we reach the Pacific Coast. Rock
Springs as a town is mostly composed of dug-
outs, shanties, holes in the ground, etc., occupied
by miners, including Chinamen, together with a
few substantial buildings, such as the company's
store, a good school-house, two or three ordinary
hotels and the customary saloons. The impor-
tance of the town is wholly due to the coal trade,
otherwise it would be nothing.


And now, with full breath and anxious
heart, repressed excitement and keen zest,
we anxiously scan the scenes from car win-
dows or platforms, and prepare for one grand,
rushing descent into the glories of Echo Canon.
The writer will never forget the feelings of over-
whelming wonder and awe, as with the seal of ad-
miration in both eye and lips, the ride through this
famous canon was enjoyed. Rocks beside which
all eastern scenes were pigmies, rose up in astound-
ing abruptness and massiveness colossal old Ti-
tans of majestic dimensions, and sublimely soar-


ing summits, and perpendicular sides, succeeded
each other for miles, and the little company of
spectators, seemed but an insignificant portion of
the handiwork of the Almighty. The train of
cars, which, on the plain, seemed so full of life,
and grand in power, here was dwarfed into
baby carriages; and the shriek of the whistle, as
it echoed and resounded along the cliffs and from
rock to rock, or was hemmed in by the confines
of the amphitheatre, appeared like entering
the portals to the palace of some Terrible
Being. Into the short distance of sixty miles
is crowded a constant succession of those
scenes and objects of natural curiosity, which
form the most interesting part of the road,
and have made it world-wide in fame. It
seems hard, after nearly a week of expectation
and keen anxiety for a glimpse of such
scenes of grandeur, and after more than two
days of steady riding over the smooth surface of
the rolling upland plain, to find all the most
magnificent objects of interest crowded into so
short a space, and passed in less than three

Travelers must remember, however, that the
scenes witnessed from the railroad are but a very
little portion of the whole. To gather true re-
freshing glimpses of western scenery, the tourist
must get away from the railroad, into the little
valleys, ascend the bluffs and mountains, and
views yet more glorious will greet the eye. Echo
Canon is the most impressive scene that is beheld
for over 1,500 miles, on the overland railroad.
The constant succession of rocks each growing
more and more huge, and more and more perpen-
dicular and colossal in form make the attrac-
tions of the valley grow upon the eye instead of

The observer enters the canon about on a level
with the top of the rocks, and even can overlook
them, then gradually descends until at the very
bottom of the valley the track is so close to the
foot of the rocks, the observer has to elevate his
head with an upward look of nearly 90, to scale
their summits. Let us now prepare to descend,
and brace ourselves eagerly for the exhilaration
of the ride, the scenery of which will live with
you in memory for years.

Entering Echo Cation. Leaving Wah-
satch we pass rapidly down grade, into the
canon, and we will point out, in detail, all
objects of interest as they are passed, so that
travelers may recognize them. From Wahsatch,
especially, you want to look with all the eyes you
have, and look quick, too, as one object passes
quickly out of sight and another comes into view.
About a mile from Wahsatch, you will notice
what is called the " Z " canon where the road
formerly zigzagged down a small canon, on
the left, and passed through the valley of the
creek to near Castle Rock Station, where it united
with the present line. Two miles farther on,

over heavy grades and short curves, you enter
tunnel No. 2, which is 1,100 feet long. Pass-
ing through the tunnel, the high reddish rocks,
moulded into every conceivable shape, and
frequent side canons cut through the walls on
either side of the road. You reach at last

Castle Hock Station, about eight and one-
half miles from Wahsatch, 976.4 miles from
Omaha with an elevation of 6,290 feet. It is so
called from the rock a little east of the station
which bears the same name. Notice the arched
doorway on one corner of the old castle just
after it is passed, with red colored side pieces,
and capped with gray. In close proximity are
some needle rocks sharp-pointed one small one
especially prominent. Still nearer the station is
a shelving rock on a projecting peak. Opposite
the water tank are rocks worn in curious shape.
Further on, about half a mile, is a cave with
rocks and scattering cedars above it. Next
comes what is termed " Swallows' Nest," be-
cause of the numerous holes near the top,
chiseled out by the action of both water and
wind, and in summer sheltering a large number
of swallows. Toward it in summer months,

" The Swallows Homeward fly."

Then comes a honey-combed peak with a
shelving gray rock under it, after which we pass
through, what the railroad boys call " gravel " or
" wet cut " the sides being gravel, and springs
breaking out in the bottom by the track. Then
Phillip's Canon juts in from the right with
yards for cattle at its mouth. See the curious
formations along the side of this canon as you
pass it. About four miles from the last station,
are other castle rocks similar in appearance to
those already passed, and rocks with caps and
slender little spires like needles. Then comes a
singular perpendicular column jutting out in front
of the ledge, with outstretched wings as if it
would lift itself up and fly, but for its weight.

This is called the " Winged Rock." If there
was a projection in front to resemble a
neck and head, the rock would appear very
much like an eagle or some other large bird,
with pinions extended just ready to fly. A little
below this, are the " Kettle Rocks " huge gray-
looking boulders, nearly to the top of the ledge,
looking like immense caldron kettles. Behind
them are some sharp-pointed projections like
spires. These rocks are capped with red, but
gray underneath. Then comes " Hood Rock "
a single angular rock about half way to the top
of the ledge, worn out in the center, and resem-
bling the three-cornered hoods on modern ulster
overcoats. About a mile before reaching the
next station, the rocks are yellow in appearance
and rounding a point you will notice sandstone
layers with a dip of more than 45 degrees, show-
ing a mighty upheaval at some period in the re-
mote past.


Hanging Rock, a little over seven miles
from Castle Rock, and 983.7 miles from Omaha ;
elevation, 5,974 feet. The descent has been
very rapid since we struck this canon. This
station is wrongly named. All books and guides
which represent the rocks of Echo Canon over-
hanging the railroad, are erroneous. Nothing in
the shape of a hanging rock can be seen,
but as you pass the station, you will notice how
the elements have worn out a hollow or cavity
in one place, which is bridged by a slim gray
rock, nearly horizontal in position, forming a
natural or hanging bridge across the cavity,
about 50 feet in depth. It can be seen as you
pass around a curve just after leaving the sta-
tion. Going a little farther, you notice what is
called " Jack-in-the-Pulpit-Rock," at the corner
of a projecting ledge, and near the top there-
of. A round gray column, flat on the surface,
stands in front ; this is the pulpit, while
in close proximity rises the veritable " Jack "
himself, as if expounding the law and gospel to
his scattering auditors. Then comes the

North Fork of Echo Canon, down
which more water annually flows, than in the
main canon. Now bending around a curve, if
you look forward, it seems as though the train
was about to throw us directly against a high
precipice in front, and that there was no way of
escape ; but we keep onward and finally pass
safely on another side. We now approach what
are called " the narrows." The rocky sides
of the canon seem to draw together. Notice
the frame of an old rickety saw-mill on the
left, and a short distance below, still on the
left, see a huge, conical-shaped rock rising
close to the track. We are particular in men-
tioning these, because they are landmarks,
and will enable the traveler to know when
he is near the ledge on the right of the
track, upon which the Mormons piled up
stones to roll down on Gen. Albert Sidney John-
son's army, when it should pass here, in 1857.
The canon virtually becomes a gorge here, and
the wagon road runs close to the base of the high
bluffs, (it could not be made in any other place)
which the Mormons fortified after a fashion.
Now you pass these forts ; high up on the top,
on the outer edge or rim you will still see small
piles of stones which they gathered there for of-
fensive operations, when the trains and soldiers
of the army went by. They look small they
are so far off, and you pass them so quickly
not larger than your fist but nevertheless they
are there. They are best seen as they recede
from view.

At the time we speak of, (1857) there was
trouble between the Mormons and the United
States authorities, which led to the sending of
an army to Salt Lake City. It approached as
far as Fort Bridger, where the season being
late it went into winter quarters. It was ex-

pected to pass through this canon, however, that
same fall, and hence the preparations which the
Mormons made to receive it. Their army the
Nauvoo Legion, rediviou.-*, under the command of
Gen. Daniel H. Wells, had its camp near these
rocks, in a little widening of the valley below,
just beyond where you pass a " pocket " of
boulders, or detached parts of the ledges above,
which have sometime, in the dim past, rolled
into the valley. The rocky fort being passed,
with the pocket of boulders and the site of the
old camp, the traveler next approaches " Steam-
boat Rock," a huge red projection like the pi-ow
of a big propeller. A little cedar, like a flag of
perpetual green, shows its head on the bow,
while farther back, the beginning of the hurri-
cane deck is visible. It slopes off to the rear,
and becomes enveloped in the rocky mass
around it. By some, this is called " The Great
Eastern," and the one just below it, if anything,
a more perfect representation of a steamer, is


called " The Great Republic." They are really
curious formations, and wonderful to those who
look upon them for the first time. "Monument
Rock " conies next. It is within a cove and
seems withdrawn from the front, as though shun-
ning the gaze of the passing world, yet in a posi-
tion to observe every thing that goes by. If the
train would only stop and give you more time
but this cannot be done, and your only recourse

l._ Witches Rocks. 2. Battlement RocVs. 3. Egyptian Tombs. 4. Witches Bottles. 5. Needle Rocks, near Wahatob. (


is to pause at Echo and let it pass, while you
wait for the one following. This will give you
ample opportunity to see the natural wonders
congregated in this vicinity. We have almost
reached the mouth oi: Echo Creek, and the
Weber River conns in from the left, opposite
" Bromley'* Cathedra'," in front of which stands
"Pulpit Rock" on the most extended point as
you turn the elbow in the roa 1. This " Cathe-
dral " is naniid in honor of J. E. Bromley, Esq.,
who has lived at
E^'ho since 1858, \
and who came
here as a divi-
sion s u p e r i n-
tendent of Ban
Overland Stage
and Express
Line. It extends
some distance
a mile or more
around the
bend in the
mountain, and
has numerous
towers and
spires, turrets
and domes, on
either side.
" Pulpit Rock "
is so called from
its resemblance
to an old-fash-
ioned pulpit,
and rises in
plain view as
you go round

Online LibraryHenry T WilliamsPacific tourist : Adams and Bishop's illustrated trans-continental guide of travel, from the Atlantic to the Pacific Ocean : a complete traveler's guide of the Union and Central Pacific railroads → online text (page 20 of 62)