Monday, December 19, 2016

Lost Rhodes Gold Mine: Evolving Myth, or The Real Deal?

                    The gold-plated Angel Moroni statue, atop the Salt Lake LDS Temple.

By Lynn Arave

UTAH is full of myths and legends. from the Bear Lake Monster, to Bigfoot and various haunted places, yet none is more mysterious than the lost Rhodes Gold Mine.
This mine was supposedly used to gain the gold to coat the Angel Moroni statue, on the top of the Salt Lake Temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Most common beliefs are that the mine is either in the Uinta Mountains, or on the Ute Indian Reservation, near Ouray.
Some even tie the mine into the Spanish and legendary Aztec gold mine lore.
Over the decades, some have scoffed that the mine even exists at all. A report in the Salt Lake Tribune of May 24, 1896 was written by an unnamed man who reportedly knew Thomas Rhodes well and provided his own memories of the man and mining.
The story states that Rhodes had brought to Utah some $50,000 in gold dust that he had secured in California. Then, years later he was on Strawberry Creek in the Uinta Mountains and noticed some similarities between the rocks there and the ones he had found gold at in California. Rhodes then panned the stream and found a little gold there.
After returning to Salt Lake City, he told LDS Church President Brigham Young about the gold and he urged Rhodes to keep the knowledge of any mines hidden.
That's because President Young didn't want an influx of people to the area, nor any disruption in the Mormon Pioneers' stock raising and agricultural interests.
"And it is evident that he (Rhodes) latterly lost confidence in the importance of his find, as he had opportunities to determine its extensiveness," the article stated.
The article also stressed that Rhodes never claimed any great knowledge of finding or mining gold.\
"The 'Rhodes' mine is only a companion myth of the "Spanish" mine at Springville, the Kanosh legend of Spanards working the Horn silver, the Mexican shaft in City Creek Canyon, etc.," the article concluded.
Thus, to this man, the Rhodes mine was never a mine, merely a little gold panning that evolved into a gold mine legend decades later.

-"Rich land of the Utes" was an Oct. 11, 1897 headline in the Salt Lake Herald newspaper. Regarding the Rhodes mine, this article stated:
"It is on the Uintah reservation that the famous Rhodes mine is located. Everyone in Utah is familiar with the story of Rhodes' life, who for years left home in the spring with a pack animal and regularly returned in the fall with several thousand dollars in gold. The secret of this hidden wealth was transmitted on the decease of the father to his eldest son who in turn died and left it to his younger brother, the man who is at present associated with FWC Hatherbruck in the endeavor to obtain the Indian's consent to a lease. Operations along this line have been temporarily suspended for the reason that Hatherbruck has been subpoenaed as a witness before a court at Provo City."

-A Feb. 6, 1902 story in the Eastern Utah Advocate newspaper strongly hinted that the Rhodes mine was a myth. It cited how many cowboys and sheepherders have roamed the territory, where the mine is supposed to be, and have only found copper -- and no gold.
The article then cited the Wasatch Wave newspaper that stated:
"It claims that an older settler said that Rhodes secured his gold dust in California in the early days -- brought it back to Utah and cached it out in the hills. About once a year he would visit his treasure box, and upon his return with gold, people were led to believe he secured it on the reservation."

-Notwithstanding such scoffing, the Utah Mining Review of Oct. 30, 1903 reported that the Rhodes mine had been found by the Florence Mining Company. Since no more was ever reported on that discovery, it was obviously proven wrong.

-Also, the lost Rhodes mine was reported found much more recently, in 1958. The Uintah Basin Standard newspaper of July 10, 1958 carried the headline, "Lost Rhodes Gold mine believed found by Bullock Mining Co." Again, with no future reports, that was also proven false in time. (The same newspaper had hinted at the possibility of a big gold strike in an Aug. 15, 1957 article, during a year when 25 mining claims were filed in Duchesne County.)

-So the legend of this gold mine, as many similar gold mines in the West, refuses to cease. Has the Rhodes tale evolved from simple gold panning, or from Rhodes' own possible cache of California gold into a full blown lost gold mine? Or, is it the real deal with an authentic lost gold mine out there ... Who can tell?

Great Salt Lake, 1877: 'A Monster Story"

     The Great Salt Lake, as seen from the northern tip of Fremont Island toward Promontory Point.

By Lynn Arave

DOES the Great Salt Lake harbor a large monster?
If it does, he rarely gets out. The ONLY time he was ever seen was on the night of July 8th of 1877.
According to the Salt Lake Herald newspaper of July 13, 1877, a group of men saw the beast near Monument Point and fled, far away.
Bear Lake, straddling the Utah-Idaho border has had its share of monster tales, but the GSL has just a single story.
Monument Point, where the monster was supposedly seen, is in the extreme northwest corner of the Great Salt Lake. (That's also northwest of Promontory Point.)
The men reported seeing : "a huge mass of hide and fin rapidly approaching and when within a few yards of the shore it raised its enormous head and uttered a terrible bellow."
The men fled to the mountains and did not return until the next morning. Then, they reported finding some overturned rocks, torn up ground and tracks on the shore.
One of the men, J.H. McNeil, said the beast had to be some 75 feet long and was like an alligator or crocodile, only much larger.
The men were night employees at Barnes and Company's salt boilers.
The men had also reported hearing strange noises from the lake just before the encounter.
The newspaper report stated many claimed the sighting to be a hoax, but that McNeil "is a man who veracity cannot be impeached."
-Unlike Bear Lake, the Great Salt Lake is a very shallow body of water. At Monument Point, the lake is only two to four feet deep anywhere near the shore -- and that's when the GSL is at its average elevation of 4,200 feet above sea level. (As of late 2016, the area where this sighting took place is dry, with the lake being down 7 or 8 feet from average.)

1904: A Plan to Raise the Great Salt Lake Level with Dikes

           Taylor Arave stands next to landlocked buoy in 2008, in front of Fremont Island.

By Lynn Arave

"PLAN to raise Salt Lake's level" was an April 28, 1904 headline in the Salt Lake Tribune. In that era, the lake's level had been dropping. In fact, Lagoon resort had abandoned its lake shore location about eight years prior (and moved inland), because of a diminished GSL.
The 1904 plan was to built dikes between Antelope Island and Fremont Island, thus creating two sections of the lake. Then, the 20 percent of the lake on the east side, could be fed with fresh water from streams.
This plan was the brainchild of Salt Lake resident John E. Dooly.
By 1920, Dooly was advocating that such dikes could help create a lakeside resort, complete with summer cottages nearby. He even envisioned a railroad line running all around the dikes, to showcase the beauty of the area (according to the Deseret News on Feb. 21, 1910).
Jump ahead two more decades and there was another plan for dikes to freshen the eastern side of the Great Salt Lake yet again (Salt Lake Telegram newspaper, June 20, 1930).
In later years, the idea also came too, but it was never attempted.
In late 2016, the lake level is near its lowest ever level, not just from drought, but because so much previous lake inflow is withheld for residential and business use.
Thus, if any of these dike ideas had been implemented decades ago, the eastern side of the lake could still be mostly a dust bowl, as it is today.
-Still, a causeway road was built to Antelope Island in the early 1960s and despite washing out various times over the years, it is still in use today.

A 1950s plan to dike the eastern side of the Great Salt Lake.

Some Roads in Arches National Park not fully paved until the 1990s.

By Lynn Arave

ARCHES National Park was a late bloomer, as far as paved road access goes.
Dr. J.W. Williams and other Moab residents were credited with the first automobile ride into Arches in 1936 -- and they only reached the Balanced Rock and Windows area. They took a very rough path, basically what a jeep trail would be called today.
It wasn't until 1948 that the State of Utah spend $16,000 to improve the road into Arches -- and even then this was an unpaved road -- and only to Balanced Rock and the Windows formations (according to Times Independent Newspaper, Oct. 22, 1947 and April 22, 1948).
It wasn't until the summer of 1957 that the 9.2 miles of road from State Highway 191 to Windows was paved, at a cost of $700,000.
It was still an unpaved road northward from there, to the Devil's Garden.
This section was probably improved and paved by the late 1960s.
However, the side road to Wolf Ranch and the Delicate Arch trailhead was unpaved until the early 1990s.

Where the 'Delicate Arch' Name originated from; Plus, the Arch's Trail History

By Lynn Arave

WE take the Delicate Arch name for granted today. This is no ordinary arch. It has not only become the symbol for Arches National Park (home to more than 2,000 stone arches), but also for the entire State of Utah at times.
The FIRST time the name Delicate Arch was used is likely in the Times Independent newspaper on January 8, 1934. The author was Frank Beckwith, an archaeologist with Arches National Monument.
He stated, "This is by far the most delicately chiseled arch in the entire area."
It was the local Times newspaper that subheaded the section for this statement with, "A beautiful Delicate Arch."
Likely, from there the name blossomed and was soon the official title of the natural feature.
Previously, this park icon was originally called "The Chaps" by area cowboys. "Bloomer's" was another nickname for the feature as well.
-The trail to Delicate Arch also used to be an ordeal, requiring the use of ladders. It wasn't until the spring of 1953 that the trail was reworked to its present configuration.
This new trail followed a seam in the rocks.
A Times Independent newspaper report from May 25, 1950 explained that it took some local Girl Scouts half a day to reach Delicate Arch. On returning to Wolf Ranch, the girls were tired and sunburned.

Before Arches National Park -- A Vast Cattle Domain

                              The Wolf Cabin in Arches National Park.

By Lynn Arave

LONG before Arches National Park came along, this area north of Moab, Utah was a huge cattle ranching area. Early settlers were simply not impressed with scenery when they had to make a living in harsh desert territory.
The Wolf Ranch, just west of Delicate Arch and near the trailhead to the famous arch, was the most famous of these cattle ranches.
This ranch came along in 1898 and was about 150 acres in size, operated by Civil War Veteran John Wesley Wolf.
According to the Times Independent Newspaper of Aug. 3, 1967, a flood in the Salt Wash of Arches in 1906 washed Wolf's first cabin away and he had to build another away from the main drainage.
After Wolf sold out and left, sheep were grazed in the area. Also, horses ran free in the area.

                            The desolate Salt River Wash area.

It wasn't until 1936 when the Arches area was seen by more than cowboys and ranchers. That's because horseback or a jolting wagon ride were the only ways to access the area before that.
Dr. J.W. Williams and other Moab residents were credited with the first automobile ride into Arches in 1936 -- and they only reached the Balanced Rock and Windows area.

From "Little Zion" to "Joseph's Glory" to "Mukuntuweap" and more -- Zion National Park

By Lynn Arave

ZION NATIONAL PARK -- THE name of the majestic gorge with sheer sandstone walls half-a-mile high seems to fit so well that its origin is rarely questioned anymore. But in fact, Zion has been known by at least half-a-dozen other titles.

A reference in National Geographic magazine reminds us the Zion name was not an instant fixture. A map supplement in the October 1992 issue mentions that Brigham Young emphasized to early settlers in the Springdale area that the canyon was not Zion, despite their heavenly descriptions. So, some of the settlers started sarcastically calling the area "Not Zion" in the 1860s. The first white man to see Zion is believed to have been Nephi Johnson, who in November 1858 rode halfway up what is now known as the paved "Gateway to the Narrows" trail to "Zion Stadium," a natural amphitheater. By another account, he only went as far as the Great White Throne.

Johnson was a Mormon scout, looking for good places for the Saints to settle. He had an Indian guide with him who refused to go any farther than the present site of Springdale. The Indian said the devil lived farther up, in the area where the sun never shined, and he feared injury and death from evil gods who dwelt there.

Other information indicates there may have been occasional fatal falls by Indians who climbed up rock footholds to the tops of the plateaus and peaks, so they likely regarded Zion as a dangerous area.

Indians apparently knew the canyon by various names. "Ioogoon" is one, translating to "Arrow quiver" or "Come out the way you came in."

Explorer John Wesley Powell visited Zion in 1872 and applied some Indian names to the gorges there, such as "Mukuntuweap" (meaning "Straight Canyon") to the North Fork of the Virgin River and "Parunuweap" ("Water that Roars") to the East Fork. He was one of the first to call broader attention to the area's scenic wonders - something settlers struggling to survive had no time to appreciate or promote.

NEPHI JOHNSON, for one, was apparently not overly impressed by Zion - at least from a settler's point of view - and didn't even report his discoveries to others. It just didn't seem promising for farming. Johnson also found little evidence of previous Indian settlements there.

Several years later, Joseph S. Black, another Mormon pioneer, followed the Virgin River into Zion and was so impressed by the natural beauty that he provided was seemed to be unbelievable descriptions of the area to other settlers. Some of the more skeptical of them dubbed the place "Joseph's Glory" in reference to what they thought were his exaggerated claims.

Isaac Behunin was actually the first to settle there. In January 1862 he built a cabin in Springdale. In the summer of 1863 he raised a one-room cabin not far from where Zion Lodge is now. Behunin also built a canal, planted fruit trees and grew cane and garden vegetables in Zion. Behunin Canyon northwest of the Emerald Pools is named in his honor.

Other settlers followed. William Heaps built a log cabin at the mouth of Emerald Pools Canyon, and John Rolf established several cabins in Zion, including one near what is now the Grotto picnic area.

Behunin may have been the first to use the name by which it is today world renowned. He called the canyon "Little Zion." Other reports indicate the area was also referred to as "the Heavenly City of God" in the 1860s.

"Little Zion Valley" was another name used to describe the area, as evidenced by many references in Utah newspapers, like the Washington County News of July 1, 1909. By 1917, it was "Little Zion Park" as an often-used title.

According to research by the Washington County Chapter of the Daughters of Utah Pioneers, it is not exactly known what the name Zion referred to. It might have been related to the peaceful security settlers felt in Zion Canyon because the Indians stayed away from there or because the towering walls offered natural protection.

Another possible derivation may be from the United Order, a Mormon pioneer system of sharing all things in common, that was prevalent in southern Utah at the time. This could have made for a utopia - a Zion - at least for a short time.

By 1875, however, no one was living in Zion Canyon, possibly in part because the United Order con-cept had been discontinued and many residents had moved away. In 1863, as many as 20 families may have been living on the North Fork of the Virgin River, yet by 1864 only nine were left. Frequent and unpredictable flooding was another problem for settlers in the Zion area.

G.K. GILBERT, who visited Zion in 1872, is credited with naming "the Narrows" and for being the first explorer to fully appreciate their wonder.

The area was mapped extensively in the 1880s by the U.S. government, but Zion was basically cut off from the thoroughfares of the rest of the world until well into the 20th century, with no railroad nearby and poor roads.

Arable land in the canyon continued to be farmed by residents of Springdale and Rockville until the area earned national park status. Sheep also grazed in the area until 1909. Perhaps unjustly, farmers and ranchers received no financial compensation for the loss of their land when the canyon was included in a national monument.

In 1909 part of Zion was set aside as Mukuntuweap National Monument by President William Taft. By 1918, President Woodrow Wilson had enlarged the area and changed the name back to Zion because the Mukuntuweap name was an unpopular title locally. (Parunuweap was retained as the name of a small canyon southeast of Zion.)

                              A lower section of Angels Landing.

The Rev. Frederick Vining Fisher, an Ogden Methodist minister visiting the canyon with friends in 1916, is credited with giving several Zion landmarks the "heavenly" names that persist to this day. Among them: the Great White Throne, the Three Patriarchs (Abraham, Isaac and Jacob) and Angels Landing.

Today's park is rife with connotations and descriptions of that variety that seem so appropriate to Zion: the North and South Guardian Angels, Tabernacle Dome, Mount Moroni, the East and West Temples, the Altar of Sacrifice, Kolob Arch, Cathedral Mountain, the Temple of Sinawava.

In 1929, Congress gave Zion national park status, and the boundaries were extended to their cur-rent range.

By 1923 the railroad had reached Cedar City, and a graded wagon path was prepared as far as Weeping Rock. The Zion tunnel was started on the fall of 1927 and, when completed in 1930, this engineering marvel of its time soon improved accessibility to the park.

Today, the name Zion usually summons images of a popular scenic attraction that's also a place of refuge for the wildlife protected within its borders. Still, a visit to Zion - even in the 1990s - reveals there are several religious groups that frequent Zion and who regard it as exactly that - a sacred area. One group even believes it to be the ancient home of Abraham and Israel.

But even for those not inclined to zealotry, no other name seems to better fit this spectacular area than the name most everyone knows it by - Zion.

(-Revised from a Deseret News article by Lynn Arave and Ray Boren on April 29, 1993.)

Thursday, December 8, 2016

'Epidemic of Runaway Couples' in 1907 Ogden

By Lynn Arave

"Epidemic of Runaway Couples: Six young people from Salt Lake married; They like Ogden's way of doing things -- Surprise for the folks at home" was a June 24, 1907 headline in the Ogden Standard-Examiner.
The article mentioned how Ogden's pastors must be more accommodating than Salt Lake City's and hence why so many young couples were eloping some 36 miles north to Ogden fo
r a quick and less-questions-asked marriage.
The story stated that "the number of runway couples that come from Zion to be married in Ogden is steadily on the increase."
The also stated that two "supposedly confirmed bachelors, widely known to the businessmen of Salt Lake" traveled to the Hermitage in Ogden Canyon for their honeymoon, as they ended "their state of single blessedness."
"Salt Lake Girls run away to get married in Ogden" was a June 21, 1922 headline in the Standard-Examiner, and so this trend of runaway couples coming to Ogden for a quick marriage continued, at least for more than a decade.

                                 The old Ogden City Hall.

'A Novel Ride' in 1891 down Waterfall Canyon?

              The view down Waterfall Canyon, west, from just below the Waterfall.

By Lynn Arave

 SOMETIMES historical accounts just aren't detailed enough.
EXAMPLE: A May 21, 1891 article in the Ogden Standard-Examiner, reported that a group of Ogden residents hiked up to Observatory Peak (Mount Ogden) by way of Waterfall Canyon and then road back down "on snow toboggans, having a fine ride of over a  mile and a half down on the snow," it was stated. The headline of the story labeled it "A Novel Ride."

                          The view eastward at the mouth of Waterfall Canyon.

   Where exactly did the group slide down on the snow?
Given the terrain of this area, the area around the waterfall of Waterfall Canyon is a steep cliff. It certainly wasn't there.
In the deep winter, it is possible to walk right over top of the Waterfall stream, most of the way up the canyon. However, in late May, that seems unlikely.

So, the only place this group could have actually slid on toboggans was much higher up the mountain -- between Malan's Basin and Mount Ogden. Here, in late May, the snow could have still been deep. However, who would haul a toboggan (likely a long, narrow board of wood in that era) that far up the mountain? That would have been a grueling ordeal, of 5 or more miles and almost a mile of vertical climb.
But, hey there weren't ski resorts back then and so maybe that's the effort it took for a good snow thrill well over a century ago ......?

                       The view from Malan's Basin to Mount Ogden.

First Exploration of Logan Cave: 1892?

                    Logan Cave entrance, before it was gated shut, circa 1988, with Scott Thompson.

By Lynn Arave

LOGAN Cave was a tourist attraction in Logan Canyon, Utah, along Highway 89, for almost a century. The Cave was gated shut in the late 20th Century, to protect its native inhabitants, bats.
(Today, mention "Cave" and Logan Canyon and it is the Wind Caves that are more well-known and visited.)
Although Logan Cave can be spotted easily --  if you know where to look -- along today's paved Highway 89, it apparently wasn't always so.
The Brigham City Bugler newspaper of July 23, 1892, records what may be the first-ever public references to Logan Cave.
The article reports that attorney B.H. Jones had a "delightful trip through the large cave" in the summer of 1892.
"It contains a large stream of water and a lake," The Bugler article stated. "The walls of the cave are said to be so high that a man can walk upright a whole mile and not reach the end. Lanterns are used in reaching the depths of that dark cavern, as no crevices are found in the massive walls to admit light. The air is cool and refreshing at midday, when all is hot and sultry without," the 1892 article concluded.
-Today, Logan Cave is believed to be 4,290-feet long. Public access seems to be rarely permitted.
Logan Cave is located 11.9 miles up Logan Canyon on the north side of the highway, about 50 feet above the paved highway.
The cave itself varies from 5-10 feet wide with a ceiling height between 30 and 100 feet. It has three levels and in normal water years has a stream flowing out of it that can be knee-deep in spots. The cave is dry during some summers.
The cave was formed by the seepage of water through limestone and has a year-round temperature of about 50 degrees.
Most geological features in the cave have been destroyed by vandals, and litter and graffiti were cave problems over the years too.

When Utah's Steepest State Road, Highway 143, was forged: 1933-1934

                          Today's Highway 143.                                              Photo by Ravell Call.

By Lynn Arave
THE steepest state highway in Utah, U-43, from Parowan to Cedar Breaks, was forged during heavy construction efforts, mainly in 1933-1934.
According to the Garfield County News of Aug. 10, 1934, the road was fully open by that time, as part of a CCC (Civilian Conservation Corps) Camp effort.
This road has a 13 percent maximum grade and tops out at 10, 567 feet above sea level. (Most Interstate Highways only have a 6 percent maximum grade.) The winding road will provide a rugged workout for any vehicle's brakes/engines.
The Garfield County News had reported  on Aug. 25, 1933, that the road was originally known as "The Bowerly Road" and that its importance was connecting with the Duck Creek-Cedar Mountain Road (today's Highway 14).

               The rugged terrain around the Brian Head area and Highway 143.
                                                                              Photo by Ravell Call.

The newspaper also outlined some of the challenges with creating the steep, 18-mile-long path: at one point it was required to make a n 80-foot deep by 1,000-foot long cut through solid rock.
The final pioneer way on the adjacent Highway 14, from Cedar City, past Navajo Lake, and to Long Valley Junction, was done in the early 1930s, with most of the effort done by the fall of 1932, according to the Garfield County News of Sept. 2, 1932.
This road construction also provided much needed paid employment to area men, jobless during the Great Depression of that era.
In fact, the U.S. Forest Service hired men for just two weeks at a time for the project during 1932, so that additional men could also gain temporary employment for two weeks at a time, as well.    

Note: This area was devastated by a massive forest fire in 2017.

                              Highway 143                                            Photo by Ravell Call.

The beginnings of the Aspen Grove Highway: 1916-1917

By Lynn Arave

WHEN did the Aspen Scenic Highway through American Fork Canyon in Utah originate?
It was the summer of 1917 when much of the road was cut through the forest, that goes past Timpanogos Cave and Aspen Grove, on an intersect course with Provo Canyon.
According to the Ogden Standard-Examiner of Dec, 6, 1916, plans were made the winter prior for this "motor car route." The initial cost was $30,000 (or just over $660,000 in 2016 dollar value).
Surprisingly, the initial plan was to take a car road all the way to the glacier base of Mount Timpanogos. That obviously didn't happen, because of the rugged terrain. Still, today's road tops out at 8,078 feet above sea level, in heavily forested terrain.
Even today, the Alpine road on the eastern side of the Wasatch Mountains is mighty narrow, but 1916-1917 work marked the initial beginnings of the 24-mile scenic loop highway (State road No. 92).
Timpanogos Cave National Monument wasn't established until 1922, so this pioneer road work predates that.
Much of the interest in hiking to Timpanogos Peak came in the early 1920s, or just after road access to Aspen Grove was created.

                Mountain goats roaming around Timpanogos Peak.
                                                                                                                       Photo by Ray Boren.