At first the
new settlement was called Chalk Creek, but after the discovery of coal
nearby the name was changed to Coalville. Thomas Rhoades discovered
coal while hunting for game. He took samples of the coal to Brigham
Young. Soon Young sent Daniel H. Wells, Briant Stringham, and Stephen
Tayl or to open the coal mine they called the "Old Church Mine."
Over the next
several decades Mormon settlers opened a series of mines across the
canyon walls, including mines at Spring Hollow, Allen's Hollow, and
Wasatch or Grass Creek. The Weber Coal Company ran the Wasatch Mine
for a number of years and then leased it for a period of time to J.H.
Roberts. Most importantly, the coal mines provided an important natural
resource that benefited locals, providing needed income, jobs, and fuel
for their homes. Before 1873 coal was shipped to Salt Lake City by ox
teams; by 1873 a narrow-gauge railroad had been built to the Wasatch
Mine. The Utah Eastern Narrow Gauge greatly facilitated the transportation
of ore to market. In 1880 a line was completed to Park City.