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History of Coal Mining in Utah
Taken from the Utah History Encyclopedia. (Links Added)
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The history of coal mining in Utah is one of outside economic domination which has created a distinctive ethnic mix in the central southeastern area of predominantly Mormon Utah. The area was first controlled by major railroads, and, since World War I, increasingly by international energy companies.

However, Utah's coal industry began under the aegis of the LDS Church, which reserved valuable local timber for building lumber, not fuel. This helped create demand for coal that was emphasized when the 1854 territorial legislature offered a cash prize (apparently never collected) for the first usable coal deposits found within forty miles of Salt Lake City. Initial discoveries ranged farther afield, usually in conjunction with infant iron industries encouraged by the Saints' drive toward self-sufficiency. From the 1850s through the 1870s several coal prospects opened: one in the southwestern corner of the state, others in centrally located Sanpete County, and one at Coalville, Summit County, forty miles from Salt Lake City. The Mormons built a connecting railroad to the Coalville deposit, which (along with most other Mormon railroads) was quickly acquired by the Union Pacific (UP) after it entered Utah Territory in 1869. The UP then monopolized Utah's coal supply. Its only completion came from wagon mines or "country banks," where farmers would drive a wagon up to an exposed vein and load enough for their personal needs.


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