Gilsonite is a solid hydrocarbon mined in vertical veins in southern Uintah County, Utah. It is found in veins anywhere from a foot to twenty-two feet in width, and a depth of a few feet up to 2,000 feet.
The black shiny mineral is not commercially mined anywhere else in the world and only found in a few other places. Following discovery, miners began working the gilsonite mines in the late 1800s. With the remoteness and distance to the mines, mining camps were set up at the various mine sites.
The Uintah Railway was built from Mack, Colorado, over Baxter Pass, to transport gilsonite and eventually passengers and freight to and from the mining communities. Families joined their husbands and fathers at the camps. Communities sprang up, namely the communities of Dragon, Rainbow, Watson, and Bonanza, along with others.
Stores and boarding houses were opened to accommodate the miners and their families and schools were built for the children to attend. The rich history left behind from the gilsonite mining communities gives an understanding of those that worked and lived there and certainly deserves its place in history.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR(S)
Uintah County Regional History Center, founded by Doris Karren Burton in 1982, has grown from a dream and a few file cabinets in a closet, to a modern spacious center. The center is dedicated to collecting, preserving, and making available biographies, histories, maps, local newspapers, and photographs that tell the story of the Greater Uinta Basin. The Regional History staff members include Ellen Kiever, Elaine Carr and Michelle Fuller. They are dedicated to sharing their resources with the public through publications such as this.
Publisher: America Through Time
Images: 209 Black And White
Dimensions: 6.5 (w) x 9.25 (h)