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Sunday, August 13, 2006

Kimberly Ghost Town

The fireplace of the old General Store.


Located high in Mill Canyon on the side of Gold Mountain in the Tushar Mountains is the ghost town of Kimberly. Since it is high up in the mountains the best time to visit is in the late spring to early fall. Kimberly was formerly a Gold Mining town. Originally settled in the 1890s, it lasted until 1910. Kimberly had a minor rebirth in the 1930s, but has been uninhabited since about 1938. The town is perhaps best known as the birthplace of Ivy Baker Priest, a former United States Treasurer. There isn't much left of the ghost town anymore as, the buildings are gone except for the old boarding house and the mill. The scenery is spectacular and the air spells of pine. Though you do need to be careful as there are bears around. The town was divided up into two sections, Upper Kimberly which is mostly where the residents lived, and Lower Kimberly which was where the businesses were. Lower Kimberly's main street bent around the head of the canyon in a horseshoe shape. Kimberly quickly became the leading gold camp in the state, with two hotels, two stores, three saloons, and two newspapers. In 1900 the county formed the Gold Mountain School District, and a log schoolhouse was built. Enrollment peaked at 89 in 1903. Kimberly's school year was just the opposite of the North American norm: children attended school from April through November to avoid the deep snows of winter.

By 1902 the Annie Laurie Mine employed 300 miners and Kimberly's population reached 500. The steep canyon road was constantly filled with wagons carrying ore, bullion and supplies to and from the railroad station at in the town of Sevier. The heavy traffic kept the road passable through the winter time.

Like most mining camps, Kimberly was known as a wild and vice-ridden place. Its brothels were famous, and drunkenness was commonplace. The town had problems with violence, even murder. The two-cell jail was said to be the strongest within 100 miles, which is now located in Pioneer Village at Lagoon.

 
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