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Vol. 1
No. 6

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April
1925

Something About Soldier Summit, Utah

By W. J. DARNELL

IT not infrequently is the case in certain sections of this broad land of ours that potential happenings are taking place from time to time of no small importance and of which the outside world knows little, or perhaps nothing. Great industrial plants representing millions of dollars, possibly are often times not even beard of until after years of successful manipulation when, their products having proven meritorious, they become familiar to all classes and the firm name becomes a household word. So it is in the railroad world.

For years, the little way station of Soldier Summit, Utah, located on the main line of the Denver & Rio Grande Western Railroad, about ninety-five miles southeast of Salt Lake City, was unheard of outside of a very limited area. As passenger trains passed through the little station the newsboy would cry out the altitude when there would be a craning of necks to see nothing but bleak and barren mountain tops, and a boxcar depot. Today, however, a different scene greets the eye and people all over the state of Utah are talking about Soldier Summit; even Nevada, Wyoming and Colorado are beginning to prick up their ears as a result of this free matter-of-fact advertising. At the present time, Soldier Summit, clothed in the habiliments of a railroad division point in the making, is not a thing of beauty, nor is it the most desirable place in which to live, because of the lack of housing accommodations; but it does possess the pep and determination of young blood. . . . and that spells achievement: The town is perched way up on top of the Wasatch range of mountains in Wasatch county, at an altitude of approximately 7,500 feet above sea level. The story goes that when General Albert Sidney Johnson's army was stationed in Utah at a very early day, two of his soldiers were killed and were buried near the summit of this peak -hence the name, Soldier Summit.

AND this is the spot that was selected by former General Manager Russell of the D. & R. G. W. as terminal and division point for the so-called heavy end division-about the most important one of the entire system. Helper, a bustling little city some twenty-five miles further east, had been the division point for a long time, but eminent engineers seem to have figured it out that operating expenses could be greatly reduced by moving the terminal from Helper to the Summit and, accordingly, the work of transfer and construction was pushed forward as rapidly as possible. And so it is. Mobilization of cumulative forces continues on and on. When large corporations determine on spending millions of dollars for constructive work of this nature it is a foregone conclusion, if not an absolute certainty, that that particular locality where this great outlay of capital is being made will make of itself a hustling community of no small importance in the railroad world, if in nothing else. Much money and labor was expended in stripping off the mountain, in filling in yawning chasms, grading, etc., making the general topography not unlike that of a shallow basin with a canyon on the east and a canyon on the west.

This affords a splendid site for extensive yardage which accommodates approximately fifty miles of trackage, all of which is now laid. Across this yard a very substantial viaduct has been built. Either a foot viaduct or a concrete subway as a safety measure is promised for the future. Extensive coal chutes have been erected and thousands of tons of coal is on the ground at all times ready for consumption. Adequate car sheds have been erected. A new depot, two stories in height, about forty by ninety feet in dimensions and built of stucco and shingles, would do credit to a place of three times our size. Close by is a two engine heating plant that supplies both depot and hotel. The hotel is of the same construction as the depot, and with the annex, will accommodate something like two hundred guests. Between three and four hundred meals are served daily at this hostelry. At the present time there are about one hundred and twenty company cottages, consisting of four and six rooms each, all of which are of modern construction. Additional houses to the number of about one hundred have been built by merchants and others not directly connected with the road as employes. The piece-de-resistance, however, of this agglomeration of buildings is the roundhouse and machine shop. The building is of concrete, steel and brick construction, about 200x250 feet in dimensions, of generous height and, altogether, quite imposing. It is a twenty-four stall roundhouse and machine shop combined, and is considered one of the most complete and up-to-the-minute structures of this nature along the entire system. The monthly payroll fluctuates between $50,000 and $75,000, which means money for the boys that earned it, the merchant, the banker, the barber and baker. An investment and real estate firm has been on the ground from the start, and is selling lots from one to five hundred dollars, according to the location. Fine water is obtained from White River, a distance of about three miles, and it is as clear and cold as the blue skies and lofty mountains from whence it comes. Cold it is on this mountain top when wintry winds blow from the mantle of snow that enshrouds these eternal hills, but, paradoxical as it may seem, one does not mind it any more than do those who live in a lower altitude in an atmosphere of greater humidity.

NATURE, as you may have observed, is ever generous in harmonizing the elements of the air with those of the human anatomy, and ordinary discretion here, as elsewhere, is all that is required to circumvent such minor troubles as frost-bite. Mention should be made of the splendid concrete reservoir of 1,500,000 gallon capacity which the company has constructed and in connection therewith has installed a chlorinization plant for purifying our drinking water. This bespeaks for the company an advanced position in the matter of looking after the interests of their employes in an effort to conserve health. Of the warm seasons one can only speak in the superlative degree. From May to October is an almost unbroken series of delightfully warm and invigorating days-followed by cool nights equally delightful for sound and refreshing sleep. What more, I ask , could the good people of this railroad center wish for? Verily, verily, the hand of progress is upon this little city resting above the clouds.
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Soldier Summit housing.

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W. J. DARNELL

 

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