Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Ghost Town Tuesday Part 2 - Electric Boogaloo

You know what? I think it's the term "ghost town" that makes ghost towns so interesting. If you named them "Previously inhabited locations (P.I.L.)" I bet ghost town visitations would be way down. No one want to visit a PIL.

Anyway, with that in mind, let's visit another one of utah's PILs by the name of Newhouse. If you misspell it and google "New House", then you get a bunch of prices for "Currently inhabited locations (CIL), which isn't all that interesting. Newhouse is somewhere in this zone....

You may notice that this zone overlaps with the Frisco zone from last week. Turns out the two buggers were pretty close to each other. When Frisco High played Newhouse High, I bet it was considered the "big game". In fact, it was probably the only game. And likely ended with all the players getting "consumption" or a bad case of "the vapors" and passing away. Old timey life was hard.
The story of Newhouse begins in 1870 and starts out with pretty humble beginnings. There really wasn't any mining (or miming) to speak of at that point, so probably the people who chose to live out there were the type of people you wouldn't want living next to you anyway. It was the sort of situation where dust was probably the leading concern of the village. And can you blame them?
All that changed in 1900 when a fellow named Samuel Newhouse bought a promising new prospect to the east of the town. There doesn't seem to be any pictures of Mr. Newhouse (for whom I'm assuming the town was named), but it really feels like there should be some imagery...Let's go with this guy...

There. Anyway, Mr. Newhouse had a dream to build a perfect little community and strike it rich with his new mine.

The mine in question is the famous (not famous) Cactus Mine, where silver and copper had been discovered. This place....

That's what it looks like now anyway. It used to be cooler. Newhouse took the dusty, stinky existing community and built a fancy dancehall, a restaurant and a bar located a mile out of town. The real pride and joy of Newhouse was the fully dust-free clubhouse at the center of town. Within it, a man could find both a library AND pool tables. Yes, it was good to be alive. But not for poor Mr. Newhouse. He died prior to the completion of the town.

These were probably sad times for the town of Newhouse. But luckily Mr. Newhouse II (his brother Matt) showed up and completed the town and started up the mine. He also built one of these...

A dome! Now Frisco couldn't lord their dome-dominance over the proud Newhouse folk. This dome was used to make charcoal, much in the same mannor as the Frisco domes. But this one is still in great shape. Yes, things were great in Newhouse, and stayed that way for a good 7 or 8 years until the mine puttered out of cactus ore.

Again, without a mine there really wasn't a reason to stay in Newhouse. The clubhouse was abandoned, and by 1914 the Cactus mine had been torn down and the good folks of Newhouse were no more.

If you head out to Newhouse nowadays, prepared to be disappointed. The clubhouse is gone. So is the bar. In fact, pretty much everything but the city dump has diappeared. But what a dump!

Also, off in the distance, this strange building is still standing...

Was it a mirage? Was I seeing the ghost of the clubhouse? Naw, it was just an old house that looked like it would give you tetanus and not feel bad about it. Anway, that's all the pictures I got of Newhouse. In the long run I suppose you could say that Frisco won the battle because there's more of it remaining, but if you really think about it neither of them really won at all. Makes you think.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009


I bet when Gumby sees a case of Play-dough it probably makes him pretty uncomfortable.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Ghost Town Tuesday!

Alright, we've learned about a couple of rocks, we've seen some people puking on other people, we've even discussed little clay monkeys. Let's look into ghost towns a little. People like ghost towns, right? And are we not people? Right then. Let's go.

The ghost town of today is called Frisco. It's in Utah (where I live!). Sorta in this area...

Now, if you had found yourself approximately 14 miles west of Milford (not ghost town, but close) in the year 1875, you would probably be standing right in the heart of Frisco country. You had best not stand there for long though. From what I've read (which is surprisingly little) Frisco was a good place to get yourself shot. Or drunk. Or infected with some sort of STD. Someone once called it "Tombstone, Sodom and Gomorrah all mixed into one". So it was basically Tombomah. These people know what I'm talking about.

Yes, it seems like everyone was a king in Tombomah. But not everyone was content with numerous senseless murders. Some crybaby had to go and bring in some Johnny Law from Pioche to clean up the town. I guess this new law-man went all Catholic nun on the place and gave the "murder-inclined" two choices. Get out or get murdered yourselves. Murder was a pretty common solution back then. Anyway, this guy wailed on six other dudes his first night. And by "wail" I mean "shot in the body with a bullet". Things quieted down after that. Most people are pretty well-mannored in towns with murderous police.

If you travel out west of Milford, eventually you will wonder why people would ever choose to live there in the first place. Dust gets in your eyes all the time, and tumbleweed related accidents are incredibly likely. In fact, you couldn't even get water out there. The 6000 residents of Frisco had to have it shipped in like suckers. Well, I'll tell you why people would live out there.

(That's a picture of The King David mine. It's really hard to see. I'm no photograpy-expert.)

Yes, people lived out there cus there was plenty of silver to be had. All you had to do to get it was drop yourself down a 900 foot deep shaft on a rusty old ladder and swing a pick around. Like any good mine, the story of this mine's origins are dipped in trickery. In 1875 two fellas named James Ryan and Samuel Hawks found some shiney rocks sticking out of a mountain. Thinking that the ore probably didn't extend that deeply into the ground, the two thought they could sucker someone into buying the claim for $400. Some suckers showed up and bought the claim and made a cool $60,000,000 off it. The suckers became the suckies....or something.

During the golden (silver) years of the mine, the nearby city of Frisco grew to contain over 6000 folks. Plus it had one of these!

Every ghost town worth its salt has one of those. I feel bad for ghost towns without one. Looks like an early Chucky Cheese attraction. Anyway, things were really looking up for Frisco. Murders were down, silver was up, and a twisted metal pipe-thing had been recently purchased. But not all was well in Frisco-town. Starting in 1885, strange earth-moans had been heard throughout the mine. Then, on the cold, grey morning of February 12, the mine went splat. Luckily, no one was inside the mine at the time, but it's hard to work in a mine that suffers from a bad case of not being there anymore. Suddenly, there wasn't any reason to live in Frisco anymore. Realizing this, worried city officials purchased on of these....

But it wasn't enough. The Friscoians were a fickle bunch, and even a pile of rusted gears couldn't stimulate the dwindling economy. Without the mine, people didn't want to stick around and by 1912 the place was down to only 2 Starbucks. Then, like a worm burrowing through the mud, the town of Frisco simply faded away. If you go there now, expect to see a lot of stuff like this...

If you are a fan of domes (and who isn't), then today is your lucky day! Frisco used to be known as the "Dome-iest city in the Greater Central Utah area". (Not true).

These are the famed Frisco domes. They are actually old ovens where the good people of Frisco would make charcoal to fire up the smelter. All they did was tear down every tree they could find and invite this little guy to the party....

And Blam! Instant Charcoal. And all it took was devestating deforestation. Someone had put up a fence around the ovens, but then someone else tore it down. So I wandered to cash in on someone else's vandelism.

Wanna know what I found inside??

A hole! Stupid crumbly oven.

Finally, like all good towns, there needed to be a place to put yer dead. Frisco was no exception. You can't have dead folks piled in the streets! You need a good hill to put them! And so, Frisco cemetary was created. If you were rich I imagine you got a proper headstone, like so...

(Inscription says "Daring we miss thee". I thought this was sad cus now no one even knows who she was).

(This one says "Farewell my wife and children all
from thee a father Christ doth call
mourn not for me, it is in vain
to call me to your side again")

Just in case death wasn't depressing enough. Most of the headstones had little saying like this. "I'm dead, you're going to die, get over it" and such. It was terribly sad. Now if you didn't have money, I imagine your grave looked like this....

The classic "boot hill" look. Very popular with hobos.

The graveyard was mostly filled with children. Ages 0 to 5 appeared to be hard years. At least they have a peaceful place to rest. Sad place.
Anway, that is Frisco in a nutshell. Hope this was informational for you. Next week I'm going to New House, the second dome-iest city in the west!

Monday, April 6, 2009

RC Willey

Seems to me that RC Willey is beating out RC Cola. The wrong RC is winning my friends.

Friday, April 3, 2009

A picture of one man vomiting on another man

I bet this is probably one of those situations where the dude on the left still isn't laughing about it. Plus look how hairy that dude's arms are.


You know, if Ebay had thought a bit harder about their name I bet they would have realized that "Ebuy" makes more sense.