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!


B. said...

Just fantastic. And informative.

Corey Shuman said...

Might want to do a bit more research on the area, its a good start but you are missing a lot and mis-identifing quite a bit.
You might also want to point out that the entire area, frisco side and newhouse side are slated for full reclamation in the next year or so.

marshall p said...

thank you for that enlightening post. I'm sorry Corey Shuman is such a nitpicker.

Cheetah said...

I didn't know that about the reclaimation of the townsites. Glad I got out there.

All my information concerning Frisco came from this website....


So if there is incorrect information then blame that guy.

Cheetah said...

Oh, and I made up some stuff too. Just minor things. The history stuff should all line up with that website.

B. said...

Hi Corey,

In defense of this blog, I think we're meant to take most of the "facts" with a grain of salt. I've driven down I-15 many times and I know there's no giant kitten there.

But I'm glad you posted here because your website looks really cool. I can't wait to look into it further.

marshall p said...

Bryton, are you serious? there's no giant kitten? I'm cancelling my plans to visit as of now.


heather said...

Thanks for this blog - this site is part of my dissertation and I enjoyed getting to laugh over some of the pics and info.

The Hill said...

I think your map has been infested.

You're REALLY funny.

Well done.