Projects - Ghost Town (2014-2016)

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Devil's Slide-Library of Congress Timothy H. O'Sullivan (1840-1882)
by Peon Clover

In 1904 a mountain of limestone was discovered by Aman Moore. Several prominent area men recognized the value of limestone in the production of Portland Cement (an ingredient used in the making of concrete). They formed a corporation named The Union Portland Cement Company for the purpose of quarrying the limestone. A town quickly grew with the success of the cement plant. At one time the population of the tiny village exceeded 250 people.

Early in the history of the village a tragic event occurred. Some of the men of the town were working in a one hundred-foot tunnel placing kegs of black powder for the next explosion. They sat cross-legged with their backs together one behind the other the chain reaching the rear end of the tunnel. Once the men were in place the powder kegs were handed to the front man in the mouth of the tunnel. One by one the kegs were passed over the head to the man back of him. Somewhere along the human chain a keg was dropped, and a terrible explosion roared across the valley. The blast acted as a shotgun shooting men across the valley onto the surrounding hills. Seventeen men were killed in the catastrophe; seven Japanese, seven Austrians, two Italians, and one Irishman.

During the middle part of the 1980’s only a handful of families remained and by the end of the decade the company decided to close the village altogether. All the families had moved on with the exception of the railroad section foreman who lived in a house owned by the railroad. The railroad demolished this house not long after the town was emptied. Currently the land where the bustling village once stood is mostly under large piles of crushed rock.

Resources: and Remember Devil's Slide? by Maxine R. Wright