That time when... Our Visit to Sego Canyon Utah
[A look back at our 2008 visit to Utah, and Sego Canyon, including the ghost town of Sego, in the fourth of our series "That time when.." a revisit to some of our favorites over the past]
In April of 2008 we drove up from Nevada into Utah for a swing through the southeastern portions of the state, going through what seemed to be endless changing landscapes and one National Park after another. After making it up to I-70, and stumbling upon the ghost town of Thompson Springs, we made a small jaunt north on State Highway 94/BLM159, along Thompson Wash to Sego Canyon Rd (BLM160). Here we found ancient rock art by the side of the road that dates back hundreds of years to the Fremont culture.
Sego Canyon, UT - Petroglyphs - 2Petroglyphs dating back hundreds of years still visible near the ghost town of Sego, UT.
The Fremont culture, a contemporary of the Anasazi, thrived from 600 A.D. to 1250. There is also rock art from around 1300 A.D from the Ute tribe.
Sego Canyon, UT - Petroglyphs - 3Petroglyphs near Sego, UT
Unfortunately, although preservation efforts are made, there is quite a bit of graffiti and damage to the art done over the past couple of centuries. However there's plenty to see and a great reminder of just how long this continent has been inhabited. Some of the art found in Utah dates back to the Archaic period from around 7000 B.C.
Heading north on Sego Canyon Road, we came upon Sego's Old cemetery, with the ghost town another mile or so up the canyon.
Sego, UT - Town View, 1920Town view in 1920 Sego started as a community in the 1890's when Harry Ballard discovered coal on land next to his ranch. Mining operations soon started and a town sprang up, originally called Ballard. As news spread of the high quality coal there, Salt Lake City businessman B.F. Bauer bought out Ballards property and formed the American Fuel Company.
One of the more prominent structures you'll find here is the old Company Store dating back to 1911.
Sego, UT - Company StoreSego Company store built in 1911.
Around the same time the company store was built, the settlement was renamed to Neslin after the company's general manager Richard Neslin. In 1914 rail lines were brought to the coal camp, which brought its own issues as railroad spur trains were often off their tracks.
Sego, UT - Railroad Bridge Not happy with profits, Bauer fired Neslin in 1916, changed the name of the company to Chesterfield, and renamed the town again, this time after the state flower, Sego. During our visit here in 2008, the old American Boarding House, built in the early 1900's, appeared to be on it's way to complete ruin.
Sego, UT - Boarding House - 3American Boarding House as seen in 2008, is now just a pile of kindling. We were told by a reader in 2011 that this building is now just a pile of kindling. In addition to crumbling houses, we also found the old Powder House nearby.
Sego, UT - Powder HouseThanks to Legends' reader Gwen Korfus who confirmed this was the powder house in Sego. Gwen's mother lived as a child in the boarding house nearby. Sego became an official ghost town in the mid 1950's, and in 1973 most of it burned to the ground. You can read more about the interesting history of Sego Canyon and the ghost town of Sego HERE.
We recommend high clearance vehicles to visit the ruins and take extra caution during and after heavy rains as flash floods are common here.
Here are more of the sights we found around Sego in 2008.
Keywords: American Fuel Company, Ballard, Chesterfield Company, Fremont, Neslin, Photos, Sego, Ute, about, ancient rock art, camp, coal mining, ghost town, history, petroglyphs, ruins
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