Ghost Town: Blacks Fork - Summit County

cruiseroutfit

Moderator & Supporting Member
Supporter
Site: Blacks Fork
County, State: Summit, Utah
Years of Occupation: 1870-1930
Status of Site: Private Property, not currently signed against visiting
Classification: Class 2 - Neglected Town
Type: Logging
Remnants: 12+ cabin/building remnants. All are in various states of decay.
GPS Coordinate: 40.971° N, 110.587° W

Blacks_Fork_August_2013 (7) (Medium).JPG
Large single room cabin near towns center

Blacks Fork was first settled during the 1870's, serving as a supply and housing outpost for timber companies operating along the northern slope of the Uinta Mountains. Funding for the construction and influx of workers was likely provided by the timber contractor, thus making it a company town rather than a general community. Timber was in high demand for railroad ties, mining timbers, building purposes and charcoal production throughout the west. The Transcontinental Railroad had recently been completed north of Blacks Fork connecting the east with the west, spur rails were being built to the north and south, connecting communities across the nation. With mining booming throughout the Rocky Mountains, timber was needed within the mine and their large shipments along with general freight needs were pushing exponential railroad construction throughout the region. In nearby Piedmont, Wyoming (~30 miles to the north) 5 large capacity charcoal kilns were constructed, thus providing another major demand for timber products in the area. At some point a log flume was constructed to the west of the town site to move the timber to the railroad, no evidence of this flume has been found to date. Previous to the flume, logs were moved in the winter months as the the icy ground made the heavy logs easy to drag. At the height of its activity the population was rumored to be 50-100 men, no viable sources have been found to date. The site was abandoned in the 1930's when the timber company went out of business, the town was never permanently re-occupied.

The Blacks Fork site consists of over a dozen log cabins in various states of decay. Some are little more than a pile of broken and rotted logs, others have solid standing walls though caved roofs. Ideally this site needs some sort of restoration and or stabilization efforts in order to preserve it for future generations. Nearby forest fires and vandalism have threatened the remaining structures but fortunately it is still in relatively remarkable condition given the age. The exact town layout is unknown but the remaining buildings and foundations suggest the majority of the peripheral cabin sites served as housing, perhaps boarding houses for many single men due to their duplex style design. The central buildings likely served as stables and liveries, mess halls, company offices, and various sources state there was a post office operating in the town, we have been unable to confirm any official post office or which building would been utilized. As teamsters hauled regular timber shipments were outbound to nearby Fort Bridger and Piedmont, Wyoming, it was likely the mail was sent along with those freighters and returned with the empty timber wagons.

Blacks_Fork_August_2013 (12) (Medium).JPG
Multiple duplex cabins on western edge of townsite

Additional Reading:
http://www.ghosttowns.com/states/ut/black%27sfork.html
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blacks_Fork,_Utah

To Get There: Google Maps Link

From Kamas, Utah - Take the Mirror Lake High Way (SR150) 47 miles, turn right (east) onto Mill Creek Road (FR058). Mill Creek will continue (dirt road) for 18 miles at which point you will hit a major intersection, continue north for another 1.5 miles (still on FR058) and the Blacks Fork town site will be easily visible on the west side of the road in a large meadow.

From Interstate 80 in Wyoming: Exit I80 at Exit 34 (Fort Bridger). Continue south onto I80 Bus Loop, head east for 5.5 miles until you hit WY414, turn right and continue south for 3.1 miles. Turn right onto WY410 and continue for 13.3 miles. Turn left (south) on CR271, continue on dirt road passing Meeks Cabin Reservoir and into Utah for 15.3 miles. From Utah/Wyoming border, continue south on FR058 for 2 miles, Black Fork town site will be easily visible on the west side of the road in a large meadow. Park along the road and walk into the town site.

Additional Pictures:

Blacks_Fork_August_2013 (2) (Medium).JPG
Blacks Fork as viewed from road

Blacks_Fork_August_2013 (3) (Medium).JPG
Duplex style cabin at south end of townsite

Blacks_Fork_August_2013 (4) (Medium).JPG
Fallen structures

Blacks_Fork_August_2013 (18) (Medium).JPG
Posing at one of the sites cabins

Feel free to post up any stories or pictures you might have of Blacks Fork

 
Last edited:

cruiseroutfit

Moderator & Supporting Member
Supporter
Updated some Blacks Fork info, please let me know if you see any errors.
 
Last edited:

DAA

Supporting Member
Supporter
Typo in first pic caption - missing an n in "tows".

Couple more pics from the site.

IMG_2056W.JPG



IMG_2059W.JPG



- DAA
 

Kevin B.

EU Contributor
I wish I had Dave's magic camera.


Duplex cabins
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The two big single room buildings in the center are probably a mess hall and a company office and/or store? I dunno which is which. Big buildings in the foreground, number one on the left.

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Big building number one.

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Big building number two.

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Two buildings downslope are a stable and (probably) a tool shed.

Stable.

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Tool shed?

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The logs on this door jam were numbered (with tar?) from the top down - a 1, a roman numeral 2, then arabic 3 4 5 6. I have no idea why.

20140621_164648_zpsb668efe9.jpg


Eight years of post-occupation visitors have walked off with the archeology of the original occupants and left their own detritus that'll be archeology soon enough. Lots of beer cans, broken glass, and bits of rusty metal - I only found this bit laying around that was identifiable as "original" trash. The edge is rough, indicating it was hand-crimped and soldered instead of assembled by a machine. The openings are ragged, not clean, meaning it was probably opened with a knife as opposed to a can opener. It was something liquid, not a solid like canned fruit or vegetables - my money is on condensed milk.

20140621_164235_zpsa8f2be45.jpg


At the top of the lower meadow is a small footpath deliberately lined with stones that heads uphill past a small copse of trees. It's overgrown, with trees and shrubs of considerable size growing in it. At the crest of the small hill, it splits right and straight - both branches peter out almost immediately. I couldn't find anything up there to indicate why - no grave markers, no sign of an old cabin, nothing. Very mysterious, I love it.
 

fogo

Moderator
OSC Alumni
Did some wandering this weekend, and made our way over to Blacks Fork. Figured I'd add a few more recent photos. Stuff was still in decent shape, and we didn't find much other than the remains of buildings. There was an occasional piece of glass or bottle cap, but all stuff that's very likely more modern trash. When we arrived, some folks had setup their trailer, and were using the area as basecamp for their hunting.


IMG_4370 by Josh Buhler, on Flickr


IMG_4376 by Josh Buhler, on Flickr


IMG_4378 by Josh Buhler, on Flickr


IMG_4375 by Josh Buhler, on Flickr (6-year-old for scale)


IMG_4384 by Josh Buhler, on Flickr
 
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jmaxj

Member
Was just there for the first time yesterday. Hoping to return with a drone before the snow hits. Get some Arial shots if the area.
 

cruiseroutfit

Moderator & Supporting Member
Supporter
Was just there for the first time yesterday. Hoping to return with a drone before the snow hits. Get some Arial shots if the area.

Did you go with Chandler?

I would love to see some aerial shots. Be sure to share them here in fact tell Chandler to join the forum too!
 

jmaxj

Member
No it was a last minute drive that had no destination but ended there and Piedmont. But I'm gonna a to be trying to drag Chandler up there hopefully before the snow hits. I want some shots from the air of the area.

I think he has joined here but not sure.
 

Old Jeeper

EU Contributor
SmokinCamel right? He doesn't appear to be very active if that's him.
Let me know if you go again. I'd like to go along.
 

John Doe

Member
Site: Blacks Fork
County, State: Summit, Utah
Years of Occupation: 1870-1930
Status of Site: Private Property, not currently signed against visiting
Classification: Class 2 - Neglected Town
Type: Logging
Remnants: 12+ cabin/building remnants. All are in various states of decay.
GPS Coordinate: 40.971° N, 110.587° W

View attachment 4006
Large single room cabin near towns center

Blacks Fork was first settled during the 1870's, serving as a supply and housing outpost for timber companies operating along the northern slope of the Uinta Mountains. Funding for the construction and influx of workers was likely provided by the timber contractor, thus making it a company town rather than a general community. Timber was in high demand for railroad ties, mining timbers, building purposes and charcoal production throughout the west. The Transcontinental Railroad had recently been completed north of Blacks Fork connecting the east with the west, spur rails were being built to the north and south, connecting communities across the nation. With mining booming throughout the Rocky Mountains, timber was needed within the mine and their large shipments along with general freight needs were pushing exponential railroad construction throughout the region. In nearby Piedmont, Wyoming (~30 miles to the north) 5 large capacity charcoal kilns were constructed, thus providing another major demand for timber products in the area. At some point a log flume was constructed to the west of the town site to move the timber to the railroad, no evidence of this flume has been found to date. Previous to the flume, logs were moved in the winter months as the the icy ground made the heavy logs easy to drag. At the height of its activity the population was rumored to be 50-100 men, no viable sources have been found to date. The site was abandoned in the 1930's when the timber company went out of business, the town was never permanently re-occupied.

The Blacks Fork site consists of over a dozen log cabins in various states of decay. Some are little more than a pile of broken and rotted logs, others have solid standing walls though caved roofs. Ideally this site needs some sort of restoration and or stabilization efforts in order to preserve it for future generations. Nearby forest fires and vandalism have threatened the remaining structures but fortunately it is still in relatively remarkable condition given the age. The exact town layout is unknown but the remaining buildings and foundations suggest the majority of the peripheral cabin sites served as housing, perhaps boarding houses for many single men due to their duplex style design. The central buildings likely served as stables and liveries, mess halls, company offices, and various sources state there was a post office operating in the town, we have been unable to confirm any official post office or which building would been utilized. As teamsters hauled regular timber shipments were outbound to nearby Fort Bridger and Piedmont, Wyoming, it was likely the mail was sent along with those freighters and returned with the empty timber wagons.

View attachment 4007
Multiple duplex cabins on western edge of townsite

Additional Reading:
http://www.ghosttowns.com/states/ut/black'sfork.html
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blacks_Fork,_Utah

To Get There: Google Maps Link

From Kamas, Utah - Take the Mirror Lake High Way (SR150) 47 miles, turn right (east) onto Mill Creek Road (FR058). Mill Creek will continue (dirt road) for 18 miles at which point you will hit a major intersection, continue north for another 1.5 miles (still on FR058) and the Blacks Fork town site will be easily visible on the west side of the road in a large meadow.

From Interstate 80 in Wyoming: Exit I80 at Exit 34 (Fort Bridger). Continue south onto I80 Bus Loop, head east for 5.5 miles until you hit WY414, turn right and continue south for 3.1 miles. Turn right onto WY410 and continue for 13.3 miles. Turn left (south) on CR271, continue on dirt road passing Meeks Cabin Reservoir and into Utah for 15.3 miles. From Utah/Wyoming border, continue south on FR058 for 2 miles, Black Fork town site will be easily visible on the west side of the road in a large meadow. Park along the road and walk into the town site.

Additional Pictures:

View attachment 4003
Blacks Fork as viewed from road

View attachment 4004
Duplex style cabin at south end of townsite

View attachment 4005
Fallen structures

View attachment 4008
Posing at one of the sites cabins

Feel free to post up any stories or pictures you might have of Blacks Fork
 

John Doe

Member
I remember seeing Blacks Fork in 1971. My dad and uncle were fishermen who used to fish the river there in the 1940's. I remember in 1971 that we
found a group of hippies living out of the cabin you called a duplex. In about 1982 I went looking for old bottles around one of the cabins and found the remains of a fruit cellar with glass bottles with peaches in them. I was going to take some home because they were old bottles, but one broke and the peaches in it turned black and smelled like a dead skunk. I left the area quickly. My uncle told me in our 1971 trip that in the 1930's the Conservation people (CCC workers) were the ones who put in the log fences. He had a friend named Mark who worked installing fences up there and that's how he knew about them. Mark died in 1970 at around 92 years of age. The Civilian Conservation Camp was about 1/4th mile towards Wyoming from Blacks Fork Commensary cabins. I never got around to metal detecting to see what I could find there, and I'm a bit old now to do that. My interests lie elsewhere in old mining towns of Nevada, as a rock hound.
The last time I visited Blacks Fork Cabins was around 1988 and in looking in the floor area of a cabin ruin I found someone's rock collection. It was interesting because some of the rocks were obsidien and that's unusual since there is none of that volcanic glass I've seen in that area. My dad and uncle and their friend Mark found an old mine with veins of rose quartz not far from Smiths Fork. But they couldn't tell me where since they couldn't remember which way they went along the river and how far from the river they went when they found it. That was before the war started that they found that old mine. It was Mark who knew about rose quartz. But my dad and uncle were only after fish and not rose quartz.
There are mountain lion in the wilds out there and I'm affraid of them, so I never went looking for that old mine. Be near impossible to find anyway.
 

cruiseroutfit

Moderator & Supporting Member
Supporter
I remember seeing Blacks Fork in 1971. My dad and uncle were fishermen who used to fish the river there in the 1940's. I remember in 1971 that we
found a group of hippies living out of the cabin you called a duplex. In about 1982 I went looking for old bottles around one of the cabins and found the remains of a fruit cellar with glass bottles with peaches in them. I was going to take some home because they were old bottles, but one broke and the peaches in it turned black and smelled like a dead skunk. I left the area quickly. My uncle told me in our 1971 trip that in the 1930's the Conservation people (CCC workers) were the ones who put in the log fences. He had a friend named Mark who worked installing fences up there and that's how he knew about them. Mark died in 1970 at around 92 years of age. The Civilian Conservation Camp was about 1/4th mile towards Wyoming from Blacks Fork Commensary cabins. I never got around to metal detecting to see what I could find there, and I'm a bit old now to do that. My interests lie elsewhere in old mining towns of Nevada, as a rock hound.
The last time I visited Blacks Fork Cabins was around 1988 and in looking in the floor area of a cabin ruin I found someone's rock collection. It was interesting because some of the rocks were obsidien and that's unusual since there is none of that volcanic glass I've seen in that area. My dad and uncle and their friend Mark found an old mine with veins of rose quartz not far from Smiths Fork. But they couldn't tell me where since they couldn't remember which way they went along the river and how far from the river they went when they found it. That was before the war started that they found that old mine. It was Mark who knew about rose quartz. But my dad and uncle were only after fish and not rose quartz.
There are mountain lion in the wilds out there and I'm affraid of them, so I never went looking for that old mine. Be near impossible to find anyway.

Fantastic information. Thank you very much for sharing. We'd all love to hear about the many other places I'm sure you visited over the years too!
 
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