A Landing a Day

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East Carbon, Sunnyside and Columbia, Utah

Posted by graywacke on July 24, 2011

First timer?  In this formerly once-a-day blog (and now pretty much a once-a-week blog), I have my computer select a random latitude and longitude that puts me somewhere in the continental United States (the lower 48).  I call this “landing.”  I keep track of the watersheds I land in, as well as the town I land near.  I do some internet research to hopefully find something of interest about my landing location.  To find out more about A Landing A Day (like who “Dan” is and what the various numbers and abbreviations mean in the first paragraph), please see “About Landing,” (and “Abbreviations” and “Cryptic Numbers”) above.

Dan –  Gee whiz.  I just keep landing in Western OSers (aka WBers, a term not used for a long time).  This time, it’s . . . UT; 69/54; 2/10 (2/14); 9; 158.2.  My improbable backwards march to 160 continues.  Of my last 15 landings, 13 have been in western states.  OK, OK, so 60% of the lower 48 land area is in these western states, so, of course, one would expect more landings there.  But 13 of 15?  No way . . .

Just to remind you, I define “western states” as those states west of approximately the 95th parallel.  Remarkably a bunch of state boundaries line right up.  The border states are as follows:

West                            East

North Dakota              Minnesota

South Dakota              Iowa

Nebraska                     Missouri

Kansas                         Arkansas

Oklahoma                    Louisiana


Here’s the map showing my great divide:

So anyway, here’s my landing map, showing my proximity to a bunch of coal mining communities (appropriately, in Carbon County):

Here’s a broader view:

My GE shot shows that I landed on a plateau, not far from a eroded slope to the south.  By the way, the straight line just northwest of my landing, is appropriately enough, a landing strip.  The various man-made features I’m sure have something to do with coal mining.

Here’s an oblique GE view, looking east past my landing, and past the various towns to the mountains, under which lies the coal.

I landed in the Icelander Creek watershed.  I have no clue how a little creek in Utah ended up with the name “Icelander.”  Anyway, the Icelander discharges to Trail Creek, on to the Price R (3rd hit); on to the Green R (28th hit); on to the Colorado (159th hit).

So, here’s what Wiki has to say about East Carbon:

East Carbon City had its beginnings in fall 1942, when the U.S. government – through the Defense Plant Corporation–awarded a contract to the W.E. Ryberg-Strong-Grant Corporation to develop the town at a planned cost of $5 million. It was originally named Drager, after W.L. Drager, chief engineer for the Defense Plant Corporation, who was raised in Utah and later moved to Washington, D.C.

Wiki really drops the ball here.  What is the Defense Plant Corporation, and why did they put up $5 million to build a town?  I had to do some additional research.  From Dragerton.net, I discerned that the Defense Plant Corporation was found in 1938 by the Federal Government to build crucial war industries.  Interesting – way back in 1938, some folks saw that we had better start preparing.

So anyway, the Defense Plant Corporation decided that the greater Provo UT area was a good spot to build a steel mill.  They realized that a huge steel mill would require a lot of fuel – i.e., coal.  Because East Carbon isn’t far from Provo and because there’s a lot of carbon in East Carbon, they decided to build a town to house all of the miners needed to yank all of that carbon out of them thar hills.  So, voila . . . Dragerton.

So, where’s Dragerton? – Don’t see it on my landing map?   Back to Wiki:

In 1942, during ceremonies celebrating the new town, it was announced that the postal service would not allow the name of Drager.  Its contention was that Drager was too similar to the name Draper (another Utah community), and would create confusion and delays in mail delivery. The post office proposed Dragerville, Dragerton, and Drager Town; Dragerton, a derivative of Drager-town, was selected.

OK, OK, but where is Dragerton now?  From Wiki comes the following strange, unlikely, (and boring) story of why there’s no Dragerton:

In the late 60’s with the area near its peak population, the Carbon School District decided to build a high school in the area. The cities of Dragerton and nearby Sunnyside competed for the school placement.  In the end, it was built just over the boarder in Sunnyside.

To minimize rivalry concerns between Dragerton & Sunnyside, the school district named the school East Carbon High School as it was in the eastern portion of the county.  As a result, when the town was incorporated in 1973 the name was officially changed to East Carbon City.

From Dragerton.net, here’s a shot of some Dragerton house just after they were built:

Here’s a shot after the all-American families moved in . . .

Here’s a sign from up in the hills east of Sunnyside:

And here are the real McCoy . . .

Here’s a nice shot of the mountains east of town:

I’ll close with this sunset shot:

That’ll do it. . .



© 2011 A Landing A Day

2 Responses to “East Carbon, Sunnyside and Columbia, Utah”

  1. paula bolton said

    i’m looking to purchase a getaway home there thank you for the info!! This is a great website I’m going to share with my freinds that have a summer home there. We live in a small tow south of Houston, Texas the weather is sooooo HOt I can’t take the heat in the summer. I have fybromyalgia and the weather is a large factor in my health. I just can’t take the humid condotions here anymore. So again Thanks for th historu info I’m definatly going to pass it along.

    Very Truly Yours. Paula

  2. i used to live there my grandfather founderd the town it is a great town

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