Colton, Utah - History


The site was first settled in 1883 under the name of Pleasant Valley Junction, where the Pleasant Valley Railroad connected the mining town of Winter Quarters, 20 miles (32 km) to the south, to the Rio Grande line. This line was soon abandoned, replaced by a Rio Grande branch along a much easier grade between Pleasant Valley Junction and Scofield. Pleasant Valley Junction quickly grew to include a store, hotel, and five saloons. In addition to the railroad, the mining and milling of ozokerite was important in the local economy. Sometime just before 1898 the town was renamed Colton in honor of railroad official William F. Colton. Two years later in 1900 the Scofield mine disaster dealt the entire area a serious blow, but Colton survived.

Historical populations
Census Pop.
1890 427
1900 107 −74.9%
1910 194 81.3%
1920 49 −74.7%
1930 53 8.2%
1940 26 −50.9%
1950 50 92.3%

In 1915 Colton nearly experienced a second boom when the railroad considered forming a division point here, but they eventually chose Soldier Summit instead. Colton stayed a fairly busy railroad town—in fact, the town burned and was rebuilt three times. When the introduction of diesel locomotives began to eliminate the need for helper engines to push trains over the Summit, Colton rapidly declined. By the 1950s most of the railroad operations were stopped and the buildings removed.

The most noticeable remnant of Colton is the Hilltop Country Store, which was moved up to the highway in 1937 and is still in business. A few intact buildings and ruins are still found in the townsite itself.

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