Archive for the ‘Utah Ghost Towns’ Category

Day # 26 features Modena, Utah

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Modena was a railroad town born in December of 1899 when tracks from the Utah and Nevada Railroad reached the area. Located west of the iron mines at Iron City, Utah, Modena  grew into an important shipping and supply center, as well as a water stop for the steam engines of the railroad.

 

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It is said the town was named after the Chinese cook on the railroad crew who laid the tracks to the site- He would call from his stoves “Mo dinna! Mo dinna!” (More dinner! More dinner!) each evening. Another tale claims the town was named after Modena, Italy. There was also famous mountain man in the Rockies at one time named Manuel Modena. Exactly how Modena was named seems to be lost to time.

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Brigham Lund established a freighting business serving the region, based in Modena, and successful mercantile/hotel in the town.  In 1903 a U.S. government Weather Station was established in the town. By 1905 the Los Angeles and Salt Lake City Railroad routed its line through Modena and brought more commerce to the town.

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Water tank and pump house for the Utah and Nevada Railroad at Modena

 

 

 

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Today Modena is largely abandoned or vacant, a few residents remain in the residential section of town, but the old business district is vacant.  The train still passes through Modena, but no longer stops. Brigham Lund’s Merchandise & Hotel building dominates the town site. A false-fronted shop next door to Lund’s Hotel along the dirt main street looks could be a still shot from any “Wild West” movie of the 1950s. Modena sits just a few feet off the railroad tracks, and it must have been quite an experience to be a guest in the hotel when the steam engine came rolling into town, blaring its whistle more than a Century ago.

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Lund’s Merchandise and Hotel

 

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Day # 12 features Circleville, Utah

I passed through Circleville, Utah about ten years ago on my way back home from Las Vegas. This was back in my hard drinking, hard partying days before “ghost towning” had ever crossed my mind. Circleville was just a dot on the map between Las Vegas and Denver and it meant nothing to me at the time.

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The Parker Homestead

I decided to pull off the side of the road and grab some photos of the old, abandoned buildings in Circleville…I’m glad I didn’t need gas, because there was none to be found!

Just outside of Circleville I noticed an old log cabin with an out building. I, to use the pro terminology, “snapped” a few pics. Just another of the many thousands of log cabins in the Rocky Mountians I thought. I found out later the old cabin was the Parker homestead- As in Robert Leroy Parker…Otherwise known as the legendary outlaw Butch Cassidy! Had I known that was Butch’s cabin, I’d have spent more time, and tried to get better photos!

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Simple cabin that was the childhood home of Butch Cassidy

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The last great American outlaw- Robert Leroy Parker aka Butch Cassidy

From Butch Cassidy’s home, I rolled into Centerville proper where I found once-fine abandoned homes in every direction, as well as a service station of pre-1940 styling buried in summer grasses.

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Old service station in Circleville

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As I delved deeper into Circleville, I became more and more intrigued- I loved this place! Circleville was a small slice of heaven, situated in a quiet valley, surrounded by canopies of dark-green-leaved cottonwood trees, with a small river rushing through beautiful pastureland.

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I long to go back to Circleville with the eye I have now. I am sure I missed the biggest and best the town had to offer. But more more important than photos was the feeling of serenity and peace I found I Circleville…It helped me many years ago when I was out of control, and I want to return today to feel it again.

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