Over a hundred years ago, a small community settled in the mountains of La Sal. Miner’s Basin, also known simply as Basin, was founded in 1889 with high hopes for mining prosperity. Copper, gold and silver had recently been discovered at La Sals, and the newly created Miner’s Basin mining district built a company town to support mining operations.
Dozens of optimistic miners have moved to Miner’s Basin. Company housing, a post office, a hotel, a blacksmith and two saloons were built to accommodate the workforce. The mining work was physically demanding and dangerous, and the high-altitude settlement experienced harsh, cold winters. At its peak, up to seventy-five residents lived in Miner’s Basin, but gold, silver, and copper were not as plentiful as originally hoped, and mining efforts in La Salts have dried up.
Some of the residents of the community moved to other settlements in Grand County and some sought mining opportunities elsewhere. By 1908, there were only half a dozen families left. Buildings and equipment that could not be easily removed were left behind when residents moved in. The trajectory of the Miner Basin’s expansion and slowdown was not uncommon – many small mining communities arose to be abandoned a few years later in the western United States around the same time. Today, traces of rusty buildings and machinery remind visitors of the remote settlement of its past steeped in history.
The Moab Museum is dedicated to sharing stories of the natural and human history of the Moab region. This story is one in a series of articles highlighting ghost towns and remote communities in Grand County. To explore more of Moab’s stories and artifacts, find out about upcoming programs, and become a member, visit www.moabmuseum.org.