Skip to main content

Ghost Town Tuesday; Thompson Springs, UT, Utah State Route 94, and old US 50/6

Back in 2016 I visited the small ghost town of Thompson Springs in Grand County, Utah located at the north terminus of Utah State Route 94 at Old US Route 50/6.


Thompson Springs began as a rail siding in the early 1880s along the Denver and Rio Grande Railroad when rail construction reached Utah.  The Denver and Rio Grande Railroad ultimately spanned from Ogden, UT to the vicinity of Santa Fe, NM.  The Denver and Rio Grande Railroad incorporated in 1870 and had many spur routes in the Rockies in addition to Colorado plateau.  The Denver and Rio Grande Railroad was merged into the Southern Pacific Railroad in 1988.  Cisco can be seen on the 1883 Denver and Rio Grande Railroad map.

1883 Denver and Rio Grande Railroad Map 

The present location of Thompson Springs was near one of the branches of the Spanish Trail and In 1926 US Route 50 was plotted through town.  By 1937 US 6 joined US 50 in Thompson Springs as it was extended to Long Beach, CA.  Cisco would remain a major stopping point on US 50/6 until both highways were multiplexed onto I-70 which was completed on a new alignment to the south.  I'm uncertain of when Utah State Route 94 was first signed as it's original north terminus was 5 miles north of Thompson Springs in Sego via Sego Canyon Road.  The current south terminus of UT 94 was completed to I-70 1969 to act as a connector route from the new alignment of I-70/US 50/6 to Old US 50/6 in downtown Thompson Springs, I'm fairly certain the segment north to Sego was deleted at that time.  Today, UT 94 is a very small route signed on Thompson Canyon Road and is slightly less than 1 mile.  UT 94 is mainly used for access to a gas station in addition to a UDOT maintenance yard.

Thompson Springs did not weather time very well after being bypassed by I-70/US 50/US 6 as it now is a ghost town.  Unlike nearby Cisco the buildings located in Thompson Springs are largely in a decent state of repair.  Below is the north terminus of UT 94 approaching Old US 50/6 houses various abandoned buildings.



Along Old US 50/6 there are various abandoned structures in a variation of decay.  I found the Thompson Motel to be the most interesting to look at.






The Desert Moon Hotel appeared to be the only occupied building left in Thomson Springs.  There is an active RV site still listed at the location on Google Maps.


The Book Cliffs are relatively close to Thompson Springs and can be seen across the railroad tracks on Old US 50/6.





Sego was a coal mining town located at the foot of the Book Cliffs north of Thompson Springs.  Sego was inhabited from 1910 to until 1955 when miles played out.  Sego had a peak population of about 500 residents and a 5.25 railroad spur known as the Ballard & Thompson Railroad which operated from 1911 to 1950.  This 1950 Utah State Highway Map shows Sego north of Thompson Springs connected via UT 94. 

Comments

US 89 said…
UT 94 was created in 1935.

Popular posts from this blog

Paper Highways; California State Route 1 through the Lost Coast

For all the accolades and praise that California State Route 1 gets for being a top notch coastal highway one fact tends to get overlooked; the highway was never finished!  In this edition of Paper Highways we look at the failed path of California State Route 1 through the Lost Coast.



Part 1; the history of Legislative Route 56 and California Route 1 through the Lost Coast

The Lost Coast region consists of the undeveloped coastal areas of Humboldt County, Mendocino County, and the King Range.  The Lost Coast region roughly spans from near Rockport in Mendocino County north to Ferndale of Humboldt County.  The Lost Coast region is known for having rugged terrain which rivals what is seen in Big Sur.  The Lost Coast has several small communities such as; Shelter Cove, Whitehorn, and Petrolia.

In 1933 Legislative Route 56 was extended south to LRN 2 (US 101) near Las Cruces and north to Ferndale to LRN 1 (also US 101).  Prior to 1933 the legislative description of LRN 56 had it's nort…

US Route 99 to Visalia?...

Something that I noticed awhile back while doing map research regarding US Route 99 in Fresno was that the highway intended to be originally routed through the City of Visalia.



The early originally planned alignment of US Route 99 in Visalia

To be clear US 99 was never actually routed through Visalia and ended up bypassing the City in favor of a direct route from Goshen southeast to Tulare.  US 99 within San Joaquin Valley was aligned over Legislative Route 4 which in turn was added to the State Highway System as part of the 1909 First State Highway Bond Act.  LRN 4 for a time was aligned through Visalia via; Mineral King Avenue, Main Street, and Mooney Boulevard.  This early alignment of LRN 4 through Visalia can be seen on the 1924 Division of Highways State Map.


The initial draft of the US Route System was approved by the Secretary of Agriculture during November of 1925.  The US Route System with in California was approved by California Highway Commission with no changes recommended…

Where the hell is Hill Valley? (US Route 8 south/US Route 395 east)

Recently I made a visit to Universal Studios near Los Angeles.  While on the back lot tour I came across a piece of infamous movie-borne fictional highway infamy; the location of town square of Hill Valley, California on US Route 8/US Route 395.


The above photo is part of the intro scene to the first Back-to-the-Future movie which was set in 1985. To anyone who follows roadways the signage error of US 8 meeting US 395 in California is an immediately notable error.  For one; US 8 doesn't even exist anywhere near California with present alignment being signed as an east/west highway between Norway, Michigan and Forest Lake, Minnesota.  To make matters worse US 8 is signed as a southbound route and US 395 (a north/south highway) is signed as an eastbound route.  At minimum the cut-out US 8 and US 395 shields somewhat resemble what Caltrans used in the 1980s.

Assuming Hill Valley is located on what would have been US 395 by 1985 what locales would be a viable real world analog?  US 39…