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Woodside is a ghost town located on the west bank of the Price River in the nearly uninhabited eastern part of Emery Countymarker, Utahmarker, United Statesmarker. Its fenced-in filling station is one of the only signs of human activity along the lonely stretch of U.S. Route 6 between Wellingtonmarker and Green Rivermarker.

History

Construction on the site began with a Denver and Rio Grande Western Railroad bridge and water stop. The area's first resident was a local prospector named Henry H. Hutchinson, who settled here in 1881. Other homesteaders arrived the next year and started digging an irrigation canal. Attracted by relatively abundant water and an extensive growth of cottonwood trees, they founded a settlement known as Lower Crossing. As the town grew, adding a few stores and a blacksmith shop, it was renamed Woodside for the cottonwood groves.

One of Woodside's biggest challenges was the Price River itself. Before the construction of Scofield Reservoirmarker the streamflow was highly variable, peaking early and nearly drying up by late summer. The river's large drainage basin also meant that even a distant cloudburst could bring a destructive flash flood. Despite these problems the town continued growing. A hotel and stockyards were built adjacent to the railroad station, and Woodside became a supply point for neighboring ranches. A schoolhouse built in 1892 served as a town gathering place. By 1900 the population stood at 114 and it peaked around 300 in the next 20 years.

In the late 1920s Woodside's livestock shipping facilities and railroad station were taken away when the railroad consolidated much of its operations in Helpermarker. This blow was followed by severe droughts in the 1930s, and by 1940 the population dropped to 30.

In the 1940s Woodside became a minor tourist attraction. In the 1880s the railroad had dug a large water well here, which had later turned into a cold bubbling mudpot driven by naturally-occurring pressurized carbon dioxide gas. The hole was developed into a cold water geyser, along with a filling station, store, and cafe. The cafe and store burned down around 1970, and the geyser and filling station are the only remnants of Woodside. The geyser formerly spouted as high as , but is much lower now. A historical marker telling the town's story sits just inside the fenced area, where the reclusive owner keeps a small herd of llamas.

References

  1. Geary, p.308.


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