NAME: Alta
COUNTY: Salt Lake
Grid #: 5
CLIMATE: Cold winter with snow
COMMENTS: Site is now a ski resort. Visit
REMAINS: Nothing

Silver ore was first discovered here in 1864. By 1873 there were 26 saloons in town. The town was called Alta because of its altitude. The population was upwards of 5000 people at times. The mines ran out and by 1895 the town was a ghost. A few of the mines were re-opened again in 1904 and worked until 1936. The old town sight of Alta is now a ski resort. Boiler Basin got its name because of a boiler that was left there after a train crash. Most people think that the train crash was the end of the train service in Alta but that is not true. A car was converted to run the cog railway line to transport people to Alta after the train crash.

Update: This is actually more of a subnote on Alta. I can see Alta as I look out my window and have done extensive research on the entire 'Little Cottonwood Canyon' area. At one point in its history Alta was considered 'the bloodiest town this side of Kansas'. It suffered more than 500 murders in one year. Additionaly, one of its mines nearly caused a war between the United States and Great Britain. An Englishman purchased one of the mines (I think it was the 'Lucy' mine, I would have to find my notes to check for sure.) At any rate, three days after purchase, the Wasatch Fault slipped and no one has ever been able to find the mine since then. One of the investors was an English Lord, but the U.S. stepped in and averted a disaster. At any rate, with as many murders as actually occured in Alta, I'm sure the word 'GHOST" is not misplaced! Sammi Parker

The Columbus-Rexall mine in Alta 1925
Courtesy Ron Peterson