Ghost Towns in Utah’s Capitol Reef Country
Located 11.1 miles east of Fruita in Capitol Reef National Park. The village was founded in 1890. A dozen families settled here, and raised fruits, vegetables, corn, melons and alfalfa. A small schoolhouse was built for the children of the town and for those from Notom. The town was deserted about 1900 because of flooding.
Located approximately 20 miles east of Fruita, Caineville is still inhabited by a few hardy souls. In late 1882, the Behunin family camped in this location, eventually building a log cabin. A number of families arrived during the winter, resulting in a tiny village named after Utah’s Representative to Congress, John T. Caine. A favorable climate permitted farming of grain and garden crops. Floods were a continuing problem, in 1896, and by 1900, every two or three years the water would wash out dams. A huge flood in 1909 convinced the bulk of the settlers to relocate.
Four miles south of Highway 24 (turnoff just outside of the Park). This hamlet was developed in 1886 and was known as Pleasant Creek or Pleasant Dale. When the post office was to be established in the village, the postal department would not allow either of the two names it was known by (there were already too many Pleasant Creeks and Pleasant Dales) – so the name of Notom was suggested. Where this name came from is not known – but it has been suggested that there were no Tom’s in the village.
Four miles west of Hanksville, this is a truly remote location. At one time, approximately 200 people lived here. In 1883, another site along the Fremont River was chosen and a band of hardy pioneers moved in. Irrigation canals were dug, crops planted, and by 1900 the population reached the 200 mark. Known as Blue Valley until 1895, the town changed names to honor the local LDS Bishop, Henry Giles. Floods, common in the area were a continuing problem, and in 1919 the last villager had had enough.
Clifton or Kitchentown
This ghost town is now all but forgotten – in about 1889 Clifton was founded by Bert Averey, just east of Giles/Blue Valley. Flooding caused the demise of this village once located near the mile post 112 on Highway 24.
Mesa or Elephant
Another forgotten community. It was very near to Caineville and included in histories as a part of Caineville. Founded in 1887, approximately 10 families lived there. They weren’t there long, because the flood of 1897 did extensive damage to Mesa, and was totally abandoned by 1898.