Rails East to Promontory
The Utah Stations
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(or Indian Creek)

Railroad use: 1869 - 1942
734.1 miles from San Francisco
T. 12 N., R. 11 W., Sec. 21 SW1/4, SLM

Kelton served as a section station and major shipping and travel connection to the mineral rich mountains and open rangeland of the Northwest (Fig. 56). Kelton was the southern terminus of the Utah, Idaho, and Oregon Stage Company and a station on the Overland Mail route. In a typical year during the 1870s, six million pounds of supplies were loaded from trains on to wagons in exchange for wool and furs from the intermountain north (Shearer 1885:185).

Figure 55: The Kelton cemetery today (BLM photo)

Figure 56. 1875 Cadastral Plat showing Kelton T. 12 N., R. 11 W. (click on image for a PDF version)

A story of a "Daring Stage Robbery" near Kelton, reported in 1870, follows.


"Come down" and he did come down very meekly and took the position assigned him. This imperative command was given to the driver by one of the masked robbers, who stopped the incoming stagecoach last night when the vehicle was within eight miles of Kelton, Utah.

There were eight passengers on board the coach. One of the robbers went to the head of the team and took possession of the lead horses. The other three went through the travelers, some of whom were ladies, and disposed them of all their money, and other valuables, which occupied about two hours and a half. The daring thieves got about $2,500 in cash, four watches, and other jewelry. The avaricious, pernicious wretches even took from the persons of the passengers their shirt studs and buttons. They then broke open the traveling trunks and took from them whatever was of sufficient value or convenient to get off with.

After the rascals had plundered the people of all they could, they took off the leaders from the team, unharnessed them, and struck out with them for some place of safe retreat.

We understand they did not interfere with any of Uncle Sam's mail bags: because they had not the time to go through them. Before they left, they returned the watch they took from the stage driver and gave to each of the travelers, one dollar to buy a supper when they reached Kelton."

(Ogden Daily Herald, August 1, 1870).
Figure 57: Tombstone in the Kelton cemetery (BLM photo)

Figure 58: Tombstone in the Kelton cemetery today (BLM photo)

In its early years. Kelton had a two-story hotel, a post office, and several saloons, stores, and homes (Carr 1972:11). A directory for 1880 listed the following businesses and proprietors:

BlacksmithBarnes, A.E.
General Merchandise, Forwarding & CommissionEllsworth. H.M. & Co.
General MerchandiseHowell, Reese
LiquorsJohnson, R.P.
General Merchandise, Forwarding & CommissionLewis and Company
Drugs and Notions, Books, Stationary. Agent for Utah, Idaho. and Oregon Stage CompanyRiley, W.T.
HotelRosevear, Joe
Salt WorksSchnobacker & Barnes
Agricultural ImplementsSebree, Ferris, & Holt
HotelTaylor & Hoynes
Livery StablesTaylor, G.H.
LiquorsToyer, C. W.

(McKenney 1880)

Some business buildings and railroad facilities from the ca. 1880s, are shown in Figure 59. Structures associated with the railroad included the depot (Fig. 60), a turntable, engine house, water tank and pumphouse, section house (Fig. 62), and such ancillary facilities as rail spurs and sidings. By 1900, a wye was constructed west of town to facilitate the handling of the new, heavier engines. Water for Kelton and surrounding stations was drawn via redwood pipe line from the foot of the Raft River Mountains, seven miles north.

Figure 59: Kelton station rendered from Southern Pacific station plans. (click on image for a PDF version)

Figure 60: The Kelton Depot circa 1905 (courtesy of Norrine Carter, Park Valley, Utah)

Figure 61: The site of the Kelton Depot as it looks today. (BLM photo)

Figure 62: The section foremans house was moved to a ranch a few miles north of Kelton. (BLM photo)

Population figures for Kelton include:

1870101 (Geological Survey 1900)
1876101 (Rand McNally 1956)
1879200 (Cram 1879)
1883130 (Tulliges 1883 Reg. voters only)
192430 (Polk 1925)
193747 (Carr 1972)

Kelton's prosperity suffered with the building of the Lucin Cutoff and the Utah Northern Railroad; the latter soon monopolized the northwest freight trade. In 1937, Kelton still served as a shipping point for local trade from Snowville, Yost, and Park Valley and supported a post office, store, telegraph office, and hotel (Carr 1972:11).

Longevity characterizes Kelton, apparent today in ghostly remnants of a town's persistent will to survive. Only recently did the last remaining tree die, located at the site of the section foreman's home (Fig. 63). The home, now moved, is located on the Morgan Ranch north of Kelton (Fig. 62). Ghostly columns arise from the cemetery (Figs. 55, 57, 58) and the sites of the depot (Figs. 60, 61). the Conant Brothers Hotel (Figs. 64, 65), and other features and structures remain. Occasionally, railroad buffs, hunters, and recreationists visit the site today.

Some Kelton stories and local gossip are reprinted from the Box Elder Report in Appendix II.

Figure 63: The section foremans house stood near the dead tree. A stock reservoir is located in the foreground. (BLM photo)

Figure 64: The Kelton Hotel circa 1905 (courtesy of Norrine Carter, Park Valley, Utah).

Figure 65: Railroad maps and artifacts confirmed the location of the Kelton Hotel. (BLM photo)


Railroad use: 1902 - 1907
739.1 miles from San Francisco
T. 12 N., R. 10 W., Sec. 20 NW1/4, SLM

Elinor (often spelled Elenor in railroad records) was apparently uninhabited. The siding was 2,300 feet long (Fig. 66) and was constructed early in this century to accommodate the increased rail traffic. Its use as a freight outlet is suspected but unsubstantiated.

Figure 66: The siding at Elinor (BLM photo)

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Last Updated: 18-Jan-2008