According to many, the West was won by the miners and the railroad men. The Western Mining and Railroad Museum tells the history of the railroad, of mining in the West and of the lifestyles of the multiethnic immigrants who came into the area between 1880 and about 1936 to work the rails and the mines.
The Western Mining and Railroad Museum is located in small town of Helper, Utah, within easy driving distance of Salt Lake City. The town was named Helper after the engines required to help the trains climb the steep grades to Soldier Summit. The town itself was established by the Denver and Rio Grande Railroad when coal was discovered in the area. As more coal mines opened, the town grew, drawing many immigrants to work in the area.
There are four floors in the Western Mining and Railroad Museum, loaded with fascinating exhibits of the early days of the West. Here are just a few of the things you can expect at the museum:
In the basement, a simulated coal mine shows the earliest mining methods, tools and equipment used in coal mining.
The main floor houses photographs of the mining camps, a mockup of a typical camp kitchen, the gift shop, as well as artifacts the immigrants brought with them.
The second floor is a mockup of many of the stores and services in the mining towns: a company store, hospital, dentist office, school room, beauty shop, as well as photographs of the mining camps in the area.
The third floor offers you a view of historic Main Street, the railroad office and two rooms of artifacts from the steam engine days.
Western Mining and Railroad Museum
294 South Main
Helper, Utah 84526
Summer Hours: May 15 – Sept. 15, Monday – Saturday, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Winter Hours: Sept. 15 – May 14, Tuesday – Saturday, 11 a.m. – 4 p.m.