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Cisco, Utah 84515 [Column_Town of Cisco]

cisco_roadmap.jpg: Cisco shown in 1969 Texaco Touring Atlas (our travel route traced in yellow)

The town of Cisco lay in the barrens of southeastern Utah, between Grand Junction, CO and Green River, along the US Hwy 50 & 6. Our family traveled through the town in summer 1971 on our white 1964 Oldsmobile, en route from the Rocky Mountain National park to the Bryce Canyon National park.

The route in Utah was boring for a ten years old boy who loved trains. My interest was only provided for the Denver & Rio Grande Western Railroad track running along the route. I had certainly been there, but remember little of the town: Cisco was almost dying at that time.

On the contrary, the town is well known to some kind of people from that time to this day. Not only movie creators but musicians and passing travelers are also fascinated by the town. The dying town must have some sort of glamour for them. Why? We will closely examine the glamour of Cisco in following posts.

Here is the brief history of Cisco.

Cisco was settled as a railroad town in 1883. It is named after nearby Cisco Wash. Cisco itself is a Native American word meaning a kind of trout of an oily nature[1]. The post office was established in 1887 by John Martin. When the railroad relocated and standard gauged its mainline in 1890, the town was also relocated 2 miles southeast to present location. The Townsite was established in 1910 by Victor Hanson within his 160 acres homestead patented on June 16, 1906[2, 3, 4].

The town was a water point and a loading point for ore, wool, sheep, and cattle produced around the area. According to 1951 Rio Grande General Traffic Department Circular, Cisco had 3 pens for cattle, 5 pens for sheep, 2 chutes and a water & scales facilities.

The town was also a supply point for daily necessities among farmers, miners and railroad workers living around the area. Once, hotels, stores, restaurants, saloons and pool bars served the community. Accordingly, the town had a population of over 200 at its peak in 1910.

Nevertheless, the town stretched only a one-third mile along with the Railroad Street at its peak. Dieselization of the railroad in the '50s led the water point to decay, so as the town because it also relied on the railroad for the water. Discovery of gas, uranium and crude oil temporarily sustained the town. Unfortunately, however, the passing traffic, which was the town's mainstay, dried up when I-70 neglected the town in the early '70s.

Cisco isn't a town anymore, Hemphill wrote in 1985[2]. The attempt and the failure of constructing hazardous waste incinerating facilities through consolidating the townsite plats from the 70's to 1988 sealed the tiny town's fate[5, 6].

[1] Gannett, Henry (1905) The Origin of Certain Place Names in United States, Washington Government Printing Office
[2] Hemphill, Mark W., (July 1985) The Unknown Rio Grande, Trains, Kalmbach
[3] Stocks, Verona, (1972) Grand Memories, Daughters of Utah Pioneers
[4] Cisco Homestead patent-Victor Hanson;
[5] Nov. 4, 1987 Deseret News;
[6] Nov. 11, 1988 Deseret News;
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drgw_12.jpg: Dotsero, CO. Summer, 1971
moab_01.jpg: Utah, Summer 1971

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Preceding Researches [Column_Town of Cisco]

cisco-townsite.jpg: identified townscape filled in 1974 USGS aerial photo
valuation-map_cisco_1919.jpg: ICC valuation map, courtesy of Utah State Archives
cisco-townsite_2016.jpg: Plat, courtesy of Grand County

As the town is now declined to a ghost town, we have little information on how it was in the '70s at the site today. Accordingly, I went to find records to restore the townscape.

Interstate Commerce Commission (ICC) Valuation Map, drawn in 1919, revised in 1949, at Utah State Archives shows Cisco Townsite[1].

Unfortunately, Sanborn Maps for Cisco wasn't found on web.

U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) Aerial Photo also helps identifying the lost townscape[2].

Census of the United States from 1900 provides information on people who lived in the town.

Utah Digital Newspapers site has a great collection of Grand Valley Times and its successor the Times-Independent, a Grand county local newspaper issued between 1896 and 1978[3].

Kathy Jordan, a former The Daily Sentinel editor at Grand Junction, CO describes short stories related to Cisco[4]. Thanks to her articles, we can know the outline of the town.

Mary L. Hepperle, a former Cisco resident describes her memories of the town[5]. She added a hand-written map of the town in the early 50's to her articles.

Norman D. Weis, a photographer/author visited the town in the early '70s, no later than 1975. His article and photos appear on the ending pages of his book Helldorados, Ghosts and camps of the old Southwest.

Lee A. Bennett, an archeologist researched the history of ranches along Colorado River in Grand County[6]. Early days of Cisco is mentioned in the article.

The movie Vanishing Point went location at Cisco in June, 1970[7]. The opening and the last scene of the movie were shot at this tiny town[8]. We can see almost all the 70's sequence of the town in this movie, which I hardly remember.

The people who enchanted with the ruins uploaded lots of photos of Cisco on web pages. Thanks to these photos, we can infer some structures.

Eventually, the picture above shows the results of my survey; identified structures plotted on 1974 USGS aerial photo representing the townscape in the early 70's.
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[1] Department of Transportation. Division of Right of Way Railroad Maps, Denver & Rio Grande Western Railroad: MP 503 to MP 504, including Cisco, Utah (MP 504), shows wye at Cisco, scale 1=100', Series 28224, H-150, Utah State Archives;
[2] USGS EarthExplorer;
[3] Utah Digital Newspapers site
[4] Jordan, Kathy "‘Uranium King’ Charlie Steen started out in Cisco tar­paper shack", Mar. 24, 2011 Daily Sentinel;
[5] Hepperle, Mary L (2004) "Memories of Cisco", Canyon Legacy, vol. 51, Dan O'Laurie Canyon County Museum;
[6] Bennett, Lee A. (2009) A History of Selected Ranches on a Twenty Mile Stretch of the Colorado River in Grand County, Utah, "Research Project", #77, Bennett Management Services;
[7] Vanishing Point Behind the Scenes web page;
[8] Vanishing Point trailer at YouTube;

vp_03.jpg: Cisco, UT. Sep. 11, 2014

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Rio Grande as a Lifeline - Water Supply at Cisco [Column_Town of Cisco]

plat_1940.jpg: 1940 Plat indicating the pump house at Cisco Landing

Both man and railroad need water to survive. Accordingly, the water supply was always the matter of concern along Denver & Rio Grande Western Railroad route in eastern Utah.

Windmills are generally used to draw water in the wide plains. But they were/are rare along the Rio Grande in Utah; water veins were too deep or poor in quantity and/or quality[1].

For example, the well the Rio Grande drilled turned out to be a mineral geyser at Woodside, northwest of Green River[2]. The State Board of Health ordered the Rio Grande to stop supplying water to the town of Thompson due to its poor quality[3]. 1200 feet depth well shed sulfurous water at Cisco[4].

Fortunately, Green River had the namesake river, and Thompson had a spring. But Cisco lacked the adequate water source. Accordingly, when the Rio Grande completed the through the line in 1883, the railroad set up a steam-powered pump at Cisco Landing on the bank of by then Grand (today, Colorado) River four miles east of Cisco, to feed their narrow gauge steam locomotives.

The water supply system Water Service Department of the Rio Grande installed was finally developed to 4.3 miles of 6-inch pipe, two 400,000 gallon reservoirs and a 100,000-gallon steel tank by the depot[4, 5, 6]. The tank was built by Stearns-Rogers Construction Company of Denver, Colorado and completed in 1928[7].

The remnants of the pair of reservoirs can be seen at Google maps: steel tank by the depot is gone today[8, 9].

The Colorado River water supplied by the Rio Grande treated not only steam locomotives but also Cisco residents for use as culinary water. Drinking water for the residents was also supplied by the railroad from Whitehouse, five miles west of Cisco, using special tank cars since the establishment of the town[10]. Residents used milk cans to haul water from the depot. Accordingly, the Rio Grande was a lifeline for the town of Cisco.

But the Rio Grande proposed the plan of quitting both culinary and drinking water supply in 1955; steam locomotives were retired[4]. Neighbors, like city of Green River bought the water supply system from the railroad[11]. But Cisco residents chose to carry their own drinking water from nearby Thompson by their own hand since the suspension by 1960 (maybe in 1958)[12, 13].

Thus, windmills aren’t popular in this region. But, I think they are one of the symbolic icons of rural America. Here are some of them I found, a little far from Cisco.

AERMOTOR written at the tail wing represents the manufacturer of the mill established by La Verne Noyes in 1888 at Chicago Il. Today, the company is still active, and says that it is the only windmill manufacturer in United States[14].

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[1] Nov. 26, 1936 Times-Independent;
[2] Mar. 23, 1972 Park Record;
[3] Jan. 12, 1933 Times-Independent;
[4] Mar. 10, 1955 Times-Independent;
[5] Jul. 26, 1928 Times-Independent;
[6] Ozment, James (1958) Water Tank@Cisco, UT;
[7] Jul. 19, 1928 Times-Independent;
[8] Cisco water supply system map;
[9] Oct. 16, 1958 Times-Independent;
[10] Dalton, Vonna Foy, (2004) Some Remembrances of Picture Gallery and Cisco, Canyon Legacy, Vol. 51, Dan O'Laurie Canyon County Museum
[11] Sep. 22, 1955 Green River Journal;
[12] Farewell, R.C., (1999) Rio Grande Secret Places Vol. Two, Colorado Railroad Museum
[13] Ozment, James (1958) Water Tank@Cisco, UT;
[14] Aermotor Windmill Company homepage;

windmill_01.jpg: US Hwy 191, Monticello, UT Sep. 12, 2014
windmill_02.jpg: Indian Route 6230, Tonalea, AZ Sep. 13, 2014
windmill_04.jpg: Indian Route 21, Cameron, AZ Sep. 14, 2014

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Two-Lane Blacktop - Highway Through Cisco [Column_Town of Cisco]

highway_01.jpg: old US Hwy 50 & 6 near Cisco, UT Sep. 10, 2017

Cisco, Utah was truly a railroad town. The town relied on the Rio Grande for its establishment and also for its survival. But the utilities other than the railroad also made some contribution to its survival. Here is the story of how other utilities supported this remote tiny town in the desert.

Far before the motor age, the region called Utah today was covered by the Indian trails network. In the early eighteenth century, three routes connecting Santa Fe and Los Angeles called the Spanish Trail crossed the region. One of which called The Northern Branch passed through the places later called Westwater, Cisco Landing, Thompson, and Green river.
In the late eighteenth century, the trail was improved to carry wagons and stagecoaches. Thus the route changed its name to Salt Lake Wagon Road. But the town of Cisco didn’t arise yet.

midland-trail_map.jpg: map of Midland Trail

Midland Trail, one of the first transcontinental autoroute, was routed through the town of Cisco In the early 1910s tracing the predecessors which took 33 hours just to go from Mack, CO to Cisco[1]. The Trail was promoted by the Midland Trail Association backed by Salt Lake Tribune. The construction of the route within Grand County was completed in 1913[2]. But it was nothing more than a dirt wagon trail at that time.

US_50_map.png: map of US Hwy 50

US Route 50 (US Hwy 50), known as The Loneliest Road in America, connecting Sacramento, CA and Annapolis, MD was created in 1926, as a result of Federal-Aid Highway Act of 1925. Midland Trail within Grand County was designated as Route 50.

Reconstructing of the Trail to federal aid standard highway between Cisco and Colorado state-line was completed in 1931[3]. The portion, including the one-half mile stretch through the town of Cisco was oil-surfaced in 1934[4, 5]. Westward from Cisco was delayed due to the state’s negotiation with D&RGW about obtaining rights of way through railroad’s Floy gravel pits[6]. The remnants of the gravel pits penetrated by the highway can be still seen at Google maps satellite view.

US_6_map.jpg: map of US Hwy 6

US Route 6 (US Hwy 6), described as “route runs uncertainly from nowhere to nowhere” by a historian George R. Steward, connecting Long Beach, CA and Provincetown (Cape Cod), MA was first designated in 1925[7]. The portion within Grand County was designated in 1937. It was the longest highway in the United States at that time. The route traced US Hwy 50 within Grand County[8].

Interstate_70_map.png: map of I-70

Interstate 70 (I-70) which had come to bypass Cisco was began to construct in several sections within Grand County in the early 70’s[9]. The last portion of I-70 in Grand County was finally completed in 1976[10]. Unfortunately, however, seasonal elasticity of the Mancos Shale formation where I-70 lays caused buckling and heaving of Interstate's pavement. Accordingly, it had to be reconstructed soon after its completion[11]. The portion in Grand County was designated National Scenic Byways in 2002.

I70_utah.jpg: I-70 near Brendel, Utah Sep. 11, 2014

After the completion of Interstate, the portion of old US Hwy 50 & 6 between I-70 Exit 204 and 214 became Utah State Route 128 (SR 128). SR 128 was also designated National Scenic Byways in 1998[12]. The portion of US Hwy 50 & 6 west of Exit 204 became Grand County jurisdiction Frontage Road[13].

highway_02.jpg: Mack, CO. Sep. 10, 2017

About that time when US Hwy 50 was completed, the state of Utah set up highway maintenance station at Cisco, along with Elgin and Moab in Grand County[14]. The station was located in the easternmost of the town.
Several engineers were stationed according to the 1930 Census. Victor Kirby Murray(1893 – 1962), considered as one-time owner of the Ruth’s 66 Cafe structure, was the foreman[15]. Harry Ballard Harris(1914 – 2005), later husband of Ruth of Ruth’s 66 Cafe, was also the foreman[16]. Unfortunately, however, the station was moved to Thompson in 1975[17, 18].

highway-station_01.jpg: Sep. 10, 2017. Thompson Springs, UT

Bus Routes through Cisco and the vicinity was inaugurated in 1935, soon after the completion of the US Hwy 50, by the Rio Grande Motorway Inc., later, by the unit of National Trailways Bus System as Rio Grande Trailways since 1936[19, 20].

The Motorway bus initially connected Salt Lake City and Pueblo via Hwy 50, the route obtained from Southern Kansas Stage Lines[20]. It later added Denver portion via Hwy 6 in 1937[21]. According to the April 1945 Rio Grande Trailways Bus Timetables, westbounds departed Cisco on 3:29, 10:54, and 23:39, all for Salt lake City, and eastbounds departed Cisco on 5:06 for Pueblo, 14:26 for Pueblo, and 20:11 for Denver. Unfortunately, however, the Motorway passenger operations were sold to Continental Trailways in 1948[22].

Today, Greyhound Lines buses connecting Las Vegas and Denver run through the region on I-70, with the nearest stop from Cisco at Green River, Utah or Grand Junction, Colorado.

trailways_ad_1942.jpg: Jun. 11, 1942 Times-Independent

Air Routes can also be considered as utilities in this region.
YouTube movie below shows the approach to the remnants of Rogers Roost Airport at Thompson Springs west of Cisco. We can see similar remnants of an airstrip at Cisco itself, on the hill south of former schoolhouse site.

The runway is clearly seen in the 1952 USGS aerial photo, which is not found in the 1944 USGS photo. The dirt runway measured 2300 feet long and 70 feet wide, according to David W Brooks[23]. The access road was replaced in the 1969 USGS photo. Accordingly, it seems that the airfield was constructed in the early ’50s and used at least until the early ’70s.

According to the interview with former pilot Dennis E. Byrd, Sr, mining companies and oil companies used private airplanes in this region[24]. But I couldn’t find any further information about how the airstrip at Cisco made a contribution to the town.

byrd_ad.jpg: Jul. 21, 1955 Green River Journal

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[1] Nov. 15, 1912 Grand Valley Times;
[2] Jul. 11, 1913 Grand Valley Times;
[3] Apr. 30, 1931 Times-Independent;
[4] May 10, 1934 Times-Independent;
[5] May 31, 1934 Times-Independent;
[6] Feb 9, 1933 Times-Independent;
[7] Weingroff, Richard F. (2015) "U.S. 6 - The Grand Army of the Republic Highway", Highway Story, Federal Highway Administration;
[8] Dec. 31, 1936 Times-Independent;
[9] Sep. 6, 1973 Times-Independent;
[10] Firmage, Richard A., (1996) A History of Grand County, p.364, Utah State Historical Society;
[11] Apr. 22, 1976 Times-Independent;
[12] Jul. 16, 1971, Highway Resolutions, p.22, Utah Department of Transportation;
[13] Sep. 17, 1973, Highway Resolutions, p.29, Utah Department of Transportation;
[14] May 7, 1942 Times-Independent;
[15] Dec. 13, 1962 Times-Independent;
[16] Dec. 18, 2005 Deseret News;
[17] Jun. 1, 1972 Times-Independent;
[18] Rogers, A.J., (2018) "A Page Out of the Book Cliffs Page 35", Dec. 14, 2018, Times-Independent;
[19] Aug. 5, 1935 Salt Lake Telegram;
[20] Hobijn, Jon, Jon's Trailways History Corner website;
[21] Feb. 26, 1937 Pleasant Grove Review;
[22] Feb. 26, 1948 Times-Independent;
[23] Brooks, David W. (2012) Open and Closed Listing of Airports / Airfields;
[24] Dahl, Detta, (2003) Dennis E. “Pete” Byrd, Sr., Eastern Utah Human History Library;
* 1938 photo of Rio Grande Trailways coach #179 found at Jon's Trailways History Corner website;

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Hold the Line - Telephone Line Through Cisco [Column_Town of Cisco]

telephone.jpg: Yanahara, Okayama, Japan

Cisco was truly a railroad town. It relied on the Rio Grande for its establishment and for its survival: I wrote before how the town relied on the railroad for the water. But the utilities other than railroad also made some contribution to the survival of Cisco. Here is the chronological story how other utilities reached this remote tiny town in the desert.

Telegraph/Telephone Line was the first utility besides railroad to serve the town of Cisco. It made some contribution to the survival of the town. For example, Moab residents communicated with the railroad agent at Cisco in advance to ship or travel by train from the town.

In 1911, telephone line from Moab to Cisco was installed by La Sal Mountain Telephone & Electric Company, which was organized in 1903 by Justus(Justin) Noyes Corbin(1858 – 1923)[1]. In 1915, by then, Corbin’s Midland Telephone Company installed the line from Grand Junction CO. to Cisco and to Green River along the Midland Trail[2].

In 1926, Mountain States Telephone & Telegraph Company added another transcontinental phone line through Cisco[3]. In 1961, the Midland Telephone Company merged into Independent Telephone Company, later Continental Telephone Corporation.

But, even in the 40’s, telephone at the Capansky’s was the only civilian phone in the town[4]. The phone number for the Capansky’s was "2" according to ad in July 21, 1955 Green River Journal. The telephone number "Cisco 2" was succeeded by Ethel’s Cafe at least in 1976[5].

Mike Brown recalls that Cisco in 1978 might have been one of the last places in the United States without dial phones, and the phone number for by that time Cisco Desert Sun Inn, former Ethel’s Cafe, was "8"[6]: the situation in the 70's was nothing changed from the situation declared in April 16, 1925 Times-Independent Ad.

[1] Sep. 22, 1911 Grand Valley Times;
[2] Apr. 30, 1915 Times-Independent;
[3] Jul. 29, 1926 Times-Independent;
[4] Mary L. Hepperle, (2004) "Memories of Cisco", Canyon Legacy, vol. 51, Dan O'Laurie Canyon County Museum;
[5] Oct. 7, 1976 Times-Independent;
[6] Brown, Mike (2014) "127 thoughts on 'A Conversation That Actually Just Happened'", Whatever;

midland-telephone_ad.jpg mountain-states-telephone_ad.jpg
left: Apr. 16, 1925 Times Independent, right: Jan. 19, 1968 Ephraim Enterprise

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May The Force Be With You - Gas and Power Line Through Cisco [Column_Town of Cisco]

power-line_01.jpg: Cisco, UT Sep. 11, 2014

Oil and natural gas were once produced at the vicinity of Cisco. They made some contribution to the survival of the town: Cisco was the first town in eastern Utah to have natural gas service at home.

Gas Line was installed throughout the town in 1923 by Arizona-Utah Oil & Gas Company to provide natural gas extracted from a gas well located at the acreage north of town in Cisco Townsite-Cisco Wash Fields[1]. Arizona-Utah Oil & Gas Company drilled the gas well to fuel oil well drilling at Cisco Dome Field the company started in 1921[2].

Arizona-Utah's natural gas was also provided at Cisco Landing to run D&RGW pump produced by A. S. Cameron Steam Pump Works[1]. Before the arrival of power line, private generating plants set up at Cisco also burned natural gas[3].

As early as 1925, G L Emil Klingbeil(1863 –1930) of German-American Life insurance Company resumed the Arizona-Utah's well operations[4].

Today, both the well operations and the gas service at Cisco are faded out. But the oil and gas interests from these fields included in Greater Cisco Field seem still held by Reno, NV based Pacific Energy & Mining Company.

nov_11_1918_saltlakeherald.jpg: Nov. 11, 1918 Salt lake Herald

Power Line didn't arrive at Cisco until the town has declined.

Nearby Moab had its first electric light on in 1915 provided by Moab Light & Power Company[5]. Utah Power & Light Company, who in 1926, took over the Moab Light & Power Company, completed 100,000 volts power line between Helper and Moab in 1955[6]. The company expanded it to 345,000 volts in 1971[7].

In 1962, San Miguel Power Association’s 120-mile power line from La Sal Junction to Harley Dome oil field 20 miles north of Cisco finally dropped in at the town[8]. In short, Cisco hook up was just an addition. San Miguel merged into Utah Power & Light Company in 1972.

san-miguel_ad.jpg: Feb. 2, 1955 Vernal Express
utahpower_ad.jpg: Sep. 29, 1955 Green River Journal

Today, it seems no line but the power line survives. On the other hand, Emery Telecom started providing DSL from the station at the former D&RGW depot site. The fiber optic cable is buried along the former Rio Grande main[9].

[1] Nov. 15, 1923 Times-Independent;
[2] Jul. 28, 1921 Times-Independent;
[3] Dec. 9, 1954 Times-Independent;
[4] Apr. 23, 1925 Times-Independent;
[5] Feb. 12, 1915 Times-Independent;
[6] Sep. 15, 1955 Green River Journal;
[7] Dec. 17, 1970 Times-Independent;
[8] May 24, 1962 Times-Independent;
[9] Patterson, Steve (1993) Remarks & Notes, RailPictures.Net;


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You’ve Got a Mail – Postal Service at Cisco [Column_Town of Cisco]

post-office_03.jpg: Cisco, UT Sep. 11, 2014

Town of Cisco never had frills like a hospital, town hall, fire station, jail, church, library, bank, park nor cemetery. The town became a minimum community in the ’60s after it lost water line. But the town still kept some facilities for community service; nothing was added, subtracted from its heyday.

Until May 1966, Railway Post Office added to D&RGW Prospector consist served the region west from Grand Junction as far as Salt Lake City: all the RPO service contract at D&RGW was diverted to other modes on April 1, 1967[1, 2]. According to the ICC valuation map, the mail crane at Cisco stood next to the depot on the west. Not only mails addressed to Cisco, but mails to Castleton and Richardson were managed at Cisco: a stage called Star Route carried mails to both towns until 1954[3]. After the discontinuance of RPO service, trucks and air taxi based at Moab succeeded the contract at Cisco.

The original Cisco post office next to the narrow gauge railroad watering station was granted in 1887[4]. It was moved along with the depot in 1890. It was located in the depot until the late 1910s when the log cabin called Federal Building, consisted of post office and postmaster’s dwelling, was established next to the Cisco Mercantile/Motel on the west side, facing the railroad track[5]. In 1923, the Building was repainted dark red with white trimming[6]. Zip Code 84515 was assigned in 1963. Unfortunately, however, the original post office structure was demolished in 1967[7, 8].

The second post office structure shown above at Second Street seems re-installed immediately, no later than 1969, according to USGS aerial photo. Unfortunately, however, the remaining days of the office under the United States Postal Service administration was limited: the structure itself is living on borrowed time[9].

letter_postmarked,cisco.jpg: 1928 Cisco postmark

John Samuel Martin(1852 – 1918), the surveyor of the Denver & Rio Grande Western Railway, was the original postmaster[4].
According to the U.S., Appointments of U.S. Postmasters 1832 - 1971, Richard Cecil Camp(1846 – 1923) was the postmaster since 1889.
John H. Miller was the first postmaster on the new townsite since 1890. Pardon H. Jeffers was the postmaster since 1895, Alfred B. Bush since 1898, Horace J. Cooper since 1899, Robert A. Greene since 1900, Henry T. Matthews since 1901, Oakley M. Bailey since 1903, Sherman Bowen(1876 – 1938) since 1905, Charles A. Pierson since 1907, Charles R. Cahill since 1907, Nathan E. Reynolds since Jan. 1908, Albert Lewis Hanson(1881 – 1977) since Jul. 1908 and James Isaac Rounds(1865 – 1945) since 1910. James was also the Rio Grande station agent[10]. After that, Willis Delbert Ely(1886 – 1965) was the postmaster since 1915.

Henry Hansen(1860 – 1932) had been appointed to the postmaster since 1919 and for more than a decade into the 30’s[11, 12]. Luciel Quiett acted for Henry in Jan. 1933.

Hattie M. Fuller(1888 – 1969) was the postmistress from Feb. 1933 and well into the '50s. In 1958, Albert R. Myers succeeded Fuller.

Wava Frances Harris(1917 – 1969), the spouse of the highway foreman Ballard Harris, had been appointed to the postmistress since 1959 and was on duty for eight years[4]. Upon the retirement of Wava and the original post office structure, Wava and Ballard moved the postal cabinet made of oak to Dewey and displayed in their gas service station for the next forty years. Today, the cabinet is at Coleman House B&B in Harrodsburg, Kentucky[8]. Photo of Ballard with the cabinet is found on web[13].

postofficecabinet_02.jpg: Harrodsburg, KY. Sep. 9, 2019

Beulah Rose Campbell(1907 – 1971) was taking care of the re-installed post office in 1969[14]. Ray Scott(1908 – 1989) of the Cisco Automotive Service was the postmaster in the 70’s at least until 1976[15].

Paula Dee Raney(1947 – 2010) was the postmistress in the early 90’s[16]. Sharon Francine Dalgleish(1947 – ) was the postmistress carrying mails to and from Grand Junction, CO maybe since 1992[17, 18]. Sharon finally closed the post office no later than in 2010.

post-office_02.jpg: Cisco, UT Sep. 11, 2014

In 2003, Wim Wenders, the Paris, Texas movie director, took the photo of the post office during the location at Cisco for his movie Don’t Come Knocking[19]. The movie below shows the interior of the post office in 2009. The full eagle logo of United States Postal Service, used between 1970 and 1993, barely shows what this shack was today. Letters barely read on the façade are;

EL4370  84515

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[1] Denver and Rio Grande Western Railroad Company, Annual Report 1967
[2] Strack, Don “D&RGW Prospector and Royal Gorge”, UTAHRAILS.NET;
[3] Jun. 17, 1954 Times-Independent;
[4] Weis, Norman D. (1977) Helldorados, Ghosts and Camps of the old Southwest, Caxton Printers
[5] Herman Grell Giodwad(#8000-11545), Investigative Case Files of the Bureau of Investigation 1908 - 1922;
[6] May 24, 1923 Times-Independent;
[7] Mar. 6, 1969 Times-Independent;
[8] Coleman House B&B web page;
[9] May 6, 1971 Times-Independent;
[10] May 16, 1913 Grand Valley Times;
[11] Feb. 14, 1919 Times-Independent;
[12] Dec. 8, 1932 Times-Independent;
[13] Repko, Sue (2002) “H. Ballard Harris”;
[14] Dec. 11, 1969 Times-Independent;
[15] Apr. 1, 1976 Times-Independent;
[16] Jun. 30, 2010 The Daily Sentinel;
[17] Jackson, Jen (2010) “The Madness and Memories of Cisco, Utah”, Inside Outside Southwest Magazine;
[18] JR4X (2008) “Cisco-Home of The Hills Have Eyes?”, Bulletin Board,;
[19] Wenders, Wim (2003) “Cisco Post office”;

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Old Townsite Plat Chase, Part 1 [Column_Town of Cisco]

: Colorado Street, Cisco, Utah

View above shows the Colorado Street at Cisco, Utah. How did I come to know the name of such an unbeaten path? The answer is the plat: the Cisco Townsite filed in 1910 survives well into the 21st Century. Here, I represent the joy and value of chasing old plats.

The plat of Cisco Townsite boasts forty-one blocks and fourteen named streets. Streets running north-south on the east side of Main St. are Utah, Colorado and Pennsylvania; on the west side are Lincoln, Sherman, and Grant. Old US Hwy 50&6 along the Rio Grande is, of course, the Railroad Street. Cisco Pump House Road shown in Google Maps running east-west is correctly the Second Street.

But the plat and field of Cisco Townsite today seem unconformable at a glance as you see in Google Map Satellite view shown below. Is the old plat worthless for us today? No; for example, the landowners’ names in the plat are still worthy of note.

The plat has sixteen private landowners’ names. Among them, we can find the historic name, Robert T. Capansky. I already mentioned about him in my Capansky’s Bar, Restaurant and Phillips 66 Gas Station post.

Some other related names are also found. William G. Fuller is a son of historic postmistress Hattie M. Fuller. Jay A. Williams seems the relative of the historic resident John Maynard. Thus, the plat mediates between the field and the history of Cisco.

In conclusion, we can re-establish the spacetime of this ghost town from chasing after the old townsite plat, thanks to accurate register, undisturbed field and continuous history of Cisco.

* Index of Grand County Plat (file 04-0023.pdf has Cisco Townsite);

cisco_satelite.jpg: Google Map Satellite view
 cisco-plat_2016.jpg: plat of Cisco Townsite

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Old Townsite Plat Chase, Part 2 [Column_Town of Cisco]

: Main Street, Castleton, Utah

Here, I'm representing the joy and value of chasing old plats.

About thirteen miles south of Cisco at upper Castle Valley, nestles a ghost town of Castleton. The town was first settled in late 1870s or early 1880s, and once boasted businesses like Miller’s Hotel and “Plug Hat” kelly’s Saloon[1]. Post office was established in 1882 and the stage line from Cisco carried daily mail[1]. Even the twenty miles Grand River, Castleton & La Sal Mountain Railroad connecting the vicinity and the Colorado River was established in 1901, but never realized[2].

The town filed the townsite in 1901[3]. Unfortunately, however, in 1967, the Grand County vacated the original townsite. Today, it’s hard to imagine the golden age of the town: only a few lots from that time survive and even the main street slipped off the original plat.

Streets, blocks and lots are gone at Castleton, but the plat retains a few historic names as the landowners. Peter Doles who rests at the private cemetery shown in the plat is the son of Jerry P. and Alice Doles who moved to the town from Arizona in 1956[2]. Susan P. Johnston seems the relative of Alva Johnston who moved from Norwood, Colorado in 1949[4].

Accordingly, the town of Castleton retains accurate register and undisturbed field. With more continuous historical clues, we will be able to re-establish the spacetime of this ghost town.

[1] Firmage, Richard A., (1996) A History of Grand County, Utah State Historical Society
[2] Feb. 2, 1901 Salt Lake Tribune;
[3, 4] Salmon, Rusty, (2004) “Castleton: Turn-of-the-Century Boom Town”, Volume 52, Canyon Legacy, Dan O’Laurie Canyon County Museum
* Index of Grand County Plat (Castleton Townsite at file 04-0023.pdf);

castleton_satelite.jpg: Google Map Satellite view
  castleton_plat.jpg: plat of Castleton Townsite


Japanese & Comments


Old Townsite Plat Chase, Part 3 [Column_Town of Cisco]

negishi-housing.jpg: Nov. 17, 1993. Sky Line Drive and Negishi Avenue, Yokohama, Japan

Here, I'm representing the joy and value of chasing old plats.

Here is another sample of plat/field unconformity. The Google Map Satellite shown below represents housings of U.S. Navy Fleet Activities Yokosuka, Yokohama Detachment, Negishi Dependent Housing Area at the village of Tsukagoshi in Yokohama, Japan. The second drawing shown below is the plat of the same area. Here, the field and the plat are quite unconformable: even the layered map shown below may not convince you.

Actually, the plat proves the village of Tsukagoshi before 1947. The area was requisitioned from the Allied Forces for X Housing Area on Oct. 16, 1947. Before that, the area grew vegetables: July 24, 1947, aerial photo shown below represents the village of Tsukagoshi at that time. As you can see, the field at that time and the plat are consistent.

Accordingly, the village of Tsukagoshi retains accurate register. But it lacks neither undisturbed field nor continuous history. Without these, I think it’s difficult to re-establish the spacetime of this vanished village.

yokohama_satelite.jpg: Google Map Satellite view
      yokohama_plat.jpg: plat of Tsukagoshi, Yokohama
yokohama_plat+satelite.jpg: layered map of the area
yokohama_aerial_1947.jpg: 1947 aerial photo concerned area shown in red dotted line. Courtesy, Geospatial Information Authority of Japan

Japanese & Comments


An Expression Derived From Cisco − "Cisco Clifton’s Fillin’ Station", Part 1 [Column_Town of Cisco]

Our model and/or layout are pieces of work driven by the phantasm. But the phantasm and the actuality don’t coincide with each other: there is a difference between the two. I think the vitals of our hobby is hidden between the two.

Town of Cisco attracts many to this day in spite of/because of its desolation. The desolation may cause phantasms in callers’ minds. Creators who visited Cisco through the ages produced pieces of work driven by their phantasms. Then, in turn, the pieces of works draw another caller (like me) to Cisco.

But, as always, the phantasm and the actuality aren’t the same here at Cisco. Here, I analyze how the creators remixed actual Cisco to produce their piece of works to extract the vitals of their creation.

from-sea-to-shinning-sea.jpg: album, From Sea to Shinning Sea (1968)
Cisco Clifton’s Fillin’ Station by Johnny Cash

John Ray “Johnny” Cash (1932 – 2003) was a country music singer-songwriter born at Kingsland, Arkansas. Related to our hobby, he made a TV Special and a song Ridin’ The Rails for Lionel Trains in 1974. His 1975 album Destination Victoria Station, a special product only offered at Victoria Station Restaurant, was all consisted of train-related songs. I also remember a photo of him standing with his guitar on the front deck of L&N locomotive in Trains magazine.

Johnny Cash live recordings database site shows Cash gave performance, every summer from 1960 to 1967, at the Lagoon in Salt Lake City[1]. In 1965 and 1966, his schedule the day before and after Salt Lake City was the performance at Morrison, Colorado Springs, and Denver, Colorado. Why he did not drive US Route 50/6 through Cisco?

According to Weis, indeed, Johnny Cash was a caller at Cisco one day, stayed into the evening, and spent $7.11 for beers[2]. Later, he was said to have written a song titled Cisco Clifton’s Fillin’ Station: The song was recorded in Mar/Apr 1967, and released in 1968.

[1] Johnny Cash live recordings database;
[2] Weis, Norman D., (1977) Helldorados, Caxton Printers


Japanese & Comments


An Expression Derived From Cisco − "Cisco Clifton’s Fillin’ Station", Part 2 [Column_Town of Cisco]

One_piece_at_a_time.jpg: hodge-podge Cadillac

Here, I extract lyrics representing the town and people of Cisco from the song:

Cisco Clifton had a fillin' station
About a mile and a half from town

Regular gas was all that it sold
Except tobacco matches and oil

And once a big black Cadillac
Spent seven dollars there [1]

Who is Cisco Clifton? I’ve never heard of such a resident at Cisco.

According to Jason Fried, Harry Ballard Harris (1914 – 2005, a little over fifty years old then) is the very Cisco Clifton.

Ballard told Jason that he filled Cash’s car up with seven dollars worth of gas[2]. Average annual gas price in 1966 was 32 Cents per gallon[3]. Accordingly, seven dollars worth of gas makes brimming 22 gallons. Anyway, servicing Johnny Cash’s car believed to be the honor[4].

Harry Ballard Harris worked for Utah Department of Transportation between 1946 and 1976. He stationed at Cisco as a road foreman and lived in a house next to Cisco Mercantile on the south at Second Street[5].

He also opened up a gas service station about half a mile west of Cisco on US Route 50/6: his side business first appears in the newspaper dated 1954[6]. After the retirement, he moved to Dewey, about 14 miles south on Utah State Route 128.

ballard's_ad.jpg: July 21, 1955 Green River Journal

According to Weis again, Johnny Cash listened to the guy who came to operate the Cisco’s only general store where Cash spent dollars for beers. At that time, he was going to sell the business and uproot his little children from their hometown as the business dramatically declined against his will. Cash seemed impressed by the pathos of the father. Therefore, the lyrics below must have been derived from this episode:

And Cisco said I hope my kids fed
When they build that interstate

He wouldn’t say so but Cisco knew
That the Interstate was too much to fight

As far as I researched, Cisco’s only general store then was the Cisco Mercantile owned by William Richard Cowger(1889 – 1971, more than seventy-five years old then). The Mercantile indeed had Coors neon sign on the window. But he never sold the business nor uprooted his family in his life.

Ray Scott of Cisco Automotive Service and Gerald Spears of Ethel’s Cafe seem also had beers but they didn’t give up their businesses in those days.

Wava and her spouse Ballard Harris did close the post office in 1967. But their children were already married and left Cisco at that time.

The only candidate left was made by Ernest Eugene McCoy (1923 – 1989, a little over fourty then). McCoy, the proprietor of the Ruth’s 66 Cafe and the McCoy’s Service Station since 1963, seems assigned his cafe business to Mervin Jack Mills in 1967[7]. Moreover, McCoy definitely had children: four daughters and three sons[8].

At the end of the song, Cash writes There’s a howdy. The dialect is said to be used in the Southern United States. The former Southerner at Cisco I know is William Cowger and Ray Scott both from Texas.

Accordingly, the very Cisco Clifton is not existed. Then, where did the name Cisco Clifton come from? Weis describes that the last name Clifton was taken from one of the folklore names of the original Cisco town: Clifton Station, Martinsdale and Book Cliffs[9].

The conclusion is that Johnny Cash seems politely collected the scattered actualities and assembled the unique character like a mosaic work. Cash added a fictional name made of old and new town names to the character to integrate pieces of the actuality he collected. The work is splendid.

But the phantasm he made became somewhat obscure due to its miscellany: it resembles his One Piece at a Time hodge-podge unknown model Cadillac. For example, how old was Cisco Clifton at that time when he met Johnny Cash?

[1] Cash, Johnny (1967) Cisco Clifton’s Fillin’ Station lylics;
[2] Fried, Jason (2004) Road stories, Signal vs Noise;
[3] Average Historical Gasoline Pump Price, U.S. Department of Energy;
[4] Feb. 19, 1976 Times-Independent;
[5] Mary L. Hepperle (2004) “Memories of Cisco”, Canyon Legacy Vol. 51, Dan O’Laurie Canyon County Museum
[6] Oct. 21, 1954 Times-Independent;
[7] Jun. 8, 1967 Times-Independent;
[8] May 26, 2016 Times-Independent;
[9] The name Clifton is also born by a Rio Grande station located 7.5 miles east of Grand Junction, CO along US Route 50/6.

Japanese & Comments


An Expression Derived From Cisco − “Thelma & Louise”, Part 1 [Column_Town of Cisco]

Our model and/or layout are pieces of work driven by the phantasm. But the phantasm and the actuality don’t coincide with each other: there is a difference between the two. I think the vitals of our hobby is hidden between the two.

Town of Cisco attracts many to this day in spite of/because of its desolation. The desolation may cause phantasms in callers’ minds. Creators who visited Cisco through the ages produced pieces of work driven by their phantasms. Then, in turn, the pieces of works draw another caller (like me) to Cisco.

But, as always, the phantasm and the actuality aren’t the same here at Cisco. Here, I analyze how the creators remixed actual Cisco to produce their piece of works, to extract the vitals of their creation.

thelma-and-louise-poster.jpg: Thelma & Louise poster

Thelma & Louise (1991)
directed by Ridley Scott
written by Callie Khouri
director of photography, Adrian Biddle

Thelma & Louise is a road movie following the track of the two from Arkansas through Oklahoma and Colorado to Arizona. But the movie was filmed at several spots around Los Angeles, Bakersfield and Moab, Utah; two scenes were filmed at Cisco in August 1990[1].

A scene is found in the final shooting script by Callie Khouri dated June 5, 1990;
Louise and Thelma blow through a stand of buildings left from when the train went through here. There are two parallel streets on either side of the one they're on and, as they pass by buildings, they can see police cars ROARING down these parallel streets trying to "head them off at the pass." Louise FLOORS it and her car screams ahead[2].

Here, a stand of buildings is of Cisco. Unfortunately, however, they blow through not parallel streets but private properties of Capansky, Vigil, and others; the post office is barely seen behind the dust.

[1] Weller, Sheila (2011) The Ride of a Lifetime, Mar. 2011, Vanity Fair;
[2] Khouri, Callie (1990) “Thelma & Louise” Final Shooting Script;


Japanese & Comments


An Expression Derived From Cisco − “Thelma & Louise”, Part 2 [Column_Town of Cisco]

thelma-and-louise_01.jpg: a scene at youtube

Another scene is not found in the final shooting script; Louise and Thelma stop for a rest at a deserted town. There, Louise encounters an old man with the white beard and a hat in front of a shack next to the old gas service station/beauty salon, while Thelma pisses at the outhouse across the railroad track. The scene is said to be the idea of Susan Sarandon[1].

Here, a deserted town is Cisco, old gas service station is the Capansky’s by then out of business, outhouse is the former Rio Grande Telephone booth, and the railroad track is the former Rio Grande, by then Southern Pacific.

I think the two scenes have something in common regarding the treatment of Cisco. In both scenes, Cisco is modified. Capansky’s got cosmetic restoration; out of business cafe changed to beauty salon, gas pump moved to another side and faucet added. Fake laundry was hung out between by then vacant Capansky’s and the Tie House. Cars trampled on private properties. So to say, the movie crews made good use of Cisco. In other words, the identity of Cisco is ignored; we cannot recognize the authentic town or the residents of Cisco.

Ridley Scott hired the locals to add a character in his film[2, 3]. The old man appears in the scene above was a Cisco resident Ernest "Ernie" Vonderhoff (1899 – 1995) who was still keeping claims for two already closed mines in Colorado at that time[4, 5, 6]. He won the "Best Delivered Lines" award from the Moab Film Commission by his silent performance with Susan Sarandon[7].
revised, Jan. 14, 2020

[1] Thelma & Louise Trivia web page;
[2] Weller, Sheila (2011) The Ride of a Lifetime, Mar. 2011, Vanity Fair;
[3] Aug. 2, 1990 Times Independent;
[4] D’arc, James V. (2010) When Hollywood Come to Town, Gibbs Smith;
[5] Jun. 13, 1995 Grand Junction Daily Sentinel
[6] The Diggings site;
[7] Dec. 24, 1991 Times Independent;

Japanese & Comments


An Expression Derived From Cisco − “Don’t Come Knocking”, Part 1 [Column_Town of Cisco]

Our model and/or layout are pieces of work driven by the phantasm. But the phantasm and the actuality don’t coincide with each other; there is a difference between the two. I think the vitals of our hobby is hidden between the two.

Town of Cisco attracts many to this day in spite of/because of its desolation. The desolation may cause phantasms in callers’ minds. Creators who visited Cisco through the ages produced pieces of work driven by their phantasms. Then, in turn, the pieces of works draw another caller (like me) to Cisco.

But, as always, the phantasm and the actuality aren’t the same here at Cisco. Here, I analyze how the creators remixed actual Cisco to produce their piece of works, to extract the vitals of their creation.

dont_come_knocking_poster.jpg: Don’t Come Knocking poster

Don’t Come Knocking (2005)
directed by Wim Wenders
written by Sam Shepard, Wim Wenders
director of photography, Franz Lustig

Don’t Come Knocking is a road movie tracking an escaped Western movie star Howard Spence from Utah to Montana. The movie was filmed in summer 2003 at Fisher Towers, Arches National Park, Cisco, Salt Lake City, Utah, Elko, Nevada, and Butte, Montana.

At the beginning of the movie, Howard flees by horse from the filming set at probably Fisher Towers. Howard on horseback later shows up at Cisco. Here, he persuades a man at the shack next to the post office, to trade his showy costume with the worn clothes a guy wears[1].

Here in Cisco, everything is odd: the subject and the backdrop lacks any sense of cohesion. Horseback Western hero comes across a parabolic antenna next to the vintage log cabin, fine-haired thoroughbred tied to weathered man’s deserted shack, and brilliant red socks come out from the dusty hero’s boots. Actually, definitions like offbeat comedy, comedy-drama, ironic comedy, sly comedy, and Divine-Comedy were referred to as along with the definition road-movie.

[1] still photo from the scene shot at Cisco;


Japanese & Comments


An Expression Derived From Cisco − “Don’t Come Knocking”, Part 2 [Column_Town of Cisco]


It is said that a comedy is established by substituting the impression. For example, in Buster Keaton’s The General, the Keaton’s tragedy is converted to the farce at the viewers’ mind. Here, I may say that, when we are watching a comedy, we are not absorbed in but distanced from the subject.

Wim Wenders seems also distanced from the subject. He added nothing to Cisco except the casts, and the odd roles and costumes of the casts make them set apart from the backdrop. So to say, Cisco was positively untouched. I think that’s because Wenders respected the unvarnished Cisco. His respect for Cisco even made him releasing a photo of the Cisco post office[1].

By the way, to all my Rio Grande fan readers, motor coach bound for Elko with flying Rio Grande logo is found in the movie[2]. I wonder where this bus came from.

[1] Sep. 16, 2015 Wall Street Journal;
[2] Internet Movie Cars Database web page;


Japanese & Comments


An Expression Derived From Cisco − “Vanishing Point”, Part 1 [Column_Town of Cisco]

Our model and/or layout are pieces of work driven by the phantasm. But the phantasm and the actuality don’t coincide with each other: there is a difference between the two. I think the vitals of our hobby is hidden between the two.

Town of Cisco attracts many to this day in spite of/because of its desolation. The desolation may cause phantasms in callers’ minds. Creators who visited Cisco through the ages produced pieces of work driven by their phantasms. Then, in turn, the pieces of works draw another caller (like me) to Cisco.

But, as always, the phantasm and the actuality aren’t the same here at Cisco. Here, I analyze how the creators remixed actual Cisco to produce their piece of works, to extract the vitals of their creation.

vanishing-point_01.jpg: Vanishing Point poster

Vanishing Point (1971)
directed by Richard C. Sarafian
written by Guillermo Cain (Guillermo Cabrera Infante)
director of photography, John A. Alonzo

Vanishing Point is a road movie tracking a car delivery driver Kowalski from Denver west. The movie was filmed in June 1970 in the states of Colorado, Utah, Nevada and California[1, 2]. The opening and ending scenes of the movie were shot here at Cisco, Utah.

Ethel’s Cafe appears in the opening scene behind the title. As the camera pans, deserted Cisco Motel, Mercantile, McCoy’s, Ruth’s and Capansky’s appear in turn after that. By then actual Cisco residents seem also appears in the following cuts. But no one is listed in the end credit roll. Moreover, the name of the place is credited only as CALIFORNIA.

Near the ending scene, the name of the place is revealed as CISCO. It sure is the actual name. It was placed not in Utah but in California; the name of the place is actual but also virtual.

In the ending scene, Kowalski slams his car into bulldozers set on the highway in front of Ethel’s Cafe. In the scene, the car is facing west. But it actually is facing east. The last scene is credited 10:04 A.M. But, considering the sun behind the crashed car, it actually is early in the evening. Accordingly, the opening and ending scenes are the virtual images; as if to say reflected images of actual Cisco. And the name of the place is the sole focal point between the virtual and the actual.

[1] Jun. 11, 1970 Times-Independent;
[2] Jun. 25, 1970 Times-Independent;


Japanese & Comments


An Expression Derived From Cisco − “Vanishing Point”, Part 2 [Column_Town of Cisco]


Fakes, dummies, and frauds are the usual practices in our model railroading and are also in movie filming. Without these, we cannot reach our goal. In this movie, we can find another method: reflection.

Reflection is a set of the wave with equal angle: incident and reflected. The well-known effect caused by reflection is an inversion.

As I wrote previously, Cisco scenes are the virtual images. But the virtual images in this movie are the inverted actual images: westbound is actually eastbound and 10:04 A.M. is actually early in the evening. Therefore, Cisco scenes may be considered to be using the method of reflection.

Here is supporting evidence. Throughout the Cisco scenes, the words are few. We can still see the image even if it is inverted, but can’t get the inverted words. Thus, the words are removed from the Cisco scenes.

Here is another supporting evidence. There is no indoor cut throughout the Cisco scenes. Considering the method of reflection, wave incident upon Cisco should not originate at inside, but fall on from the outside.

Window glass reflections obstruct showing indoor views of Cisco Mercantile or Ethel’s Cafe as if Cisco is the sacred place: so to say, actual Cisco is sealed behind the reflections. The ray of light from the gap between the blades of bulldozers in the ending scene is actually the reflection of the sunlight caused by the reflector board set behind the blades: it must be the most sacred reflection in the movie.


Japanese & Comments


Back to School – Educational Service at Cisco [Column_Town of Cisco]

children-at-play.jpg: Cisco, UT Sep. 10, 2017

Town of Cisco never had frills like hospital, town hall, fire station, jail, church, library, bank, park nor cemetery. The town became a minimum community in the ’60s after it lost water line. But the town still kept some facilities for community service; nothing added, nothing subtracted from its heyday.

The school at Cisco was opened in 1898[1]. May Jones was the original teacher and there were sixteen pupils. The school bell rung at nine o’clock in the evening to inform the children of the curfew[2].
I couldn’t find the photo of original schoolhouse, but the 1904 photo of nearby Dewey schoolhouse log cabin may suggest the appearance of original schoolhouse[3].

In 1919, the “barest makeshift tie shack” used as the schoolhouse was sold and the town had to find the replacement[4]. Accordingly, a new 16ft x 24ft schoolhouse was constructed, on Main Street up the hill south of the town, only in two weeks[5, 6]. Unfortunately, however, the school was temporally closed in 1943 and 1944 due to the lack of pupils: the enrollments those years were nine[7, 8].

17ft x 20ft Fruita, Utah schoolhouse built in 1896 provides some information about heyday of Cisco School . Giant stride swing, volleyball and net were added to school equipment in 1928[9]. Piano was tuned and blackboard was renewed in 1953[10]. Pupils enjoyed the Sylvania Hi-Fi machine newly arranged in 1958[11].

William Cowger(1889 – 1971) of the Cisco Mercantile provided power from his private generating plant since 1951[12]. Victor Murray(1893 – 1962) provided the natural gas free of cost from his gas well to the school to fire automatic thermostat controlled heating unit in 1954[13].

Edwinna McFarland(1883 – 1964) taught for nine years since 1945 after the temporary closure. Unfortunately, however, the school was finally closed in 1959 due to the lack of pupils[14]. Successor, Mary Eleanor Gould(1895 – 1973), sister of Edwinna, was the last teacher. Number of the last pupils was fourteen[15]. The school board seat assigned by Grand County Commission to Cisco was eliminated in 1961[16].

Two Oil Companies, Promintory Oil and Federal Oil, rented the vacant schoolhouse structure for storage in 1964[17]. The structure itself seems lived into the 70’s, as we can see it in the photo attached to Kathy Jordan’s articles[18]. The structure also appears in the movie Vanishing Point shot in 1970.
The structure was finally demolished maybe in the early ’70s, no later than 1974, according to USGS aerial photos.

Accommodation for the successive teachers was provided near the schoolhouse at the corner of Second Street and Colorado Street. It was built by Pace Brothers in the 20's[19, 20]. The structure itself still survives to this day.
revised, Nov. 15, 2017
revised, Feb. 6, 2018

[1] Dec. 23, 1898 Grand Valley Times;
[2] Sep. 8, 1905 Grand Valley Times;
[3] 1904 photo of Dewey schoolhouse;
[4] Oct. 16, 1919 Times-Independent;
[5] Oct. 23, 1919 Times-Independent;
[6] Nov. 6, 1919 Times-Independent;
[7] Aug. 26, 1943 Times-Independent;
[8] Aug. 30, 1945 Times-Independent;
[9] May 3, 1928 Times-Independent;
[10] Oct. 15, 1953 Times-Independent;
[11] Jan. 30, 1958 Times-Independent;
[12] Mar. 8, 1951 Times-Independent;
[13] Oct. 7, 1954 Times-Independent;
[14] Aug. 13, 1959 Times-Independent;
[15] Sep. 12, 1958 Times-Independent;
[16] May 4, 1961 Times-Independent;
[17] Sep. 3, 1964 Times-Independent;
[18] Jordan, Kathy "‘Uranium King’ Charlie Steen started out in Cisco tar¬paper shack", Mar. 24, 2011 Daily Sentinel;
[19] description on the flooring;
[20] description "teacher Dorothy Miller, boarder of Annie M. Pace" in 1930 Census

Fruita_SchoolHouse.jpg: drawings of schoolhouse at Fruita, UT
school-interior.jpg: Fruita schoolhouse interior, copied from historical marker

Japanese & Comments


Rio Grande as a Lifeline – Water Supply at Cisco, Part 2 [Column_Town of Cisco]

cisco-pipe-line_01.jpg: Colorado River at Cisco Landing

Residents of Cisco practically relied their water supply on Denver & Rio Grande Western Railroad[1]. The railroad supplied the water since the establishment of the town and to the ’50s.

The source of the culinary water was the Colorado River about four miles east of the town. The epic water supply system named “Cisco Pipe Line” installed by the railroad in 1883 is well represented in the ICC Valuation Map drawn in 1919 and revised in 1927[2]. According to the Map, Pump H’se No. 25, Coal H’se No. 28, Pumper’s Dwg No. 26 and W.C. No.27 at Cisco Landing, two concrete reservoirs on the hill, a water tank at Cisco and the 6" steel pipe connecting the facilities formed the system.

Successive operators and sometimes their family resided by the pump house according to the Census and newspapers are:
Charles Edward Johns(1855 – 1931) in 1900. Charles U. Hallett(1881 – 1942), Edward K. Holbrook(1854 – ?), and Samuel S. Roberts(1859 – 1930) in 1905. Edward Daniel Stone(1866 – ?) in 1907. Walter Scott Dayton(1874 – ?) in 1910. Henry Hansen(1860 – 1932) in 1913. Perl Claud in 1914. Martin Tifus in 1917. John Callahan and Joseph Killian in 1920. R. Wissler and Frank Hall in 1921. Neil Maurice Carswell(1902 - 1966), and Louis H. Redmon in 1932. Roscoe Clarence Hallett(1890 – ?) in 1940.
Albert J. May(1890 - 1973) of Green River used to take care of water systems at Cisco, Thompson, Green River and Cedar before his retirement in 1960[3].

A few rancher/farmers such as Augusta Devine family and Ernest E. Campbell family along the Colorado River were their neighbors[4]. A schoolhouse was built at Campbell Ranch[5].

Unfortunately, however, the railroad abandoned the system in 1955[6]. The steel water tank at Cisco was removed in September 1958, along with the tank at Thompson[7, 8, 9]. The rest is left in the terrain. Here are the photos of the remainder:

All photos were taken on Sep. 10, 2017.

Pump House

cisco-pipe-line_02.jpg: pump house exterior
cisco-pipe-line_03.jpg: smoke stack lying inside
cisco-pipe-line_04.jpg: remains of the plumbing
Steam-Water-Pump.jpg: pumphouse interior at Gato[10]

This frame structure with a gabled wood shingles roof still stands on the bank of Colorado River at Cisco Landing. Inside the structure remain a smokestack and pump/plumbing. As it used to burn natural gas in its final days, coal facilities seem dismantled long ago[10].

Represented above for reference is the interior photo of the pump house at Gato, Colorado[11].

Pumper’s Dwelling

cisco-pipe-line_09.jpg: historical marker established by BLM
cisco-pipe-line_08.jpg: foundation of a structure
pumphouse-aerial-photo.jpg: 1952 USGS aerial photo of the site
icc-map_pumphouse.jpg: 1919 ICC Valuation Map

A foundation of a structure is preserved at Cisco Landing near the pump house.
The BLM marker in front of the remains describes this as the remains of Ernest Elisha Campbell, Sr (1867 – 1937) homestead. But, according to the land patent, his homestead is filed at about three miles south of Cisco Landing[12]. Moreover, the site this foundation lies is within the D&RG property marked in 1919 ICC Valuation Map. Newspaper writes that the D&RG pumper Edward Daniel Stone built a residence here in 1907[13]. Accordingly, I believe this remains as the foundation of Pumper’s Dwg No. 26 represented in the ICC Map.
revised, Jan. 18, 2018
revised, Aug. 17, 2018
revised, Nov. 2, 2018

[1] arx (2015) "Rio Grande as a Lifeline – Water Supply at Cisco", Boxcar Red Collection;
[2] Denver & Rio Grande Railroad Colorado/Utah Stateline to Green River, UT ICC Valuation Maps, Colorado Railroad Museum
[3] Feb. 1, 1973 Times-Independent;
[4] Bennett, Lee A., (2009) A History of Selected Ranches on a Twenty-mile Stretch of the Colorado River in Grand County, Utah. Bennett Management Services, LLC
[5] Nov. 1, 1923 Times-Independent;
[6] Mar. 10, 1955 Times-Independent;
[7] Ozment, James (1958) "Charlie Moore Cutting On Water Tank", Sep. 30, 1958,;
[8] Oct. 16, 1958 Times-Independent;
[9] Ozment, James (1958) water tank @ Cisco, UT;
[10] Oct. 15, 1923 Times-Independent;
[11] Farnsworth, Vince (2015) "Pagosa Junction Surprise", Farnsworth Scenics;
[12] Campbell homestead entry map;
[13] Nov. 29, 1907 Grand Valley Times;

cisco-pump_map.jpg: Cisco Pipe Line system map

Japanese & Comments


Rio Grande as a Lifeline – Water Supply at Cisco, Part 3 [Column_Town of Cisco]

Residents of Cisco practically relied their water supply on Denver & Rio Grande Western Railroad[1]. The railroad supplied the water since the establishment of the town and to the 50’s. Unfortunately, however, the railroad abandoned the system in 1955[2]. Here are the photos of the remainder:

All photos were taken on Sep. 10, 2017.


cisco-pipe-line_05.jpg: the town of Cisco appears far left
cisco-pipe-line_06.jpg: 6” pipe, maybe an overflow, sticking out from the foreground bank

The reservoirs were constructed on the hill at the highest point between Cisco Landing and Cisco, about a mile east of the town. According to the 1919 ICC Valuation Map, two almond-shaped concrete reservoirs had the capacity of 400,000 gallons each.

The pipeline would run through between two reservoirs guarded by the barbed wire fence. But the south side reservoir was out of order by the time of abolition[2].

Steel Water Tank


The original wood water tank which stood next to the depot was replaced by the 100,000-gallon steel water tank opposite the depot, maybe in the late ’20s [3, 4]. The steel tank was retired in 1955 and dismantled in 1958[5, 6]. Here, I represent the former Rio Grande water tank at Thompson, which was also dismantled and moved in 1958[7]. The shed next to the former Thompson tank seems also a Rio Grande heritage.

Represented below for reference is the photo of the ATSF 145,000 gallon water tank built in 1903 at Ribera, New Mexico.

[1] arx (2015) "Rio Grande as a Lifeline – Water Supply at Cisco", Boxcar Red Collection;
[2] Mar. 10, 1955 Times Independent;
[3] Jun. 7, 1928 Times Independent;
[4] Jul. 26, 1928 Times Independent;
[5] Mar. 10, 1955 Times Independent;
[6] Ozment, James (1958) water tank @ Cisco, UT;
[7] Oct. 16, 1958 Times Independent;
ribera-watertank.jpg: water tank at Ribera, NM
cisco-pump_map.jpg: Cisco Pipe Line system map

Japanese & Comments


Two-Lane Blacktop, part 2 – Highway Bridges surrounding Cisco [Column_Town of Cisco]

highway-bridge_02.jpg: Nash Wash, Hwy and the Bridge in 1971 movie “Vanishing Point” still
highway-bridge_01.jpg: Cisco Wash, Hwy and the Bridge

The town of Cisco is guarded by washes from both directions, east, and west: Danish Wash lies on the east and Cisco Wash lies on the west.

After the designation of US Hwy 50, the conventional Midland Trail through Cisco was reconstructed in 1931[1]. The new bridges spanning the washes were constructed at the same time, therewith freed Cisco from isolation.

But, when a rezoning of Cisco to a heavy Industrial use was planned time after time since the ’80s, the ages and the weight limits of the bridges on old US Hwy 50 & 6 were always one of the concerns[2]. Accordingly, it can be said that these bridges ironically have been contributed to the isolating of Cisco against the economic wave.

Here, I introduce those vintage highway bridges found near Cisco, one each from periods respectively:

All photos were taken on Sep. 10, 2017


Cisco Wash Bridge was built in 1949 with concrete rigid frame, to replace the old bridge built when US Hwy 50 was constructed[3]. Its longest span is 82.0 ft. and width of the deck is 26.2 ft[4]. 2012 Google street view shows weight limit of 30 tons on road sign attached to it. But it is reduced to only 11 tons when I visited in 2017.


Danish Wash Trib 3 Bridge was built in 1931 with steel stringer. Its longest span is 25.9 ft. and width of the deck is 24.0 ft[5]. It has weight limit of 18 tons according to the road sign attached to it.

1930_conoco-map.jpg: 1930 Conoco road map

Thompson Wash Bridge on old Valley City Road was built in 1919 with steel stringer. Its longest span is 28.9 ft. and width of the deck is 16.1 ft[6]. The road sign attached to it says "LEGAL LOADS ONLY".

This bridge seems the oldest surviving highway bridge in this region; the oldest seems the burnt Dewey Bridge built in 1916[7]. Valley City Road is the remnant of Midland Trail/US Hwy 50 between Thompson and the now evaporated Valley City, designated at least until 1933[8, 9]. Accordingly, this section of the road and the bridge tells us how the Midland Trail was in its heyday.

[1] Apr. 30, 1931 Times-Independent;
[2] Jul. 16, 2009 Times-Independent;
[3] Nov. 27, 1941 Times-Independent;
[4] webpage for Cisco Wash Bridge;
[5] webpage for Danish Wash Trib 3 Bridge;
[6] webpage for Thompson Wash Bridge;
[7] webpage for Dewey Bridge;
[8] Dec. 28, 1933 Times-Independent;
[9] Sanderson, Dale (2003) "Historic US Highway ends in and near Crescent Jct, UT" mapguy;

highway-bridges_map.jpg: map of bridges around Cisco

Japanese & Comments


Stranger Than Paradise – Japanese at Cisco [Column_Town of Cisco]

census_1900.jpg: the 1900 Census of Cisco

As we can read on the hood of UP locomotives, the word “build” seems more suitable than the word “find” for the American continent. According to the Trains News Wire, Chinese railroad workers who worked for building Central Pacific Railroad were inducted into Labor Hall of Honor in 2014[1]. Here, in Cisco, we can also find the footprints of immigrant workers who built/maintained America.

According to the Topaz Museum Revised Interpretive Text, some 275000 Japanese immigrants arrived in the United States between 1885 and 1924. The 1910 Census recorded 2110 Japanese living in Utah, mostly in Salt Lake City and Ogden, worked as farmers, miners, and on the railroad[2]. The 1900 Census, the first census for Cisco, recorded 89 people in the town. Among them, 27 immigrated males from Japan are listed as RR section hands. The youngest among them was fifteen years old at that time. The names listed are;

K. Hatanaka (畠中[presumed Chinise character]、born in Japan, Jan 1875),
F. Inowya (probably Inoue. 井上、Japan, Nov 1870),
T. Inowya (probably Inoue. 井上、Japan, May 1865),
Sam Kajiyamma (probably Kajiyama. 梶山、Japan, May 1876),
Joe Kakita (柿田、Japan, Mar 1874)
J. Kubo (久保、Japan, Jan 1882),
H. Matsui (松井、Japan, Jan 1882),
J. Matsumito (probably Matsumoto. 松本、Japan, Mar 1879),
Kom Maeda (前田、Japan, May 1875),
T. Murikami (probably Murakami. 村上、Japan, Sep 1881),
G. Nakagawa (中川、Japan, Nov 1860),
Y. Nakagawa (中川、Japan, Nov 1868),
Otto Nakagawa (中川、Japan, Aug 1884),
T. Nakanishi (中西、Japan, Jun 1879),
B. Nakayama (中山、Japan, Mar 1882),
F. Nakayama (中山、Japan, Aug 1881),
B. Oda (小田、Japan, Apr 1882),
O. Oka (岡、Japan, Aug 1866),
T. Oka (岡、Japan, Sep 1877),
G. Tagire (田切、Japan, Aug 1881),
K. Tamaki (玉置、Japan, Jun 1874),
Ku Tamaki (玉置、Japan, Aug 1875),
Set Tamaki (玉置、Japan, Mar 1884),
Tanigucci (probably Taniguchi. 谷口、Japan, May 1878),
Tom Yabu (藪、Japan, May 1874),
V. Yada (矢田、Japan, Aug 1878),
K Yamaga (山家、Japan, May 1875).

Accompanied are four immigrant Section Foremen:
John Irondale (born in England, Jan 1856).
J. B. Mcdonald (Ireland, Jun 1840),
Frank Roff (Italy, May 1875),
Cliyde Shaw (Ireland, Oct 1865).

section-gang.jpg: section gang photographed at Price, Utah. Courtesy, L. Tom Perry Special Collections, Harold B. Lee Library, Brigham Young University

Yozo Hashimoto(橋本養蔵, 1851 – 1914), a Japanese immigrant, established a labor agency at Salt Lake City in the 1870s, later followed by his nephew Edward Daigoro Hashimoto(橋本大五郎, 1875 – 1936) of E.D. Hashimoto Company founded in 1902[3, 4]. Hashimotos recruited Japanese immigrants to provide section hands for the Rio Grande and Western Pacific[5, 7]. Accordingly, these Japanese immigrants recorded at Cisco must have sent to the section by Hashimotos.

Hashimotos provided them Japanese food, rice, and clothes and sent their wages to Japan[5]. Though daily necessities were provided, the section gangs might have forced to live in boxcars or tents, as Census shows no marks of them owning or renting a home.

Denver & Rio Grande Railroad construction through Grand County was begun in 1881. According to the book Grand Memories, by then, most of the track gangs were Japanese and Chinese[6]. But the construction was completed in 1883. Also is that the relocating and standardizing of the mainline through Cisco was completed in 1890. Accordingly, the Japanese section gangs recorded in 1900 Census might rather be maintained or constructed additional facilities than built the way.

1910 Census of Cisco records none of these section gangs. They might have been moved to another section. I’m moved as not only am I a Japanese but there is the same last name with me on the list.

Here is another story of Japanese at Cisco.

On January 11, 1943, sixteen Japanese American males were pulled into the by-then abandoned Dalton Wells Civilian Conservation Corps camp, located about 27 miles southwest of Cisco[8].

Totally, 56 Japanese American males were incarcerated here called Moab Isolation Center. But they were transferred to Leupp, Arizona on April 27 same year, due to the camp’s harsh environments[9].

[1] May 9, 2014 Trains News Wire;
[2] Topaz Museum Revised Interpretive Text;
[3] Papanikolas, Helen Z., Kasai, Alice, (1976) Japanese Life in Utah, Utah History to Go
[4] Taniguchi, Nancy J., (1994) Japanese Immigrants in Utah, Utah History Encyclopedia
[5] Bradley, Martha S., (2000) The Changing Face of Faith, Heterotopolis, Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture;
[6] Daughters of Utah pioneers, (1972) Grand Memories, Utah Publishing Company
[7] Crouse, Lorraine, (2016) Building Tracks to New Beginnings: Japanese Railroad Workers in the West, J. Willard Marriott Library Blog, The University of Utah;
[8] Firmage, Richard A., (1996) A History of Grand County, Utah State Historical Society
[9] Utah Division of State History web page

Japanese & Comments

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