The Legacies of Iron County: Agriculture – The Hay Derrick

Agriculture, symbolized by the hay derrick, became the foundation of the local community. When early mining operations ceased, Iron County residents turned to sheep and cattle to provide needed trade goods. Today, the region still has a vibrant and expanding agricultural lifestyle.

An Iron County haying crew.

Hay for livestock in a horse-driven society was as important as gasoline or electricity is today. The oldest technology for stacking hay in Iron County was the hay derrick that allowed farmers to build haystacks in their fields.

 

 

A hay derrick in action.

Hay derricks, usually homemade devices, consisted of a central pole rigged so that it could rotate on its base. By means of pulleys, rope, and a one-horse hookup, the loading fork could be raised and rotated over the haystack. When tripped, the hay would drop onto the stack. Men on top of the stack would arrange the hay so that it would shed water, thus the hay would cure rather than rot. Occasionally rattlesnakes might be hiding in the hay and provide a surprise for those on top of the hay pile. Stacks were built one section at a time. When one section was finished, the derrick was hitched to a horse and dragged to the next section.

Frontier Homestead’s hay derrick.

The derrick in front of Frontier Homestead was donated to by local rancher Bud Bauer and relocated from his farm to the museum as an Eagle Scout project in May 2013.

The Legacies of Iron County: Mining – The Ore Shovel

Mining, represented by the ore shovel, is the industry that began it all, proving to be the initial motive for settlement. In 1923, the mines began producing ore by the tons and elevated Iron County to one of the richest counties in the Utah for nearly 50 years.

Shovels at work in the mines.

Shovels at work in the mines.

In the 1930s, iron mining expanded in Iron County and massive shovels were needed to excavate the needed ore. According to company delivery records, two Bucyrus-Erie 120-B shovels were delivered to the Utah Construction Company in Cedar City in September of 1936 for use in the iron mines. At the time, the wage for a shovel operator was $0.48 per hour.

Shovel at work.

Shovel at work.

The electric 120-B shovel had a six cubic yard dipper capacity, big enough to scoop up six tons of dirt and rock, enough to fill a hole the size of a large pick-up truck with extended cab and bed. AC power was supplied to the shovel via a trailing 23,000 volt electric cable which drove a 275-horsepower motor-generator set. When moving the shovel from pit to pit, bulldozers were employed to prevent the huge tracks from slipping down the hill.

SHE-22 at work.

SHE-22 at work.

About 330 of the 120-Bs were sold around the world over a period lasting almost three decades. SHE (shovel excavator) 22 was used continuously until the 1970’s.  SHE-22 had previously been located west of town where it sat for many years.  In 2012, in partnership with Utah State Parks, Cedar City, Iron County, Gilbert Development, Inc., and Construction Steel, Inc., the shovel was relocated to Frontier Homestead State Park.

The Legacies of Iron County: Railroads and Tourism – The Caboose

Railroads, signified by the caboose, proved pivotal for this community. Freight trains were able to haul more raw materials than ever before, increasing profits for the mining companies. Rail traffic also brought thousands of tourists to the area each year to explore our scenic wonders. Hollywood came to Utah, travelling by train, into Cedar City. The railroad literally brought the world into our backyard.

The Caboose in it's original location, before being donating to the museum.

The Caboose in it’s original location, before being donated to the museum.

The caboose provided the train crew with shelter and working space while they threw switches and inspected for problems such as shifting loads, overheated axle bearings, and dragging equipment. The conductor used the caboose for filling out various forms and reports. On longer trips, the caboose provided living quarters.

Caboose 4618 was manufactured by Pacific Car and Foundry in 1978 and delivered to Southern Pacific.  In its heyday, Southern Pacific operated nearly 14,000 miles of track covering various routes stretching from Tennessee to California.

The body of Caboose 4618 was painted in mineral red with the bay window ends and the end walls in daylight orange, both traditional Southern Pacific colors. Cabooses in the SP system were designated C-XX-X. The “C” stood for caboose, the “XX” denoted the axle load in tons, and the final “X” represented the class, type, or design. Caboose 4618 is a C-50-7. Power for the caboose was provided by a small electrical generator mounted on the lead truck.

Moving the Caboose to Frontier Homestead.

Moving the Caboose to Frontier Homestead.

This caboose was purchased from a California rail yard in 2005 by George Lutterman. In April 2013 it was donated to Frontier Homestead State Park and moved in partnership with Iron County, Union Pacific, Construction Steel, Inc., and Gilbert Development, Inc.

 

The restored Caboose in front of Frontier Homestead

The restored Caboose in front of Frontier Homestead