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About Thompson

Thompson Springs, also known as Thompson, is a small, unincorporated village in central Grand County, Utah, United States. The town is just north of the east-west highway route shared by Interstate 70, U.S. Route 6 and U.S. Route 50, between Crescent Junction and Cisco. The county seat of Moab is about 37 miles to the south. Thompson Springs is located in high desert country at an elevation of 5,134 feet (1,565m), with the Book Cliffs just to the north. The town's zip code is 84540.

History

Evidence of human habitation or use of the Thompson Springs area can be dated back to the Archaic Period who left beautiful Pictographs in Sego Canyon. Subsequent Anazazi, Fremont, and Ute tribes have also left their mark upon the area.

Thompson Springs was named for E.W. Thompson, who lived near the springs and operated a sawmill to the north near the Book Cliffs. The town began life in the late nineteenth century as a station stop on the Denver and Rio Grande Western Railroad, which had been completed through the area in 1883. A post office at the site was established in 1890, under the name "Thompson's." The town was a community center for the small number of farmers and ranchers living in the inhospitable region, and it was also a prominent shipping point for cattle that were run in the Book Cliffs area. Stockmen from both San Juan and Grand counties used Thompson.

Thompson gained importance in the early twentieth century due to the development of coal mines in Sego Canyon, north of town. Commercial mining in Sego Canyon began in 1911, and that year the Ballard and Thompson Railroad was constructed to connect the mines with the railhead at Thompson. The railroad branchline and mines continued operating until about 1950.

Construction of the I-70 two miles south of Thompson Springs drew traffic away from the city as Route 6 was no longer used. The later movement of the passenger train stop to Green River, Utah led to further economic hardship for Thompson.

The original name for this settlement was Thompson Springs, a name that was reinstated in 1985. Much of the town is uninhabited today, although there are still some operating businesses in the immediate vicinity of I-70.

The Moab, Utah, Uranium Mill Tailings Remedial Action (UMTRA) Project is a uranium tailings removal and relocation project that promises to bring jobs to the area as tailings from the Atlas Mineral Company's tailings ponds outside of Moab, Utah, will be moved to Crescent Junction, just outside of Thompson Springs.

Rock art

Thompson Springs is also the site of some fabulous rock art left by early native Americans. The Fremont culture thrived from A.D. 600 to 1250 and was a contemporary with the Anasazi culture of the Four Corners area. There is also rock art from the Archaic period dating from 7000 B.C., the Barrier Canyon period from around 2000 B.C., and the Ute tribe dating from A.D. 1300.

See also

Utah State Route 94 - Unsigned designation of the highway connecting Thompson Springs


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