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About Utah: At Utah's smallest town, they're heading into nice-quiet

Published: Sunday, Nov. 3 2013 9:50 p.m. MST

Scofield hasn’t always been small. A century ago, in 1910, the population was 746. That’s when the coal mines were humming and people didn’t commute from Price or Sanpete County or Utah County. Today, just one area mine, the Skyline, is up and running, and most of its 300 employees drive in and drive out. They cruise through Scofield doing 40.

It was near Scofield that the worst mining tragedy in Utah history occurred in 1900, when 199 men lost their lives in a cave-in at the Winter Quarters mine. And Scofield is the hometown of the most decorated journalist in Utah history. Robert Mullins, who won a Pulitzer Prize writing for the Deseret News in 1962, was born here.

But that was then and this is now. Joy, who has been here for 58 years, doesn’t remember Bob Mullins. To her, he’s just another person who used to live here and now doesn’t.

Most of the town left, she says, when the school closed in 1966 and they started busing the kids to Helper. Sooner or later, the kids and their parents all moved to Helper too.

Now it’s just the hearty grownups.

“It’s laid-back up here, no question,” says Jim. “You get used to it, you really do. You improvise. If you want something for dinner and it’s not there you go, 'Well that’s not what I’m having for dinner.' It’s not like you can run to Wal-Mart.”

Or the Snack & Pack, for that matter, starting this week.

Lee Benson's About Utah column runs Mondays. Email: benson@deseretnews.com

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