Sunday, December 30, 2007

Ophir; circa '77

I think it was either my birthday that year, or the Christmas before, but I got a book on ghost towns in the 4-corners area. I'd always been facinated with ghost towns, ever since the Brady Bunch got stranded in that one on the way to the Grand Canyon, when a scruffy Thurston Howell III stole their car, trailer and locked them in the jail.
Anyway, some friends of mine and I decided to hop in the car and head out towards Tooele and find this town, Ophir, that was in the book and take some pictures there. As I remembered it, there were a couple houses still inhabited, but several structures that were abandoned. As you can see by the old black and white picture of the Town Hall, it wasn't in the best of shape. (Click on the picture to see it full sized). Seems that the building got a face lift in the last 30 years. It also grew a fire station on it's right side. I know it wasn't there in '77, you can tell by the old picture, but I can't remember if it was somewhere else and they just moved it, or if it's a fake. Either way, it's been fixed up and set up for tourists. There were also a lot more inhabited houses in the town, so restored, some brand new. Not really sure what all the people up there would be doing for a living, can't imagine there's that much tourist traffic way out there - but ya never know.
Another ghost town we found was Grafton, down in Southern Utah, by St. George and Zion's. Part of the movie "Butch Cassidy & the Sundance Kid" was filmed there, where he & the girl ride the bike down the street singing "Singing in the Rain". I just looked it up on the internet, and lo and behold, it too has had a facelift. The church was boarded up, the house looked abandoned, and it wasn't even brick. The only building that had been fixed up at all was the one you don't see in either picture, and that was only for the movie. You could tell, because the walls inside were only repaired up to about a foot from the ceiling, and outside onlt the two sides you saw from the street were repaired. Now it's all purdy and fixed up, like people are living there. What's the sense of a ghost town that looks like people are living there?

6 comments:

jannx said...

Interesting. I actually remember (a bit)the Brady Bunch episode you mentioned. It is also interesting to read about ghost towns. To my knowledge, there are no ghost towns in my area.

A Paperback Writer said...

Thanks for filling me in. It makes a lot more sense now, EXCEPT:
What is Thurston Howell doing off Gilligan's Island and hanging out with the Brady Bunch?
"Singing in the Rain" is from the epinymous movie "Singing in the Rain" with Gene Kelly. In "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid," the song with the bikes, which has nothing whatsoever to do with the movie, is "Raindrops Keep Fallin' On My Head."
And how come the last two pictures look like the mountain has been removed? Weird.
Anyway, I didn't know anything about Ophir, so I actually did like the story -- even if I'm being picky about your details....
Yeah, if you like real ghost towns, I need to take you to Sego. Ain't nobody fixed up nothin' there in a good 7 or 8 decades. (Dad left before he was 1, so he doesn't really remember it in it's original state.)

Max said...

Jannx : yeah, I don't remember too many ghost towns in the Boston area either. We've got a lot of things out here that I don't think are back east. Desert, red rock canyons, mountains at the city's edge and the Bonneville Salt Flats. But then we don't have one of the things I miss the most : an ocean. The Great Salt Lake does not count, you can hardly swim in it because it's so salty and you have to walk out about a half a mile before the water gets up to your waist.

Max said...

Writer : hey, they both involve raindrops, ok? I thought it sounded a little bit off, but I couldn't remember the right one. Thanks for setting it right for me.
.
Well, it really wasn't Mr. Howell, I could have just as easily said Mr. MaGoo. It was actually just the actor Jim Backus playing an paranoin old gold miner. Either that or being on an island with Gilligan drove him crazy, he got rescued and left his billions to go gold hunting in the great southwest.
.
As for the mountains, I think they're still there - I just think it is the angle that the pictures were taken....

A Paperback Writer said...

Let's hope the mountains are still there. If not, that's some mighty drastic tourist updating on a ghost town they're doing there.....

Max said...

Yup, 30 years may be a long time, but for a mountain to disappear from natural causes, it usually takes millions of years.