Friday, October 1, 2010

Castle Gate Lost Treasure

The town of Castle Gate, Utah, started in 1886 when the Pleasant Valley Coal Company began to do some mining in the area. The area is surrounded by rock formations, cliffs, mountains and valleys that provided perfect hideouts for outlaws, cattle rustlers and train robbers. One of the Old West’s most famous characters, Butch Cassidy, left his mark on the area

On April 21, 1897, the train from Salt Lake City coasted into Castle Gate carrying the payroll for the Pleasant Valley Coal Company. In front of the saloon a horse was hitched to a pole belonging to a cowboy named Butch Cassidy waiting inside. When the cowboy heard the train whistle announcing the arrival of the payroll train, he left the saloon and made his way toward the train station. As he made his way down to the train, another cowboy, Elza Lay, stood unnoticed near the stairway of the company office.

The Pleasant Valley Coal Company paymaster and two guards unloaded the company’s payroll which was in three bags and estimated at $8,800 dollars. They were to carry it to the Company office about 75 yards away, but the money never made it. The cowboy from the saloon surprised the three men and held them at gunpoint, taking the largest of the payroll bags. The second cowboy, the one that had been loitering around near the stairway of the company office approached the scene and took a second bag from the group.

In broad daylight, Butch Cassidy and Elza Lay had successfully stolen the Pleasant Valley Coal Company’s payroll. The two cowboys jumped on their horses and rode hard out of town heading south. As they rode they cut telegraph lines along the way to prevent the news of the robbery from spreading to lawmen along their escape route. Cassidy and Lay continued to ride to Robbers Roost, as attempts to reach the Sheriff were unsuccessful. The stolen money was never recovered and many believe it was hidden somewhere near Robbers Roost located along the Outlaw Trail, in southeastern Utah.

1974 marked the end of the town of Castle Gate. All that's left today is a historic marker along the highway north of Helper, Utah.

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