In Our Backyard: Helper, Utah

An old-time painted sign on a Helper hotel. Photo: Ed Helmick

Historic Helper, Utah is only about an hour east of us on US Highway 6 just before you arrive in Price. As you turn off Highway 6 at the first exit to Helper you will find yourself turning on Main Street in a couple of blocks. It is like stepping back in history 70 to 80 years. This is an interesting little town to visit for older folks to reflect on memories of long past times and for younger people to see sights that were common to their grandparents and great-grandparents.

The 20 ft. tall miner statue in Helper, Utah.
Photo: Ed Helmick

One of the first sights that will catch your eyes is a collection of old cars and trucks at an old Sinclair Gasoline station. The old gas pumps show a price of 29.9 cents a gallon for regular and 39.9 cents per gallon for premium. That goes back to the era when some of us bought gasoline a dollar at a time and that was a time when gasoline was a cash purchase, no credit cards then. The antique gasoline pumps also advertise an additive called Ethyl which was the lead added to gasoline to improve performance and economy of engines as early as 1921. Another reminder of a past time.

A little further down Main Street on the left side of the road in front of the Helper Auditorium is a 20-foot statue of a miner locally known as “Big John.” This certainly makes an interesting picture or two with family and friends. Continuing you will find a Main Street that looks like it could be the perfect location for a 1930’s movie set. The old hotel with a sign on the side of it advertising rooms for 50 cents and Orange Crush for a nickel. Then there is the classic old movie theater. The stores and restaurants all have the charm and character of a past time, this is historic Helper.

The Railroad and Mining Museum in Helper, Utah.
Photo: Ed Helmick

Also, on Main Street is the Western Mining and Railroad Museum. It is easy to find because next to it is an old red Railroad caboose. Here we have two floors of historic artifacts arranged in theme rooms illustrating the life of early Helper residents. An amazing, but somewhat crowded, collection of antiques and short messages of historic descriptions of the early days of this classic western community. You could easily spend several exploring the contents of this museum. Next to the museum is the famous Helper Train Mosaic created by famous artists and local children

On down the street is another old gas station and garage worthy of a few pictures to document your visit. This is a Conoco brand station with an old gas truck parked next to it. It is a sight from the past and again a reminder to some of us of where we have been.

As an added attraction, the Helper Christmas Town Festival starts just before Thanksgiving and runs through the end of December. Main Street is lit up with a dazzling display of Christmas lights. During this time many different events are offered including an electric light parade and a couple nights of fireworks displays. Checkout the Helper City website or call Helper City Hall at 435-472-5391 to find the latest information about scheduled Christmas Festival activities.