Trail Builders Tour 1954

Sarah Wight organized a primary trailblazer tour of historical sites in Malta.  She took pictures along the way as Scott Gamble, their guide, gave oral histories.  She compiled this booklet and gave a copy to each of the children.  Other primary leaders helped chaperone, including Irene Udy.

At 10 o’clock on the morning of June 25, 1954, the Trail Builders of the Malta Primary and their leaders went on an historical excursion around the vicinity of Malta.  Mr. Scott Gamble was along as guest narrator.

Scott Gamble was born in Elba Oct. 8th, 1876.  This picture was taken two months after his 78th birthday.

First we visited the site of the first school building, which was erected in 1883.  The building, built of logs with a dirt roof, is no more but it originally stood on what is now Harvey Wight’s property (*now owned by Kim Thornton).  This is just north of Melvin Ward’s house (*East end of 2nd Street North where Gene and Peggy Ward lived) on the Sublett road against an irrigation ditch on the east.  The people got the logs out of Hegler for the building and built the desks and seats which were occupied by 25 children who attended.  The first school was held in the Spring of 1884 with Sarah Condit as the teacher.  The children bought their own books.  Mr. Gamble related that the builders ran out of lumber for the roof of the school house so they went to the river and got willows to finish it.

We next went to the Taylor Brother’s ranch (*near Cedric Taylor’s home) to visit an old two-room log building which was the second post office in Malta.  A crippled widow woman by the name of Haller ran the post office.  She lived in the other half of the building with her son who owned the ranch then.  This was in the late 90’s.  The first Sunday School was held in this building in 1901 or 1902.  Cassia Creek near here was first called Cow Creek.

Next we visited the site of Bull Town on what is now Jay Wake’s property (*Veralynn Fridal’s house at the bottom West end of the cemetery).  About 1886 Mr. William A. Bull built a store, a dwelling and a dance hall (three buildings).  They stood about where Jay Wake’s house is now.  He built the road thru the land to his property so it was known as Bull Lane.  The main road from Sublett went to Cassia Creek at the Kossman place and followed the Creek up the valley.  Across the road from the Bull property (*North of the cemetery), Joe Parke, half brother to Eph Parke, ran a saloon.  Later Ben Hitt ran the business.

Mr. Bull could not write so he kept his records by drawing pictures to remind him of what people owed him.  It is told that Bob Hutchison in settling up his bill was charged with buying a cheese.  Bob knew he hadn’t bought the cheese but remarked that he had bought a grindstone.  Mr. Bill then decided he had just forgot to draw a hole in the middle of the circle by Bob’s name.  We don’t know what happened to these buildings.  Mr. Bull left about 1894 or 95.

This is a picture of Jay Wake’s house on the old Bull property.

We traveled east and south from here out to the railroad grade to the site of what was once a townsite know as Lovitt (*close to Interstate Feeders).  About 1912 when the country was booming a railroad was planned to cross the country from Idahome to Strevell to the Utah line.  A grade was built with Lovitt a construction headquarters.  Several buildings were erected, the Whiting warehouse being one of these.  It was moved years later into Malta.  When the railroad fell through and was never finished the town fell also.  It was somewhere on this flat that a Pulsipher child wandered away and was lost and died out on the cactus flats.

This is a picture of the Whiting Warehouse which was moved to Malta from the town of Lovitt. (*This was torn down in late 1990’s/early 2000’s)

This is where the town of Lovitt once stood (*currently Interstate Feeders).

Mr. Gamble related that his father, Nibs Gambel, first came to this valley in 1869.  At this time grass was very plentiful.  He says that in those days the cattlemen would drive cattle in from Texas to this valley in early December, winter them on the grass and ship them to San Francisco in late February or March.  Some of the early cattlemen were Sweetser, Shirley Tinner and S.R. Gwin.  IN those days Govenor Emery of Utah Territory owned the EY Ranch which is the site of the Stage and Freight Station but there was no Pony Express Station.

The old building which is now Kidd’s Garage in Malta came next.  It was built as the first L.D.S. Church house in about 1908.  It was later used as the Kraft Cheese Factory. (*The south Raft River Electric warehouse is now located here)

Next, we visited the first post office in Malta.  It is a very old Log building on the Melvin Ward property (*East end of 2nd Street North where Gene and Peggy Ward lived).  It was built in 1882 but the first post office wasn’t until 1884.  Ada Condit, sister of the first school teacher, was the first post mistress.  She lived in the house also.  It was a small two-room, dirt-roofed building.  The first mail was brought in twice a week from Bridge on horseback by Bob McCormick.  This building was later owned by Frank Riblett who used it as his dwelling and land office.

This is a picture of the first post office.

The first store in Malta was the old building which used to house Dale’s Service (*where Malta Fuel Depot is currently located).  It was built in the late 90’s by Condit.  Condit later built a store and dance hall on the Thompson corner (*across the street, west of the new post office) but it burned down.  The first dwelling house was built by Condit on the Rex Ward property. (*This is just south of the Malta Fuel Depot.  Rex Ward owned a fancy hotel that burned down around 1970.)

This picture of the first store was taken just a short while before it burned to the ground early morning March 8, 1955.

The building which was Anderson’s Store until just a short while ago originally stood where Gene Ward’s house is (*current farm ground).  It was built by Abacromby (Abercrombie).  It was bought and moved in 1901 by Gambles to this corner (*currently Bennett’s Station).  It was later sold to Tommy Taylor and then to Matt Udy.  This same building has since been replaced by a new one and moved to Idahome.  This was late in 1954.

There was a paper printed in Malta at one time.  Mr. Frank Griswold ran and owned the printing press.  After a few months it was moved to Idahome.  It was called the “Inland Empire.”

We visited next one of the early cattle ranches which is now the Cottle property (*Jay and Julene’s current property).  In April, 1872, Thompson Parke and wife, Julia, lived in a dugout for two years, then in 1874 Charley Parke and wife, Margaret, came and built a log home which Bert uses as a barn.  It is quite a large house as log houses in those days go.  It stood where Cottle’s orchard is north of the present site.

We next visited the site of the first house built on Cassia Creek.  It is on the Clifford Beecher property just south from the basement house where a great old tree stands to mark the spot.  This is on the old stage coach and freight road from Bridge to Albion.  It was built by Del Rice April 1, 1872.  Scott’s mother, Sarah, lived here with Mrs. Jane Rice, her sister.  She came in December of 1872.  The building was alter moved by Orville Beecher to where it now stands on the Sear’s property.

In 1884 Ed Conant had a store (*Kincade’s currently) and stage station where Clifford Beecher’s house now stands.  The grist mill (*between Malta and Conner Creek) just up the road was built by John Chatburn in 1886.  It was later bought by Conant.

After the excursion, the party of Primary leaders and Trail Builders went for a swim in the hot well on the Udy property in Bridge.  This picture was taken.