|Named for||E.W. Thompson|
|• Total||3.19 sq mi (8.25 km2)|
|• Land||3.19 sq mi (8.25 km2)|
|• Water||0.0 sq mi (0.0 km2)|
|Elevation||5,246 ft (1,599 m)|
|• Density||12/sq mi (4.7/km2)|
|GNIS feature ID||2584780|
Thompson Springs, also officially known for a time as just Thompson, is a small census-designated place in central Grand County, Utah, United States. The population was 39 at the 2010 census. 37 miles (60 km) to the south. Thompson Springs is located in high desert country at an elevation of 5,246 feet (1,599 m), with the Book Cliffs just to the north. The town's ZIP code is 84540.The town is just north of the east-west highway route shared by Interstate 70, U.S. Route 6 and U.S. Route 50, between Crescent Junction and Cisco. Moab, the county seat, is
Evidence of human habitation or use of the Thompson Springs area can be dated back to the Archaic Period, when beautiful pictographs were left in Thompson Canyon. Subsequent Anasazi, Fremont, and Ute tribes have also left their mark upon the area. The site of this rock art in Thompson Canyon has been designated as the Thompson Wash Rock Art District.
Thompson Springs was named for E.W. Thompson, who lived near the springs and operated a sawmill to the north near the Book Cliffs.The town began life in the late nineteenth century as a station stop on the Denver and Rio Grande Western Railroad (D&RGW), which had been completed through the area in 1883. A post office at the site was established in 1890, under the name "Thompson's". (The official designation by the United States Postal Service is still "Thompson".) The town was a community center for the small number of farmers and ranchers living in the inhospitable region, and it was also a prominent shipping point for cattle that were run in the Book Cliffs area. Stockmen from both San Juan and Grand counties used Thompson.
Thompson gained importance in the early twentieth century due to the development of coal mines in Sego Canyon, north of town. Commercial mining in Sego Canyon began in 1911, and that year the Ballard and Thompson Railroad was constructed to connect the mines with the railhead at Thompson. The railroad branch line and mines continued operating until about 1950.
For many years the city was served by various D&RGW passenger trains, including the Scenic Limited , the Exposition Flyer , the Prospector , the California Zephyr (where it was a flag stop, though the timetable for 1969 shows it as a regular stop), and the Rio Grande Zephyr . Although Amtrak (the National Railroad Passenger Corporation) took over nearly all passenger rail service in the United States in 1971, the D&RGW continued service through the area until 1983. Subsequently, for the next fourteen years, the city was served by various Amtrak trains, including the California Zephyr, the Desert Wind , and the Pioneer .
Construction of I-70 two miles south of Thompson Springs drew traffic away from the city as the former Old Cisco Highway (US 6 and US-50) 25 miles (40 km) to the west in Green River (Green River station) in 1997 led to further economic hardship for Thompson Springs.(now named Frontage Road) was no longer used. The later movement of the passenger train stop about
The original name for this settlement was "Thompson Springs", a name that was reinstated in 1985.Much of the town is uninhabited today, although there are still some operating businesses in the immediate vicinity of I-70.
The Moab Uranium Mill Tailings Remedial Action (UMTRA) Project is a uranium tailings removal and relocation project that promises to bring jobs to the area as tailings from the Atlas Mineral Company's tailings ponds outside of Moab will be moved to Crescent Junction, about 6 miles (10 km) west of Thompson Springs.
As of the censusof 2010, there were 39 people living in the CDP. There were 43 housing units. The racial makeup of the town was 94.9% White, and 5.1% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 0% of the population.
While the community is situated just north of Interstate 70/U.S. Route 6/U.S. Route 50 (I‑70/US‑6/US‑50), the community is connected to that transportation corridor by State Route 94, which runs south from the center of town to an interchange with I‑70/US‑6/US‑50. Prior to the construction of I‑70, US‑6/US‑50 ran through the center of town.
The Thompson Wash Rock Art District (which is also referred to as the Sego Canyon Rock Art Interpretive Site by the Bureau of Land Management) is an archeological site located in Thompson Canyon (about 3.5 miles [5.6 km] north of Thompson Springs) that was named after Thompson Wash and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The district includes several well-preserved groups petroglyphs (images etched into the rock surface) and pictographs (images painted onto the rock surface) left by early Native Americans in three different styles (each with their own panel): Fremont, Ute and Barrier Canyon. As such it provides fairly rare opportunity to compare all three the styles in one location, particularly a site that is easily accessible. Some of the images may date back more than 4000 years. The Fremont culture thrived from A.D. 600 to 1250 and was contemporary with the Anasazi culture of the Four Corners area. The Archaic period dated from 7000 B.C., while the Barrier Canyon period from around 400 A.D., and the Ute tribe dating from A.D. 1300.
The Denver & Rio Grande Western Railroad, often shortened to Rio Grande, D&RG or D&RGW, formerly the Denver & Rio Grande Railroad, was an American Class I railroad company. The railroad started as a 3 ft narrow-gauge line running south from Denver, Colorado, in 1870. It served mainly as a transcontinental bridge line between Denver, and Salt Lake City, Utah. The Rio Grande was also a major origin of coal and mineral traffic.
Grand County is a county on the east central edge of Utah, United States. As of the 2010 United States Census, the population was 9,225. Its county seat and largest city is Moab.
Glenwood Springs is a home rule municipality that is the county seat of Garfield County, Colorado, United States. The city population was 9,963 at the 2020 United States Census. Glenwood Springs is located at the confluence of the Roaring Fork River and the Colorado River, threading together the Roaring Fork Valley and a series of smaller towns up and down the Colorado River.
Helper is a city in Carbon County, Utah, United States, approximately 110 miles (180 km) southeast of Salt Lake City and 7 miles (11 km) northwest of the city of Price. The population was 2,201 at the 2010 census.
Moab is the largest city and county seat of Grand County in eastern Utah in the western United States, known for its dramatic scenery. The population was 5,366 at the 2020 census, and in 2018 the population was estimated to be 5,322. Moab attracts many tourists annually, mostly visitors to the nearby Arches and Canyonlands National Parks. The town is a popular base for mountain bikers who ride the extensive network of trails including the Slickrock Trail, and for off-roaders who come for the annual Moab Jeep Safari.
The California Zephyr was a passenger train that ran between Chicago, Illinois and Oakland, California via Omaha, Denver, Salt Lake City, Winnemucca, Oroville and Pleasanton. It was operated by the Chicago, Burlington & Quincy (CB&Q), Denver & Rio Grande Western (D&RGW) and Western Pacific (WP) railroads, all of which dubbed it "the most talked about train in America" on March 19, 1949, with the first departure the following day. The train was scheduled to pass through the most spectacular scenery on its route in the daylight. The original train ceased operation in 1970, though the D&RGW continued to operate its own passenger service, the Rio Grande Zephyr, between Salt Lake City and Denver, using the original equipment until 1983. In 1983 a second iteration of the California Zephyr, an Amtrak service, was formed. The current version of the California Zephyr operates partially over the route of the original Zephyr and partially over the route of its former rival, the City of San Francisco.
The Denver and Salt Lake Railway (D&SL) was a U.S. railroad company located in Colorado. Originally incorporated in 1902 as the Denver, Northwestern and Pacific (DN&P) Railway, it had as a goal a direct connection of Denver, Colorado, with Salt Lake City, Utah. It underwent numerous reorganizations throughout its financially troubled history and by the time the company was acquired in 1931 by the Denver and Rio Grande Western Railroad, it had advanced only as far as Craig, Colorado. After the acquisition the line was connected to the D&RGW main, and the eastern half of the line was used to give the D&RGW a more direct route to Denver. The portions of the railroad still in use today are known as the Moffat Tunnel Subdivision of Union Pacific Railroad's Central Corridor. Amtrak’s California Zephyr service from Denver to Glenwood Springs follows much of the old D&SL route.
The Rio Grande Zephyr was a passenger train operated by Denver and Rio Grande Western Railroad between Denver, Colorado and Ogden, Utah from 1970 until 1983. In operation after the creation of publicly-funded Amtrak, the Rio Grande Zephyr was the last privately-operated interstate passenger train in the United States.
Thistle is a ghost town in Spanish Fork Canyon in southeastern Utah County, Utah, United States. During the era of steam locomotives, the town's primary industry was servicing trains for the Denver and Rio Grande Western Railroad. The fortunes of the town were closely linked with those of the railroad until the changeover to diesel locomotives, when the town started to decline.
Soldier Summit is the name of both a mountain pass in the Wasatch Mountains in Utah, United States and an unincorporated community that is a near-ghost town located at the pass. Soldier Summit has been an important transportation route between the Wasatch Front and Price, Utah, since the area was settled by the Mormon pioneers. It is on the route of both U.S. Route 6 and the old main line of the Denver and Rio Grande Western Railroad (D&RGW), now the Provo Subdivision of the Central Corridor. Located where the road makes a brief bend through the extreme southwest corner of Wasatch County, Soldier Summit historically had more to do with nearby Utah County.
The Glenwood Springs station is a railway station in Glenwood Springs, Colorado. It is served by Amtrak's California Zephyr, which runs between Chicago and Emeryville, California in the San Francisco Bay Area and is an overnight stop on Rocky Mountaineer's Rockies To Red Rocks luxury train service between Denver Colorado and Moab Utah.
Green River station is a train station in Green River, Utah. It is served by Amtrak's California Zephyr, which runs once daily between Chicago and Emeryville, California, in the San Francisco Bay Area. The station has a platform and bus-stop style shelter and no services.
Helper station is a railroad station in Helper, Utah. It is served by Amtrak's California Zephyr, which runs once daily between Chicago, Illinois, and Emeryville, California, in the San Francisco Bay Area. The station is owned by the Union Pacific Railroad and contains a passenger waiting area only; there are no services provided.
Provo station is a train station in Provo, Utah. It is served by Amtrak's California Zephyr, which runs once daily between Chicago and Emeryville, California, in the San Francisco Bay Area.
Sego is a ghost town in Grand County, Utah, United States. It lies in the narrow, winding Sego Canyon, in the Book Cliffs some 5 miles (8.0 km) north of Thompson Springs. Formerly an important eastern Utah coal mining town, Sego was inhabited about 1910–1955. The town is accessed via the grade of the Ballard & Thompson Railroad, a spur from the Denver and Rio Grande Western built by the founders of the town to transport the coal.
The Utah Division of the former Denver & Rio Grande Western Railroad (D&RGW) is a rail line that connects Grand Junction, Colorado and Salt Lake City, Utah in the Western United States. It is now incorporated into the Union Pacific Railroad (UP) system as part of the Central Corridor. The modern Union Pacific has split the line into two subdivisions for operational purposes, the Green River Subdivision between Grand Junction and Helper, Utah and the Provo Subdivision from Helper to Salt Lake City. Daily passenger service is provided by Amtrak's California Zephyr; the BNSF Railway and Utah Railway have trackage rights over the line.
The Central Corridor is a rail line operated by the Union Pacific Railroad from near Winnemucca, Nevada to Denver, Colorado in the western United States. The line was created after the merger with the Southern Pacific Transportation Company by combining portions of lines built by former competitors. No portion of the line was originally built by the Union Pacific; in fact, some portions were built specifically to compete with the Union Pacific's Overland Route. The line is known for significant feats of engineering while crossing the Wasatch Mountains of Utah and the Rocky Mountains of Colorado. The line features numerous tunnels, the longest and highest of these is the Moffat Tunnel.
The San Francisco Zephyr was an Amtrak passenger train that ran between Chicago and Oakland from June 1972 to July 1983.
The Courthouse Wash Pictographs are a series of large pictographs created over a long period of time, located on a sheltered sandstone wall at the mouth of Courthouse Wash, Arches National Park in Grand County, Utah, United States, just north of Moab, that is listed on the National Register of Historic Places (NRHP).
The California Zephyr is a passenger train operated by Amtrak between Chicago and the San Francisco Bay Area, via Omaha, Denver, Salt Lake City, and Reno. At 2,438 miles (3,924 km), it is Amtrak's longest daily route, and second-longest overall after the Texas Eagle's triweekly continuation from San Antonio to Los Angeles, with travel time between the termini taking approximately 511⁄2 hours. Amtrak claims the route as one of its most scenic, with views of the upper Colorado River valley in the Rocky Mountains, and the Sierra Nevada. The modern train is the second iteration of a train named California Zephyr; the original train was privately operated and ran on a different route through Nevada and California.
Though the railroad still runs through Thompson today, the final death knell occurred when Thompson's flag stop station, which provided service for Amtrak travelers, was finally closed in 1994.
Media related to Thompson Springs, Utah at Wikimedia Commons