Photograph by Deby Fredericks
Dragon is a ghost town located in Uinta County, Utah, a scant mile from the Colorado border. It's a true relic of the Old West, founded in 1888 and occupied for 50 years until the last residents departed around 1940.
Uinta County is desert country, harsh and barren. What drew people here? Minerals! But nothing so fancy as silver or gold. Instead, they mined Gilsonite, a form of asphalt that occurs naturally only in this corner of Utah. According to local lore, prospectors noticed black veins of Gilsonite on the surface of one canyon. In one area the veins looked a bit like a dragon, so the canyon was dubbed Dragon Canyon. Soon the Black Dragon Mine opened there. The town of Dragon grew up at the mouth of Dragon Canyon.
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