Diamondville Town Hall will be closed on Monday, December 25th.
Diamondville was named for the quality of the locally-mined, superior-grade coal said to to resemble black diamonds.
In 1868, a man by the name of Harrison Church discovered this coal near the Hams Fork River and built a cabin on the hill where part of modern Diamondville now stands
Realizing the area’s potential, he sought financial backing from a group in Minneapolis who eventually formed the Hams Fork River Coal Company, subsequently incorporated in 1884.
S.F. Fields, Salt Lake City promoter, eventually took over management of the company, and with the financial backing of the Anaconda Mining Company renamed it the Diamond Coal & Coke Company.
Diamondville was incorporated about 1896 with a Scot immigrant, Thomas Sneddon, as the first mayor. Most of the original settlers came from Almy, Wyoming, where they had been working in the Almy mines, which had been closed after explosions in 1881, 1886, and 1896.
Since there were no houses, people lived in what was called “Shack Town,” an area where shacks and dugouts in the side of the hill in proximity to the mine were constructed. About one hundred feet from Shack Town, the Hams Fork River provided water. Some of the ruins of Shack Town were still visible until the summer of 1977 when the Union Pacific Railroad Company realigned the railroad tracks. The original town was on top of the hill at the south end of town. In 1898, after the river was rerouted, the town was platted and the valley area became the main part of the town.
The original town was on top of the hill at the south end of town. In 1898, after the river was rerouted, the town was platted and the valley area became the main part of the town.
The first school building was a one-room log house, later replaced by a six-room building in 1915 on the same site.
In 1896, the first houses of worship appeared: the Methodist Church (called “the Mission Church”), and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
The town had a school and two churches, but no store. Residents had to shop for supplies in Hams Fork River, northwest of Diamondville, until the Diamond Coal & Coke Mercantile Department was opened under the management of E.M. Roberts. Later, the store changed ownership and became the Mountain Trading Store. Stocked with quality merchandise, it was a complete one-stop store. For many years after it was closed, the building was used as a wool storage house.
The Jones Brothers operated the first butcher shop in town from a log house. There were also two bakeries, a photography studio, a theater operated by Cal Cousins, a dress shop, hardware store, numerous boarding houses, and a grocery store.
In 1899, the Daly Hotel, a three story, fifty room building was completed. The hotel included a dining room, barbershop, and a saloon. In the early 1900’s there were thirteen saloons but during Prohibition, when such businesses were forbidden, many of the locals were active bootleggers, brewing both moonshine and homemade wine.
The local jail was built of rock hauled from a stone quarry about one mile southeast of town near the mining community of Oakley. The Rock Grocery Store and the Mountain Trading Company buildings were made with rock from the same source.
Still standing, the Fire House was built in the early 1900’s, and has recently had its exterior renovated. Moved from its original location, it now stands next to Town Hall. The Firehouse bell was stolen in 1968 and has never been recovered. The volunteer fire department, organized in 1912, is no longer in existence. It had its own handcart and about 500 feet of hose. The cart remains in the firehouse, which has become the Stolen Bell Museum.
Immigrants from many countries settled Diamondville, and each nationality had their own lodge or meeting house used for meetings and cultural entertainment. The Finns had their Finn Hall where the annual “Bobby Burns” celebration was held in honor of Robert Burns, the famous Scot poet. The Slovenian people built their meeting house called the Slovenski Dome, which was always referred to as the “Sloppy Dome”. An Italian Lodge was organized in the summer of 1900.
The Diamondville Mine closed in August 1930. There is no longer underground mining in the area, and the only remaining local coal mining company operates an open-pit mine outside town.