It’s hard to piece together the histories of desert towns. The climate keeps the buildings from fully decaying. So when I come across a place such as this, I can’t tell how long it’s been empty. Did it manage to squeak by into the 80s? 90s, even? Likely, it seemed old even when it was new.
In this case, I came across an article from the November 2, 1961 issue of the Moab Times-Independent about the Silver Grill being destroyed in a fire.
The flames didn’t just take out the grill, but took out the rest of the connecting structures. The volunteer firefighters were able to keep the fires from spreading to the rest of the town.
“In addition to service as an eating establishment,” read the article, “the Thompson landmark handled groceries and other merchandise, serving as a general center in the Grand County community.” The town never recovered.
The next year, the school (grades 1st through 8th) was closed and the kids bused to Moab, forty miles south. And from then on, the residents left. There are less than 40 living there now. Sometimes I wish was one of them.
‘According to Reports’
Camera: Ricoh KR-5 (1979)
Film: Kodak Direct Positive Panchromatic 5246 (x-7/1977); 64iso
Process: HC-110; 1+100; 60min
Thompson Springs, Utah