Latitude / Longitude:
4,258 ft (1,298 m)
Mountain (MST) (UTC-7)
Delle is a small unincorporated community on the northern end of the Skull Valley in northeast Tooele County, Utah, United States, along Interstate 80 near the Bonneville Salt Flats. The town has never had more than a few residents and has served primarily as a filling station along the I-80 corridor (and U.S. Route 40 corridor before it). Since the completion of the freeway, the town has essentially become a ghost town.
Delle was established in 1880 as a railroad village along the Western Pacific line, primarily as a water depot for steam engines in preparation for the trek across the famous salt flats. It was originally named Dalles Spring, from a French word referring to water, but railroad personnel later shortened the name for telegraphic efficiency. It possessed a water tower, a reservoir, and numerous homes where railroad employees and their families resided from at least 1920 until 1940. The inhabitants were primarily Irish, Scot and Greek immigrants. Water was obtained from springs located as far as 12 miles (19 km) away in nearby mountains (Delle Ranch located along the east bench of Skull Valley being the primary) and piped to the site. After diesel powered engines were introduced, Delle continued as a site station for railroad employees in charge of track upkeep between Wendover, Utah and Salt Lake City. As of the 1950 United States Census, the population was 174.
In 1999, the frontage road on the southwest side of I-80, from the Delle Interchange (Exit 70) northwest to the Low/Lakeside Interchange (Exit 62), as well nearly 7 miles (11 km) of county and BLM roads southwest the frontage road, were all designated as Utah State Route 900 (SR-900), a Statewide Public Safety Interest Highway. The purpose of this designation (and for the similarly created Utah State Route 901) was to prevent the construction of rail spur from Union Pacific Railroad’s Shafter Subdivision (ex-Western Pacific Railroad), to the Skull Valley Indian Reservation. This proposed rail spur would be necessary for the Skull Valley Goshute Tribe to carryout its plans to store 40,000 tons of nuclear waste on the reservation. By creating the Statewide Public Safety Interest Highways, the Utah Department of Transportation would have to give permission to construct the rail spur, something adamantly opposed by the Utah state government. Despite the designation as a state route, the roadways included as part of SR-900 were expressly intended to remain in their current, mostly unpaved, status and “may not be upgraded or improved to a higher class of highway”.
During the 1950s a gas station and small motel were constructed. The railroad homes were demolished, and the railroad abandoned the site. Delle was owned by local businessman Karl William Winsness, Jr. for most of the 1970s, and water was hauled in by truck from Grantsville. Karl was injured in a propane explosion while remodeling the motel and cafe in the early 1980s.