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Harper is a ghost town located in Nine Mile Canyon in the southern part of Duchesne County, Utah, United States. This stagecoach town came into existence in 1886. The nearest inhabited town is Wellington. The remaining buildings are located mostly on private property and permission must be granted before accessing them.
Alfred Lund came from Nephi in the spring of 1885 with his cattle and was the first homesteader in Argyle Canyon. Mr. Lund’s first home, a log cabin, stands in ruins on the south side of the creek. Tom Taylor also homesteaded this ground before the Army built the road through to Fort Duchesne and the Uintah Basin in 1886. In the 1890s, the government was freighting to Fort Duchesne over a road which passed through Nine Mile Canyon. This road is the lowest in elevation of any road between Price and the Uintah Basin. During the years 1888 to 1895 there were 600 soldiers at Fort Duchesne who hauled their supplies over this route. As nothing of any consequence was raised at the Post everything had to be shipped in: hay, grain, and other produce.
Today, only a few structures remain, including the old stagecoach stop and some other log dwellings. The two-story Harper Hotel burned to the ground in the late 1980s or early 1990s; only the stone foundation remains now. Most of the town site is on private property, so permission is required to explore the area.
Starting sometime before 1895, residents of Nine Mile Canyon struggled to keep a school district going. The first school house, built of logs by residents, sat in the mouth of Argyle Canyon. Until 1916 there were two schools, one in Carbon County and one in the Duchesne district. From 1916 to 1924, one school was maintained. This was closed for good in 1931 and moved to Wellington in the 1930s; it later burned.