Secrets From the Past 2



Ralph Smith lived close to the mountains and each night they could hear blasting from Nancy’s Mine and then they would see two men, usually with gunny sacks of something coming down the mountain. Ralph’s story: “When I was 10 years old I was hiking in Bear Canyon along the stream. It was steep and so much brush I could hardly work my way through it but I saw some pine trees on the stream up ahead and decided to go on up to them. I walked right into a big whisky still by the stream in those pines. It scared me because of what I had seen in the picture shows about the bootleggers and revenuers, so I got off that mountain and home as fast as I could.”

Ralph told his father what he had seen and he in turn told the town marshal. After talking to Ralph the marshal contacted the Federal officers.  Ralph led them to the still and the officers destroyed it. Soon after that the Nancys left Draper. Seems they had been selling whisky to the railroad men.


In 1948 Vern and Jesse Carter purchased property on the southeastern end of the old sand hill in Draper near where the Hidden Valley Stake Center is now located. The runway and taxiways were leveled and Vern’s students soon began their flying lessons. In the spring of 1951 the construction of the hanger began and after it was completed they built a permanent home about 75 yards north of the hanger.

The runway surface became one of the premier non-asphalt runways in the state of Utah. The young boys found the runway to be a great place for drag-racing. Mr. Carter understood this but when the drag-racing left big tire tracks in the runway, it became a matter of safety for the aircraft pilots. One time Mr. Carter caught young Warren Fitzgerald out on the runway. Warren quickly turned the conversation to flying so Mr. Carter invited Warren to come back for a free flying lesson. Warren got out of a bad situation and started a career in flying.


Very few people are aware of the Draper Mint. The Northrup Garfield family are in possession of actual coins minted in Draper.


Located near the State Prison site was a popular recreation park for baseball games and swimming. Some of the pots were used for soaking logs and scalding pigs. The warm springs were used for baptismal purposes. Crystal Lake was known to be over 390 feet deep and claimed several lives. The springs are still being used by surrounding businesses today.

More information on these and more secrets can be found at the Draper Museum Library.