By Julie Johansen
On Oct. 13 and 14, the Emery County Archives hosted an open house in the administration building on Main Street in Castle Dale. Suzanne Anderson, Emery County Archives Director, with help from archival assistant Tammy Funk, set up displays featuring many of the collections stored in the archives.
Emery County, when first established, included more than what is currently known as modern day Emery County. At one time, Grand and Carbon counties were also Emery. These three counties made up the San Rafael Swell area or Castle Valley. The Emery County Archives is a multi-regional repository and one of the last two remaining in the state.
The archives contain over 50,000 historic photographs, which are in an ongoing process of being digitized with partner Southern Utah University. Other items in the archives include personal histories, oral histories, Articles of Incorporation, books from local authors, histories of the towns in Emery County, Harry the Hermit’s diaries and much more. The archives also has a limited supply of yearbooks from local schools and would like to collect more. They also have digitized the Emery County Progress newspaper from 1900 to 2018. Many of these items were on display for the public to browse during the open house.
A recent generous donation from Mike Kelsey, author of “Hiking & Exploring Utah’s San Rafael Swell,” was greatly appreciated and is being used to upgrade computer systems and software programs of the archives. The county welcomes any contributions or donated items that anyone would like to add to the archives.
One of the future goals of the archives staff is to develop an online catalogue system for users. They are dedicated to become an important repository for donations of family organizations, agency documents and artifacts in order to be a major resource for research and documentation for the history, life and culture of the people of the Castle Valley region.