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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Near Vernon in Tooele County, Utah — The American Mountains (Southwest)
 

William Ajax Underground Store

William and Emma J. Hughes Ajax

 
 
William Ajax Underground Store Marker image. Click for full size.
By Doreen Thomson, May 21, 2014
1. William Ajax Underground Store Marker
Inscription.  

The unique two-story underground building was established in 1870. Shortly thereafter a post office called "Centre" was added. The building was 80 x 100 feet, in some places the lower floor was 20 feet below ground. The excavation was done by William Ajax using a shovel and wheelbarrow. The building's support timbers were cut from juniper and pine trees. These trees were located in the mountains west of here where he walked to and from each day to cut the timbers. The roof was constructed of poles covered with juniper boughs, sod and clay. The store was illuminated by sunlight coming through south-facing windows in the roof. Shoppers were offered a wide variety of merchandise, food, clothing, housewares, hardware, tools and medicines. Goods were arranged in department store style. It was estimated the value of the merchandise was in excess of $70,000.

Patrons came from the mining camps, sheep and cattle ranches and the communities of Rush and Vernon Valley. Meals and lodging for travelers were provided. Their livestock was also cared for in sheds and corrals located west of the present highway. Wild grass-hay was cut in nearby
William Ajax Underground Store Marker image. Click for full size.
By Doreen Thomson, May 21, 2014
2. William Ajax Underground Store Marker
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meadows. It was sold to miners in Stockton, Ophir and Mercur. The coming of the railroad through Rush Valley made supplies and travel more accessible, thus ending much of the need for a store in the area. William Ajax died in 1899; his family operated the store until 1914 when they liquidated the merchandise.

The building was abandoned, and later it was burned, (perhaps railroad transients camping at the building). All that remains are the mounds of dirt just east of the monument.

Caption This illustration depicts the living quarters where meals and lodging were provided. A portion of the underground store was under this building.
 
Erected 1986 by Settlement Canyon Chapter, Sons of Utah Pioneers and Descendants of William and Emma J. Hughes Ajax. (Marker Number 10.)
 
Topics. This historical marker is listed in this topic list: Settlements & Settlers. A significant historical year for this entry is 1870.
 
Location. 40° 16.123′ N, 112° 23.554′ W. Marker is near Vernon, Utah, in Tooele County. Marker is on Utah Route 36. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Rush Valley UT 84069, United States of America. Touch for directions.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 5 other markers are within 15 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Rush Valley Station (approx. 6.8 miles away); Faust Station (approx. 6.8 miles away); Steptoe's Military Camp
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(approx. 10.7 miles away); Lookout Station (approx. 14.2 miles away); Burial Plot (approx. 14.3 miles away).
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on September 29, 2020. It was originally submitted on September 29, 2020, by Doreen Thomson of Calgary, Alberta Canada. This page has been viewed 63 times since then and 21 times this year. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on September 29, 2020, by Doreen Thomson of Calgary, Alberta Canada. • J. Makali Bruton was the editor who published this page.
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Mar. 9, 2021