The Sons of Utah Pioneers held their monthly dinner meeting featuring speaker Sheila Wilkinson along with her husband Mark Wilkinson. Sheila presented a brief history of Devil’s Slide. With Sheila’s bubbly personality, her presentation was very pleasant as well as informative.
A part of her history is as follows: Devil’s Slide started in 1904, so it is not a pioneer town. The community was close knit where they knew everyone there. They had a drug store and a saloon along with the cement plant. Sheila’s mother played the piano during the silent movies shown there. The cement plant took good care of their employees. Wilkinson also talked about the great Christmas parties. The plant would take a little from each paycheck and then added a lot more, so the parties were outstanding.
Some men would stop off at the saloon on the way home, which created some financial challenges for some of the families. The cement plant also helped the community. Wilkinson related that the cement plant provided electric lights for employees, 24 hours a day, at no cost. She also recalled fun 4th of July celebrations where she won in the foot races.
Mark chipped in about how her father was a quiet and mild man. Their means of communication as to what was going on in their families was accomplished through their clotheslines. For instance, things like diapers and new sheets were tell tale signs of what was new with the families. Devil’s Slide was also well known for its baseball team known as the Red Devil baseball team. One year they won the Utah Pro Championship game. In order to play on the team, one had to work at the plant. In order to have a good team, they recruited many well known players.
The LDS branch there was called the Slide ward, not wanting to use the name “Devil” in that setting. The church building was sold to the church for one dollar which is quite a bargain at today’s prices. The cement plant owned several houses, so employees were able to rent from the plant and have it taken out of their wages. The railroad made it possible for the cement plant to exist. The train would stop at Devil’s Slide, go to Morgan and then proceed on its way to the Ogden area.
Wilkinson ended her presentation with a pearl of wisdom; “Memories make it possible to relate to our past.”