Siegel's Documentary

Castilla Hot Springs (Part 4) Dead Waters

After the financial collapse of Castilla, what happened to it becomes just as fascinating, if not more, than what started it.  In 1942 the resort was destroyed in a fire, the dangerous remains were demolished.  Though it still didn’t destroy the Springs.

In 1952, the earth itself sought to stop the resort during a massive mud slide, but still the Spring remained even if it’s buildings were buried.  Even when the water flow slowed to a point it was barely wanted.

It wasn’t until the 1980s that Castilla Hot Springs was finally brought down.  Around the 1970s a cement bunker was placed over the springs, but it wasn’t long before it came under the notice of law enforcement.  Officers began to become tired of having reports of public nudity, drugs, and underage drinking that occurs wherever authority is not.  To deal with this problem the authorities bombed the Hot Springs with dynamite and finally brought an end to the springs.

It took earth, fire, water, and well “wind” in a sense to destroy the property to the state it is in now.  The property is still owned by the Southworth family but is often used for cattle ranching instead with the gate rarely opened, but only small chunks of rock and basic formations indicate where things were.

The once famous Castilla Hot Springs may be gone but the land is healing itself as if its springs never left.  The towns that once surrounded it have disappeared as well, but few have healed their scars so greatly as Castilla.

Perhaps there’s still that magic that once attracted so many, as one walks the grounds, you feel the same thrill of dancing visitors on the Moonlight Excursion knew or the sweet serenity of the trees and grass or  just maybe the healing peace of a warmth you just can’t explain.  Castilla Hot Springs still welcomes its visitors but in a new way, perhaps one day they’ll invite us all back again.

Castilla Hot Springs (Part 3) Still Waters:

In 1911 Castilla saw the passing of its matriarch, Lucinda Southworth, who died of what appears to be old age at 72.  Though life did go on for a few months, the resort was heading into trouble financially.  Cid. K. Southworth in need of money to continue managing the hotel was given a large donation from his wife, Daisy’s, brother, Cyrus Edwin Dallin.

C.E. Dallin was a world famous sculptor who grew up in Springville but always was fond of the old resort.  Eventually Dallin would become part owner of the property, but he could only manage it from Boston and depended on C. K. and Daisy Southworth to maintain it.

Sadly C. K. Southworth would die of a heart problem brought on by a recent illness in 1912.  C.E. did his best to manage the resort but the inn slowly faded from the minds of the people.  Though for a brief period in the 1920s the inn once more regained its glory if only for a short time.

During that period, while its waters were not so desired for health they were still desired for play and a true get away.  Structures were updated and things looked like they would last forever.

However in the 1930s, Castilla would once more feel a suffering blow, as people now had less to spend, buildings couldn’t be maintained, and new health regulations led to the eventual loss of the property.

While the property would remain in the Southworth family, even until today, there soon would be nothing left to inherit but property rights and intangible memories.

Castilla Hot Springs (Part 2) Ripples in the Water

Around the latter portion of the 1880s, a Mrs. Lucinda K. Southworth came to Castilla for an unknown ailment and found herself cured after bathing in the Hot Springs.  Mrs. Southworth desired for others to know of this miracle cure and saw great potential in the springs.  So she purchased the property along with a Dr. Milton A. Hardy for $50,000 to create what we would call now, a health spa.

Word soon spread of these miraculous waters and it was said that it was normal for someone to be carried into the springs and leave walking on his own two feet.  Though its healing waters were famous, it was through Cid. K. and Walter Southworth that the resort flourished.  As they added such things as private bath houses, an indoor and outdoor pool, baseball diamonds, stores, saloons, a three-story inn, private 4 room cabins, a dance pavilion, a restaurant, a brewery, and a large area for group picnicking.

The Castilla Hot Springs Resort became so popular that the Denver and Rio Grande Rail line started a special deal where one could take a train from the Tintic Mining District to Castilla for about 50 cents.  This became known as the Moonlight Excursion where one would arrive at the resort as the lanterns lit and dance to a live in-house orchestra until 10:45 when the train would call its passengers back.

From the late 1880s to around 1912, Castilla saw many large groups come and go, including the Utah Press Association, the Teacher’s Association, The Odd Fellows Society, and many more.  Though these days were not to last, for the Southworth family would soon discover the great loss that awaited them at the end of the stream.

Castilla Hot Springs: Rising Waters (Part 1)

Traveling down Highway 6 through Spanish Fork Canyon one passes remnants of the past intertwined with the continuation of old traditions.  Through the fields, railroad tracks, and herds of livestock, one passes a small little rusted square building.  On the building is a very simple sign covered in numbers and letters and one word that doesn’t seem to fit…Castilla.

Castilla, is a name that once symbolized the most desired escape from the world and waters that could heal any wound in mind, body, or spirit.  It’s name, most likely derives from the grand rock formations that once covered this famous place of healing.  Though that was not always what it was called.

During the great Dominguez-Escalante Expedition the explorers of the party called the springs that resided here,  Rio de Aguas Calientes, meaning River of Hot Waters.   Thoughout the 1700s to the late 1800s the place was commonly used by explorers, Taos Trappers, native tribes, and settlers and it was never really owned.  That was until in 1899 when a Mr. William Fuller of Thistle, Utah purchased the property.   After building a small one room cabin on the property, Mr. Fuller allowed guests to come to the hot springs for healing.  One guest, in particular, saw the great potential of the property and sought to share it with others.  Her name was Lucinda K. Southworth and it is by her that the place that would become the Famous Castilla Hot Springs would begin.

Cause Project Beta: This is a temporary Cause Project that focuses on the purpose of preserving antiques and heirlooms, but not for cash but for individual history, even the most worn has a story, that needs to be preserved.  The story behind these objects is based not on my own personal history, but that of my Grandmother’s.  Due to time I’ve had to include new and old photos, but I hope to redo this project, I may do a complete overhaul since this was Plan J so until I get an opportunity to do any others, I’m proud of what I have.  Plus if I’d included most of my old shots this may have been the best, but Hey time stops for no man, or woman in my case.

The thing is that I really prefer to use more fine art techniques than documentary techniques in the case of causes.  I find that if I want a direct and immediate change to occur in a viewer of my work, it doesn’t happen without a lot of creative writing and set up, but if you want a subtle and long term effect then my documentary’s act as a novel, in which you are compelled by things you can’t explain.  So really, there’s more than one reason this project is not for me.

I don’t like documenting causes, I’d rather be a cause than record a cause.  Because I’ve seen the effects of a sad photo, guess what, truth is it only lasts a day, but if I force you to make a commitment, I’ve got you at least a few days.  So if you want me to document a cause, it’s best to tell me the effect you want.  A slow lasting burn or a rapid and quick to die inferno, because that’s more my style.

Typology Project:  Pumpkin Carving Knives
used on two specific jack-o-lanterns in Fall 2013

Typology Project:  Pumpkin Carving Knives

used on two specific jack-o-lanterns in Fall 2013

Ghost Pictures

While it may have been a bonus assignment, I don’t feel comfortable placing my ghost photos here.  Instead I’ve posted them here http://siegelsphotographyinutah.tumblr.com/search/Ghost

These ghost pictures are a little different in that unlike the requirements I feel that graveyards aren’t to be used for random ghost pictures.  First off its overly cliche, secondly it is more or less disrespectful.  For me if I was to do a ghost story in a graveyard there would need to be a story that honors the dead and doesn’t just make them fun.  I believe a graveyard is a place to speak on history and stories, it’s not a place for disrespect and the mundane.  People I’ve known are buried there that I know it would hurt my family members to do such a shoot there, so why would I do that to anyone else?

As for the ghost story I created, it isn’t completely true.  Yes some of the incidents did actually happen, but almost if not all of it is dismissable.  Doors and houses shrink and stretch as temperatures change, leading doors to slam shut or open without much or any effort and this goes for floors as well which is where the noise comes from.  As for the mysterious feelings there are two explanations, the first is the psychology of the mind and the second is higher electromagnetic fields.  One of the areas does have higher EMFs.

There have never been mysterious shadows or figures, but the incident with the light cover has never been debunked as all possible suspects were nowhere near it.  As for the mysterious messes, there were kids in the house…that explains more than you’ll ever know.

So that’s the end if you’ve any creative ideas to add to this story or any thoughts feel free to comment, I’d love to hear it, I may be skeptical, but that doesn’t mean that I don’t like a good ghost story.

Magnum Project: Stuart Franklin

For my project I chose to take lessons from Stuart Franklin’s photos, in both concept and some techniques.  To create these photos utilize Franklin’s creative use of utilizing different angles that are less tripod based.  Another technique was his ability to utilize texture of an object to lead the viewer into the scene and yet still let the background become something identifiable to the user.

As for his subjects, my view is that often they are the effect that a man has on his environment.  Though I took this in the direction I more favor which is that of the impact that goes through a different form of interaction, where sometimes man impacts nature and nature replies in turn with its own impact on man’s creations.  It is in this second view of the conversation that a new side of man’s power can be found, but I utilize some of the idea of Franklin’s process and technique to enhance the part of the conversation that I can hear or rather see.

This is a basic Recipe for what is referred to as Chinese Chicken Wraps.

*Oriental dip works well to dull some of the five spices, especially its bitter and spicy points, using whole chicken breasts also helps lower the Szechuan pepper’s sting.

**Fun fact:  The Chinese believe in 5 tastes that are present in the best dishes.  The tastes are sweet, salty, bitter, sour, and spicy.  The Szechuan Pepper actually carries a unique cultural history to it.

The Sweetest Ruin (The Spanish Fork Sugar Factory): One Square Mile Project

A few weeks ago I was assigned to find a story within one square mile and as luck would have it, my dime landed right near where the Spanish Fork River met I-15.  As I researched the history of Spanish Fork, it seemed there were no stories to be found in that short amount of time and with my charisma, well let’s just say I wasn’t hopeful on finding anyone to tell me theirs.

Finally after taking a trip down to the river, I drove by a large factory.  Now I’d seen working factories in bad condition, but something told me there was more too it.  After days and days of research I finally found my story.  A story that seems to have more mysteries than I can solve, for now…I found the story of the Spanish Fork Sugar Factory.

The first Sugar Factory in Utah was started in Lehi that would soon become the backbone industry of Utah.  So what does it have to do with the Spanish Fork Sugar Factory…a lot.  Most of the history linked to the Spanish Fork Factory finds its way back to Lehi.  At one point one could say that quite literally, as until the building of the Pleasant Grove pipeline, the beet pipeline between Spanish Fork and Lehi was the largest beet pipeline in the world, although eventually it corroded due to high alkali soils found in the valley.

The earliest report of a factory in the area is 1904 and some strange articles in the Deseret News of two opinions for and against it around 1895.  The factory shows that its most commonly made sugar was brown sugar, whose ingredients developed best in the Spanish Fork area.

Where it becomes odd is that some reports say that the factory was moved down from a factory in Idaho, but this was during two events that occurred after 1904 but before 1940, these were the smaller market (due to WWI) and a blight that occurred thanks to an invasive species.  Strangely while these two factors led to the shut down in Springville and Payson it led to the creation of the Spanish Fork factory.  Currently this is one of the many mysteries that I’ve yet to fully understand.

Eventually even this factory shut down, though unlike some rumors the corporation did not shut down.  By the 1950s beet sugar, like the steam engines, had become old hat in America.  So eventually the place fell into ruin, until 2008 when the property was bought by the Wasatch Pallet Company.  Instead of destroying the factory they simply took the usable equipment out of it, used some of the still stable outer buildings, and utilized the now empty main building for storage.  I’m really impressed with what they’ve done, for after all these hours of research a new story and new mystery emerges from the forgotten ruins.


If you are at all curious about any history on the place or have some interesting history to add, please leave a comment!  Thanks for reading!