Bally Sackett came to Frisco, Utah in 1880. He had no intention of joining most of the other men by working in the Horn Silver Mine. He was a blacksmith by trade so he built a shop on the corner of Horn Silver Avenue and Main Street and went into business.
Bally’s shop quickly became the center of group discussions around Frisco and every out-of-work man in town made it a point to stop by Bally’s blacksmith shop and spend whatever time he wanted visiting, lying, bragging, or arguing about events of the day. Bally didn’t mind, he was usually busy at the forge or banging away at the anvil in the center of the building.
Bally Sackett’s shop was in the center of town and Bally also became somewhat the central character of the mining camp. Since there was little question about who was the strongest man in town, Bally became the unofficial bouncer at community gatherings. At formal town dances at Burke’s Hall, upstairs from Pete Lawrence’s Saloon, Bally could be seen near the door helping highly inebriated miners and other citizens back down the stairs and into the alley behind the building never to return.
T.N. Sackett was his formal name, but because of his lack of hair on his pate he took on the name “Bally” and seemed not to be insulted in any way when townspeople called him that. By nature the village blacksmith was rather retiring and seldom spoke harshly or loudly to anybody.
This was not true early every morning when he and his brother Frank would hitch up two mules to a small wagon on which a large tank was mounted, and drive to the train station south of town. There they would fill their unit with water brought by a tank car from Black Rock north of Milford along the Southern Extension railroad line. The springs near Black Rock supplied clear, cold water to the mining camp. Frisco, like most mining towns, had no drinkable water of its own. There were wells there, all right, but the water they yielded was heavy with minerals and undrinkable. The town was built near these wells because the mills and smelters needed large supplies of water, and these operations didn’t care how bad they tasted.
So, a train of ore cars leaving the mine for the Franklin Smelter in Salt Lake Valley would add the tank car and take it to Black Rock for its weekly filling of Frisco water.
And, Bally and Frank would drive the tank wagon around town every morning calling “WAH-ter, WAH-ter!” Then the women of the town would come out of their homes with a bucket, a pail, or large bowl and Bally would provide potable water for the day – at 5 cents for two gallons.
It’s little wonder that the women would place barrels under rain gutters when the summer “monsoons” gathered over the desert, or welcome a heavy snow storm in the winter. Even with these resources, all the family would face a bath in a number 10 wash tub every other week, and use the same water for the whole family – rotating baths from the oldest to the youngest.
Water was as precious as the silver ore to the people of Frisco, Utah.