A black and white photo showing the aerial view of downtown Moab: compared to today, downtown in the 60s was much more sparse, though still impressive.
An aerial view of downtown Moab in the 1960s. Credit: Moab Museum Collection, 1960s

The uranium mining boom of the 1950s changed Moab tremendously, transforming the sleepy, remote city into a bustling, affluent boomtown. While a lot changed overnight, other facets of the town’s growth took time. Moab’s transformation during and after the Boom is recorded in the living memories of Moabites today, oral histories, and photographsincluding many stories housed at the Museum.

Schools were crowded with an influx of students as families streamed into Moab looking to take advantage of the new economic opportunities. The housing market, similarly, was crunched, even as employers like “uranium king” Charlie Steen developed neighborhoods of employee housing. 

The face of Moab’s downtown shifted too, adapting to its changing economy and culture. Photographs from the Moab Museum’s collections show a glimpse into the shifts that unfolded.

This downtown storefront in 1955 was a telling sign of the times: Geiger counters and other prospecting and mining equipment were available for sale inside. [Moab Museum Collection, 1906]
The Uranium Building, housing offices and businesses downtown, showcased the community’s pride in its newfound source of economic vitality. [Moab Museum Collection, late 1950s]

The Moab Museum is dedicated to sharing stories of the natural and human history of the Moab area. This is part of a series highlighting photographs and stories of downtown Moab over time. To explore more of Moab’s stories and artifacts, find out about upcoming programs, and become a Member, visit www.moabmuseum.org.