Wednesday, July 20, 2011

BINGHAM GRADUATION DAY 1947--1924

GRADUATION DAY 1947 

1st-- Ruth Leyba, Colleen Creedon, Helen Drosses , Rose Arko, Jeannette Groves, Rosie Garahana, Kathryn King, Verna Skinner, Amelia Katis, Marillyn Wells, Kathryn Rekoutis, Patricia Nichols, Dora Gallegos,  
2nd—Mary Sorenson, Arriella Moretti, Josephine Rublacava, Darlene Hunt, Myrlene Wilcox, Earlene Walters, Lena Jean Jensen, Gloria Farnsworth, Shirley Watkins, Betty Forsberg, 
 3rd – Bob Goris, Lowell Jensen, Eugene Halverson, Amedeo Pino, Orsella Preloran, Darlene Morley, Isabell Rose, Dorothy Gerbich, Cal Crump,  Marvin Pullan,
4th – Billy Boren, Karl Hofmann, Milan Smillanich, Gray Kenner, Norman Steel, Vincent Miola,  Blaine Peterson, Keith Webb, Steve Hausknecht
5th --  George Dimas, Cal Hunt, Jack Knudsen, Kenneth Matson, Don Contratto, Isamu Mockizuki, Shirl Busey, David Thorne, Don Christensen


      GRADUATION DAY   1924    By John J. Creedon
Last Tuesday was a big day at Bingham High School when 203 students were presented their diplomas during an impressive graduation ceremony with a packed house audience.
            It marked the end of an era in Bingham High history, for it well may be the last year that any student from Bingham Canyon proper will be among the graduation classes of the future. This was brought out in the remarks of Board of Education President Bob Jimas, a former Bingham High graduate, who spoke feelingly of what this class meant to him.
            The floodgates of memory opened wide as I sat there and listened to the fine talks of the students and the beautiful musical selections and the impressive sight of so many fine boys and girls in their blue and white cap and gowns.
            My thoughts went back to other commencement exercises that I attended.  The first graduation I can recall was one my brother Charles was in and it was an eighth grade graduation and was held in Sandy at Jordan High School.  The students in the eighth grade then seemed older than some of our high school boys and girls now.
            Some of the senior classes in the early 1920's had only seven or eight members.  Every one in the class had a part in the program and they were usually held at the Princess Theater.  I recall one year that due to a flood that damaged the theater, it was necessary to hold the exercises in the Society Hall, now the B.C.O. Hall.
    back to 1924, the year I graduated from Bingham High.  Our class of sixteen was the largest class up to that time.  We were the last class to graduate from the old high school at about 330 Main Street.  We were the last to graduate from the Princess Theater, as the new high school was ready for the class of 1925.  This is the present Central School building.
        My thoughts went
            Our valedictorian was Teckla Martinson and Lotie Maxfield gave the Salutatory address. Adolph Chiara gave a cornet solo and then we all sang “Blue Danube”.  We didn’t have enough voice in the bass section, so Principal L.W. Nielsen helped us out.  D.C. Jensen was superintendent and he handed out the diplomas.
            At those commencement exercises years ago it was the rule to have some speaker give a long winded speech that no one listened to or remembered after.  I believe the programs have improved so much since the talking is all done by the students themselves.
            I could not help but compare the students and the parents of last Tuesday evening with the ones of years past.  Most of the graduates were strangers and the audience was for the most part from the valley.  Gone was the old familiar atmosphere where everyone knew everyone else and could call them by name.
            The students from the valley and the ones from the Bingham area have mingled well together and it has made for a better and bigger school, but to us old timers something was missing that is gone forever.
            It was nice to see so many of the old graduates at the ceremonies and a pleasure to shake hands with old friends again.  Some of our former students were there as teachers.  Mike Culleton, Cal Crump, Del Schick, June Culbertson and Virginia McDonald.
            Many of the seniors had parents in the auditorium who were former graduates themselves and I was thrilled to see a 3 generation family of Bingham High grads there, Jennie and Jack Whitely, Grant and Betty Carrigan and Michael Carrigan.
            I noted some of my friends that have run out of sons and daughters of school age.  Huck and Lola English saw the last of their sons graduate.
            Next year the residents of Bingham Canyon will be scattered throughout the valley.  Some will be in the area that will attend Bingham High and others will be in Jordan or some other district.  I am sure there was more misty eyes than mine when the entire class of 1961 sang that beautiful hymn, “Dreams of Bingham High”, and the words, “I’ll always remember the blue and the white” kept echoing in my mind.
            Yes, dear old Bingham, “We’ll always remember the blue and the white.”

THAT UNMARKED GRAVE
By John J. Creedon
            “Almost a century ago, when a small number of pioneer families were hacking out the walls of a long, narrow forked canyon, near the end of the Oquirrh Range 25 miles west of Salt Lake City, named Bingham Canyon, Utah, “The Old Reliable—a name that will go down in the annals of Western Mining History, at the top of the list for steady, continuous production, the following incident took place as related to me by my grandmother, Adaline Scoville, also by my mother who was also present in Bingham Canyon at the time: At a point about 100 yards northwest from the present No. 2 Fire Hall, at the mouth of Freeman Gulch, the three Freeman boys were killed in a cave in at the Placer diggings, they were working.  The scar of this workings. Is still plainly visible on the hillside of Freeman Gulch.
            As there had not yet been a site selected for a cemetery, my father, A.J. (Fred) Gauchet, together with George E. Lee and John Brunton, whom I knew well up to their passing away, took upon themselves the task of locating a suitable site for a cemetery.
       
    Going down the canyon they first thought of the flat known as Lashbrook Flat, later the Ball Park.  However, after discussion it was thought future mining operations would interfere, so they continued on down the canyon past the Conary, Butcher, Stringham, Stowell and Mayberry Ranches, at a place opposite what later was to be known as Revere Switch on the Rio Grande Railroad.  A flat point overlooking both the valley and the canyon was decided upon, and in due time a single grave was prepared and the three Freeman boys were buried therein.  A single mound of earth, unmarked and unknown today.
            I, as a boy have placed flowers on that grave as pointed out to me, as the first grave in the Bingham Cemetery, but due to the ravages of time, I cannot locate the grave today.  I have talked to may Bingham people at different times, to try and get a movement underway to pipe a small amount of water from nearby Copperton to the cemetery in order that anyone desirous of planting trees and in many ways improve the appearance of so sacred and hallowed a spot.  To keep green the memory of those fine men and women who did so much to make possible the Bingham Canyon we see today.
     
      May I take this opportunity of asking the present Town Board, composed of descendants of these good people, while there is still time and a Town Board to do it, put into motion the effort to get water to the cemetery.  No finer tribute of respect could be than to make this possible.
            The above letter was sent to me by Isadore M. Gauchet, who with his brother Aaron, was the first twins born in Bingham Canyon.  He was a resident of Bingham Canyon until about 1920, and was prominent in civic affairs.  He was a charter member of No. 2 Fire Department and served as secretary for many years.
            It is interesting to learn of the origin of the location of the cemetery and since receiving this letter, I have talked to a few of the older residents of Bingham about the cemetery and with Decoration Day this week it seemed appropriate to look back a few years.
            In the early days it was customary for the Rio Grande to run a special excursion coach on Memorial Day.  The train would leave Bingham early in the morning and the coach would be set out at Revere Switch just below the cemetery and near where the highway crosses the creek to Lark.  The excursionists would have their lunches with them and after the decorating of the graves the time was spent in picnic style and visiting with old friends and neighbors.  When “Bingham Bill”, as the Rio Grande passenger train was called, returned from Salt Lake City in the afternoon, the coach would be picked up and the people would return to Bingham.
            When I visited the cemetery Decoration Day I saw many of the old time Bingham residents there and from the appearance of the cemetery that night it was evident that several of the former residents returned to remember their loved ones.  Many of the pioneer builders of Bingham rest there.  Some few are forgotten, but for the most part it is a day of reverance and remembering when Bingham was young and gay.

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