TREASURES OF THE OQUIRRH MOUNTAINS
GHOST TOWNS OF BINGHAM CANYON
LECTURE #1 AT THE GARDEN PARK VILLAGE CLUBHOUSE FEBRUARY 18, 2012
|Day Break Senior's Great Hall|
IVY BAKER: FROM
TO THE WHITE HOUSE BINGHAM CANYON
|Ivy's parents, Ivy 9, Max 2, Fearnley baby|
Ivy also became politically active in the Republican minority of the area. In 1950 she campaigned for election to the
House of Representatives, but lost in a close vote. Her get-out-the-vote organization was noticed by the Republican National Committee and her name was suggested to President-elect Eisenhower after his election in 1952 to be named Treasurer of the U.S. . He agreed and Ivy served in that office for the next eight years. United States
Of her first White House dinner Ivy later recalled, “The April night seemed to be filled with the magic which spring brings to
. A spell seemed to hover over the White House dining room where we were seated. Just two places from me sat the President of the Washington , Dwight D. Eisenhower with his wife, Mamie. Also seated around the table were well-known senators, congressmen and ambassadors with their wives. United States
|Ivy with Mr. & Mrs. President Eisenhower|
Ivy Baker Priest, Treasurer of the
. Suddenly, I was overwhelmed by the wonder of it all. My thoughts went racing back through the years. . .back to United States . Back to days when there was never enough money in our home for food and clothing, or the basic amenities. Bingham Canyon, Utah
“I was seated next to Dr. Norman Vincent Peale when he turned to me and said: ‘Mrs. Priest, the people I have known in this world who have achieved things have all overcome some great handicap to reach their goal. I hope you won’t mind my asking what your own handicap was.
|Ivy shelling peas in boarding house|
Ivy never forgot her humble beginnings as a poor copper miner’s daughter from
BINGHAM CANYON BEGINNINGS, 1847 TO 1869
In 1848 (the year after the Mormon pioneers settled the Salt Lake Valley), Thomas and Sanford Bingham, were sent to the area by Brigham Young, who requested them to take a herd of horses and cattle to graze the high ground around the main canyon. They built a small cabin on the north side of the creek. From that time on the new Mormon settlers called the canyon “Bingham” in their honor. The canyon proved to be an ideal place not only for herding livestock, but also for cutting timber. At that time the
were heavily forested wilderness with huge stands of Red Pine 3-feet in diameter. The Bingham brothers spent their time herding, sawing logs and prospecting for valuable minerals. Oquirrh Mountains
Some ores were discovered, but because of primitive technology and expensive transportation the brothers weren’t able to cash in on their discoveries. In addition, LDS President Brigham Young—although not opposed to mining in general—feared the negative effects that a gold rush would have on the new local farming communities in the
. Utah Territory
He advised the brothers against further prospecting and they moved north to settle in
. The Bingham brothers sold their mining claim for a paltry $50, little did they know it would become world famous and be worth billions. Weber County
THE HALVERSON BOYS FROM RAGTOWN
|Grandpa Andrew Halverson Joe Crump James & Ray halverson at Rag Town|
|James Halverson Joe Crump at Rag Town|
|Train on Carr Fork bridge|
THE COMING OF THE TRANSCONTINENTAL RAILROAD & BEYOND
|Steam shovels and steam train|
By 1906, Daniel Jackling a young mining engineer, with the financial backing of the Rockefellers of Standard Oil and the Guggenheims, organized the Utah Copper Company and began open cut mining operations. Jackling’s vision of producing copper from very low-grade ore by processing huge quantities of material proved successful. From 1906 until his retirement in 1942, UCC would become one of the nation’s foremost copper producers. Jackling proved the profitability of mining low 2% copper ore with methods that had worldwide significance.
|Frog Town with Yampa sSmelter|
By 1925 there were over 20,000 miners and their families living, working and dying in the dozen towns and settlements up and down the seven-mile long
. Each nationality had its own stores, coffeehouses, saloons and pool halls. Bingham Canyon
With the beginning of World War II in 1939, demand for copper again grew at outstanding rates. Copper production reached a
high point as the Bingham Mine produced about 30% of all the copper used by the Allies to win the war against Germany and . Japan
|Copperfield 4th of July 1937|
Within a very short time by the diligent use of dynamite, gigantic power shovels and thousands of miners the company made an 8,000-foot mountain into the “richest hole in the world” measuring three miles wide and a mile deep.
Due to its steep topography,
had room for only one main street. The rough road snaked its way for 7 miles up past Bingham Canyon , Winamuck and the main business district of Bingham Town. The right fork road led to Carr Fork and Highland Boy, and the left fork road continued up to Copperfield, Terrace Heights and Telegraph, passing trough Dinkeyville, Jap Camp, Little Italy and Greek Camp. Frog Town
Noisy, vibrant and dynamic,
was a cacophony of sight, sound and activity. Trains with their whistles echoing throughout the canyon, could be seen plying their Bingham Canyon
way over the mountain slopes. Spread out from the narrow 20-foot wide main street and perched all they way up the sides of the canyon walls, were the frame houses, shacks, shanties and apartments that housed the town’s citizens. The limited space left precious little room for yards or playgrounds.
|Main business center Bingham wooden side-walks|
After the famous baseball star Babe Ruth visited the copper mine, baseball games were played wherever there was space. In Carr Fork this was in the street and when the ball went into the sewer, someone would race ahead to where there was an opening and retrieve it and play would resume. Baseball was played underneath the
and along the creek in Frogtown. “L” Bridge
|Halverson house in Telegraph 1936|
GENE & LELAND HALVERSON’S COASTING ACCIDENT
Harvey Halverson contracted “miner’s con” (silicosis of the lungs) while he worked in the underground mine. As a result, he lost his job (no workman’s comp in those days) and the family was immediately evicted from their home in Telegraph. They found shelter and food thanks to the kindness of the Greek owners of the Panos apartments and Apostol’s grocery in
. Frog Town
On New Year’s Day 1936 while sleding down
Main Street the Halverson boys, Gene and Leland, were hit by a speeding car. Gene’s hip bone was shattered and Leland’s front teeth were all knocked out. Luckily the driver was the son of the chief mining superintendent. He quickly loaded the injured boys into his car and drove up to Dr. Richard’s hospital. His father volunteered to pay all the medical expenses and found Father Harvey a good job! WHAT A LUCKY BREAK!
Recently, I asked my 84-year-old cousin, Gene Halverson, to take me on a virtual drive up the seven-mile road to the top of
and tell me what it looked like during his heyday. Bingham Canyon
He started off by explaining that the hillsides along the
road were filled with unpainted wood-frame houses without yards, rundown and unkempt on the outside, but almost dust-free and immaculately clean on the inside. Bingham Canyon
|Swedes in Carr Fork|
WINAMUCK: The Bingham Dairy, Prigmore’s Coal Yard, the #2 Fire Station, and then the big S-Curve in the road.
Gene said that Monday was always wash day all up and down
. On that day flying wash flew from every house and in every direction. It hung on clothes lines running from houses to nearby telephone poles; it ran from upstairs windows up the side of the hill. It ran from porch to porch. It went uphill and downhill and the laundry was on exhibit to everyone who came by. There were no wardrobe secrets in Bingham Canyon. Then there were the Saturday Night baths in the #3 galvanized wash tub that was filled with hot water from the cook stove. Later some of the teenaged boys especially opted for hiking up to Silver Shield where they could shower in hot water from the mine. The only problem was that they had to remember to keep their eyes and mouths shut because of the arsenic in the water. Bingham Canyon
In back of Bourgard’s butcher shop on
Main Street was a huge smokehouse, where hams and bacon were cured. The vent on top was a favorite fishing hole for the town’s children. “We used to fish through this hole for a stray sausage or two,” remembered Gene. “I believe the owner used to leave them there on purpose for us to have fun with.”
Taking a right turn at CARR FORK: The Holy Rosary Catholic Church, The Tram, Gemmell Social Club,
and Clara Baker’s Boarding house where Ivy Baker grew up. Swedish Lutheran Church
|LDS Church Heston Heights|
Ivy Baker wrote, “When Dad was severely injured in a mining accident, Mother decided to open a small boarding house for single miners in
. Her pragmatic, homespun philosophy seemed to work. And so did her tireless hands. At a very early age, I had practically a full-time job in our boardinghouse. At 5 a.m. I would tumble out of bed in my cold room, slip into black long-handled underwear, black bloomers, black stockings and the plain black cotton dress which I always wore to school. Bingham Canyon
“There was the breakfast table to set and then there were sandwiches to make for the men’s lunch buckets. The first boarders would appear for breakfast at 6 and no sooner had they gone clomping off to the mine than another shift would sit down. The men devoured huge bowls of steaming mush, ham and eggs and polished these off with hot cakes or hot homemade bread spread with Mother’s elderberry jam.
|Greek stores with Yampa Smelter|
If the boarding house supplied
with much of its stability, it was the saloon which supplied much of its reputation. Among the best saloons in the canyon were the Copper King and the Bingham Canyon . California
|Dinkeyville top Copperfield with US Mine boarding house|
Wrestling was also a drawing card in some saloons with Greeks matched against Japanese. And there were the usual backyard dog and cock fights. Even during the Prohibition Years of 1920 to 1933 you could always get a stiff drink in
. The 36 saloons along Bingham Canyon Main Street (now soft-drink parlors) continued to quench the thirst of thousands of miners around the clock.
Next we come to
HIGHLAND BOY: Settled by Austrians and Slavs. It also contained the smaller camps of Phoenix, Frisco and Con. The best known building was the Community House run by Boston Ada Duhigg—the Angel of Highland Boy because of her bravery during the devastating fire of 1932.
Then at last to COPPERFIELD: with its familiar landmark, the
and the Copperfield Theater and several other businesses, boarding houses and bars. Rex Hotel
|Highland Boy Bingham|
THE END OF THE BINGHAM CANYON COMMUNITIES
Expansion of its open pit mine was essential and the Kennecott Copper Corporation began buying property around the canyon as it became available for some time prior to 1959. In the middle of that year a long workers’ strike began against Kennecott and more families left the area. As the year dragged toward a close the handwriting was on the wall.
On December 9, 1959, nearly all of the property owners in
met with Kennecott officials to discuss the sale of the towns and surrounding areas. Gradually the purchase of all parcels of living areas for miners led to the huge expansion of the open copper pit and the swallowing up of the old towns in the canyon. Highland Boy and Copperfield were dismantled in 1960 and the last buildings in Bingham Canyon were torn down in 1972. Lark disappeared from the map by the end of 1980. Bingham Town
Today more than 150 years since the first mining activity, the town of Copperton remains the sole survivor of the 15 towns and settlements that made Bingham Canyon one of the most culturally diverse and rich areas of Utah.
300,000 tons of copper per year=$3.75 x 2000 x 300,000= $22.5 BILLION
500,000 ounces of gold=$1,725 x 500,000=$1.2 BILLION
4,000,000 ounces of silver=$33 x 4 M=$132 MILLION
I love this little rhyme written by a student at
Elementary: Bingham Canyon
There used to be towns here,
With trestles, trains and play;
We climbed up to our homes here
‘Till giants moved it away.