Monday, October 12, 2015


Revisiting Copperfield—With an Expert
Appeared in the Murray Green Sheet 28 may 1993
By Willimay McDonald Tervert
walking to Bingham through Pit
road by copper water sewer
Many nationalities came from the old mining town of Copperfield and as I sit here today there’s a song that goes through my mind, “There’s a little street where old friends meet, and I’d like to wander back someday. If only I could.” 
The town was located where the Kennecott Mine is today---though to pinpoint it now is not exactly easy. 
At one time there was an old dirt road at the upper end of Bingham Canyon that led to Copperfield.  After about 1939 a tunnel was built to our town.  I’ll never forget how we walked up the old road and the whistles would blow off from the hill.  This was a warning!  Run for the shelters that were built every so far apart across the road because flying rocks came from all directions when they set off the dynamite.  We managed to make it. 
We had the wonder of the mountains close by where we could climb and pick up an array of wildflowers, see deer, and birds, animals of different kinds, old abandoned mines all over.  There were “cross bones” waning us to stay out.  We did.

Groceries used to be delivered by the Miner’s Merc, Pan Hellenic, and independently.  Vegetables were brought up from valley farms and milk was delivered by Hogan’s Dairy.   Sometime during the winter if you didn’t bring in the milk soon enough it would rise to the top of the glass containers which were used and returned to the milkman.  I remember grapes that were delivered at night and then some families made wine and what a sight to see them stomping the grapes in their basements.  A good time was had rejoicing the harvest. 
Copper Water flowed out of a pipe in the upper end of town and the children enjoyed placing spoons, forks, nails or whatever was available in the water and leaving it overnight.  By morning it turned them into a shiny copper color.  Although told to stay out of it, we found it to be too much of a temptation. 
Jap Camp
The town of Copperfield was a fascinating place.  A main street with homes made of brick and wood.  A circle of homes all two stories nestled around a well-cared circle of lawn.  This is where I grew up.  Many children playing and associating with their neighbors.  The homes were so close that it was a common sound to hear some snoring.  Especially during the summer when the windows were open.  In the evenings Dad would have an orchestra practice on our front porch and the town’s people danced to “Red Peppers” around the circle.  “Happy times”.
There was Terrace Heights, Jap Camp, Greek Camp, Dinkeyville, Telegraph and US that surrounded the town.  Copperfield appeared to be built like tri-levels layered out as if painted by an artist.  From Tommy’s Rock high above town one had a panoramic view of our town. 
You could see the old track, our separated little camps, the old school house and the single road winding its way up the canyon and the lower end of town, the business district. 
Mining accidents were common and the sound of the old mine whistle in succession was a warning of a cave in or a fire.  The men were carried out of the US mine on stretchers.  Hope for his life was when their faces were not covered up.  I could see this horrible sight along with others and it was a very unpleasant sight to remember.  The ambulance would usually take them to the Bingham Hospital or the mortuary.  Accidents on Utah Copper, as referred to, were very common, not to mention those who lost limbs. 
Circle where Willimay lived
When it came time for the winter supply of coal to be delivered it was unloaded at the entrance or steps of the home.  Some had coal chutes that it could be poured onto, others had wooden containers they used to carry it where it needed to be.  Tired miners dreaded it after a hard day’s work but neighbors helped one another unload.  I can see the men in my mind carrying “Hercules Powder” boxes on their backs that would later be used for kindling.  The business district was quite a sight.  Taverns, hotels, grocery stores, a meat market, barber shop, and a theater called the Diana.  One of the most frequented places was a “prostitution house”.  This may seem strange to some readers, but in our town we were safe.  Not one case of rape can be recalled by the old timers.
Our town was run by a very strict law enforcement.  Anyone who got out of hand knew once was enough.  The second time they thought twice. 
looking up to school from US Hotel
Entertainment for the children at Christmas was held at the old schoolhouse.  The different organizations cut a big tree and decorated it with lights and decorations.  Santa gave each child a bright red or green mesh Santa’s boot filled with a big orange, hard tac and peanuts.  The Fourth of July brought a parade and prizes were given for the best costume.  There were activities all day.  The day began with the sound of dynamite blasts that really shook the town.  Picts on the wall were always crooked from blasting.  On Easter we had egg hunts and Church was attended at the denomination of one’s choice.  It seemed each family supported the other churches, making aprons, baking or whatever was needed for the fund raising.  It really didn’t matter to us, we were a “family”.  Children sold poppies for the veterans and quilt chances for the churches. 
from school to Telegraph
During World War ll many went into the service.  Packages and letters were sent to them.  We waited a long time for their return.  The loss of any of them really hurt us all.  We dreaded seeing the military car drive up the canyon and waited breathlessly to see which home they stopped at.  The sad news meant someone would never return to his beloved Copperfield.  Women worked at Kennecott and ran the mine as capably as possible, proving a woman could carry on the duties of a laborer with efficiency and skill.  Puerto Ricans were also buss loaded into the canyon to carry on the responsibility of the war effort.  Somehow, we managed to keep things together so those who survived the war would have a job and home to return to. 
There is really no way to cover all there is to know about Copperfield.  If you asked those who lived there, they’d go back if they could. 
mine under businesses 
This year we will hold our 12th reunion.  It will be held at Copperton Park on Sunday, June 28th, noon to 6 p.m.; chow time is 1 p.m.   Bring your favorite potluck dish and join in the fun.  Prizes, games and associating is planned.  Mike Gonzales and his wife Linda is in charge.
It is no longer the Copperfield Reunion.  We call it the Bingham Reunion.  Never the less next August will be our 34th Reunion.  Same time same place.  Afton Bray Babecki and her husband, Bob works so hard to make it a success.  We send out 180 flyers to remind everyone to come. 
I am getting old but I enjoy every minute of it.  Bingham will only die if we let it.  We had something back then and I would return today if only I could.
Eugene Halverson

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