EUGENE'S MEMORIES from 1928 to 1948
|Our Company Store.|
Remember the song, “I owe my soul to the company store” well that was us. This was also during the “Great Depression” when everybody was suffering. Somehow or other we able to live in the Panos Apartments is still unknown and being able to buy food from the Apostle store without a dime to our name. Hogan Dairy provided us with milk. Seems like we owed everybody. It took years to pay back our many bills but we did.
|We lived upstairs on the left|
Mother tried not to charge any more food at the store than she had to, just the staples like flour and things. With this she made delicious crusty bread and we had bread and milk till it came out of our ears, but we loved it.
There was no money for coal so we gathered wood. I still remember dragging parts of old buildings, railroad ties, trees off the mountain and other wood to the back yard, putting them on a sawhorse and sawing them up for firewood. I was six and Lee was four when we were doing this.
When we weren’t working we seemed to be in trouble. One day Lee and I were playing like we were Indians. So, we were roasting and eating grasshoppers in the backyard, everything was fine until our fire caught the mountain on fire. It was lucky for us that it did burn its self and no one was the wiser.
We lived in the top apartment the front entrance was a climb up a narrow stairs to the living room. The back was built against the mountain so our kitchen was a level walk to the mountain. A trail down the canyon took us to the Yampa Smelter. I remember its giant smoke stack and all kinds of walls and holes to climb up and around
Lee and I had made lots of friends and learned many more mischievous ways to entertain ourselves. Back then an inter-tube was made of real rubber made from a rubber tree. It was red and it stretched and to us was quite valuable to us for making flippers and rubber guns. The Grove boys loved to shoot at me with their rubber guns so I gave them a merry run. They had the rubber bands tied in knots and it did hurt. After the chase I would return and began looking for the bullets they lost and now I had a rubber gun too and the means to make a flipper crutch.
Frog Town had three beautiful canyons, Freeman, Markham and Dry Fork but hardly anyone even knew they were there because they were above and hidden by the B&G Railroad. All had clear water streams running through a Pine and Quaken Aspen forest. But it was a hard climb over a very steep trail to get there. All except Dry Fork had a pond where the stream ran into the dump.
As a six year old I remember walking a trail that led down Dry Fork about three miles away. The trail was made by a buried pipe that brought water from a spring in Dry Fork to Frog Town. Dry Fork was a lovely canyon with nice shady trees and a lot of things to see and do and the water was good. But we always had a lot of rattlesnakes to contend with.
On the way home we had a garbage dump to look through. It seems like we always found something to drag home. Below the dump was the English Dairy with lots of cows and pigs. They sold milk and pigs to the miners in Bingham. It seemed like the pigs ere always feeding on the garbage.
|a busy Frog Town|
Never the less a lot of the toilets were built over the creek. In the winter Bingham who had a seven mile canyon pushed snow into the sewer to float it away.
The Turner boys wrote a story about how his father, Lance and George Panos got quite wealthy by diverting the sewer into a garage full of tin cans and selling the copper. George was the garbage man and saved all the cans. Max said, while everybody was starving during the “Great Depression” we were buying a fancy car.
|Lower Frog Town|
There were two large rocks to explore. Under one rock was an entrance to a mine and it was dark and spooky. I was scared of the cave and I had nightmares of a lion just waiting to eat me.
I remember the old Ice House across the road, and the tennis courts and the coal yards above. We didn't have refrigerators in those days. So trains bought in tons of ice and stored in the ice house to use in the summer months. The ice was covered with saw dust and it lasted all summer. There were very few refrigerators back then and the iceman delivered ice to your door. We got our first refrigerator and it was quite a blessing.
|HOLMS MANOR HOUSE|
Well the “Manor House” and everything else is still there. Three wars later even the Russians are gone.
Mother always had time for us then. I can still see her with her cup of coffee and a smile.
Saint Olaf hated the Finns. He said they shot arrows all day long at him but at night their “Wizards” would sink his ships. There was a Finish wizard hiding under every bush. Well grandpa could predict the future from the shapes the melted solder made when it hit the water. She believed in magic and I do too. She had some “Tarot” cards that predicted a death, he died. It scared her so her she burned them.
|HOLMS FARM in FINLAND|
We lived just below the depot and we were always there to watch the trains come to town. They were all “steam engines” back then and they made quite a racket. They huffed and puffed and whistled. We always had a nail or something to put on the tracks for them to flatten.
We were extremely poor but I didn’t know it. For a few years we did not have the money to buy it. Someone from Provo would send carp and suckers to the mining camps to feed the poor. Hunters would bring home jack rabbits. And I would go looking for them. They didn’t look very appetizing but we ate anything we found. The suckers were better than the carp but after mother cooked them they never fishy and she did wonders with the rabbits.
With people living so close together there were many diseases when the flu, chicken pox, measles, mumps or any disease came along, a “quarantine sign” was placed on your house and no one was allowed to leave or enter. I remember Dad coming to the back window to talk to mother. I don’t know where he lived.
I can’t remember of having toys to play with here but we played games, mostly with older kids. My favorite game was Can the Can which was just a poor boys cricket game. Its funny no one plays it today. Then there was our rubber guns. Before World War II tire tubes were made from pure rubber not like the junk today something like our live rubber today. We would cut the tubes in strips to shoot in our rubber guns. Knots were tied in them, the bigger the knot and the tighter they were stretched the more they would hurt. You would just squeeze clothespin and shoot friend or foe.
Buck Rodger was flying to other worlds. He was on the radio, in the papers and comic books. If had a nickel I would run to Chris’s Grocery store and buy me a space rocket. It was a kit to build Buck’s space ship and it had a motor in it.
Rubber tree. It was red and it stretched and to us was quite valuable to us for making flippers and rubber guns. The Grove boys loved to shoot at me with their rubber guns so I gave them a merry run. They had the rubber bands tied in knots and it did hurt. They had a never ending supply of bands and never looked for the ones they shot so I would return and began looking for them and now I had bullets for my gun and even made a rock flipper.
It was New Year’s Day 1936 and we were out of school. Now we were sledding down an alley near us down into Main Street. We were told the coast was clear so down Lee and I went and that is all I remember.
|Dr. Richards on Galena Days|
Days later I woke up in the Bingham Hospital. I was covered with sandbags so I could not move at all. There was wires stretching my leg and another pulling me another way. There I lay for a week or a month, I don’t know. My leg was broken and dislocated at the hip and my pelvis was damaged. I was a mess. Mother refused to let them amputate and I did recover. Because of nerve damage I had no feeling in the leg. Four or five months later I began using crutches my right leg dangling uselessly below me. I tried to use it many times but when I touched it to the floor it felt like I had plugged it into a light socket. Every day for a whole a year I would try touching the floor with my foot to see if I could do it. One day the pain went away and now I had to learn how to walk again. I learned to use two crutches and later one, I could run almost as fast as Lee on one crutch but I did crash and burn. I would get angry at times and throw the crutch away and then crawl after it. I later learned to walk again by myself, but it was slow. I was held back in the first grade and almost again because I didn't go to school much the following year either. It's hard watching your friends go on without you. I missed an awfully lot of school, I know I struggled for a few years but in time things got better.
|Dr. Richards Party|
My mother thought Dr. Richards was a God. He was my hero too. He was famous and he was the best in the country. Because of the many back injuries he was treating doctors from all over the world came to learn his techniques. He proved that what was thought were permanent disabling injuries could be cured. He gained fame for his radium treatment for cancer. His hospital was the best anywhere. He was active in the Boy Scouts. He would bring a truckload of water melons and hamburgers to camp each year to Tracy Wigwam.
|highest house in TELEGRAPH|
The house sat in
the intersection of Bear and Galena Gulch.
The very top house in Telegraph and it was built on a small yellow mine
dump. The house was ugly and mostly grey
and it needed a paint job badly that it never got. But it was surrounded by pine trees, a Quaken
Aspen or two, oak brush and choke cherry trees.
Beautiful in the summer but we had a lot of snow at 7500 feet elevation. Sometimes we went out a window when the only
door was covered and even part of the roof.
Dad was actually too sick to work but he had
too. He had a hard time walking home
from work. It took him a long time and
he was completely exhausted when he got home.
This probably what cured Dads Silicosis?
I remember him as being mean and angry to me. I was also recovering from a broken hip and
pelvis and was on crutches. Lee said I
was meaner than the devil too. Lee had
health problems too and I remember he was angry too. Poor Mother.
|OLD TELEGRAPH MINE below our house|
Our house set higher than our water-tank so we had no water in the house. In the summer it gravity fed water to a shed just below our house. But in the winter I had to carry it a long way. Two buckets at a time on a yoke. The water came from a spring and it was best and coldest water in the whole canyon.
We had floods that came from snow melt and rains. They were scary and fascinating. At times wild animals would come wandering through. Spring brought the flowers and birds. Mother always had something for the little redheaded that came birds came to the kitchen window to be fed. Winter came early with cold and snow. Lots of snow with no place to throw it. When the tap in the shed froze I had to carry the water home. A yoke over my shoulders allowed me to carry two buckets at a time. Our water came from a spring, to a tank that was piped to a tunnel. It was so good that people came from miles around, it was famous.
Springtime usually meant floods. One such flood left mud 4 inches under the window the whole length of the house. We left it that way and grass eventually grew there. Mother sat with her hand full of bread waiting for her red-headed birds and maybe a squirrel or chipmunk.
Back then mother cooked all these wonderful Swedish dinners. I have tried many times to cook the fish and sweet-soups that she made, but nothing turns out the way it should.
Codfish came in wooden boxes salted and dried and hard as a rock. Lutefisk fish had to be soaked in lye water, fresh water, and lye water and back to fresh again, how many times I don’t know. She cooked the fish many different ways. She loved to cook wild game and it was good. I remember watching her cook some cod fish in a frying pan. I can still see the milk and the fish. it was my favorite.
If Lee or I killed a porcupine, rock chuck, squirrel or a bird we would cook it out on the mountain. Butterfield Canyon creek had fish so we picked up a rocks or a club and ate them with the potato we always carried in our pocket.
Mother loved the mountains and in order to keep us from waking up dad when we came home from school we would go for a walk. So, almost every day we would walk up towards the Queen Mine. These were the fondest memories of my childhood. I was truly blessed to have a mother like that. The walk was steep for about one half mile and then it would level off at an old cement damn used for mining of gold. The canyon was all a part of Bear Gulch, and it was beautiful. We would then cross the damn and enter the most beautiful grove of maple trees in the whole world. The trees were large from an old forest, a little undergrowth maybe but the ground was covered with mostly grass and wild flowers, columbines, pinkies and daisies. I can still see Mother sitting there, happy and not a care in the world. It was good to see her that way because she did have a hard life. I get a tear in my eye even today thinking of her. She was the sweetest and the most caring mother a person could have.
|Haying time at Grandmas|
West of the farm was a ravine with a pond and a creek with, ducks, birds and snakes. We called it the “Hollow”. I loved it there.
One day we all went for a picnic up Hobble Creek where I met our double cousins. We had two Halversons that married two Petersons. I was bored and restless and went off by myself looking in the creek. She said don’t look at him, catch him. It was my Aunt Mary Halvorsen Peterson and she showed me how to fish. I found a pole, she found a hook and string and off we went. What a wonderful day with a wonderful lady.
I had no idea why I was sent down to grandmas. I thought no one loved me. And where did these babies come from? First there was Paul, then Vivian.
They came and brought me home just before school was about to start. I had missed so much school last year they decided to put in the first grade again. School was a about a mile down the canyon and the way was steep.
In the old days our town was called Upper Bingham but we called it Copperfield. It was the only business district above the Mine. Several stores, saloons, eating places and a school. I believe the name Copperfield School was named before the town. The mine in 1939 cut us off from the rest of Bingham. Each ethnic group or nationality had its own part of town that they lived in. Copperfield consisted of many little parts. We had our Jap Camp, Greek Camp, Dinkyville, Upper and Lower Copperfield, Terrace Heights, Telegraph and US (Galena).
Copperfield School was something else. You had to learn to fight to survive. My first day at school I had a fight. I had many fights at least one a week maybe more, mostly after school but I did get in trouble a few times for fighting during school time. I still remember the scolding I and a few others got one day from “Old man Wooten” when the principal called him up to stop the fighting. I did try to avoid these fights because I didn't know how.
learned the hard way, school of hard knocks.
I usually fought Max Salazar, he was the one to beat, and he was the
leader of the Jap Camp and Copperfield gang.
Later it was Carl Espinoza, he was no problem until to our surprise he
was being trained by a professional to be a boxer, I got lumps all over my head
the last time we fought, and he was a good one to avoid after that. Carl was the leader of the Dinkyville
Gang. Marion Carter was the leader of
the Terrace Height’s and Dinkyville gang.
Telegraph and Carl’s part of the Dinkyville gang would always join
together to fight the Copperfield gang.
Each part of town had its own gang.
We formed gangs for protection but our fights were fair. The boys had to
be the same size or there was no fight.
Mostly we just walked around acting tough and if there was a fight it
was the leaders who fought. We didn’t
use clubs and guns in those days. I
never had a fight in High School but I did get knocked out in the Library
once. I didn’t know what happened until
I woke up. Someone was always putting a
chip on his shoulder and daring someone to knock it off.
|looking up to TELEGRAPH from school|
|4th of July in Copperfield|
|a scary road to Copperfield|
It seems like the new boy in town gets tested. I had many fights. It seems like I always had a bloody nose or a lump on my head until I got the hang of it. I even got to like fighting. Max was taller and had a longer reach so I learned to take my lumps until I wore him out. Then I took him down and got even. Then he would take me home and his mother would feed us. He was a lifelong friend. He would go on to be quite famous.
In the fourth grade I got real good in arithmetic and multiplication. The fifth grade was with Miss Holbrook and school began to be interesting and my report card showed it.
Beverly Barrett was “Taffy Ann” and I really do not know who or what I was. I was happily singing away when the teacher said, “Stop” and everyone looked at me, Halverson just move your lips, “do not sing”. I cannot carry a tune to this day.
Then we did “The Copperfield Wood-Burned Mural” and it was one of the most ambitious projects in all the 350 school-works by Utah school children in the all-Utah school arts exhibit at the Utah Arts Center in the Utah State Arts Center in Salt Lake City. It is a ten foot by four and a half foot wood-burned mural done as a community project by the children of the fifth grade of Upper Bingham School. Committees of the fifth grade were chosen to visit various buildings in Upper Bingham, Included in the mural was the First Utah Copper Mine Office behind it was the Mine itself with its levels and operations. The center piece was the large figure of a miner, the mural accurately shows stores, boarding houses, schools, mine buildings and other familiar scene to Bingham residents. The children of the Upper Bingham School have developed the mural until it is representative of life of life in this community. We had a tall Japanese was our main artist. He was very talented and he drew the center piece, a miner with a pick and a shovel. Our mural look so real. Isabell Rose drew and burnt the Copperfield side of the tunnel. Our school was in the lower right-hand corner. I remember sitting on the floor burning and shading it.
|Greek Camp, Jap Camp and Copperfield|
The companies divided Copperfield by national and racial housing. Whites lived on Main Street in brick houses, Mexicans in Dinkeyville, Greek Camp for single men and Jap Camp. I loved to go with Jackie Myaki to bathe in their large hot tubs. And before the war they had a school to teach the kids how to draw and write the Japanese language. This extra help made them very good students in our school. It was a shame to see them close these schools after the war. But even before if any child spoke any language other than English they were punished. The many nationalities, cultures, customs, dances, and food made Bingham what it was. I loved everything about what we had. I am afraid it is lost and gone forever.
At the bottom of a wash below the apartments was a flat sandy place for games. Buck Leyba would bring up a bunch of kids from Dinkeyville and we would play either football or baseball depending on what kind of ball we had. Below this was the cocoa dirt we played in. The dirt was the remains left from an old stamp mill and concentrator.
One day a dump truck stopped on the road and dumped about seven powder boxes of glass negatives that had been stored in a warehouse somewhere. They would have been worth thousands of dollars today. I saved about a dozen years until dad put them in the garbage dump along with my collection of carbide lamps and brass candle holders.
Then dynamite and carbide could be found in many tunnels. I knew a few boys who lost a finger or two playing with dynamite caps. Primer cord explodes just like the caps. Bombs were made from carbide. Some even set off dynamite.
|winter in Telegraph|
I got a brand new 22 rifle for Christmas, a pocket knife, a potato and a few matches and Tippy a Rat Terrier grandpa gave me. He was quite a hunter and furnished me with many meals. I ate squirrels, porcupines and birds with my potato. A time or two I didn’t even come home at night. When some mother was looking for a child they’d call and told them if they were with Lee they’d be alright. These were the best years of my life.
We even cooked grasshoppers. If an Indian ate it we could too. You ever tried stinging nettle? Boil it a couple of times and it was tasty.
Snow was melting and the water was running and I was there panning for gold. I followed Alvin Cole to a flat above my house. I was not the best but I did find gold.
|High mountain tops|
The Black Rock Trail
We had the coldest, sweetest water in the water tunnel next to Bodmer’s house? The Black Rock Trail started right there. There were “Skinks” there they were half snake and half lizard. Long and skinny as a pencil. Dark brown with tan corners and bright blue tail. These were not the common blue belly lizards.
From there we walked over the mountain to “Hawk Rock”. In late summer we would find these crazy star shaped “Puff balls” that exploded when you stomped on them, this would send these brownish/purplish powder spores all over your ankles. They are actually a very poisonous mushroom the 6/8 stars are the hard outer cover of the ball that flattens leaving a tannish ball holding the spores. I now know them as the Earth Star Puff Ball or the Devil’s snuff Box.
The last stop on this trail was down to “Eagle Rock” sitting above the old Bishop Mine in Yosemite Gulch, we could see Lark and all of Salt Lake Valley from here. The mine head frame and building were still in use, it pulled cars up from the shaft going deep down in the mountain. We had a choice of walking back over the mountain or a tunnel Dinkeyville? The tunnel was about a mile long with shaft that was very dangerous to tip toe past. It ended near Carter’s old house near an old trail to Telegraph, this used to be the “Old Holden mule railroad”.
The Bear Gulch/Queen/Butterfield Trail was left just behind my house on the road to Queen at the top of Telegraph, after a steep climb the road levels out where a cement dam was used to save the creek water for “gold mining”. Every time I panned out a nice piece of gold, Alvin Cole would say, “That’s a good boy, here put it in my bottle”. Across creek was the most beautiful grove of ancient old Maple trees and the only lawn I ever knew? It was a camping and picnicking that I used many times. A half mile latter you past the “Big Tree”. I remember the spring there before the arsenic got in it? This was an old Indian Camp where I found many arrowheads and flint knives here. Can anyone remember Jack Ass Gulch with all the old Quaken Aspen trees, this was the right fork? The center road went to a couple of mines still being worked, I remember it as Bear Gulch. By staying on the main road about a mile or two farther took you over the mountain to the town of Queen. I remember when Queen housed at least several families and a boarding house for the single men. Travelling below the big Queen Mine Dump to the first turn you would leave the road and make short climb to the mines water line that went from Butterfield to Queen. Then traversed the tops of Butterfield Canyon until we got to the Boy Scout Camp. I remember the building with its big fireplace where Lee and I spent a snowy night with one blanket. There were four of us to start with but the others left sometime in the dark.
|a Skink at Black Rock|
The Bear Gulch Middle Canyon Trail
Starting at the back of my house in Telegraph you would walk to the Queen Ridge leaving the road for a trail that headed up toward Sun Shine Peak, to the left you could look at Queen far below. At the right was Doctor Frazier’s ski run and ski jump. I skied it and remember it well. Going up put you high above the “Silver Shield Mine and the US Road. A little higher and above Silver Shield was the stumps trees of an ancient forest called “The Big Grove. It was clear cut to build the Mormon Tabernacle. Did anyone besides me ever go over and lay on the huge 5/6 foot diameter stumps. A half a mile father up the trail leveled off a mile or so above Butterfield, passing through two large groves of Quaking Aspen. I remember this part of the trail because of the many Horny Toads found there. You see the Butterfield-Middle Canyon Pass a half mile below where you would go over the pass to another to a spring above the Highland Boy water tunnel and on down to the tunnel. At times there would be kids my age who had arrived here from Highland Boy. These were my first friend I knew from Highland Boy.
I remembers when US was full of houses and people, I had many friends there? Lorraine, Blackie Clinton’s daughter said, “In the winter time when the roads were closed, they went down a mine shaft through a tunnel to the Copperfield school.
Above the US Mine there was a railroad car that was built to kill the strikers. It was a self-propelled round metal gun turret with six holes manned by six men. As it rolled along on this circular railroad it rotated giving each man a shot. When the people moved away we tore the roof off the town’s water tank and swam in it. It was so icy cold and deep but it was clean. I remember when our 5th grade class hiked above the US and then over the mountain and looked into Highland Boy. There we went into a dark old mine until it was too dark to see. It was spooky enough before we heard the bear. But it was just our principal growling and playing games with our minds,.
The “Water Falls Trail Freeman Gulch As a kid I hiked all over the hills in Bingham. My buddies at that time included Art Bentley, Teddy Allen and Floyd Timothy. We had a favorite place we called “waterfalls”; it was a real pretty spot with a nice stream and a pond. We made rafts and poled around the pond. The water was so cold we didn’t swim unless we fell off the raft. The water falls and pond was in Freeman Canyon just over the B&G railroad.
The Markham’s Trail Markham Gulch was a very long canyon heading straight toward Markham Peak. It produced a lot of springs that gathered together to make a very large stream even in the late summer. It was a wonderful canyon. It was full of Maple trees. Quaken Aspen. Pine trees, Oak and Mahogany trees. The higher you went the more primitive it became. This creek here in this canyon was as large as the Butterfield Canyon creek that had fish in it. It was another clear water pond made by the waste dump damn.
Winter Time We played in the snow did a lot of sledding. We could ride over a mile or so with no problems. We were at the end of the road and the cars were mostly parked and snowed in. But one day I noticed ski tracks and we were too poor to buy me some. So I went behind a Copperfield store broke up a big barrel and made a pair of skis. I followed the ski tracks to the top of Bear Gulch and found a much used ski run and jump. I didn’t have much trouble with the run but I fell down on every jump.
I was skiing on Doctor Frazer’s run and jump. He was getting ready to go to the Anarchic with Admiral Byrd.
The snow was melting here and the Lark side of the mountain had lots of snow. Now I had to get my brother to come with me. After a short walk over a saddle off we went. We skied a mile or so almost to the bottom when Lee stopped and kicked off his skis. Down he went almost out of sight and he couldn’t move. The snow was too soft and he needed help. Well I got him out and found a ridge to go home on. It was cold and Lee was tired and almost frozen. I was breaking trail and never noticed Lee was no longer there. He wanted to go to sleep and it was a battle to get him moving. I got him home but I lost a skiing partner.
One field trip we went to the University of Utah to see experiments with electricity, vacuums and other interesting things.
Another field trip was to the Magna Mills to learn how they made ore in to copper. Well we did learn a lot but managed to get in trouble. As we were passing by some machines in the shop there was a box full of silver bars, I asked the man are those silver? Yep, put a couple in your pocket, and we each took one. They were too big and shiny to hide and all the men were laughing. When we went to get on the bus, the teachers spotted us and we had to give them back. The foreman even laughed at us. He told us that they were Babbitt bars not silver.
We got our first radio and at first we would sit down and listen to some funny stories; I Love a Mystery, Tarzan, Fiber Magee and Moly, Kingfish etc. Then the Second World War began. War in Europe, war in China and then Finland was fighting Russia. We still had family in Finland and we were quite concerned. Now we were tuned into the wars. China was in a losing war. Germany had taken most of Europe and was losing in Russia. Finland had stopped Russia at its border. But it was on the other side of the world.
The war got closer when Bob Burke was killed when his ship was sunk by a German submarine.
|Copperfield, Terrace Heights and Dinkyville|
Then in 1941 war came to us and we were angry. Bingham boys began enlisting, even in my class Max Salazar was 13 when he enlisted, 14 when his ship was sunk and wounded, then he received a presidential citation for rescuing his commanding officer, who was trapped in burning oil. Honorably discharged at 15, rejoined and was sunk again, lost for weeks on an island, and discharged again.
Graduation classes for the next few years several years had very few boys left.
War took so many men into the service boys and girls were hired.
I hired out in 1944. Worked on the track-gang. At times the gangs were all young boys. I first worked on Bicycle Gus’s gang. He was a little old man with short legs. He peddled down the ties so fast he was hard to keep up with. He was Greek from the old country and I liked him very much. He had quite an accent and we all tried to mimic his speech. We learned how to cut rails with chisel and hammer. Drill holes in rails. We were the only gang at the mine who could do this. I learned a lot from him.
Then I was a Dump man. Telling the brakeman where to dump his train. When this berm when it became long enough it was flattened and the track moved out for another berm.
|Standard shovel loading ore cars|
I tried the Shovel Department for the higher pay and but had my fill of the danger and nasty treatment. Well the nasty old Runner was killed a year or two later.
I bid on the machine shops to work there. I helped Lewy Ballamis and it was fun. He was the only real boilermaker left at the mine and every day was a surprise when one of those old steamers would come in. More than once we would rake the fire from the boiler and the grate was still red. We covered the grate and I would cover Lew with wet rags then he would climb in and tighten a stay-bolt or something. I loved that old man.
|Standard Shovel loading waste cars|
Tomorrow I’ll go the cemetery to bury my old fighting buddy, Juan Vigil. We started working together as laborers on the track gang and later in the machine shops. We loved to fight. As soon as the whistle would blow and work for the day was over we would attack each other like detective Couso and Kato did in the Pink Panther. We would end up bruised and our clothes torn off our backs. Many years later he was my helper in the Boiler shop for several years. We hunted deer together for many years usually the three of us, Juan (Johnny), James Ballamis and myself. I am going to miss him.
I was asked one day by my Grandson and the story goes on
"What kind of toys did you have when you were a boy"? It was the same question that Billy McIvor asked when he came to play with me when I was little. He said, "What can I play with"? Other than my airplanes, I had no store-bought toys, if I played trucks it wasn't with a truck it was a block of wood or a can. I guess I had a good imagination and made many things and was proud of what I had made. Billy's father was rich and he had room’s full toys, he was also two or three years older than I was. One day he had his father bring all these toys to my house and gave them to me, they didn't work because Billy couldn't fix anything. I soon had them all running again. One was the largest Lionel Trains I had ever seen, with all the automatic switches, dumping stations, tunnels and lots of track, A large erector set and steam driven engine. They had been abused but in time I had them all working. Billy said his father had given him new ones.
I was always quite competitive, and loved to test my skill against all comers. We had special tops in those days that are not sold any more, probably because of safety reasons. They were wooden tops made of hardwood with a hard metal end to spin on, the spinners had a rounded point and the spikers had sharp points. A spiker was made to destroy an opponent’s top, each person would take his turn until some ones top was broken. A string was wrapped around the top from the bottom up, the other end was held in your hand, the top was thrown with force to it spin faster.
Marbles was played with the winner taking the opponents marble. Some kids could shoot a marble so hard they could break the marbles.
We played a game called "Can the Can", a game copied from "Cricket". It was a four man ball-game, two against two, a tennis ball and a two bats. Two men were up to bat at a time, other two tried to strike them out. The plate was a hole in the ground with two condensed milk cans back and straddling the, hole the holes were about 60 feet apart, a run was counted if the batters hit the ball and was able trade places or if the ball got away from the pitchers. The batters were up until the pitchers knocked three cans over.
|Copper Belt Train|
We had “Coca Dirt” in Telegraph and everybody came to play in it. We would make roads and tunnels in it. We would also grab a handful like you would make a snowball and throw it at each other. We looked like someone had dumped a can of coca on your head. What it was, was the tailings from an old mill and it was full of arsenic, lead, iron and sulfur. The lower part of our football field was mostly coca dirt and the upper part gravel. Buck (Nelson) Leyba would gather all the gangs together for our football and baseball games. The field was level but it was sure dirty. We had great times but I swear that we all left some blood and guts there.
|Queen is gone|
At the head of a canyon above the Silver Shield Mine there were giant stumps of an ancient old forest of giant trees that had been clear cut back in pioneer days. The stumps were all about four to six feet in diameter. No one would believe me when I told them how big they were. Only a few of us during my lifetime had ever seen them. I was grown up and moved away before I found out who had cut them. In a geology book I found out that they called my trees the "Big Grove". Brigham Young had sent his people to build a saw mill and cut these trees. The tabernacle and most all the valleys buildings were built from these trees. The trouble was the clear cutting caused this particular species of Red Pine to become extinct. Mining and logging has now destroyed this mountain. It was a beautiful mountain and it is hard access to what is left of it. The Indians called it Oquirrh Mountain, meaning the Shining Mountain. I didn’t realize the many of the trails that I walked on were logging roads not ore haulage roads. Every canyon had a spring for drinking if you knew where to look. Mining eventually destroyed the aquifer which caused the many springs and creeks to dry up. The water now drains from the mouths of the many mines but it is polluted with arsenic and other metals.
There was still a war going on. I had a 22 rifle with no ammunition and there was no way to find bullets for it. So I put out the word that I would pay an outrageous amount for a box. Billy Nevers came up with a box and I paid him. They were so old most of them would not fire. Then I would turn them and shoot them again.
My dog was dead and my gun wouldn’t shoot so I began setting snares. There were rabbits everywhere. With so many tracks and trails I thought it would be easy. Three mornings in a row I got a rabbit but all I found was fur and blood. So that ended my snaring adventure. These were all cottontail rabbits. We had the big Snowshoe rabbits too. I got one when I had bullets and Tippy caught one. He drug it home from the top of the mountain and the rabbit was as big as the dog.
We had a few bats flying around at night in the summer but it was winter now and here was stupid bat hanging upside down under a pine tree. They live in mine tunnels and are supposed to hibernate. Something disturbed it and here it was freezing to death. So I took it home. After it warmed up it flew away.
I bought some pigeons from Keith Cowdel and I built this big coup for them to come back to. They were Tumbler pigeons white and pretty. I loved to watch them tumble almost to the ground. One night a Bobcat came and took them all away.
|Salt Lake City Weekly's Bingham story|
|Brakeman signaling to Hoger|
There were dangers of all kinds, the mountains were full of abandoned mine shafts and tunnels that were caving in leaving holes that were several hundreds of feet deep. We knew what to look for and how to stay out of danger. I lost two dogs in them and the Ivies lost a horse.
Dynamite, caps and carbide was laying everywhere, we all knew how to use dynamite, insert the caps and how to tell the difference between primer cord and the regular timed cord, we played with the cord a lot, and each had its own danger. The carbide mixed with water made acetylene gas which was very explosive, it was supposed to be used in our carbide lamps but that's not the only way we used it. Lots of kids and adults lost fingers and thumbs, especially with the caps.
I learned to ski early by watching Doctor Frazier, (the Town Doctor and Antarctica Explorer), here I learned that there was more to getting on a pair of skis and crashing at the bottom of the hill. He must have been preparing for Antarctica when he built a ski-jump up towards Queen about a mile or so above our old house. I saw his ski-tracks in the snow but couldn't figure out the round holes in the snow, made by the ski-poles, I had never seen ski-poles before. I tried his ski-jump but very seldom ever made it and I never learned to turn either, if I did it was because I was in his tracks.
|celebrating Finland's independence from Russia|
When the big day finally came to fly it. Kids from all over came to see it. We carried it to the top of the highest and largest mine dump in Telegraph. It was the head of the canyon and had good up-drafts of wind. I had to balance all my gliders with a weight just in front of the wing. I knew by feel how much weight was needed. This one took about 15 pounds of steel that we took from an old air compressor. I had made several attempts to launch it but either the wind or the balance of the weight didn't feel right. As I tried to perfect the glider the wind took over and I was yanked off the ground and up in the air. Down the dump I went afraid to let go. I flew for about 100 yards before I could let go. I had to wait until I reached the bottom of the dump where I could fall into some large maple trees. It wasn't an easy landing, I was scratched and my clothes were torn. What was worse I never even got to see it but everyone said it sailed high in the air and down the canyon, it was beautiful. It swooped and soared like a big bird right into Marsell Chea's garage. The weight made a big hole right through the top. We were lucky he and his car was gone. We gathered up the glider and laid low for a few days, I don't think he ever figured out what happened to his garage. I was in the fifth grade at the time.
|Adella in Copperfield|
Lee still tells the story of one Spring day when five of us went to Butterfield Canyon and decided to spend the night there with only one blanket to sleep under, it snowed four inches and got real cold, one by one the other three left for home, Lee and I were alone come morning. This is when we asked some old mining friends of mine for food. They lived in the mountains alone working an old mine claim. Their house had a dirt floor with a rabbit hole in most every corner, we watched the rabbits as they came and went. They feed us strawberry jam and homemade bread. Our trail to Butterfield followed an old water line to Queen where they were. I can remember when Queen was quite a large community.
As this pipe passed through Telegraph it traveled up at a 45 degree grade for a half mile before leveling out. What a wild slippery slide it made. Some called the town, Jordan, others called it Galena but we called it the US. It was the site of the first Silver and lead mine in Utah. A surface vein of lead and silver found and developed by the US Army and some Mormons against the wishes of Brigham Young. I was told that when the Army massacred the 350 Indians at Bear River they were shot with silver/lead bullets from the Jordan Mine.
US/Galena There a large circular tank on wheels, that rode on a circular track. As it was hand pumped the tank would slowly spin as it rolled around the track. It would move quite fast if you pumped real hard. In the old days it was used by the companies’ gunmen to shoot at the strikers from the safety of the tank. In an all-out war one day 5 or 6 scabs (strike-breakers) were killed here by the strikers. Company gunmen were also shooting at anyone and anything up on the mountain and the strikers were shooting back from the hills. Nothing was despised or hated worse than a "Scab". We had no use for a person who would steal another man’s job during hard times. There were many different nationalities in Bingham. They were brought in, in many cases by the companies to replace those who went out on strike for better pay and working conditions. The only people who would honor a strike and not get fired was the Japanese, They were the powder monkey's, they were called this because they would hang from a rope all day long barring rocks down that might damage the steam shovels many were killed doing this. No one else would do this type of work and the company knew it. Farmers it seems came up from the valleys during the winter time to be scabs, earning a bad reputation for themselves.
I was 11years old in 1939 when Russia declared war on Finland with thousands of tanks, planes and guns, Russia was supposed to be Americas ally because they were fighting Germany but they were never an ally of mine. Mother and I cheered for Finland all the way. Russia for all her size and might couldn't seem to conquer Finland but sadly in the end they did prevail.
Two years later on 7 December 1941 an announcement came on the radio that said we were at War. The Japs had caught our fleet anchored and defenseless in Pearl Harbor. All of our ships were sinking and burning, they were bombing at will any installation on the Island. Hawaii was bombed and strafed mercilessly all day long, losses in lives, ships and aircraft were beyond belief. In a little while we heard the declaration of war by our president, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, World War II had begun. We had declared war on Japan, Germany and Italy. Russia was now supposed to be our ally now that we were in it but I never trusted or liked them, still don't like or trust any European country.
War wasn't new to us it was all around us but it was a sobering thought, In a few years I could be going to the war, for three years now Germany had been marching her armies throughout Europe and controlled everything. We had been supplying England and the rest of Europe from the armies of Germany and Italy. Many of our ships had been sunk by the German U-boats. My cousin Virginia lost her husband, Bob Burke at sea.
I remember my Mother during these years would volunteer to serve on various Civil Defense committees where she learned first aid and what to do if we were bombed, I remember the pump tank she kept in the house to put out phosphorescent bombs. Food, tires, gas and many other items were rationed, you could only buy these item if you had a ration book with the right colored stamp in it.
|me walking to back door|
Eventually we moved away from our little house in the trees. We then lived top row of one of the apartments, Neall’s old house. The house was larger and it was modern but I still liked the old house. In the old house we were isolated and now we around other people began to play with other kids and families that lived there. When apartments were full, 17 or 18 families were there, at sundown there would be a baseball game, men, women and children would come out, some played, others watched. All seemed to enjoy the night and each other’s company. Wintertime there was sleigh riding and bob-sleighing.
I’ll always cherish my memories of the mountains and especially the people of Bingham. We were all poor and didn’t know it. We never locked our doors at night and always felt safe.
Bingham at one time was one of the largest cities in Utah. In my time they had about 15,000 living here. There was every kind of stores, many saloons, theaters, even houses of ill repute. Then in 1948 the expanding mining operations finally forced everyone to leave Bingham altogether and move to West Jordan. Bingham is now a ghost town and if you could see my many different homes they would be either setting out in the sky or buried under rock and dirt. My neighbors and friends are scattered like chaff in the wind.
In the old days when Utah Copper owned the mine the mine kind of grew around us and we could roam any place we wanted.
Now the whole mountain is owned by a bunch foreigners that buried the whole town and posted a thousand “No Trespassing Signs” to keep us out. Well, I don’t like them either.