That I Remember
“When the city grew, it boomed,
but when it closed down it just sort of dried up.”
I wish I knew who wrote that??
|we lived in top left at 38 Main|
Lee was hurt too. His sinuses were crushed and some bones in his face broken that never really healed. He missed school and had to redo first grade too. They told mother that Lee was dead and two doctors want to save my life by cutting my leg off at the hip. Doctor Paul Richards said I can fix it and he did. Poor mother had two kids and a husband to tend.
|Dad Gene Lee|
back yard at Panos Apartments
Lee remembers the day when Dad took Lee and I in his old Model A Ford up to Telegraph to see his new house and neither one of us even heard of Telegraph. It was quite an adventure for us. We had never been above the stores I in Bingham let alone riding through the middle of the Copper mine and we were all eyes and ears. Then we were in Copperfield with all kinds of stores and restaurants. Then back of a big hotel was a building where Dad was going to work. Dad was driving slowly all through Copperfield. It must have been slow enough for Jerry Burke to hop on the back of our car. Lee said, Dad there’s someone on the back. Dad laughed and continued up to Telegraph. Jerry was ten years old when was killed a year or two later hanging on a truck.
Dad drove on up to Telegraph and there it was. All I know was that both Lee and I liked what we were seeing and we were happy. Everything was green I was looking at all kinds of bushes and trees. Pine trees on the left, Quaken Aspen on the right and even trees behind the house. I looked everywhere except at the house. This was Heaven compared to Frog Town. It took time to, get the job, to move, and to heal. I think everyone was happy except mother. There sat and old outhouse but got used to it.
|Bear Gulch, Telegraph winter time|
We had an old wood and coal burning kitchen stove that made the best bread ever. It also heated the water. The water tank fed the water to the stove and the stove sent hot water back. A few hot water kettles helped. A metal clothes iron was always sitting hot and ready to use. Of course the coffee pot always there.
We had a large coal stove in the living room. Each lump of coal had to be carried from a box by the road down the hill, across a bridge, up the hill and into the house. And every piece of wood or kindling had to be sawed, split and stored. Lee and I spent most the summer bringing boards and logs home to be sawed on an old saw horse.
|Dad and Marsel Chea|
Rock Cliff above road
Dad built a terraced flower garden on the ditch side of the house. In the spring the water seemed clean as it ran down over a boulder creek. Sometimes a rain or a flash flood made it a muddy mess.
The road was widened made by blasting away the mountain and dumping the fill on the other side. The mountain now had a high rock cliff from Bodmer’s to the corner. The cliff was high, steep and scary. Lee and I tried to climbing it in many places but had to give up. One day a girl, Carmela Chea showed us how to climb it. Climbing was scary but it was fun. Now we had a pine forests on that side. Paul had a black cat a pretty thing that became a little wild. I saw him sitting on a telephone pole up above the rocks. Dad said he’ll come down when he’s ready and he did. Eldon said Garland shot a cat on another telephone pole, I think it was your cat. It was.
I remember my mother and the Democrat Party. George Panos with the party’s compliments gave us a phone. One of only six in the town. Each house had its own ring but we listened to each other’s conversations, everyone did. None of us kept our nose clean.
One day Lee and I were left alone while mother and dad went to visit my mother’s niece, Edith who lived near the Canyon Garage. Lee cut himself and was bleeding quite a bit. So I called the operator and told her the problem. There was nothing automatic back then. They had to physically plug a phone line into a certain hole. The lady called to the other girls to see if they knew an Eddie or an Edith. That shut the office down “no more calls” until they found my mother and sent her home.
|Gene Gerald Cole Lee|
Across the creek was a forest of ancient Maple Trees. They grew very high and so wide the outer branches touched the ground. It was like entering a tunnel and it was dark. It was my home close to home. I spent many days and slept many night here and nobody except my mother even knew it was here.
Gold was found all the way from the dam to the “Big Tree”. The Heineke brothers, Alvin Cole and even I worked it over every spring. We worked the top. No one dug down to bedrock. The Big Tree was an ancient massive old cottonwood tree. I found all kinds of chippings and arrow heads all over the place. A trail to the right was our only real good Quaken Aspen canyon and it was beautiful.
The top of the mountain was beautiful you were in two different forests. It was beautiful and it was another of my favorite places. There were Oak, Maple, chokecherry, and Pine trees. There was many kinds of bushes and grasses there. The two forests meant you had twice as many animals and birds here. I even I ate some of them.
|we had a hundred trees like this|
in the Red Grove
Telegraph had the best sleigh riding in all the canyons. They came from all over even from the valley. You could see the whole road all the way down to Copperfield and go if it was safe. The first part of the ride was the steepest. This was from the top down to my house. It was where all the bob-sleds who couldn’t make the turn rolled over or crashed. Many tried but not many made it. The run from my house was fast safe run to the Telegraph Apartments or on to the Dinkyville road, or a scary unsafe ride through a tunnel to the Terrace Height’s road or even father if you dared. The welders at the US Mine were kept busy repairing our sleighs.
|Tippy in Dad's garden|
Our house was in Old Telegraph and Bodmer’s house was the dividing line. The houses and water tanks above here are found on all the old pictures. Everything below Bodmer’s was built when the US Mine bought all the claims and tore down the old town and built three apartments. One side of the mountain had some pine trees while the other was covered with oak brush. The dump was wide and long and where we had the games and people gathered.
Below town across the road
from the Cocoa dirt was a flat spot big enough to play our football and
baseball games. But only the lower half
was sand the other half had a lot of rocks.
Teams from Copperfield, Dinkyville and Telegraph came to compete and sometimes
became a bloody free for all. It wasn’t
hard to find players but we were too poor to own a football or a
baseball. Sometimes we made our own by wrapping and sewing our own. Buck Leyba was the big organizer and the referee.
|Old Telegraph Mine|
in front of box canyon
baseball. Sometimes we made our own by wrapping and sewing our own. Buck Leyba was the big organizer and the referee.
Our house became a resting place before climbing the last steep grade up out of the box. I remember an old man who was too old to work anymore stopped to rest and talk and I enjoyed him. He had an accent but different than Grandpa’s. Sometimes I was greeted with some kind foreign hello. He took quite a shine to Tippy and asked if he could take my dog with him and off they would go.
|Paul, Lee, Gene|
with Lee's dog the one I lost
There were no nuts or berries to stop and eat. The acorns were nasty and all the red and white berries were poisonous and the blue ones were not much better. The chokecherry lived up to its name. The elderberries were blue and like the chokecherry could make a tasty jelly. There were no strawberries or raspberries or Indian potatoes.
Butterfield had was the only place to find Indian potatoes they showed up as the snow melted in the spring. We dug it with a stick while the ground was still wet. There were several bulbs under most plants and they were good.
Lee tells about miner from the Queen Mine who collapsed from the cold and was about dead. Mother took him in, warmed him up, and dried his clothes. Fed him and sent him on his way. Queen was about three miles over the mountain.
|Mother at home in the trees|
I came home sometimes with arrow heads or maybe a flint knife. Other times with an old carbide lamp and even a brass candle holder if I found a really old mine. One time I even drug a 75 pound anvil home.
It was a wonderful place to grow up. I got to know every part of the mountain. Mother said she was happy if I went up on the mountain just do not go down to Copperfield. If some mother lost her child they would call my mother and she would tell them that I would bring them home when I was ready and quit worrying.
|Old Telegraph with Aerial Tram building|
History, in the old days the poor mountain was a place graze animals. Then a place to gather wood. At last it became gold mining town but it failed to die at the end of the gold rush. Instead it has continued to produce precious minerals at such a tremendous rate that today it could probably claim undisputed title to the richest strike ever made in mining annals of the far west. It has produced millions of dollars’ worth of gold, copper, lead, and other precious metals.
|Gene and Lee and a goat|
Every spring we had was contaminated before we moved and many were running arsenic or copper before we came. The Salt Lake Valleys aquipher has been contaminated with all the minerals and acids from Bingham and getting worse.
Everywhere you look there were hundreds and hundreds of mine dumps and holes. The Ivies’ lost a horse, I lost a dog and two boys were dead when they found them.
|Alvin Cole and Scotty Robinson|
In my time there was no sign of the mine, its aerial tram or hotel, just Karl John’s house and a huge dump. There was a trail from Telegraph though Dinkeyville right on down to Frog Town. Some called it the Holden Tramway. It was just the “mule train” trail where the ore rode down by gravity and the train was pulled it back up by mules. Even then it was a neat scary walk over a cliff to Dinkeyville. What was it like when men rode these cars??
Everyone played in the “Coca Dirt” and every mother knew where they had been when their kids’ home. The dirt was the fine iron tailings of a stamp mill at the bottom of Telegraph. And just below that was the strongest greenest copper water found anywhere. You could watch a nail would be turned to copper in a short time.
The Giant Chief mined at the discovery point choosing to go down after it. A large dump meant they mined for a long time. The head frame was gone but they left the hoisting machine and its steam driven engine was there for us to play with. And a great big hole to throw rocks in.
|Winter time in Telegraph|
All the mines were dug long before my time but high above the Giant Chief was a rocky point with a tunnel and a small dump. It had candle holders stuck in a wooden log. They were made of brass. It must have been dug before carbide lamps were used.
When I was recuperating from the accident and could not run and play mother started buying model airplanes. I got quite good at it and learned a lot. Most of my talents went into making gliders that always flew quite well. Well I needed some wood for a giant wing. One thing led to another and here I was back of the US Mine’s carpentry shop. “God helps them who helps themselves” so I grabbed an arm full fir strips and ran home. I built the “big wing of my dream”. There it lay all put together with wood strips held together with bailing wire and covered with cloth. Fourteen feet long five feet wide tapering to three feet at the tips and a bow-like beam poking out the center to balance it. It laid out by the fence for a while and I just looked at it and planned. I told my brother it was time and he told his friends.
|Telegraph ladies mother 2nd from right|
Next morning six kids were fighting to carry it and off we went. I wired a bearing cap from the shaft hoist and tried to find the balance point. Now we were looking off the Giant Chief Mine dump to the world below and it was a long long way down. I held the wing high above me trying to get the feel but the updraft wind was so strong it took me up and away. Eldon wrote a story about it, “Accidental Hang Glider”. I never intended to fly and here I was flying off the mountain. As I was flying over some trees I let go and dropped with a crash into them. The wing without me climbed even higher than where it was launched. It floated back and forth like a feather but when it crashed even I heard that. We picked what we could out of the hole it but the iron bearing cap stayed inside. It made a big hole near the top of Marsell Chea’s garage. We disappeared for a while kind of just lay low. When Marsell came home and he never even seemed to notice it before going in to his house.
|Karl John in Old Telegraph|
I loved my town, I loved its people. There were never more than a dozen families and we did have quite a gathering when the sun went down. The parents talked while we played. Things started changing when Karl John finally saved enough money to retire on. He had been nursing rich vein of galena mixed with silver and maybe gold. I wrote his story earlier. One day he loaded everything he owned in a taxi and we never seen him again.
In Bear Gulch above my house was a little valley where many of us panned gold. I never kept any of it but it was fun. The Heineke Brothers set up a motorized slues box and run in the runoff water. They put the gold in a quart on a shelf in our garage and it was heavy. As one would fill, it was taken away. The Madsen’s were gone so it was safe. A county cop had habit of hitting a drunk on the head with a blackjack. They killed Lee Madsen and with the father dead the family was removed from Telegraph. I never had much use for a county sheriff. I never seen my friend, Ron again.
Everything was quite for a while until the Heinekes ran their dozer through Karl’s vein. They made one shipment before the US Mine people took over the claim and followed it into the mountain. They named it the Mayberry Mine and it wasn’t long before ore cars began working the mine, building sheds. Soon stacks of lumber and rail began to cover the ground. We were told to move down to one of the apartments and we lived there for a time.
At night when the Mayberry miners went home I slipped in to see what was going on. I found they were setting out some pretty impressing ore samples and I looked them over. The rock that contained the most gold was kind of a porous volcanic rock. A kind of a rock I had never seen before.
It brought tears to my eyes watching them destroy everything we loved. It hurt again when they buried the whole town.
Where have all my friends gone, long time passing?
Where have all my friends gone, long time ago?
Where have all the people gone?
Gone to graveyards, everyone.
Oh, when will they ever learn?
Oh, when will they ever learn?
Chinky Aguayo said
“Yes, I envy all of you that can go back to your home town and sharpen memories of day gone by, because I have only my memories to reflect on. The town I spent my youth in is gone. There is no remnant of the town to sharpen my mind---nothing to focus on and bring in to sharper remembrance those long-gone days.”
by John Creedon
What a wonderful town we had and what fine people lived here. Some of the finest people on earth were once part and parcel of Bingham. We went through good times and depressions, strikes and shutdowns, floods, fires, snow slides, accidents and sickness standing united. Now our friends and loved ones were scattered over the county. Gone was the feeling of fellowship and love and confidence in your neighbor. We were no longer united—we were divided by the $ sign.
My daughter, Colleen, who lives in Boston, put the old feeling of a Binghamite in a recent letter. It reads in part: “Much as I want to come home and see you, I am rather glad I won’t for a while. To me I will always be able to see it as it was, and it will always be a big part of me, because I think that everyone who ever lived there and loved it as much as I did will always have a part of Bingham with them. Don’t be discouraged, Pop you are the old Bingham, not the Bingham now, forlorn and wrecked, but the Bingham of love and life, of excitement, of Fourth of July parades, of Galena Days, of Christmas mornings with mom’s good cooking, and so many friends packed in that you had to move slowly to get through, of gay parties, of endless friends young and old, famous and infamous.”