Written for tourists, this was the text to a leaflet describing the sights of Bingham Canyon in the early 1950s. Apparently it was accompanied by a map and issued by a local business called the "Copper Trading Post", which later was moved to a site at Lead Mine, just west of Copperton and renamed the "House of Copper". The leaflet describes the site of the original jail in which our
Samuel Monroe Butcher was imprisoned in 1873. What was once the central business district of Bingham is now buried under several hundred feet of waste rock. Wouldn't you like to travel back in time and see the Bingham those tourists saw--but if you've got that ability, why not go back in time a bit further and see the vanished Bingham the leaflet is trying to describe?
PICTURESQUE BINGHAM CANYON, UTAH
Picturesque Bingham Canyon, four miles long and one street wide, is not only the home of the world's largest open pit copper mine, but also the site of several other points of interest. Visitors are cordially invited by the townspeople, city officials, merchants, and the Kennecott Copper Corporation, to see all the points of interest before leaving.
A SHORT STROLL THROUGH BINGHAM CANYON--THE OLD AND THE NEW
This short stroll will take you through the business district of Bingham, down one side and back up the other; use the accompanying map and narrative as your TOUR GUIDE.
On the up-canyon side of the same building in which the COPPER TRADING POST is located, is a saloon. The bar found there was once the main attraction in the lobby of the old "California," the fanciest of some 18 houses of ill fame to be found in Bingham Canyon at one point in its colorful past.
Next to the COPPER TRADING POST, on the down-canyon side, was once the site of a blacksmith shop. This was one of 6 or 8, which in the horse and buggy days shod horses, repaired buggies and mine implements.
The "Chandler Livery Stable," Bingham's largest and best, was to be found where the PRINCESS THEATRE now stands. Here, as in the other livery stables, horses were for hire as a means of transportation to the various parts of the canyon. After the riders reached their destinations, the horses were turned loose to return to their livery stables. Bingham Canyon's old timers will tell you that these animals were trained not to permit themselves to be caught on the return trip so as to prevent free rides. Today, the PRINCESS THEATRE is the chief form of entertainment for the townspeople. The wild and wooly western movies shown there are oftentimes mild when compared to the many episodes which occurred in Bingham during its heyday. In those days, the principal forms of entertainment were gambling, drinking, vaudeville, cock fights, and bulldog fights.
The "Old Crow" saloon, a few doors down the street from the old "Chandler Livery Stable," was the largest of Bingham's 38 saloons. A typical scene from these saloons would show the following: Liquor being stocked by the wagon load; wine barrels stacked to the ceiling, from which customers served themselves; drinking of a 12-ounce schooner of beer for 5c or 2 "shots" of whisky for "two-bits;" and brawling, knifings, and shootings regularly on the menu. The tone of the times is indicated by the name of a saloon called, "Bucket of Blood."
The BINGHAM BULLETIN, a weekly newspaper, is now published where Bingham's first post office was founded in 1870. The mail was brought to the camp from Salt Lake City by wagon or on horseback, and later by train which made two trips daily.
Had your stroll down the street from the Bingham Bulletin been in the old days, you would have walked on board sidewalks. From 10:00 A.M. one morning until 4:00 A.M. the next morning, these walks would have been crowded with people of some 25 nationalities comprising a population of more than 10,000.
The first leg of your journey is completed at the Kennecott Copper Emergency Hospital, where you cross the street to the modern post office. You are now on your return trip to the COPPER TRADING POST and the next point of interest is a three story apartment house which not too long ago was a hospital. Prior to the construction of the hospital in 1918, this was the site of a first aid station. Here emergency treatment was given to miners from the large companies and to those working the many small mines in the area.
The Fire Hall houses Bingham's modern $30,000 truck, used in combating fire, the town's most feared enemy. This fear is justified by past fires. In 1895, a fire destroyed 45 buildings; and in 1932, another destroyed over 100 buildings. Bingham has also had its share of other catastrophes. Snow slides have been a constant menace; in 1926 a single slide killed 39 people. Floods caused by cloud bursts have plagued the city; in 1930, one damaged some 120 buildings.
A few doors up the street from the Fire Hall was the old site of J.C. Penny's third store called, "The Golden Rule."
Where the Bingham Museum now stands was once a bank. There has been only one bank robbery in Bingham's history, and the robber was apprehended soon after the thrilling holdup was staged. Prior to the establishment of the bank in 1903, the site was the location of a large general store. Its proprietor acted as banker. Sometimes miners left money with him for years at a time.
The first jail was a log cabin containing an iron-barred cell. The present jail and city hall were erected in 1914. Once this was one of the busiest places in town. At one time there were 18 murderers in the State Penitentiary from Bingham Canyon. There was apparently a lack of uniformity in punishment as one murderer reputedly was merely fined $299.00 for his crime. Rafael Lopez, the town's most notorious murderer, who killed 5 men and wounded another, was never apprehended despite the diligent efforts of the police.
Upon completing your stroll through the city, we invite you to the COPPER TRADING POST where the clerks will gladly answer any questions you may have.
A VISIT TO THE BINGHAM MUSEUM:
Another must for tourists is a visit to the Bingham Museum. There you will find an interesting collection of pictures, ore specimens, and relics of Bingham Canyon's colorful past. In addition there is information on the modern mine, its operations and products made from the refined copper ore.
Restroom facilities are available for your use.
A DRIVE THROUGH THE UNIQUE VEHICULAR TUNNEL:
An interesting 20 minutes or so can be spent by taking a drive through the 1 1/4 mile vehicular tunnel. This passageway travels underneath a portion of the mine and leads to Copperfield, once a thriving mining community, two miles south of Bingham. It was constructed to replace a part of the County Road which then ran directly over the ore body; the section which is now the center of the pit. The tunnel was designed for one-way traffic only, and traffic is regulated by lights at either end which in turn are automatically controlled by photo-electric cells (electric eyes). Travelers never cease to be amazed at the sensation they experience in taking this drive, and all visitors should avail themselves of the opportunity.
A LOOK AT THE CABLE TRAMWAY
The cable tramway operated by Kennecott Copper will be of interest to you. It is found on the right some 100 yards up the street from the COPPER TRADING POST as you travel toward the mine observation platform. This tramway provides Kennecott Copper a means of quick access from the town level to company offices, mine facilities and levels above.
The 15-man tram cars travel a distance of 560' from top to bottom on a grade of 21 degrees. The cables pulling these cars are 7/8 of an inch in diameter. Power for operating the tramway is provided by one 35-hp electric motor. Special safety features are incorporated to prevent runaway cars in case of cable breakage or power failures.
Use of this tramway is restricted to company employees.
A VIEW OF THE MINE FROM THE OBSERVATION PLATFORM
In order to get to the mine observation platform from the COPPER TRADING POST, follow the road in front of the store up the canyon for 3/4 of a mile. There, on the left side of the road, you may park in the lot provided and walk about 100 yards to the observation platform. There you will see a spectacular view of the world's largest open pit copper mine.
The COPPER TRADING POST hopes this TOUR GUIDE will make your visit in Bingham more interesting and meaningful. We will be happy to give you other information or aid you in any possible manner to make your stay more enjoyable.
WE MAIL ANYWHERE
To tour Bingham Canyon and its copper mine in 1948 (it's a movie), click here.
To examine detailed maps of Bingham Canyon between 1890 and 1913, click here.
To see Mark Evans' collection of Bingham postcards and pictures, click here.