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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Near Copperton in Salt Lake County, Utah — The American Mountains (Southwest)
 

Bingham Canyon

 
 
Bingham Canyon Marker image. Click for full size.
By Dawn Bowen, June 20, 2007
1. Bingham Canyon Marker
Inscription. Bingham Canyon was named for Erastus Bingham and sons, Sanford and Thomas, Utah Pioneers of 1847, who in 1848 took up grazing land in this vicinity, first for private herds and later as a community enterprise. They built a small cabin at the mouth of the canyon, where Sanford, his bride Martha Ann Lewis, and Thomas, a member of the Mormon battalion, made their home.

Accidental discovery of mineral-bearing rock led to some prospecting with promising indications. Advised by Brigham Young that production of food for the settlers and thousands who were coming was more urgent than mining, the Binghams abadoned prospecting with the intention of development later.

In 1850, the Bingham family moved to Ogden and established Bingham's Fort as protection from hostile Indians and assisted in pioneering Weber County. They did not return to Bingham Canyon.
 
Erected 1948 by the Bingham family and the Utah Pioneer Trails and Landmarks Association. (Marker Number 114.)
 
Marker series. This marker is included in the National Historic Landmarks, and the Utah Pioneer Trails and Landmarks Association marker series.
 
Location. 40° 32.085′ N, 112° 8.947′ W. Marker is near Copperton, Utah, in Salt Lake County. Marker
Bingham Canyon Marker and Top of Open-Pit Mine image. Click for full size.
By Bryan R. Bauer, August 24, 2010
2. Bingham Canyon Marker and Top of Open-Pit Mine
can be reached from Kennecott Access Road 4.5 miles west of Bacchus Highway (Utah Highway 111). Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Bingham Canyon UT 84006, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 7 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Stamp Mill Foundation (about 400 feet away, measured in a direct line); The Town of Bingham Canyon (about 400 feet away); Honoring with Glory (approx. 3.3 miles away); Copperton Community Methodist Church (approx. 3.4 miles away); Bingham City Cemetery Veterans Memorial (approx. 4.2 miles away); Fort Herriman (approx. 6.2 miles away); Pioneer Rock Church (approx. 6.2 miles away); Thomas Butterfield (approx. 6.5 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Copperton.
 
More about this marker. The marker is located at the Bingham Canyon Visitorís Center. There is a $5.00 per car or van entrance fee which is donated to local charities. To access the Visitors Center go to the mine security entrance at approximately 12600 South on Utah State Highway 111 (Bacchus Highway). This is about 6 1/2 miles south of the intersection of Utah Highway 48 (New Bingham Highway) and Highway 111. From the Herriman area take Main Street west into the countryside until it bends to the north near the Bureau of the Interior Wild Horse and Burro Center. The security will be on your left after
This and other markers at Bingham Canyon Visitors' Center image. Click for full size.
By Dawn Bowen, June 19, 2007
3. This and other markers at Bingham Canyon Visitors' Center
about a mile. The entrance is marked by a large red Rio Tinto sign.
 
Related markers. Click here for a list of markers that are related to this marker. The town of Bingham Canyon has been swallowed up by the Bingham Canyon open-pit copper mine.
 
Also see . . .
1. Bingham Canyon. (Submitted on June 28, 2007, by Dawn Bowen of Fredericksburg, Virginia.)
2. Daniel Jackling, Father of Open-Pit Copper Mining. Daniel Jackling was one of the first to realize the potential of the huge copper porphyry depost in Copper Hill. He instigated the use of large scale open-cut copper mining here at Bingham Canyon in the early 1900s. (Submitted on August 25, 2010, by Bryan R. Bauer of Kearns, Ut 84118.) 

3. Bingham Canyon Geology and Mining. Everything you ever wanted to know about the geology, mineralogy, mining, and copper production at Bingham Canyon. (Submitted on August 25, 2010, by Bryan R. Bauer of Kearns, Ut 84118.) 
 
Categories. Industry & Commerce
 
National Historic Landmark Marker image. Click for full size.
By Dawn Bowen, June 20, 2007
4. National Historic Landmark Marker
Bingham Canyon Open Pit Copper Mine has been designated a Registered National Historic Landmark under the provisions of the Historic Sites Act of August 21, 1935. This site possesses exceptional value in commemorating ot illustratin the history of the United States. U.S. Department of the Interior, National Park Service, 1972
Copper Hill and Downtown Bingham Canyon image. Click for full size.
circa 1906
5. Copper Hill and Downtown Bingham Canyon
This is the mountain that has been totally removed to form the modern-day open pit. Downtown Bingham Canyon is shown with the large triangular Bingham Mercantile at the junction of the canyons. Up the canyon to the right were the towns of Carr Fork, Phoenix (Greeks), and Highland Boy. Up the left branch were Upper Bingham, Copperfield, Jap Camp, Greek Camp, Upper Terraces, and Dinkyville. All of these towns have been swallowed up by the mine. The only surviving mining oriented town in the area is Copperton, built as a company town in the 1950s.
Copper Hill is Slowly Disappearing image. Click for full size.
circa 1933
6. Copper Hill is Slowly Disappearing
The benches (steps) on Copper Hill are eating backward into the mountain, but only a small shallow pit below the level of the canyon has formed at this point. The road up to Copperfield is threatened and will disappear before long.
Much of Copper Hill is Now Gone image. Click for full size.
circa 1946
7. Much of Copper Hill is Now Gone
The Bingham Mercantile is still visible at the lower center of the picture, but the road up to Copperfield has been eaten away by the mine and replaced by a 7000 foot long tunnel that curves up through the mountain to the left, starting across the canyon to the left of, and just uphill from, the Bingham Mercantile.
Current View of the Pit image. Click for full size.
By Bryan R. Bauer, August 24, 2010
8. Current View of the Pit
How much things can change in just a few years!!! And now much of the activity is out of sight along the top of the north to northeast portion of the pit and on top of the southeast corner of the pit (upper left at the two green knolls visible above the waste dumps).
Open-pit mine at Bingham Canyon image. Click for full size.
By Dawn Bowen, June 20, 2007
9. Open-pit mine at Bingham Canyon
Lower Portal of Tunnel to Copperfield image. Click for full size.
circa 1940
10. Lower Portal of Tunnel to Copperfield
This is the starting point of the 7000 foot, one-way automobile tunnel up to Copperfield. Traffic flow through the tunnel was governed by red and green traffic lights at each end. There was also a pedestrian walkway inside the tunnel and fans to help vent out exhaust fumes. The Bingham Mercantile is just out of sight to the right.
Upper Tunnel Portal in Downtown Copperfield image. Click for full size.
circa 1948
11. Upper Tunnel Portal in Downtown Copperfield
The narrow canyon and limited roadways made tourist traffic a major headache at the upper tunnel portal. Even then, tourists were flocking to an impromptu visitor's center on the edge of the pit, downhill several short blocks from the tunnel. Schoolboys raided mine company ore bins for rock samples for the tourists to buy and hired themselves as "expert" tour guides.
Kennecott Utah Copper Bingham Canyon Mine image. Click for full size.
By Dawn Bowen, June 20, 2007
12. Kennecott Utah Copper Bingham Canyon Mine
How Bingham Canyon's Ore Becomes Metals You Use image. Click for full size.
By Dawn Bowen, June 20, 2007
13. How Bingham Canyon's Ore Becomes Metals You Use
Rocker Shovel Loader image. Click for full size.
By Dawn Bowen, June 20, 2007
14. Rocker Shovel Loader
Invented in 1938, this machine was called "The first successful device to replace human labor" in narrow, confined tunnels in underground hard-rock mines. Operating by compressed air, the bucket scooped up the ore and waste rock that resulted from blasting. THe bucket was lifted overhead and dumped the material into a mine rail car, which hauled the rock from the mine. About 29,000 of these machines, manufactured by EIMCO in Salt Lake City, were sold throughout the world.
Ore Car image. Click for full size.
By Bryan R. Bauer, August 24, 2010
15. Ore Car
Small rail cars like this were used to haul ore through tunnels from Bingham Canyon's underground mines in the late 1800s and early 1900s.
Ore Bucket image. Click for full size.
By Bryan R. Bauer, August 24, 2010
16. Ore Bucket
To bring ore to the surface from early underground mines, buckets such as this were used. Miners would often ride up the shafts along with the ore.
Bingham Canyon Visitors Center Dedication image. Click for full size.
By Bryan R. Bauer, August 24, 2010
17. Bingham Canyon Visitors Center Dedication
Until 1992 the Visitors Center was just an open canopy covering a mine overlook on the western side of the pit. In 1992 a new, expanded Visitors Center with numerous displays inside an enclosed building was constructed near top of the northeast corner of the pit. In 2005 the Visitors Center was moved to the present location close to the northwest corner and about halfway up the pit.
Garnet Skarn (Altered Limestone) image. Click for full size.
By Bryan R. Bauer, August 24, 2010
18. Garnet Skarn (Altered Limestone)
This single rock, one of the rock types from the Bingham Canyon Mine, is made up of numerous minerals. Aside from those visible on the face of the rock [Iron Oxide-stained clay at the upper arrow, Chalcopyrite (Copper) at the lower arrow] it also contains microcospic traces of Gold, Silver, and Molybdenite, as well as Actinolite, Chlorite, Diopside, Epidote, Hematite, and other minor minerals.

More mine mineral samples are on display at the Geology Exhibit in the Visitors Center.
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on June 26, 2007, by Dawn Bowen of Fredericksburg, Virginia. This page has been viewed 3,658 times since then and 77 times this year. Last updated on September 2, 2010, by Bryan R. Bauer of Kearns, Ut 84118. Photos:   1. submitted on June 26, 2007, by Dawn Bowen of Fredericksburg, Virginia.   2. submitted on August 25, 2010, by Bryan R. Bauer of Kearns, Ut 84118.   3, 4. submitted on June 27, 2007, by Dawn Bowen of Fredericksburg, Virginia.   5, 6, 7, 8. submitted on August 25, 2010, by Bryan R. Bauer of Kearns, Ut 84118.   9. submitted on June 26, 2007, by Dawn Bowen of Fredericksburg, Virginia.   10, 11. submitted on August 25, 2010, by Bryan R. Bauer of Kearns, Ut 84118.   12, 13, 14. submitted on June 26, 2007, by Dawn Bowen of Fredericksburg, Virginia.   15, 16, 17, 18. submitted on August 25, 2010, by Bryan R. Bauer of Kearns, Ut 84118. • Kevin W. was the editor who published this page.
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