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This page was last updated on November 1, 2018.
(This is a work in progress; research continues.)
The Butterfield tunnel was started in 1892 by the Butterfield Mining Company, and in 1895 reached a length of 8,200 feet. Its purpose was to allow deep access to the Butterfield's mining claims. All mines at Bingham suffered due to water fowling the lower workings of the mines after they reach about 500 to 800 feet, and the Butterfield tunnel's owners other goal was to drain their claims at a depth of 1,400 feet deeper than their deepest workings, and 1,800 feet below the surface. The Butterfield tunnel never did reach sufficient length to contact the company's mining claims, mostly because the ore being mined in those upper workings did not pay enough to keep the company in business, much less continue the tunnel project. The tunnel remained at 8,200 feet length for 18 years, from 1895 to 1923, when the United States Smelting, Refining and Mining took a lease on the tunnel as part of its expansion plans.
Beginning in 1923, the U. S. company extended the Butterfield tunnel another 10,000 feet to its final length of 18,400 feet, connecting with the United States company's Niagara tunnel. Over the intervening years, the Butterfield tunnel had sat dormant and unused, and was allowed to fall into disrepair from numerous cave-ins and failed timber works. To make use of the tunnel's full length, the U. S. company was forced to make all needed repairs and put the tunnel into good, safe condition. Other mining companies benefitted from the U. S. extension's having to pass under their claims, and the extension tunnel allowed far more exploration then each company otherwise would have been able to complete, at a much greater depth, with the Park-Bingham being likely the most recognizable name. Ownership of the Butterfield mine and tunnel passed to the Combined Metals Reduction company in 1932, and that company continued to use the tunnel as its main haulage tunnel into the early 1950s, making much progress in developing its various claims. Changes in the Combined Metals' financial fortunes resulted in their selling the interests at Bingham to Kennecott Copper Corporation in December 1955. As mentioned at the first of this summary, the Butterfield tunnel remains today, owned by Kennecott's successor Rio Tinto, draining about 500 gallons per minute into Butterfield Creek.
The Butterfield tunnel drained the mines in the upper parts of Bingham Canyon, including the Old Jordan, Old Telegraph and Galena mines.
When first completed in 1894, the Butterfield tunnel was 8,200 feet in length. Its portal was in Butterfield Canyon, south of the Bingham district.
With the completion of the Butterfield tunnel to its interim length of 8,200 feet in 1894, and lack of activity thereafter, there was activity on the company's Queen tunnel for use as its haulage tunnel until the expansion of the adjacent United States mine brought the Butterfield tunnel back into its important place as a Bingham landmark.
In the early 1920s, the Butterfield tunnel was extended to 18,400 feet by the United States Smelting Refining & Mining company to drain the lower regions of its Jordan and Telegraph mines.
The following comes from the EPA report for the Kennecott South Zone Superfund Site:
The Butterfield Mining Company began the Butterfield Mine as a lead/zinc/silver mine about 1892. The mine had two portals, the upper portal was the Queen Mine, and the lower the Butterfield Mine. Drainage from both mines exited out of the Butterfield Mine portal. Waste rock from the adits and shafts were dumped along the edges of Butterfield Creek. At some locations, the waste rock was dumped into the creek itself. In the early 1900s, the operators of the mine were sued by Herriman irrigation water users. The water users claimed that the mine was intercepting water which, before mining, fed springs along Butterfield Creek. Not only had the mining company intercepted Herriman water, they had polluted it as well, claimed the irrigators. The court eventually decided that the Herriman water users were entitled to half of the water emanating from the portal of the mine and the mining company the other half.
Later owners, notably the USSRM, extended the adit significantly to intersect with its other adits and shafts. Today the Butterfield Mine adit is 3.5 miles (18,400 feet) long and intersects with the Niagara Shaft (underneath the Bingham Canyon Pit) and the Bingham Tunnel (which exits at Lark). Mining continued here at least until 1952 by Combined Metals Reduction Company. The tunnel itself was used for operations until the 1960s. The portal of the mine still exists and continues to discharge water (about 500 gallons per minute).
(EPA, Record Of Decision, Kennecott South Zone Site, Butterfield Mine, Butterfield Canyon and Herriman (OU3), September 28, 2001)
Butterfield Mine and Tunnel
July 3, 1892
"The Butterfield tunnel is being pushed. It will probably be finished July 24." (Salt Lake Herald, July 3, 1892)
November 20, 1892
"The Butterfield tunnel is 2,000 feet." (Salt Lake Herald, November 20, 1892)
September 5, 1893
"The long Butterfield tunnel is now in near 7,000 feet and is being driven steadily ahead, day and night shifts working." (Salt Lake Herald, September 5, 1893)
August 13, 1894
"The long Butterfield tunnel is now in one mile and a half (about 8000 feet), and work continues, but with a much smaller force of men, we are told, than the company has employed heretofore." (Salt Lake Herald, August 13, 1894)
June 24, 1895
"As yet everything is quiet as a tomb around the Butterfield company's works, in Butterfield gulch, but it is hoped that work will soon be resumed." (Salt Lake Herald, June 24, 1895)
September 9, 1895
"The Butterfield Mining company has suspended all work on its long tunnel in Butterfield canyon, leaving the place deserted." (Salt Lake Herald Republican, September 9, 1895)
September 13, 1895
Work on the Butterfield tunnel was suspended due to lack of water flowing in Butterfield Creek, which in turn meant that the water-power plant could not produce electricity for the air compressor, which in turn meant no drilling could take place. The tunnel had reached a length of 8,200 feet, reportedly half of its intended length. The tunnel face was almost to the Queen vein, and the flow of water exiting at the tunnel portal had been reduced to 200 cubic feet per minute (about 1400 gallons per minute). Work was to resume when the creek flow increased after the fall rains. (Salt Lake Tribune, September 13, 1895)
January 1, 1896
"During the year 1895 the Butterfield tunnel was driven some 800 feet, and has attained a length of 8200 feet. While operations has stopped during the winter, they are expected to resume in the coming spring." (Salt Lake Tribune, January 1, 1896)
January 18, 1896
Although work on the Butterfield tunnel had stopped for the winter, both the Queen and Northern Chief mines were shipping ore (presumably from the Queen tunnel). The tunnel was 1800 feet below the surface, and 1400 feet below the deepest workings of the company. Both mines were full of water at their deepest depths, and stale air and cramped conditions were preventing further workings. Completion of the tunnel would remedy the conditions, and the face was just 1200 feet away from the closest workings, which was the Northern Chief vein of the Butterfield Mining Company. (Salt Lake Herald, January 18, 1896)
February 8, 1896
"A remarkable tunnel reaching a depth below the surface of 2200 feet and having a length of 8200 feet. It will tap and drain the two mines owned by the company." (Mining & Scientific Press, February 8, 1896)
February 12, 1896
"Alex Hyslop has a most interesting article in the last issue of the Mining and Scientific Press descriptive of the long Butterfield tunnel in West mountain mining district." (Salt Lake Herald, February 12, 1896) (digital editions of this particular year of Mining and Scientific Press, Volume 72, not available online)
May 20, 1896
The mines of the Butterfield group were reported as not being operated "for production this year." The mines include the Queen, Bemis-Hyatt, French Spy, Eagle Bird, Old Times and Northern Chief. The company was also "running" the Queen and Butterfield tunnels, with the Butterfield tunnel reported as being 8200 feet in length, with 1000 gallons per minute flowing from its opening. Plans were still in place for the Butterfield to "cut" the Northern Chief vein very soon. The mining company itself was owned by "a wealthy French syndicate," with a representative due "this month from France" to discuss future plans. (Salt Lake Tribune, May 20, 1896)
June 13, 1896
"From the Inter-Mountain Mining Review we learn that there is a prospect of resumption of work in the Butterfield tunnel, which is one of the most important enterprises in the Bingham district, as it will drain a large territory in which are such ore producers as the Old Telegraph, Old Jordan, Galena and many other mines. In addition it will utilize the flow of water as power for generating electric current and for irrigation. The tunnel is already in 8,200 ft., and will cut some of the mines at a depth of 1,400 ft. below their present deepest workings." In July, it was reported that about a car load of ore per week was being shipped from the Northern Chief mine, by way of the Queen tunnel. Work in the Queen mine was about to resume. (Engineering and Mining Journal, June 13, 1896; July 4, 1896)
September 26, 1896
In an illustration of possible problems accessing the ore in the Queen and Northern Chief mines of the Butterfield Mining company, or possibly the ore veins themselves changing in character, the Butterfield Mining company purchased the Antelope mine near the Dalton & Lark mine. The Butterfield company was reported as being "a French and American syndicate." (Engineering and Mining Journal, September 26, 1896)
January 8, 1897
Work on the Butterfield tunnel had been resumed. (Salt Lake Herald, January 8, 1897)
March 2, 1897
Judge Hiles, of the Utah Third District Court, found in favor of the Herriman Irrigation Company in its suit against the Butterfield Mining Company, concerning the rights to the water in Butterfield Creek, as well as the water issuing from the Butterfield tunnel. The judge found that the irrigation company was entitled to the entire flow of the creek, while the mining company was entitled to the entire flow of water issuing from the Butterfield and Queen tunnels, minus the amount as recorded at a weir (measuring gate) located above the dam where the mining company was taking its supply. The judge also found the the irrigation company was entitled to 10 percent of the flow from the Butterfield drain tunnel to make up for water lost to the flow of Butterfield creek due to diminished flow of certain springs that had previously contributed to the natural flow of the creek. (Salt Lake Herald, March 3, 1897, "yesterday"; the result was that the mining company was entitled to 87 percent of the flow from the drain tunnel.)
(This was the start of what would later become a landmark case in the determination of ownership of water rights in the West. The mining company appealed the decision of the District Court, to the Utah Supreme Court, which in May 1899 found in favor of the irrigation company, agreeing that the drain tunnel had indeed diminished the flow of the springs. The Utah Supreme Court returned the case to the lower court for a new trial. The second trial, decided on December 15, 1900, resulted in a decree that divided the flow of water from the drain tunnel, and this was also appealed to the Utah Supreme Court, which found in favor of the irrigation company, changing the decree of the lower court, increasing the irrigation company's portion of the flow from the drain tunnel from 13 percent to 40 percent (reducing the mining company's portion from 87 percent to 60 percent). The final decision by the Utah Supreme Court came on July 19, 1902.)
By January 1898, work in the Butterfield tunnel had reached 8,000 feet and was in the white limestone rock that signaled it was very close to an ore vein. The tunnel was 1,500 feet vertically below the surface at that point.
December 31, 1899
"The deep tunnel from Butterfield canyon has not been extended during the year. All the work that has been done during several months was for the purpose of keeping the tunnel in first class repair and ready for the resumption of work and the extension of the tunnel further under the properties of the company in the coming year." (Salt Lake Tribune, December 31, 1899; January 1, 1900)
September 24, 1900
The following comes from the September 24, 1900 issue of the Salt Lake Herald newspaper:
The Butterfield tunnel -- a grand work (7x9 feet) and flowing 450 gallons of water per minute -- cuts a number of good veins that have never even been prospected by the drift; so that it may be said the company has hardly made a beginning so far as actual mining is concerned.
That operations will begin in the near future and on a large scale seems assured, as conditions that have been waited for are shaping. The company, a French corporation with abundant means, practically suspended operations in 1893, and has not resumed, owing to a series of discouragements of which the repeal of the Sherman law and fall in price of silver was the beginning. Next followed the big slump in lead, ruling until the Dingley tariff took effect. Then came the celebrated Herriman-Butterfield water suit, seriously affecting the company's interests, that has been dragging through the courts and is not yet settled, while a suit practically involving title to the great Eagle Bird vein has only just been decided in the company's favor as owner of the apex.
The Butterfield company has expended upwards of $250,000 in machinery and improvements, including the long tunnels and Eagle Bird and Mountain Chief developments. It has as a whole the heaviest and finest mining machinery in Bingham, equipped for running by both steam and water power, and housed in first-class buildings. With the Butterfield tunnel extended to the Eagle Bird and Mountain Chief, and suitable reduction works installed at its mouth, the company could soon shape its affairs to give employment to a hundred men and become a dividend payer.
December 15, 1900
Following the decision by the Utah Supreme Court in the 1897 suit by Herriman farmers, finding in favor of the mining company as to rights to the water flowing from the Butterfield tunnel, the mining company announced that it would proceed with development of its properties, with the Butterfield and Queen properties being mentioned. (Deseret News, December 15, 1900)
April 6, 1901
The Butterfield Mining Company was still active, having added 5 stamps to its mill at Bingham, making a total of 10 stamps producing 60 tons of ore per day. No mention of which mine the ore was coming from. (Engineering and Mining Journal, April 6, 1901)
January 21, 1903
All of the mine property and "personal" property, consisting of all mining claims and all machinery and improvements at the surface workings of the Butterfield Mining company, were to be sold in a receiver's sale on the steps of the Salt Lake County courthouse, by order of the Third District Court on December 4, 1902. (Salt Lake Tribune, January 1, 1903; including a full list of 32 mining claims, including those mentioned in many other newspaper accounts, namely the Northern Chief, the Queen, and the Eagle Bird claims.)
September 15, 1903
The Butterfield Mining Company, and its mining properties that included the Butterfield, Queen, Eagle Bird, and Northern Chief mines, as well as the Queen and Butterfield tunnels, was purchased by the Conglomerate Mining Company (of Denver). The new owners announced plans to extend the Butterfield tunnel another 600 feet (beyond its then-current length of 8,200 feet) to put it directly under the Eagle Bird ore vein. (Salt Lake Mining Review, September 15, 1903)
The purchase of the Butterfield property by the Conglomerate company came after the Conglomerate company had sold the "Old" Telegraph mine to the United States Mining Company in March 1899 for a reported $1 million. Between 1899 and 1903, the Conglomerate company had been active in the purchase of mines located in Colorado and Idaho, all under the active management of Giovanni Lavagnino.
The Conglomerate company had been organized by Giovanni Lavagnino and a group of Colorado investors in 1896 to purchase the Old Telegraph mine following a lengthy lawsuit concerning the validity and value of the ore reserves in the Telegraph mine, and how those reserves had been represented in 1879 at the time of its sale to a group of French investors. A new company was organized in France to purchase the Telegraph mine, but that company got into financial difficulty resulting from its loss of an encroachment lawsuit for its Lexington mine in Butte, Montana, which in turn forced the company into bankruptcy. Research has found that throughout the 1879 purchase, and the subsequent reorganizations, it was Giovanni Lavagnino who was a constant central figure. Lavagnino had been sent from France in 1879 to manage the Telegraph mine and came to appreciate the future of mining in Bingham. Lavagnino was designated as the manager of the Conglomerate company when it was organized in 1896.
Queen Mine and Tunnel
Opened by February 1881 by George S. Smith, with a steam pump and hoist in place, making the sinking of a shaft easier into the already discovered very rich ore. The ore was rich enough that a stamp mill was being considered. (Salt Lake Tribune, February 8, 1881)
By August 1881, the Queen mine, located in Black Jack Gulch, had sunk its shaft 300 feet, and had put in a 670-foot level tunnel or adit. A boarding house had been constructed, along with a boiler house. The Queen mine was part of the Northern Chief group of the Northern Chief Mining company, which consisted of the Northern Chief, Little Nellie, Experiment, Badger, Boston, Russell, Fisher, Queen, Bemis, Chubb, Monterey, Arthur, Ute, Old Times, Liberty, Summit, and Red Club claims, and the Northern Chief tunnel. The Old Times claim, with its 1,400 feet of length, was one of the oldest claims in Black Jack Gulch and had been purchased the previous winter. The Northern Chief tunnel, when completed, would tap the French Spy and Eagle Bird lodes at 1,000 feet, and the Northern Chief and Little Nellie lodes at 1,400 feet. The tunnel was currently at 300 feet and the Bemis and Queen lodes were being actively worked. (Salt Lake Herald, August 10, 1881)
In February 1884, the Northern Chief Mining company advertised for contractors to grade the mill site in Black Jack canyon, to grade a road to the mill site, and to haul machinery, lumber and brick to the mill site. (Salt Lake Herald, February 14, 1884)
By July 1892, the Northern Chief mine (and presumably the Queen mine) was shown as being part of the Butterfield Mining Company. (Salt Lake Tribune, July 30, 1892)
December 24, 1892
The Butterfield Mining company was to push a tunnel 3,000 feet in length into the Queen vein, one of the richest of the company's group of properties. (Salt Lake Herald, December 24, 1892)
The first reference in online newspapers to the Queen tunnel was in the April 29, 1895 issue of the Salt Lake Herald. The story was about an ore vein having been struck in the Queen tunnel, but later investigation revealed that the vein belonged to an adjacent claim instead of the Northern Chief's Eagle Bird claim. (Salt Lake Herald, June 1, 1895)
January 1, 1896
"During the past year 150 tons of ore were shipped from the Queen mine." (Salt Lake Tribune, January 1, 1896)
By January 1896, the Queen mine was inactive because "the water has taken complete possession" of the mine. Further activity awaited the completion of the Butterfield tunnel, at a depth 1,400 below the lowest levels. (Salt Lake Herald, January 18, 1896)
January 1, 1897
The Queen tunnel was being pushed to intersect the Northern Chief vein, at a depth of 500 feet below the upper workings. This was expected to open up the Northern Chief ground to extraction for many years to come." (Salt Lake Tribune, January 1, 1897)
By January 1898 the Queen tunnel had been pushed under the Northern Chief vein, with the intention being to develop the Northern Chief vein during 1898. The Northern Chief mine vertical shaft was located at the head of Porcupine Gulch. The low price of silver and lead was forcing much less activity in all of the Butterfield company's mines. (Salt Lake Tribune, January 1, 1898)
November 25, 1900
The mill site at the portal of the Queen tunnel had been graded and was ready for timber framing. Timber for the mill was at Sandy awaiting movement to the mill site. (Salt Lake Tribune, November 25, 1900)
January 5, 1901
There had been delays in the delivery of the machinery for the Butterfield company's new mill at the mouth of the Queen tunnel. But it would soon be in operation. By January 19th, the mill had made its first trial run, using ore stockpiled from the Eagle Bird mine. By February 10th, the mill had been running for about a week. (Deseret Evening News, January 5, 1901; January 19, 1901; Salt Lake Tribune, February 10, 1901)
Electric power from the Telluride company arrived at the Queen mill in October 1901. (Salt Lake Tribune, October 13, 1901)
December 21, 1903
Giovanni Lavagnino was shown as manager of the Butterfield Mining company. The Eagle Bird mine was shipping ore by way of the Queen tunnel. The "Butterfield" mill would not be returned to operation until "radical" changes had been made to its processes and table capacity. (Salt Lake Herald, December 21, 1903)
(At this time, between 1903 and 1905, ownership of the Butterfield Mining company, and its Queen tunnel and Queen mill, may have been by Giovanni Lavagnino personally, and not by his associated Conglomerate Mining company.)
June 4, 1904
Nearly 3,000 tons of ore from the Eagle Bird on the Queen tunnel level, were on the dumps at the concentrator mill at the mouth of the Queen tunnel. The mill was "undergoing radical changes" and "would be ready to start up in July with a daily capacity of 50 tons and a process best adapted to the treatment of Butterfield ores." (Deseret Evening News, June 4, 1904)
October 30, 1904
"Bingham Bulletin: About 100 tons of ore, carrying 8 per cent lead, 15 ounces silver and some gold, is being treated daily at the Queen (Butterfield) mill with excellent results; the tailings showing very little loss. Manager Lavignino seems to have at last solved the problem of how to treat the Butterfield low grades, of which they are thousands of tons blocked out." (Salt Lake Tribune, October 16, 1904; Salt Lake Mining Review, October 30, 1904)
Following the receiver's sale of the Butterfield Mining company in January 1903, and subsequent sale to Giovanni Lavagnino and his Conglomerate Mining company in about March 1905, the new owners announced that the Queen mill was to be started up very soon, and that the Queen, Northern Chief and Eagle Bird mines would soon be shipping ore by way of the Queen tunnel. (Salt Lake Tribune, March 12, 1905)
March 15, 1905
"A. P. Hanson, M. E., of Salt Lake, has recently accepted the superintendency of the old Queen and Butterfield mines, at Bingham, owned by the Conglomerate Mining company, of which G. Lavagnino, also of Salt Lake, is president and general manager." (Salt Lake Mining Review, March 15, 1905)
"Butterfield tunnel starts from main Butterfield Canyon, 1,000 feet below and about 1 mile east of Queen tunnel. It is mapped and reported to extend N. 60° 28' W., with an absolutely straight course for 8,766 feet, and to lie almost immediately under the Queen on its inner course. It was driven with the twofold view of draining the upper workings so as to permit exploitation of Queen vein downward and of cutting the known lodes at a depth." (USGS Professional Paper 38, "Economic Geology of the Bingham Mining District, Utah," page 325)
The important phrase here is "almost," because the tunnel never did reach the ground below the Queen workings. Because of limited funds available to the Conglomerate company, the Butterfield tunnel lay dormant and unused, while the company continued shipping from its mines by way of the Queen tunnel. At this time, the Butterfield tunnel, besides not being close to the Queen ground, was also not close to the Silver Shield ground, which was the later Bingham-Galena ground, and after that, the Park-Bingham ground. But the expansion plans of the United States company would take care of that.
(In the years following the purchase of the Butterfield mine by Giovanni Lavagnino in 1903, a review of online newspapers indicates that Lavagnino was active in the buying and selling of mining claims at Bingham, likely ensuring clear title prior to selling them to the growing number of corporations and investment groups moving into mining activity at Bingham. He made liberal use of the court systems both as a plaintiff and as a defendant. He and his family moved to Pasadena, California, in August 1905, but he returned to Salt Lake City on a regular basis.)
(Lavagnino and his wife had two sons, John born in July 1896, Gerald born in June 1898, and a daughter Louise, born in December 1899. Giovanni Francesco Lavagnino passed away on March 28, 1919 at age 70, and was a resident of Pasadena at the time. He is buried in Forest Lawn cemetery in Los Angeles.)
November 16, 1905
"Owing to the unusual light snow-fall last winter, and consequent shortage of water, the Queen mill has been allowed to remain idle throughout the year, and the owners are debating whether to bring water to the mill or move the mill to water. One of the two ways will be decided upon before many months." "No work of importance has been done during the season below the Queen tunnel level. In fact, the long Butterfield tunnel has not been operated for several years, and at present nothing indicates a resumption at that point in the near future." (Salt Lake Tribune, November 16, 1905)
August 14, 1906
"A. P. Hanson returned Sunday evening from Bingham after a couple of days spent in looking over the Butterfield group of properties and other interests of the Conglomerate Mining company. Mr. Hanson states that at the Queen tunnel a regular force of five men are now employed, partly on repair work and retimbering and partly in exploring new territory, all of which work is progressing satisfactorily." "Owing to legal complications the management decided some time ago not to place the Queen mill in commission this season, and all the ore that it was necessary to remove in the course of development work has been piled on the dump above the mill for future reference. Last year enough first-class ore was sold to about pay all the running expenses, but so far this year no effort has been made to market any at all." (Salt Lake Tribune, August 14, 1906)
(After 1906, there was no mention of either the Queen tunnel or the Queen mill in online newspapers.)
August 8, 1916
The Lavagnino Conglomerate Company was incorporated. At the time, Giovanni Lavagnino and his wife Mary (also an officer of the company) were residents of Pasadena, California. (Salt Lake Tribune, August 8, 1916)
Butterfield Tunnel Extended, 1922-1923
The Butterfield tunnel, owned by Giovanni Lavagnino and his Conglomerate Mining company after 1903, was to lay dormant and unused until 1922 when the United States company took a lease on the tunnel as part of its expansion plans. As part of the United States company plans to extend the Butterfield tunnel, it had to reach an agreement to be allowed to pass through the Bingham-Galena [later Park-Bingham] ground. The agreement included right-of-way for the Park-Bingham company to move ore from its ground that would be opened up by the extended Butterfield tunnel, out through the tunnel, and possibly through the United States company's Niagara tunnel.
October 27, 1921
"Bingham -- United States Smelting Refining & Mining Co. making preparations for extending deep Butterfield tunnel through Bingham Galena ground to drain mines." (Richfield Reaper, October 27, 1921)
November 14, 1922
"U. S. S. Co. Leases Butterfield Tunnel -- Bingham, Nov. 14. -- The Bingham mines department of the United States Smelting, Refining and Mining company has secured the use of the Butterfield tunnel, in order to develop it United States mine at greater depth. This tunnel, when extended into United States ground, will be 420 feet below the present deepest workings. Work will begin at once to clean out the tunnel, which will be laid with heavy rails." (Salt Lake Telegram, November 14, 1922)
(Recall that the lease of the tunnel was from the Lavagnino group's Conglomerate Mining company, and that the extended tunnel would pass through the Bingham-Galena group's ground for 1400 feet to reach the United States ground.)
November 17, 1922
"United States Mining Co. Commence Work In Butterfield Canyon -- A number of carpenters and carpenter helpers are now at work in Butterfield canyon building bunk houses, blacksmith shop, offices and other necessary buildings in connection with the mining business. The United States Mining Co. has secured the right to use the Butterfield tunnel, near Lark in order to develop the company's property to a greater depth which will when thoroughly developed be about 450 feet below the present deepest workings of the company. An attempt was made some time ago to secure the Mascotte Tunnel, which would have given the United States Co. a much greater depth, but with the Ohio Copper Co.'s precipitating plant in full swing that project has been abandoned." (Bingham News, November 17, 1922)
November 30, 1922
"The United States Mining Company is preparing to push work in the old Butterfield tunnel at Bingham, which it recently acquired. It is believed that this will be the main operating tunnel of this property. At the mouth of the Niagara tunnel now being used there is no dump room, making it necessary to ship waste a long distance. By extending the Butterfield tunnel about one mile it will connect with a triple compartment shaft now being sunk." (Salt Lake Mining Review, November 30, 1922)
December 6, 1922
The following comes from the December 6, 1922 issue of the Salt Lake Telegram newspaper:
Tunnel Helps Park Bingham -- Butterfield Crosscuts 1400 Ft. Through Property -- More important, however, is reported to be the possible development work of the company's ground in Bingham, due to the decision of the United States company to drive the Butterfield tunnel. Mr. Joseph explains that this tunnel will crosscut 1400 feet of what was formerly known as the Silver Shield and then later the Bingham Galena territory.
The Butterfield tunnel will follow a level about 500 feet below that of the Niagara tunnel, from which heading all exploration has been done in the Silver Shield ground, and 700 feet further south than any previous development.
Considerable interest follows the advancement of the Butterfield tunnel into the United States territory at Bingham. Originally intended to furnish ventilation and drainage for the Queen and the Telegraph mines, now a part of the United States estate, the tunnel, although driven about 7000 feet to the east endline of the Willow Springs claim of the Silver Shield property, never was completed.
Recently the United States Mining company, on acquiring the rights to the adit, built a camp at the portal about four miles from Herriman and commenced the installation of machinery. Cleaning out and retimbering the old heading has been commenced.
In event the Park Bingham company should desire to start exploration of its Silver Shield of Bingham Galena claims, ore and waste will be hauled, according to the agreement made with the United States company, at a reasonable charge for a period of thirty months, said Mr. Joseph.
The United States company has sunk 200 feet below the level of the Niagara tunnel, at which depth it is understood, most encouraging conditions have been found to prevail. By driving the Butterfield tunnel an additional depth of 500 feet below the Niagara tunnel, will be reached and improved ventilation and drainage secured. It is assumed that inasmuch as the transportation facilities at Bingham are superior to those available at the portal of the Butterfield tunnel, the Niagara tunnel will be used for hauling of ore when the new work is completed.
The Niagara tunnel was located at the mouth of Copper Center Gulch, where it met the main Bingham Canyon in Copperfield, across from the vehicular tunnel.
December 24, 1922
"Work Rushing On Butterfield Tunnel -- Bingham, Dec. 3. -- The United States Mining company is rushing work on the Butterfield tunnel, which it recently acquired through purchase. A new seven-drill compressor is being installed and two shifts are employed cleaning out the tunnel. New modern buildings are being erected for the accommodation of the workmen." (Salt Lake Telegram, December 24, 1922; Salt Lake Mining Review, December 30, 1922)
(Note that the words "by purchase" was used above, as opposed to the month earlier "leases.")
December 23, 1922
Concerning United States Mining's work in the Butterfield tunnel, "This company has planned a lot of new exploratory work the most important of which is the extension of the Butterfield Tunnel in Butterfield canyon. This adit will cut the ore channels of this company to a much greater depth and it is anticipated will make important ore disclosures." (Bingham News, December 23, 1922)
January 26, 1923
"The company [Park-Bingham Mining Co.] has a group of claims in Bingham that have been operated for a number of years without having located a permanent ore deposit. There is some hopes of results being obtained in these properties as the United States Mining company is to extend the big Butterfield tunnel through this ground, which will make an opening at a considerable depth in the Park-Bingham holdings. This is an old tunnel which is now being cleaned up, though several caves have been found and it will take a few weeks before the drive can be started." (Park Record, January 26, 1923)
One fact to keep straight here is that the Park-Bingham company, which held the Silver Shield and other claims, did not own any interest in the Butterfield tunnel. The tunnel was owned by the adjacent Conglomerate company, the successor to the original Butterfield Mining company, which held the Queen and other claims. It was the control of the Park-Bingham company by the United States company in September 1923 that allowed the Park-Bingham company to begin using the Butterfield tunnel, and that use continued through to after Combined Metals bought control of the Park-Bingham in 1932. Combined Metals had bought control of the Conglomerate company six months before, in July 1931.
April 7, 1923
"Butterfield Tunnel Goes Ahead -- Axel Rhodes who has charge of the development work at the Butterfield Tunnel for the United States Mining Co. was in camp this week amid reports excellent progress in the clearing up of the tunnel. From 18 to 20 men are being employed and about 75 feet a day is the average clean-up by this number of men, besides cleaning up the badly caved parts of the drift a new track and air-line is being installed. The total length of the tunnel to the face of the drift is 8,800 feet and over 5,000 feet of that work has already been accomplished since operations commenced some six months ago, in that time a new air-compressor has been installed and a bunk house and all the necessary offices have been built together with the work done in the tunnel." (Bingham News, April 7, 1923)
August 22, 1923
"About 400 feet a month is being made by the United States Smelting, Refining and Mining Company in driving the Butterfield tunnel to furnish improved ventilation and drainage for the United States mine, the producer of many millions of dollars of silver lead ore. Opening up of large ore bodies at a depth of 200 feet below the Niagara or main tunnel decided the company to undertake this development. By the first of the year the tunnel should be at or very near Its objective." (Boston Globe, August 22, 1923; Wall Street Journal, August 23, 1923)
September 29, 1923
The Park-Bingham Mining company was reorganized, to put officials of United States Smelting, Refining and Mining in control. The reorganization included new officers, new board members, and sale of large blocks of stock to "substantial mine operators of the state." At the time of the reorganization, the Park-Bingham company owned two groups of mining claims, including a group on the east side of Park City, and the Silver Shield group at Bingham. It was this group of claims at Bingham that was the main focus of the reorganization. The United States company had purchased a "right of way" through the Butterfield tunnel, and began extending the Butterfield tunnel to develop the ground below its Niagara tunnel. The Butterfield tunnel was still 175 feet short of entering Park-Bingham ground. (Bingham News, September 29, 1923)
(After entering Park-Bingham ground, another 1400 feet was needed before entering U. S. ground. Much work had been needed to clean out and make the Butterfield tunnel safe, having started in November 1922, prior to the actual work of extending it into either the Park-Bingham ground, or into the United States company's ground.)
June 15, 1924
In a report about the shipments of the United States Mining company to its smelter, "It is reported that the Butterfield tunnel will be completed in about three months. This will drain the mine and eliminate the expense of pumping." (Salt Lake Mining Review, June 15, 1924, "Around the State")
September 30, 1924
"For more than a year past the United States Smelting, Refining & Mining Company, owners of the United States mine, has been driving the Butterfield tunnel to connect with the deep workings of the United States property. To carry out this enterprise it was necessary to drive through the Park-Bingham ground for 1400 feet." "Now that the United States company has made an air connection, and having secured tunnel working rights, the Park-Bingham Company has decided to start exploration of the many exceedingly promising showings opened up by the United States Company in crossing its ground." (Salt Lake Mining Review, September 30, 1924)
March 13, 1925
"Purchase by the Park Bingham Mining company of $30,000 of equipment and buildings at the portal of the Butterfield tunnel in the Bingham district places this company in a much more advantageous position than ever to carry on the development of the company's property in Utah's premier copper camp." (Park Record, March 13, 1925)
November 24, 1925
The Park-Bingham company was shipping three car loads per week, of about 50 tons per car. The ore was coming from the Butterfield tunnel, and was being moved at a cost of $1.50 per ton to the railroad at Lark, then to the smelter at Midvale. The company was about to finish its "permanent" ore bins, and was negotiating for the purchase of a four-ton electric battery locomotive to replace horses being used in the mine. (Salt Lake Telegram, November 24, 1925)
December 27, 1925
The Park-Bingham company was working its Silver Shield ground at both the Niagara tunnel level, and the Butterfield tunnel level. The Butterfield tunnel was 650 feet below the Niagara tunnel, and 1400 to 1800 feet below the surface. (Salt Lake Telegram, December 27, 1925)
By 1926, the Park-Bingham company held 410 acres of mining claims on the south side of Bingham. (Salt Lake Tribune, July 25, 1926)
June 20, 1926
The Park-Bingham had shipped three car loads of ore by way of the Butterfield tunnel, and a fourth car load was shipped by leasers also using the tunnel. The ore is low grade due to the difficulty in separating it from the surrounding rock. (Bingham News, June 20, 1926)
January 30, 1927
The Butterfield tunnel was reported as being the source of transportation for the Park-Bingham mine, which had recently started its expanded development. After the United States company extended its Butterfield tunnel through Park-Bingham property to reach its own workings, the Park-Bingham company was able to start shipping its ore through the newly extended tunnel. The workings of the Park-Bingham company were about two miles from the portal of the Butterfield tunnel. Earlier in 1926, the company installed a Manca seven-ton battery locomotive to replace seven horses, and greatly reduced expenses in the transportation of ore, timber, and powder, as well as transportation of crews to and from work. The new locomotive immediately made for more production, which for the first half of 1926 was 2,088 tons, compared to 4,822 tons for the second half. (Ogden Standard, January 30, 1927)
June 19, 1927
By June 12th, the Park-Bingham mine had shipped 11 car loads of ore during the month of June, by way of the Butterfield tunnel. In addition, 22 new mine cars had been put into operation to ensure continued production. The increased exploration and development work that the 1400 feet extension of the Butterfield tunnel by the United States company exposed numerous ore veins and fissures that were being actively mined by the company itself and by leasers, with some veins and fissures known about but not yet tested or exploited. (Salt Lake Telegram, June 19, 1927, "last Saturday," citing the Bingham Bulletin)
(Numerous references in small news items repeat the statement that the extension of the Butterfield tunnel into United States company ground, including extension of the then-unfinished tunnel into the Park-Bingham's own ground, had saved the Park-Bingham company at least $200,000 in exploration and development costs.)
August 15, 1927
"The Park-Bingham Mining company owning the old Silver Shield property at Bingham..." "At Bingham, where the company [Park-Bingham Mining Co.] is operating through the two and one-half-mile Butterfield tunnel of the United States company, Manager F. E. Porter announces that mine conditions have improved to an extent that has demanded the equipment of the long tunnel with new 30-lb. rail, so that transportation of ore can be speeded up. This new rail has been delivered at the portal of the tunnel and now is being laid." (Salt Lake Mining Review, August 15, 1927)
September 20, 1927
"Operations will go on uninterrupted at the Park Bingham Mining company's Bingham property, it is announced, in spite of the damage done by an early morning fire which destroyed the change room, compressor room and blacksmith shop at the mouth of the Butterfield tunnel. The United States Smelting, Refining and Mining company will supply Park Bingham mine with air from its adjoining United States mine until the Park Bingham compressor can be repaired or a new one purchased. Property damage, it is stated, will not be large." (Salt Lake Telegram, September 20, 1927)
March 3, 1928
During the first week of March 1928, the Park-Bingham shipped seven car loads of ore to market, among the total of 122 car loads shipped by all the mines at Bingham (other than Utah Copper). (Salt Lake Tribune, March 3, 1928)
In 1929, the United States company bought the Bingham Mines company, which held haulage rights in the deep Mascotte tunnel, and other facilities at Lark, including access to a direct railroad branchline from Bingham to the United States smelter at Midvale. The Butterfield tunnel continued in its role as a major drain tunnel for the mines at Bingham. (The Bingham Mines company was the successor to the older and more famous Ohio Copper Company.)
Sale To Combined Metals, 1931
July 1, 1931
Combined Metals Reduction Company, and its National Lead Company parent, made an initial payment of $70,000 to satisfy the mortgage held against the Park Bingham mining company by United States Smelting, Refining and Mining Company. At the time, the Bauer mill was mentioned as having a daily capacity of 1000 tons, and that the ores of the Park Bingham mine "will be found highly amenable to the processes perfected at the Bauer reduction works." The ore of the Park Bingham averages 15 to 18 percent lead, and 4.5 percent zinc. (Salt Lake Telegram, July 3, 1931; July 6, 1931)
July 4, 1931
"Mine Property Deal Revealed -- Salt Lake City, July 4. -- The Combined Metals Reduction company, it became known today has purchased a substantial interest in the Park-Bingham Mining company. It was stated the Metals Reduction company provided the $70,000 with which the Park-Bingham concern paid its mortgage last Wednesday. Combined Metals is owned largely by the National Lead company which heretofore has not been active in the Bingham mining district of this state." (Ogden Standard-Examiner, July 4, 1931)
(In February 1932 when Combined Metals bought the old Butterfield and Queen mines, and the Butterfield tunnel, it was known as the Lavagnino group, and the purchase was from the Lavagnino Brothers of California.)
National Lead Company, through its Combined Metals Reduction Company subsidiary, purchased silver-lead-zinc ore reserves in Bingham Canyon. In the previous Fall of 1931, National Lead had purchased the Park Bingham group of mines in Bingham Canyon. This most recent purchase in February 1932 were the Lavagnino group from the Lavagnino Brothers of California, which included the Already Kelly group and the Bob Roy groups, along with the first 8,000 feet of the Butterfield haulage and drain tunnel. These properties encompassed all of the ground southeast of the holdings of both the United States and Utah Copper companies in the Bingham District. National Lead owned 75 percent of Combined Metals, which operated a lead-zinc floatation concentrating mill at Bauer. These concentrates were in turn smelted at the International smelter at Tooele, or at other lead smelters in the West. This acquisition brought under National Lead control, large portions of silver-lead ore reserves in Bingham. The Lavagnino group encompassed 865 acres of mineralized ground and included the Queen, Eagle Bird, and Northern Chief mines. The Park Bingham group encompassed 51 claims (430 acres) and included the Silver Shield and Bully Boy groups. These properties were accessed by vertical shaft, or through either the Niagara tunnel or the Butterfield tunnel. (Murray Eagle, February 11, 1932)
September 9, 1935
"Combined Metals Busy At Bingham -- Combined Metals Reductions company has resumed operations at its Bingham properties, E. H. Snyder, vice president of the company, disclosed Monday. The properties include the Park Bingham group of claims and the Combined Metals group, adjoining the United States Smelting, Refining and Mining company properties on the south and east." "The company has installed a storage battery locomotive in the 12,000-foot Butterfield tunnel, which traverses the Park Bingham and Combined Metals groups, and has begun development work on the Butterfield and other tunnel levels, including the Queen tunnel on Lavignino ground. Contractors are said to be driving five headings on the various levels." "A few leasers went to work on the property several months ago, and the number has been increased until now there are 100. Some of them are mining on the tunnel levels, others in old surface workings. They are reported to be shipping between 15 and 20 carloads a month." (Salt Lake Telegram, September 9, 1935)
January 24, 1936
"Plant Expanded At Park Bingham -- Park-Bingham Mining company is installing new equipment in preparation for increasing production at its property at Bingham, it was announced Friday by E. B. Snyder, vice president and general manager of the Combined Metals Reduction company, which controls Park Bingham." "The company is installing a 900-kilowatt substation at the Queen tunnel which was completed Friday. In the Butterfield tunnel, 1,000 feet below the Queen, a new storage battery locomotive was installed several weeks ago." "The company is working in both tunnels, Mr. Snyder said, and is shipping a carload a day. The bulk of the ore, he said, is coming from the ground worked through the Queen tunnel, principally the Lavignino group." (Bingham Bulletin, January 24, 1936)
July 25, 1937
Combined Metals announced that it would drive a 1,000-foot vertical shaft, known as a raise, from the workings of the Queen tunnel, down to the Butterfield tunnel, and install a hoist to lower ore from the Queen mine down to the Butterfield tunnel. By July 1939, the raise was completed, and the hoist was being installed. The mine was still being called the Park-Bingham. (Arizona Republic, July 25, 1937; Salt Lake Tribune, July 30, 1939)
Kennecott Copper purchased the Butterfield mine of Combined Metals Reduction Company, located in Butterfield Canyon. At the time, Combined Metals was the second largest lead-zinc producer in the country. (Utah Mining Industry, Utah Mining Association, 1967, page 63)
December 16, 1955
"Kennecott Copper Buys Utah Mine -- Bingham, Utah. -- Kennecott Copper Corp. has purchased the Butterfield lead, silver and zinc mine in the Oquirrh mountains south of its Bingham Copper pit in a million-dollar deal." "The Butterfield mine has produced some 50,000 tons of high grade ore since 1931, when it was obtained by Combined Metals Reduction Co." "Samuel S. Arentz, a Salt Lake City mining engineer, obtained a lease and option to buy the mine from Combined Metals, then sold it to Kennecott." (Idaho State Journal, December 16, 1955)
December 21, 1955
"Kennecott Copper Corporation has purchased Butterfield mines property of Combined Metals Reduction Company, involving some 3,800 acres just south of Kennecott's open pit copper mine at Bingham. Utah." "The purchase price was approximately $1,000,000. The properties are known as high grade lead, silver and zinc ores, Kennecott said." (Pittsburgh Post Gazette, December 21, 1955)
March 27, 1962
Company to Open Butterfield Mine -- Intersection of ore in the Butterfield project in the Lark-Bingham district is expected in 1963, Mr. Rice added. In this arrangement, USSR&M is opening the Butterfield mine belonging to Kennecott Copper Corp. New access to the Butterfield is being created through a raise from a tunnel driven from workings in the adjacent U.S. and Lark Mine." (Salt Lake Tribune, March 27, 1962)
Bingham Haulage and Drain Tunnels -- A Google Map showing the locations of the Mascotte, Bingham-Lark, and Butterfield tunnels.
Park-Bingham Mining Company
The Silver Shield Mining company had been the company responsible for the improvement, in 1902, of the Niagara tunnel (first known as the Franklin tunnel) of the pioneering Niagara Mining and Smelting company. Although the tunnel was owned by the United States company through its purchase of the Niagara company in 1899, the Silver Shield company took a lease on the tunnel and greatly improved it, making it that company's main drain and haulage tunnel. The Silver Shield company was never able to reach its own ground through the tunnel, and by 1910 struggled to pay any dividends, much less continue its lease of the Niagara tunnel. The U. S. company took back the lease in 1914 and made the Niagara tunnel its own main haulage tunnel, replacing an aerial tram that no longer had the capacity for the United States company's expansion plans.
(As a side note, it was when the United States company made the Niagara tunnel its main haulage tunnel in 1914 that Utah Copper built the large 'E Line' wooden trestle bridge at Copperfield, or Upper Bingham. Utah Copper was providing common carrier access through its Bingham & Garfield subsidiary, and the United States company needed access to the D&RGW tracks to ship its ore to its Midvale smelter. The large bridge across the canyon was the only way to provide access to the Rio Grande tracks, and was removed in the winter of 1940-1941 after the U. S. company began using the Mascotte tunnel to Lark as its main haulage tunnel.)
The Silver Shield company continued to struggle and by 1921 was among several other companies at Bingham with good infrastructure, but mining grounds that were not paying. Along with the Queen, which had a well-developed tunnel itself, and the Giant Chief, that had well-mineralized ore reserves that were difficult to smelt, the Silver Shield became a good target for groups of investors looking to gain access to the growing mining activity at Bingham, and in 1921 the Bingham-Galena company was able to pull the various groups together into a single group that it hoped would make some profit for its owners.
In March 1921, negotiations were under way for a new company, Bingham-Galena Mining Company, to purchase the Silver Shield group at Bingham. The sale had been approved by the directors of the Silver Shield company, who were also the company's majority shareholders. The new Bingham-Galena company had just recently been incorporated. The Bingham-Galena company had just acquired a lease and an option to purchase for the New York-Bingham Mining Company, and was already at work operating through the Niagara tunnel. (Salt Lake Telegram, March 1, 1921)
Previously, in 1918, the New York-Bingham Mining Company had purchased the rights to the New Utah-Bingham Mining Company, which was the reorganized Utah-Bingham Mining Company. With the Silver Shield ground included, the combined claims worked by these companies were located adjacent for a distance of one mile to the Old Jordan ground of the United States Mining Company. The New York-Bingham ground lay between the United States ground and the Utah Copper ground.
In late October 1922, the "notorious" Bingham-Galena Mining Company changed its name to Park-Bingham Mining Company: "The Bingham-Galena Mining Co. -- made notorious through its dealings with George Graham Rice and now operating in Park City -- has through amendment to its articles of incorporation changed its incorporated name to the Park-Bingham Mining Co., and has reduced its capitalization from $1,000,000, to $200,000." (Engineering and Mining Journal, November 4, 1922)
With the creation of the Bingham-Galena company in 1922, and its change in 1922 to the Park-Bingham company, the Silver Shield group of claims, along with the Giant Chief claims (also located adjacent to the U. S. properties in Galena Gulch), came under the control of the Park-Bingham Mining Company. The Giant Chief, Silver Shield, and associated other claims including the Queen mine, were never large producers, and the Park-Bingham company struggled to stay afloat. The company's fortunes went sky-high in mid November 1922 when the United States company leased the company's Butterfield drain tunnel. In 1922, expansion of the United States company's mine required draining the deepest levels of its mines, as well as more dumping grounds, which were not available in the vicinity of the Niagara tunnel, the U. S. company's main outlet in Bingham since 1914.
The Giant Chief mine was located adjacent to the more famous Jordan and Telegraph mines of the United States Mining company, and likely mined (at least briefly) the same high-value lead-silver ore as the U. S. company. It went through several periods of varying successful ownership and management.
In September 1923, the United States Mining company took control (but not full ownership) of the Park-Bingham Mining company.
September 30, 1924
The following comes from the September 30, 1924 issue of the Salt Lake Mining Review:
Park-Bingham Mining Company To Explore Its Bingham Ground -- Announcement was recently made by officials of the Park-Bingham Mining Company that the right to work through the Butterfield tunnel at Bingham had been secured from the Lavignino Conglomerate Mining Company (the old Butterfield Mining Company).
Completion of this arrangement will mean that the Park-Bingham Mining Company will have economical and easy access at great depth to its holdings in the Bingham district adjoining the United States mine, one of the richest properties of the famous copper camp.
For more than a year past the United States Smelting, Refining & Mining Company, owners of the United States mine, has been driving the Butterfield tunnel to connect with the deep workings of the United States property. To carry out this enterprise it was necessary to drive through the Park-Bingham ground for 1400 feet.
Now that the United States company has made an air connection, and having secured tunnel working rights, the Park-Bingham Company has decided to start exploration of the many exceedingly promising showings opened up by the United States Company in crossing its ground.
December 27, 1925
The following comes from the December 27, 1925 issue of the Salt Lake Telegram newspaper:
The Park-Bingham Mining company, a Utah corporation, gets its name from the combination of the two mining districts, namely, Park City and Bingham, as it owns and is developing groups in both camps. In Bingham it owns approximately 375 acres, of which one-half is patented. It lies to the east of and adjoins the United States Mining company property. It is developed by a shaft sunk to the Niagara tunnel level and several thousand feet of workings on the Niagara tunnel level. Also the Butterfield tunnel was extended by the United States Mining company and cross-cuts the Park-Bingham property for a distance of approximately 1400 feet at a depth of 650 feet below the Niagara tunnel and 1400 to 1300 feet from the surface.
The property contains three fissure systems, the Silver Shield, Bully Boy or Rough Wrestler, and the Willow Springs. The first two systems extend through its property for more than a mile and the latter runs for a lesser distance. From the Niagara level there was shipped 8166 tons of ore of the average assay value of .055 ounces gold, 6.62 ounces silver, 16.67 per cent zinc. In addition to this, conservative estimates place the production from the surface workings down to a depth of 200 feet at $400,000.
Present operations are being carried on through the Butterfield tunnel. In crosscutting the property on this level, twenty-two fissures were intersected, all highly mineralized, and recently in a raise in the Silver Shield a fissure was encountered carrying from three to six feet of lead-silver ore, from which three cars a week are being shipped. Prospect work is being carried on by four sets of lessees, and the company is doing development work in other places than where ore was encountered. (Salt Lake Telegram, December 27, 1925)