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Niagara Tunnel

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This page was last updated on February 4, 2018.

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(This is a work in progress; research continues.)

Overview

(The focus of this research is the mines that made up the U. S. mine and its predecessors in Upper Bingham, and the railroad, aerial tramways, and transportation tunnels that moved the mines' ore to the mills and smelters.)

The Niagara tunnel was a project of the Niagara Mining and Smelting company. Begun in late 1890 as the "Franklin" tunnel, it became known as the Niagara tunnel after P. A. H. Franklin, the major promoter and first president of the Niagara company, sold his interest in July 1891 to eastern and British investors. The tunnel reached a fractured belt of mineralized ore on the Niagara company's Spanish claim in January 1896. Although cross-cut drifts did reach better quality ore, the tunnel never did reach the fully mineralized and very valuable lead-silver vein that was its purpose. It was considered a failure by October 1896, and the company attempted sinking an incline shaft along the dip of the ore vein from above, hoping to connect the ore vein directly with the drain tunnel. Apparently, the attempt failed and the Niagara tunnel lay dormant even after the United States Mining company took over the Niagara property in April 1899.

The tunnel lay idle until 1902 when the Silver Shield company made an agreement with the United States company to repair and extend the tunnel into the Silver Shield ground, which was reached in mid 1904. At that time the tunnel became the Silver Shield's main haulage and drain tunnel. In September 1910 Utah Copper purchased the surface rights to the adjacent Bingham Mines company, and the Bingham Mines company moved the surface workings of its Commercial mine down to the Niagara tunnel opening, and connected its underground workings to the Niagara tunnel. By that same time, September 1910, the Silver Shield company was running into difficulty making a profit with the quality and type of the ore it was shipping. Its costs had risen sharply after the Tintic smelter has closed in October 1909, forcing the company to market its ore to other smelters that had difficulties treating its ores. The company continued mining, but failed to find high value ore which in turn reduced its continued use of the Niagara tunnel.

The properties (mines and tunnel) of the Niagara company had been bought by the United States Mining company in 1899. In 1900 United States company built an aerial tramway 18,000 feet long to move its ore from its mines in upper Bingham to the railroad at Bingham station. In 1914, the United States company stopped using its aerial tramway and improved the Niagara tunnel to use it as its main haulage tunnel. Railroad service was provided by the Rio Grande's Low-Grade Bingham branch, until 1926 when Utah Copper bought those lines, continuing to provide common carrier service to the United States company at the Niagara tunnel opening, which was in Copperfield. The Niagara tunnel remained the focus of the United States company's operations until the company began using the deeper Mascotte tunnel in 1929. In 1941, the United States company closed much of its surface facilities at the Niagara tunnel opening in Copperfield, and moved them to Lark, at the opening of the Mascotte tunnel. In 1951, the area around the Niagara tunnel opening, as well as the eastward portion of the tunnel itself, were surrendered completely to Kennecott Copper to allow expansion of its open pit mine. At the same time, Kennecott provided an entirely new deep tunnel for the United States company, and the Mascotte tunnel was also closed as a main haulage tunnel.

From 1951 until 1962, the Niagara tunnel remained in use by the United States company to move personnel and materials into the underground United States mine. In 1962, Kennecott bought all of the United States company's surface rights in Bingham, including the area surrounding the Niagara tunnel opening at Copperfield. More research is needed to discover how the Niagara tunnel was used after 1962.

Before Niagara

The later Niagara groups of mining claims was made up of about forty claims, all of which had been purchased or filed upon by Mr. Franklin before he sold them to the Niagara company in July 1891. Included were the following 20 claims: Red Warrior; Sturgis; Portland; Dartmouth; Bonnie Blue Flag; Crescent; Canby; Ajax; Climax; Union; Defiance; Spanish; Black Hawk; Murphy; Miller; Red Cloud; Idaho; Accident; Silver Plume; and Dead Thing. (Salt Lake Herald, July 2, 1891)

Utah Mine

(Buel & Bateman mine)

(This was first known as the Buel & Bateman mine, which was sold in 1871 to the Utah Silver Mining Company (Limited), with the group of mining claims known as the Utah group. Buel & Bateman built one of the first smelters in Utah at this same location.)

The first smelter in Utah "was by the Utah Smelting company and was erected in Bingham, its stacks being blown in first on September 20, 1860." "The old site of this smelter and the mine from which its ores were taken are now the property of the Niagara Mining and Smelting company, and remains of the old slag dump are still apparent to the passer-by." (Salt Lake Tribune, July 22, 1897; describing a float for the Pioneer Day parade that depicted the first smelter in the state.) (The 1860 date is very much in error; likely a typographical error for 1870.)

"Other mines in this area were located and worked, among them the Neptune, Kempton, Wall Street, and the Damn Fool. The Utah mine was located by soldiers from Camp Douglas and the 1871 owners, Buel and Bateman, built a nearby smelter. This mine was sold to an English Company at a price said to have been in the neighborhood of $450,000. In 1879 T. R. Jones, a banker of Salt Lake City, purchased the property." (Daughters of Utah Pioneers, Our Pioneer Heritage, Vol. 7, p.89)

(David E. Buel and Issac C. Bateman) (or Colonel E. D. Buel) (or Colonel D. E. Buel)

(Issac C. Bateman, of Buel & Bateman, located the original Dartmouth claim on July 9, 1866. The Red Warrior claim was located by Thomas R. Jones on June 24, 1871, and was patented on February 21, 1882. Bateman later sold the Dartmouth claim to Utah Silver Mining company; which later sold the Dartmouth claim to a group that included Thomas R. Jones. -- part of testimony taken for Old Jordan Mining company vs. Niagara Mining company. -- Salt Lake Tribune, December 29, 1891)

March 25, 1871
Issac C. Bateman left Salt Lake City en route to London, to interest capital there in the mines of Utah. (Salt Lake Herald, March 25, 1871)

March 29, 1871
"The Buel & Bateman mining property at Bingham consists of nine locations,all made as early as 1865 and 1866, with one exception, which have been defined by the recent extensive development of the B. & B. Co. into three separate and distinct series of mineral vein-form; namely, the "Dartmouth" series, comprising the location of that name, with the "Portland" and "Sturgos" locations, on all three of which development and explorations, by shafts, inclines and levels, have been carried to the extent of full 300 feet lineal, for the purpose of ascertaining with certainty the extent, direction and relative situation of these locations one to the other." The "Balshazzar" series included the Balshazzar, Bullion, Chance and Onesemus location. The "Red Warrior" series included the Red Warrior and Allison locations. (Salt Lake Herald, March 29, 1871)

April 22, 1871
Buel and Bateman's furnace started in Bingham canyon. (Salt Lake Tribune, April 25, 1871)

May 6, 1871
"The Buel & Bateman mines are being commenced upon with renewed vigor, two tunnels being now run to strike the ledges of the company at lower depths, and also to afford drainage to the mines. Work has been resumed in the extraction of ores from various points on the property; and in every instance exceedingly high grade ores are met with, averaging from 55 to 75 percent in lead. This company have men engaged in tracing their ledges eastward. Although this work was only commenced a few days since, very fine ore has been discovered on the line of tracings, some 300 feet from the present openings." (Salt Lake Herald, May 6, 1871)

May 6, 1871
Mr. Bateman sold his interest in his mine to the newly organized Utah Silver Mining Company (Limited), in exchange for a certain number of shares in the new company. On or about March 3, 1973, Issac Bateman (of Buel & Bateman) was elected as president of the Utah Silver Mining Company (Limited). (Salt Lake Tribune, July 22, 1871; March 3, 1873)

January 11, 1872
The Utah Silver Mining Co.'s property is shown as being the former Buel & Bateman property. J. R. Murphy is shown as the superintendent under both ownerships. (Salt Lake Tribune, January 11, 1872)

January 19, 1872
Work began at the Utah Silver mine, on the Red Warrior claim, driving a "winze" (inclined mining shaft) down to the water level, which by mid June was reached at 76 feet, 36 feet of which was in the ore vein. Work on the Red Warrior was commenced because water had previously been reached on the other claims of the company. After reaching the water level, a cross-cut tunnel was commenced to determine the size of the ore body, and was to continue until the cross-cut reached the main shaft, 120 feet distant; all work was in the "compact mass of galena." Work was stopped on the Balazzar shaft when water was reached at 55 feet, and work stopped on the Dartmouth shaft when water was reached at 20-1/2 feet. Work on the Dartmouth shaft had started in January 1871. (Salt Lake Herald, June 29, 1872)

February 17, 1872
"Salt Lake Iron Works -- About fifty hundred (5000) pounds of castings were turned out at these works Thursday afternoon for the Utah Central Milling Company. This is the English company that bought out Buel & Bateman's works and mines at Bingham." (Salt Lake Tribune, February 17, 1872)

March 20, 1872
The following comes from the 1873, Fourth Annual Report of the United States Commissioner of Mining Statistics ("for the year ending December 31, 1871"):

The English company commenced, immediately after their purchase was consummated, to erect a large furnace of the combined Piltz-Raschette pattern, the capacity of which is 45 tons a day. This costly furnace, as well as equally costly prospecting operations, swallowed up the original working capital of the company very soon, and in December it was reported that prospects here were very discouraging. According to still later news, however, the company had raised a new working capital, and a new ore-body had been discovered in the Warrior. (Statistics of Mines and Mining in the States and Territories west of the Rocky Mountains, 1873, page 315)

April 9, 1872
The Utah Silver Mining Company was incorporated "today." (Salt Lake Tribune, April 9, 1872)

June 27, 1872
"The mining claims embrace the Dartmouth, Belshazzar, Portland, Sturgis and Red Warrior." "A shaft eight and a half feet by thirteen is now being sunk on the Red Warrior. This shaft is in three compartments, two for hoisting ore and the other for hoisting water, and is already down 112 feet. In thirty-five feet more they expect to strike the vein. Directly over this shaft a powerful and complete set of hoisting works is being erected, with capacity for lifting from a depth of 800 feet. This machinery is driven by a link motion reversible engine, of 120 horsepower, so constructed that it can be reversed instantaneously." (Salt Lake Herald, June 27, 1872)

July 4, 1872
The Utah Silver mine had 818 tons of ore on the ground at the mine. A small furnace had been built and was producing five or six tons of bullion per day, with the ratio of three tons of ore producing one ton of bullion. The ore on the ground was estimated as having a value of £6,500 (approximately $35,100), a great benefit considering that six months previous, the company had no money, no credit, and no ore. The development efforts had revealed between 6,000 and 8,000 tons of ore waiting to be removed. (Salt Lake Herald, July 4, 1872)

March 3, 1873
Issac Bateman became the Resident Director of the Utah Silver Mining Company (of London) "and operations on the mines will be shortly resumed." "Mr. Bateman it will be remembered was one of the original owners who sold the property two years ago to the English company now in possession." (Salt Lake Tribune, March 3, 1873)

February 20, 1874
"The Utah mine belongs to an English incorporation, and has been extensively, but not profitably worked. The smelter that was erected at the mine has been torn down, and removed on account of the investment not being a paying one. Ore can be transported to the valley much cheaper than the fluxes and coal that are used can be freighted up the canyon. The Utah is developed by two tunnels -- No. 1, 400 feet; No. 2, 700 feet; shaft, 180 feet; winzes, 210 feet; levels, drifts, etc., 2,200 feet; ore removed, 10,000 tons; John Longmaid, Superintendent." (Salt Lake Herald, February 20, 1874)

April 4, 1874
The Utah Smelting and Mining Company, an English corporation, have erected in the canyon extensive works for the purpose of reducing or concentrating the lower grades of ores. The ore of their own mine is nearly all iron pyrites, and cannot be treated successfully at the smelters. This they propose to raise, and undoubtedly will, to seventy-five per cent of lead and forty ounces of silver, cleaning all the pyrites from the silver and lead. The works will commence operation this spring. This mine furnishes an example of the many mining failures that have taken place in the West. (Inter-Ocean, April 4, 1874)

October 5, 1874
"The Utah is closed up. Prof. Clayton and Henry Sewell were there making examinations on the 5th of October, and may possibly start it up again." (Salt Lake Herald, October 10, 1874)

January 23, 1875
There were two smelting works in Utah. One at the mine of the Utah Silver Mining company, and the other at the Winnamuck mine. (Decatur Daily Republican, January 23, 1875)

Spanish Mine

The Spanish mining claim was located on January 6, 1865. "Early in the fall of that year [1870] the first really efficient and practical development of the mines of this district was commenced by Messrs. Bristol & Daggett on the Spanish and Winamuck mines." (USGS Professional Paper 38, 1905, page 84)

April 4, 1874
The Spanish is also one of the big things of the camp, having daily shipment of thirty tons. This mine is owned by a New York company, and managed by R. C. Lounsbury. The furnaces belonging to the company are situated on Big Cottonwood, about eight miles from the city. This mine furnishes an example of mining-stock operations. Being fully as valuable as the Jordan, its sale should have made the half dozen locators wealthy; but it didn't. The present owners paid the honest, but gullible miners $7,000 in cash, and $200,000 in the stock of the new company, the stock total being $500,000. This, of course, gave the purchasers the control of the mine, and they have managed to bear the stock to about 20 cents on the dollar. The miners are anxious to dispose of their stock to the managers, who are negotiating for it. (Inter-Ocean, April 4, 1874)

March 1899
"In March, 1899, the Old Jordan and Galena, Utah, Niagara (Spanish), and Old Telegraph mines, with intervening claims, were consolidated as the United States Mining Company." (USGS Professional Paper 38, 1905, page 86)

Niagara Mining and Smelting Company

The following is compiled from online newspaper searches for P. A. H. Franklin.

Peter A. H. Franklin was shown in newspapers as a missionary for the Methodist Episcopal church, moving to Utah in October 1883 from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and holding services in the "Scandinavian" language. His congregation was known as the First Scandinavian Methodist Church of Salt Lake City. He held anti-Mormon attitudes, and sought to expand the role of "gentiles" in the daily business of Utah. He moved from Salt Lake City to Ogden in August 1889.

In April 1890, he purchased the Miller mining claim in Bingham from H. S. Drive and B. Roberts and others for a total of $15,000. In May 1890, the Miller claim was shown as being among the claims controlled by the Niagara Mining and Smelting Company, with P. A. H. Franklin as president. In addition to the Miller claim, other claims in the Niagara group included the Indiana, the Idaho, the Silver Plume, and the Old Utah group.

A report in June 1890 showed that he also had the old Spanish and twenty or more other properties, and would soon build a new mill. A report in July 1890 showed that he represented a Pennsylvania syndicate that owned twenty mines at Bingham. By mid September 1890 his company had completed its new concentrator mill on the old Utah property; the mill having four double compartment jigs, and after adding two more jigs, the mill would have a capacity of 150 to 175 tons per day.

A report from early October 1890 showed that Franklin's ownership in the Niagara mines was shared with Judge S. M. Preshaw and C. E. Sawtelle, and others. On October 17, 1890, Franklin purchased the Ajax mining claim and other mines from A. Klopenstine, et. al. for $40,000, and just a week later, on October 24, 1890, he purchased the Spanish Hill Mining company and the Spanish lode for $40,000.

March 29, 1890
The preferred stock of the Niagara Mining and Smelting company was offered to the public "for the purchase of machinery with which to work the valuable silver and gold mining properties of the company, which is situated close to a railroad, in the 'old reliable' Bingham Canyon, Utah." (The Times of Philadelphia, March 29, 1890)

May 22, 1890
P. A. H. Franklin took a group of Philadelphia, Ogden and Salt Lake City businessmen on a tour of his mining properties at Bingham. (Salt Lake Herald, May 22, 1890)

June 23, 1890
The Niagara company purchased the Spanish group of claims for a reported $30,000 to $60,000. The same company was building a concentrating mill "below" the South Galena mine, with the foundations in place and the timbers arriving by the South Galena tramway. (Salt Lake Times, June 23, 1890)

August 15, 1890
"The Niagara Mining and Smelting Company's new mill on the Utah ground, Bingham, started up yesterday on a short trial run of seventy tons, and worked in a perfect manner. It is the finest mill in the Territory, experts say, and Mr. Franklin is pretty proud of it." (Salt Lake Tribune, August 15, 1890)

November 11, 1890
The Niagara Mining and Smelting Company held its first annual meeting in Salt Lake City on "Tuesday afternoon (November 11). "The company have expended on the mines within the last seven months, about $400,000, and will expend much more in the next two years, in increasing the capacity of the mines and in building a smelter which they decided to locate here [Ogden]." "A 5x12 shaft is being put down to a depth of 1,000 feet in the Utah mine, besides other improvements are going on in the smaller ones." (Salt Lake Herald, November 14, 1890)

December 5, 1890
The Niagara company had just finished a boarding house for 100 men, and it included sleeping apartments, dining room, kitchen, store house, assay office and company offices. The deep shaft was being driven to connect with the Spanish vein. Water in one of the Utah shafts had suspended work in that shaft. Hoisting works and a pump were being installed to pump water from this shaft because it had the best ore. The water would be used in the mill. Shipments of concentrates from the mill to the Hanauer smelter had begun. Thirty-five tons of crude first-class ore had been shipped from the Live Pine mine, which was much higher grade than ore from the Utah mine. (Salt Lake Herald, December 5, 1890)

February 10, 1891
In less than a year, and after expending $350,000, P. A. H. Franklin and his Philadelphia associates have purchased three groups of mines and thirty claims, erected a concentrating mill and a fifty-horsepower hoisting plant. "The great vein generally known as the Old Utah has been traced on the surface by various openings from the side lines of the Jordan in a northerly direction for over three thousand feet, and is from one to three hundred feet in width, dipping to the north." "The vein has been developed by over 2000 feet of shafts, cross-cut tunnels, drifts, winzes and stopes." The new drain tunnel had reached a depth of 340 feet, and the mill would be built below the entrance of the tunnel to take advantage of the water draining at the tunnel entrance. The mill will have a capacity of 150 tons per day, which will furnish 40 to 45 tons per day of concentrates. (Salt Lake Tribune, February 10, 1891)

April 2, 1891
P. A. H. Franklin purchased, for $80,000, from John Tierman the Alameda, Austin Ray, Red Crop, Rupert patented lode claims, along with a small portion of the Henrietta lode claim, all situated in Bingham canyon. (Salt Lake Herald, April 3, 1891, "yesterday")

July 1, 1891
P. A. H. Franklin sold to the Niagara Mining and Smelting Company, six separate parcels of mining property at Bingham, for a total of $217,500. The parcels constituted all of the large groups of mines comprising the Niagara company. The groups were made up of about forty claims, all of which had been purchased or filed upon by Mr. Franklin. Included were the following 20 claims: Red Warrior; Sturgis; Portland; Dartmouth; Bonnie Blue Flag; Crescent; Canby; Ajax; Climax; Union; Defiance; Spanish; Black Hawk; Murphy; Miller; Red Cloud; Idaho; Accident; Silver Plume; and Dead Thing. (Salt Lake Herald, July 2, 1891, "yesterday"; July 3, 1891)

July 10, 1891
P. A. H. Franklin announced in Chicago that the capital stock of the Niagara company increased from $2 million to $10 million. The company had a total of 31 claims, comprising the Utah group, the Spanish, Climax, Live Pine, Miller, Indiana, and Alameda properties. All of these groups had tunnels into the side wall of the canyon, and the new company would use the increased funds for a new tunnel that was to be 700 feet below the present working shafts which will drain all the mines and do away with the heavy expense of pumping equipment. This would be the first deep mine in Bingham canyon. The Niagara was on the same level as the Brooklyn company, which had a shaft 1,500 feet in depth, and the quality of ore was only improving. (Salt Lake Tribune, July 11, 1891) (The increase in stock was to be voted on a stockholders meeting held in Salt Lake City on August 6, 1891; the meeting was delayed until November 11th and the increase was approved.)

In 1891 when the Niagara company was recapitalized to $10 million, and bought the interests of P. A. H. Franklin, he apparently resigned his place on the board, as well as being the company's president. After November 1891, his name no longer appeared at the bottom of various public notices concerning the Niagara company. By September 1895, Franklin had become general manager of the Yosemite No. 1 mine, and had held that position for nine months. (Deseret Evening News, September 10, 1895)

(Throughout late 1890 and into late 1895, most of the reports in the local press were coverage of the suit for damages between the Old Jordan (plaintiff) and the Niagara (defendant) companies, concerning 10,000 tons of ore taken from the border area of the Niagara's Red Warrior claim that was part of the Utah group of mines, where the Old Jordan ground adjoined the Niagara ground. There were numerous delays and extensions, and when the trial finally started, there were several days of expert testimony concerning the geology of the area. Although the Niagara company had prevailed on at least two decisions, the Old Jordan company was regularly awarded new trials due to new evidence. The case was finally settled in October 1895 with the Old Jordan company protecting its original patent, and the Niagara company losing a portion of its Dartmouth claim. The settlement also included a definitive line between the two properties; see Salt Lake Herald, October 15, 1895)

(W. H. Thomas was manager of the Niagara company, and L. E. Holden and A. F. Holden were owners of the Old Jordan company.)

April 10, 1899
United States Mining Company was organized on April 10, 1899 to consolidate the Jordan and Galena (24 claims), Niagara (23 claims), and Telegraph (15 claims) properties, located in Galena Gulch and Bear Gulch. The Niagara group was purchased from the Niagara Mining and Smelting Company which had been working the former Spanish group. (USGS Professional Paper 38, p. 233; Wegg, p. 37; Wilson thesis, p. 4)

(Read more about the United States Mining Company; later known as United States Mining, Refining and Smelting Company)

Niagara Tunnel

January 21, 1891
"The nine feet square tunnel, now in nearly 400 feet, [President Franklin] proposes to continue to a total of 6000 feet, thus connecting all the mines, and a shaft is to be sunk on the Utah claim." (Salt Lake Tribune, January 21, 1891)

February 10, 1891
"At Cornwall gulch, a short distance above the town, the Franklin tunnel was started and is now 340 feet from the entrance and is progressing at the rate of three feet per day. It is 6-1/2x6-1/2 in the clear and is intended for two tracks. It is well timbered and as a whole is an excellent piece of work. This tunnel will be the main outlet for all the mines above owned by the company, and will connect with the main shaft and in its course intersect the great ore bodies of the Spanish and Dartmouth group." The mill will be built below the entrance of the tunnel to take advantage of the water draining at the tunnel entrance. The mill will have a capacity of 150 tons per day, which will furnish 40 to 45 tons per day of concentrates. (Salt Lake Tribune, February 10, 1891)

September 26, 1894
"The great drain and development tunnel being driven by the Niagara Mining and Smelting company, on its property at Bingham, is to be pushed to an immediate completion. There are but 400 feet more to drive before all of the claims will be developed by the tunnel, and at present rate it should not require more than two more months to complete the important work." (Salt Lake Herald, September 26, 1894)

December 13, 1894
The Niagara tunnel was 2,100 feet in length, with 500 feet to go before cutting any of the company's ore veins. Total production for 1894 had been 6,221 tons, although operations had been limited by the low price of silver and lead. (Salt Lake Herald, December 13, 1894)

February 15, 1895
All the ore being shipped by the Niagara company was being done by leasers. The only activity by the company itself was the driving of the completion of the development tunnel, which had been completed to 2,200 feet. Engineers expected to cut the first ore veins within two weeks. (Salt Lake Herald, February 15, 1895)

February 26, 1895
The Niagara tunnel was into the mountain 2,200 feet, and is very close to cutting the first vein of the company's ore body. (Salt Lake Herald, February 26, 1895)

April 8, 1895
The Niagara tunnel was 2,300 deep, but was still in quartzite and not yet into the ore vein. (Salt Lake Herald, April 8, 1895)

April 26, 1895
The Niagara tunnel cut into the ore vein on "Friday" (April 26) at a depth of just over 2,400 feet from the entrance, and 355 feet below the surface. (Salt Lake Herald, April 28, 1895)

April 30, 1895
The Niagara tunnel was 2,430 feet in when it cut the ore vein, although later reports show that what they cut were stringers rather than the actual vein. The entrance of the tunnel was on the property of the '1889' claim, half of which was owned by the Niagara company, and half owned by A. H. Bemis and A. Klopenstine. The flow of water became quite heavy, giving indication that they were near the ore vein, because in Bingham, water is always near the ore. (Salt Lake Tribune, April 30, 1895)

July 3, 1895
The Niagara tunnel was 2,560 feet in, but still only cutting stringers of ore and not yet the main ore vein. Progress was slow due to the hardness of the quartzite. (Salt Lake Herald, July 3, 1895)

August 14, 1895
The Niagara tunnel was 2,647 feet in. A new contract was to be let to continue the work. (Salt Lake Herald, August 14, 1895)

September 5, 1895
The Niagara tunnel was 2,728 feet in. The rock was becoming softer, indicating that the ore vein was near. (Salt Lake Tribune, September 5, 1895)

October 30, 1895
The Niagara tunnel was almost all into the ore vein, at a distance of 2,848 feet from the entrance. For the past months, there had been partial cuts into the main vein, but now the most of the face of the tunnel was into the vein. The tunnel had been into the ore for the past 21 feet, but not the full face as yet. The company was waiting until the full face, known as the foot wall, of the tunnel was into the vein before cross-cutting into the vein would begin. (Salt Lake Herald, October 30, 1895; Salt Lake Tribune, November 3, 1895)

November 19, 1895
Now that the Niagara tunnel was into major parts of the ore vein, the lower parts of the Spanish mine were being drained and could now be worked to good and profitable benefit. (Salt Lake Tribune, November 19, 1895)

December 3, 1895
The Niagara tunnel had penetrated the hill a full 2,850 feet and was fully into the foot wall of the ore vein. But proper draining of the mines would not begin until the tunnel has passed into the vertical porphyry dyke and the waters tapped on the other side. (Salt Lake Tribune, December 3, 1895)

January 9, 1896
The west drift of the Niagara tunnel "had struck the porphyry dyke and the ore body had turned south and was following the foot wall of the ledge. The porphyry dyke is twelve feet thick, and when this is cut, the face of the drift will be in the great lead ore bodies of the old Spanish mine and under the upper workings of this property a depth of 400 feet, which will give stoping grounds of magnificent proportions." (Salt Lake Herald, January 9, 1896)

January 13, 1896
The west drift of the Niagara tunnel was 140 feet from the main tunnel and was run to get under and drain the Spanish mine. Having broke through the porphyry dyke and into the Spanish vein, the drift is now dry and work was to commence in earnest. (Salt Lake Herald, January 13, 1896)

February 2, 1896
A agreement has been made between the Old Jordan and Galena company, and the Niagara company for the Old Jordan to cut a tunnel for a distance of 1,400 feet to connect with the Niagara tunnel, at a point 2,500 feet from that tunnel's entrance. This would be from the Galena shaft at the 300 level, and was to supply water from the Galena shaft to the Old Jordan mill. (Salt Lake Tribune, February 2, 1896)

March 1, 1896
A 100-foot deep shaft was being dug at the Spanish mine, to connect with a raise being put up from the Niagara tunnel. (Salt Lake Tribune, March 1, 1896)

(From early 1896 onward, there were numerous reports in the online newspapers, of various mines and their successes or failures, with their locations given in relation to the Niagara tunnel. Recall that the Niagara tunnel opened to the surface on the '1889' claim.)

October 20, 1896
The Niagara tunnel had been "driven into the mountain nearly 4,000 feet (sic: more likely nearly 3,000 feet), is still being worked by the company, but so far has not been a complete success, in that it has not reached the Niagara and Spanish veins at the point where they should have been intersected had their dips been uniform to the greater depth." "A contract had just been let to sink 400 feet of an incline shaft from the lowest part of the upper workings, the direction of the incline to be arbitrated by the course of the vein. The purpose of this is to demonstrate to a certainty what has become of the ore, since the tunnel failed to find it where it should be, logically. Work has already commenced on the incline, and will be pushed steadily, following any direction the ore may strike." The new shaft was to be sunk from an old tunnel on the 1889 claim, sinking it 120 feet to meet the ledge, then following the dip of the ledge until it meets the Niagara tunnel. (Salt Lake Tribune, October 20, 1896; Salt Lake Herald, October 21, 1896)

March 16, 1899
"In part payment for the Old Telegraph, for which the purchasers have agreed to pay $550,000 upon the delivery of the deeds, that are now in escrow, the purchasing company yesterday paid into the banking house of McCormick & Co. $275,000, the balance to be shelled out on March 30th, when, at Cripple Creek, Colorado, the shareholders in the Conglomerate Mining company, owner of the Old Telegraph, will meet to ratify the big transaction. These details disposed of, the United States Mining company will take formal possession and its campaign formally begin." At the same time, the United States company paid $1 million in New York for the Old Jordan and its companions, and $500,000 in Philadelphia for the Niagara. (Salt Lake Tribune, March 16, 1899)

United States Mining

The following covers the Niagara tunnel under United States Mining ownership...

United States Mining Company was organized on April 10, 1899 to consolidate the Jordan and Galena (24 claims), Niagara (23 claims), and Telegraph (15 claims) properties, located in Galena Gulch and Bear Gulch. The Niagara group was purchased from the Niagara Mining and Smelting Company which had been working the former Spanish group. (USGS Professional Paper 38, p. 233; Wegg, p. 37; Wilson thesis, p. 4)

(Read more about the United States Mining Company; later known as United States Smelting, Refining, and Mining Company)

January 30, 1902
"Arrangements had been made with manager Holden of the United States company to open the Silver Shield ground at depth through the Franklin tunnel. Negotiations to that end have been pending for many months, and that permission has finally been secured to go ahead with the work." The Silver Shield had been developed "to a point below the water level, paid a few dividends and then had to quit on account of the expense of pumping." (Salt Lake Herald, January 30, 1902)

February 21, 1902
H. S. Joseph and a number of eastern investors now held controlling shares in the Silver Shield company, holding 210,000 of 300,000 shares. H. S. Joseph was to become the company's new manager. "A most reasonable understanding had been reached with managing director Holden of the United States company, whereby the Shield management would be allowed to extend the old Niagara or Franklin tunnel into the Shield property." "Possibly no more than twenty-five feet will carry the face of the tunnel into the Silver Shield fissure, though in United States ground. To reach the Shield possessions about 700 feet will have to be run, but with Burleigh drills at work it is expected the distance will be covered in from ninety to 120 days." "By this method the mine will be opened 450 feet below the present deepest workings." (Salt Lake Herald, February 21, 1902)

March 15, 1902
"Bingham C & L teams are hauling timbers to the Silver Shield and it is understood work is to begin at once on the working and drain connection with the Franklin (U. S.) tunnel." (Deseret Evening News, March 15, 1902)

April 2, 1902
The Silver Shield property was to be drained through the "old" Niagara tunnel. The work of repairing the Niagara tunnel had progressed to a depth of 408 feet, or about half the distance needed. (Salt Lake Herald, April 2, 1902)

June 18, 1902
"The first 1,000 feet of the old Niagara tunnel, through which the Silver Shield company will develop its mine at depth, is now nearly all cleaned out and retimbered. This portion of the tunnel is wide and laid with double tracks. From the 1,000-foor mark in to the face is about 2,500 feet farther, all in solid rock, and where, it is expected, little work will be required to put it in shape to operate in. Three shifts are still at work." (Salt Lake Herald, June 18, 1902)

July 31, 1902
The manager of the Silver Shield company at Bingham stated "that by the 10th of next month [August] the old Niagara tunnel, through which it is proposed to operate in future, would be cleaned out and put in repair for its entire length of 3,400 feet. This preliminary task completed, the tunnel will be wired and lighted by electricity, a trolley wire will be strung and an electric locomotive will be employed to haul cars through that long avenue. Power will be obtained from the Telluride company, whose line runs within 300 feet of the mouth of the tunnel, and in consequence no delays will be experienced." "According to surveys, it will only be necessary to break through something like twenty-five feet of ground from the face of the tunnel till the Silver Shield fissure is encountered, and the work will be done with power drills, the end of August, at the outside, should disclose what the vein looks like." "These new tunnel workings will tap the Silver Shield at a depth of over 1,000 feet beneath the present lowest workings in the mine." Previously work in the Silver Shield had been suspended due to water in the lowest levels. (Salt Lake Herald, July 31, 1902)

August 2, 1902
"The management of the United Bingham company (owners of the Silver Shield mine) reports that the old Niagara tunnel has been cleaned out a distance of 3,000 feet and work will soon be commenced in the face of the tunnel." (Deseret Evening News, August 2, 1902)

August 5, 1902
"Yesterday management entered into a contract with Telluride Light & Power company, and the stringing of wires through the tunnel for lighting purposes will commence at once." "Repairs to the tunnel are now nearly complete and I am now inviting bids for electric locomotives to be used in the handling of trains in the tunnel, the major portion of which is provided with double tracks." (Salt Lake Herald, August 5, 1902)

September 21, 1902
"The wiring of the long tunnel for trolley and electric lighting purposes has been completed and a force of men is now employed in relaying the track in the tunnel, building switches, etc. Orders for the electric locomotives and necessary cars have been given and the management expects to be ready for operations by the time the United States company starts the big compressor plant from which the air to drive the drills and ventilate the tunnel will be supplied." The company had levied an assessment of $6,000 with stockholders, at 2 cents per share, to pay for the improvements. (Salt Lake Herald, September 21, 1902)

January 11, 1903
The Silver Shield extension of the Niagara tunnel has progressed 50 feet. "Some little water is coming in now and as the territory of the Silver Shield company is approached, there is no doubt that the mine will be drained. That accomplished, the company can go to mining again through the shaft, if it is thought advisable, though there is every prospect that ore in sufficient quantity to pay the cost of development, at least, will be encountered in the near future, and that on top of paying a substantial royalty to the United States company, in whose territory the work will be going on for some time to come." (Salt Lake Herald, January 11, 1903)

January 19, 1903
"At 4,200 feet the Franklin tunnel has cut the Silver Shield vein, reports manager Joseph. It is five feet between walls and showing two streaks of ore." (Salt Lake Herald, January 19, 1903)

February 22, 1903
The current work at the face of the long tunnel would "carry the face into the company's own ground during the next six weeks." "We have just installed our own engine and connected it with a dynamo that supplies all the electric power we need, both to light the tunnel and operate the electric locomotive. The electric power company wanted to hold us up for $200 per month to supply the current we required. With our own engine in commission we are doing just as well at much less than half the cost the power company named." "At the present time the locomotive in the tunnel is handling ten cars of large capacity very nicely and that by running less than half the time." (Salt Lake Herald, February 22, 1903)

May 19, 1903
The management and directors of the Silver Shield company called for a $12,000 assessment to be levied against stockholders to pay for the improvements to the mine, including electric machinery, cars and locomotive for the long tunnel. The tunnel was 50 feet inside of the lines of Silver Shield ground. The company was shipping "considerable" first- and second-class ore. (Salt Lake Herald, May 19, 1903)

May 27, 1903
At the Silver Shield, the face of the great tunnel "is now eighty feet within Silver Shield lines and the vein is looking better at every shift. Yesterday a great flow of water was struck and manager Joseph felt confident that it would result in draining the upper or shaft workings which produced so nicely down to the point where water necessitated either the installation of heavy pumping machinery or a cessation of work." (Salt Lake Herald, May 27, 1903)

June 10, 1903
"The tunnel had been driven in the direction of the Shield ground about 3,300 feet, or within 1,000 feet of the boundary lines of the Silver Shield ground. To clean out, catch up caved ground, re-timber and lay track through this long stretch of territory took lots of money and required until last November to accomplish. Since then the tunnel has been driven between 1,100 and 1,200 feet farther, and until the vein was finally struck, through much difficult ground to handle. The face is now more than 100 feet within the Shield territory and an average of forty-two feet per week, with machine drills and working two shifts, is being made." (Salt Lake Herald, June 10, 1903)

October 5, 1903
"Good reports from the Silver Shield are the rule since its lower workings cut the bed vein. A drift is running in several feet of ore from which an output should be made that will soon make up for lost time and expense of draining the mine." (Salt Lake Herald, October 5, 1903)

February 13 1904
The Silver Shield was "advancing the face of the tunnel, which is now in Shield territory between 600 and 700 feet, at an average rate of eight feet a day. As we figure there is only about 350 feet to run to the ore shoots where they come down from the old upper workings and we expect to reach them within sixty days." (Salt Lake Herald, February 13, 1904)

June 20, 1904
"Manager H. S. Joseph announced yesterday (June 20) that the long tunnel had finally reached the ledge and that water was pouring out of it at the rate of not less than 500 gallons per minute." "The vein was cut at an angle and it had penetrated for fourteen feet." "An examination of the workings below the old upper tunnel level showed that the water was receding rapidly, another evidence that the main fissure had been tapped in the lower tunnel." (Salt Lake Herald, June 21, 1904)

By late August 1904, and after a total of ten assessments, the most recent being 3 cents per share, the directors of the Silver Shield ordered, in accordance with law and by-laws of the company, stock held by several hundred small shareholders to be sold at public auction to satisfy the assessment. Share quantities from 50 shares to 6,000 shares were involved. Silver Shield stock was selling for approximately 4 cents per share. (Salt Lake Herald, August 29, 1904)

October 30, 1904
The Silver Shield tunnel was 9,000 feet long. (Salt Lake Herald, October 30, 1904)

June 27, 1905
"To tap its system of fissures and bedding plane in the Galena mine at Bingham, the United States company has decided to extend the Niagara tunnel, and to that end will begin driving at once from the 2500-foot station." "The work, it is understood, is to be prosecuted under contract." (Salt Lake Tribune, June 27, 1905)

April 11, 1907
The Silver Shield company announced that it would cut an upraise from the Niagara tunnel level, starting in a new double compartment shaft, upwards for a distance of 540 feet to reach the lowest workings of its mine, making the total distance 950 feet to the surface. This new upraise would reduce its costs of hoisting ore and waste rock, instead of using the 1-1/2 mile long Niagara tunnel. (Salt Lake Tribune, March 24, 1907; April 11, 1907)

July 26, 1908
The Silver Shield company had placed an order for a new electric locomotive to be used in the Niagara haulage tunnel. The company was shipping good ore from its new upraise, but had not yet reached the lower old workings where work had been suspended due to water problems. (Salt Lake Tribune, July 26, 1908)

September 1, 1908
The Silver Shield company had added two upraises from the Niagara tunnel level. One had been sent up 180 feet, and the other was up 460 feet. Both were in the ore, although not high-grade ore. A new 300-ton ore bin had been built (presumably at the mouth of the Niagara tunnel) and a second electric locomotive had been received. The ore was being shipped, about one car per day, to the Tintic smelter. (Salt Lake Herald, September 1, 1908)

December 19, 1908
"The Silver Shield mine is splendidly equipped, and in the long tunnel through which the company is directing its energies, is operated a modern electric haulage system. The tracks are 12 and 20 pound steel and the tunnel and mine buildings are lighted by electricity. Ore bins and chutes contribute to the convenience of loading the cars." "The Silver Shield owns 225 acres of land in upper Bingham, nearly all of which is patented." Three car loads of ore had been shipped to the Tintic smelter this past week. The company makes about $800 profit on each car load. (Deseret Evening News, December 19, 1908)

1910
"The Silver Shield Mining Company, headed by Harry S. Joseph, was operating its mine through the Niagara tunnel under an operating agreement with the Niagara Mining Company. The Utah Copper Company purchased the Silver Shield Company's electric trolley haulage equipment in the tunnel which was turned over to the Bingham Mines Company and an agreement was drawn between the latter company and the Silver Shield covering the transportation of its ores, waste, supplies and men to and from the Silver Shield siding which was located approximately 2200 feet from the portal." (History of the Bingham Mining District, by T. P. Billings, 1952)

September 1910
Through a joint agreement between and among the Utah Copper Co., Niagara Mining & Smelting Co., and Silver Shield Mining Co., the 1,550-feet upper Commercial tunnel and 2,000-feet lower Commercial were abandoned. The Bingham Mines Co. abandoned its surface locations in Copper Center gulch for Utah Copper to use as a dumping ground, and was allowed the use of the Niagara Mining & Smelting Co. tunnel, which had been lengthened to cut the Commercial ore bodies at a depth of about 1,400' on the plane of the vein. (The Copper Handbook, Volume XI, 1914, page 118)

September 15, 1910
Utah Copper purchased the surface rights of Bingham Mines company in Copper Center Gulch, where the surface workings of Bingham Mines' Commercial mine were located. The Commercial mine was closed, and the surface workings were removed starting on September 15th, and nearly complete by September 24. A total of 12 buildings were moved. Bingham Mines company began using the Niagara tunnel, after extending it 300 feet to connect with the lowest workings of the Commercial mine. (Salt Lake Herald, September 24, 1910)

November 22, 1910
Utah Copper filed a condemnation suit against the still-existing Niagara Mining and Smelting company to condemn portions needed as dumping grounds. (Salt Lake Herald Republican, November 22, 1910)

In 1914 United States Mining stopped using their aerial tramway between their mine in Galena Gulch and the Rio Grande station at Bingham, and began using their Niagara tunnel as the main haulage tunnel. The new United States operation used three 8-ton Porter compressed air locomotives to deliver the ore to ore bins located outside the former Niagara portal, where the company built new machine shops, power plant, and compressor house. (Wilson thesis, p. 28)

(Read more about the Niagara tunnel after 1914, when United States Mining began using it as its main haulage tunnel)

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