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Yosemite Mine and Mill at Bingham

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This page was last updated on November 7, 2016.

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Overview

(This research focuses on the Yosemite location and name that later became an important part of the history of upper Bingham Canyon, on the ridge between Copperfield and Lark.)

The Yosemite mine and mill were located a short distance south and east from the pass at the top of Yosemite Gulch, which extended down the eastern slope of East Mountain, on the east side of Bingham Canyon. At its top, Yosemite Gulch joined Copper Gulch (the location of the Dalton & Lark mine) and became the low pass between the Salt Lake Valley and Bingham Canyon. Proceeding down the western slope from the pass toward Bingham, brings you directly to Upper Bingham and the town of Copperfield.

The USGS map of Bingham in 1900 shows a road directly between the Yosemite mine, across the low ridge west to the Telegraph mine in Bear Gulch on the Bingham side of the pass.

Employees of Kennecott from the mid 1960s on will recall the large truck shops that were built at the summit of Yosemite pass, located midway between the mine levels and the truck dumps on the east side.

Timeline

April 17, 1878
The following comes from the April 17, 1878 issue of the Salt Lake Tribune:

Going over the hill [from the Old Telegraph and Bear Gulch], we find steam hoisting works on the Yosemite, where a few weeks ago stood a tent, in which the owners lived, and a horse-whim creaked, in order to support the dignity usually belonging to a mine owner. The Yosemite shaft is now down 600 feet and, not counting the stopes, there are two miles of straight work done on the ledge. All this, too, within two years. In February 1866, this mine was located by May, Merrill and Johns. Until 1870 there was little work done on the property. In 1871, 400 tons of ore was shipped to the furnaces as an experiment, which left a profit to the owners even at that early day. In 1873, dense work was commenced and has been kept up ever since. In 1876, the immense quantities of ore in sight necessitated the erection of steam hoisting works, and now a large locomotion engine, with one of John Sloan's boilers, make the Yosemite mine one of the best appointed in Utah.

Like the Old Telegraph, men went after the extensions, and we now find that the Yosemite is open for over two miles. On the dump of the West Extension we find about fifty tons of first class ore, and on the First and Second Extensions East, work is being done developing. Thousands of tons have been taken out, but as yet no stoping has been done.

Since the discovery of the Yosemite over 20,000 tons of ore have been shipped which averaged $35 per ton. The Company, having scoured titles to the east and west side of the old mine, now propose to branch out on the ledge and sink the main shaft.

The Yosemite, Revere and Old Telegraph are three mines that would bear up the reputation of any camp, and from what I have seen of the time mines of Bingham, you may look for lively times in the Old Reliable this season. (Salt Lake Tribune, April 17, 1878)

(View an illustration of a horse whim; used to hoist ore from a mine using one horse power.)

1884
"In 1884 the Brooklyn, Lead, and Yosemite mines, all situated in an area of deep oxidation, headed the list of Bingham producers. (Economic Geology of Bingham Mining District, Professional Paper 38, USGS, 1905, page 85)

October 6, 1885
The following comes from the January 1, 1885 issue of the Salt Lake Tribune:

The new Yosemite mill "started up with a capacity of forty tons of crude ore and was producing from ten to twelve tons of concentrates per day, assaying 5 per cent lead, 20 ounces silver and $5.00 in gold."

"The mine is sending to market from 500 to 700 tons of first-class ore per month, besides the second-class ore supplied to the two mills. There are seventy-five men employed on the works, and they are kept well in hand under the personal supervision of the owner, Col. M. M. Kaighn, and his able and experienced superintendent, Geo. C. Harkins, Esq."

"This "Old Reliable" mine, as it is called in the camp, has produced over a million dollars, and the owner thinks it is good for another million more, and from careful inspection we have no doubt but that his judgment is well founded."

"The lowest workings are down 550 feet, and preparations are in full progress to sink the main incline 500 feet deeper, with levels run every 100 feet. The ore gains in silver as depth is attained."

"The plant, consisting of hoisting works, blacksmith shop, carpenter shop, assay office, ore-houses, boarding house, cars, tools, water-tanks, etc. is most complete, and the new mill is pronounced the most perfect and effectual in the Territory."

"The Old Telegraph joins the Yosemite group on the west, the Lead mine on the east, and the Brooklyn is just below it on a parallel vein. A visit to the Yosemite and surrounding group of mines is a treat well worth the trip at any time." (Salt Lake Tribune, October 6, 1885)

April 1, 1887
The Yosemite group included the Yosemite, the Yosemite West Extension, the Hydaspes, the Gibraltar, and the Grenada claims. (Salt Lake Democrat, April 1, 1887)

December 25, 1887
"The Yosemite -- This property consists of a group of six full claims taking up 2400 feet on the course of the vein and embracing thirty acres of mining ground. It is joined on the west by the Old Telegraph group of mines, on the east by Yosemite No. 2, and on the south by the Brooklyn Lead Company's properties. It is owned by a corporation, Yosemite Mining and Milling Company, of which Col. M. M. Kaighn is president and principal stock holder. The property has a very complete plant, consisting of steam hoisting works, the usual officers and buildings and two wet concentrating mills, in which ore that is not good enough for shipment is concentrated. There are over five miles of underground workings, and a very large body of galena ore is developed and blocked out, assaying 60 per cent lead and 20 ounces silver. Estimates of experts of first class ore in sight vary from 15,000 to 25,000 tons. During the depression in the price of lead ores in this market, this mine while prosecuting development work, suspended shipments of ore, and did not send a pound to market from May to October. Prior to May, shipments averaged 300 tons per month, and since October 300 to 400 tons per month. The aggregate amount marketed for the year was nearly 2,000 tons of an average value of $24 per ton." (Salt Lake Herald, December 25, 1887)

June 3, 1895
"For the past two weeks two surveying parties have been at work for the purpose of a tunnel to tap the Dalton, Lark, Lead Mine, Yosemite No. 2, and all surrounding country." (Salt Lake Herald, June 3, 1895)

May 1901
"Purchase of Dalton and Lark-Brooklyn-Yosemite group and consolidation with Bingham Gold and Copper Mining Company as Bingham Consolidated Mining Company." (Economic Geology of Bingham Mining District, Professional Paper 38, USGS, 1905, page 99)

(Read more about the Bingham Gold and Copper Mining Company; later known as Bingham Consolidated Mining Company)

June 1, 1912
Bingham Mines began sinking a shaft from its Yosemite property to connect with its Mascotte tunnel. A raise of 280 feet from the tunnel had already been completed. Work was to begin "this morning" at the Yosemite' 800-foot level, with about 1,040 feet of downward work needed to complete the connection. When completed, the connecting shaft would be 2,240 feet in total depth from the top of the Yosemite shaft. (Salt Lake Tribune, June 1, 1912)

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