Bingham Photo Sources
Index For This Page
This page last updated on June 17, 2022.
The hundreds of photos of Bingham Canyon in the Don Strack collection, and the mining, milling and smelting operations associated with Bingham Canyon, come from a wide variety of sources. A large portion come from negatives taken by company photographers of Utah Copper and Kennecott over the years, showing various parts of mining and milling operations. Ninety-nine of the photos are from 8x10 and 6x8 negatives that were gifted to Don Strack in the 1983-1984 time period due to the pending shutdown of operations.
A very large part of the Bingham photos have been scanned from prints held by many persons in many locations. Over a period of many years photo prints were rescued from the trash by interested employees of various departments and organizations within the company as they were either closed and abandoned, or moved locations due to changes at the mine, as well as changing corporate attitudes and changing budgets. The rescued photos have slowly found their way to persons with an interest in the history of Bingham and are preserved for others to enjoy. In the days before the internet, many photos were shared at the annual July 4th picnic held in the Copperton city park, where people who grew up in Bingham, Highland Boy and Copperfield and other towns of Bingham canyon got together to reminisce and relive their growing-up years.
The photos in the collection are grouped according to their general location. The first group includes Copperton and Lead Mine at the mouth of Bingham canyon, including the precipitation plants. The next group shows the Lower Canyon and Lower Bingham, Central Yard and the Central Yard Overpass, the area around Dry Fork Gulch and the Dry Fork shops, and the waste dumps opposite the Dry Fork shops, as well as the construction of the Central Yard Overpass tunnels. This was also the location of the pioneering Utah Copper Copperton mill, and the Yampa smelter. This Lower Canyon/Lower Bingham group extends up-canyon to include the area of Lower Bingham at the mouth of Freeman Gulch where D&RGW railroad had its passenger and freight depot, and where there were two terminals for aerial trams, along with the Winnamuck mill and the small residential area known as Frog Town.
Progressing up the canyon the next group is for the town of Bingham itself, which extended south from Heaston Heights at the north end (just a bit south of Freeman Gulch and Frog Town). Heaston Heights was above the rock cliffs that formed a narrow gateway to the town. The town of Bingham continued south along the canyon to the site of where Utah Copper opened its open-pit mine in 1903. In early years there were a few residents in the area of the Utah Copper underground mine, but as the mine was converted to an open pit mine, the growth very soon pushed the few residents aside.
A very short distance farther up-canyon from the Utah Copper mine there was Upper Bingham where Ohio Copper had surface buildings and U. S. Mining had its Niagara tunnel portal, at the mouth of Copper Center Gulch. Upper Bingham became Copperfield in 1914 and continued to grow as a residential area for workers at both Ohio Copper and U. S. Mining companies. Copperfield included small residental areas known as Dinkeyville, Jap Camp, Greek Camp, and Terrace Heights. Although there were a few residents farther up-canyon above Copperfield, the mining companies had surface facilities where Bingham canyon split to become Bear Gulch, running due south where the Telegraph mine was located, and southwest up Galena Gulch where the U. S. Mining company had its Jordan, Galena and South Galena mines.
Moving back down-canyon to Bingham itself, there was a major junction where Carr Fork joined Bingham canyon, best illustrated by a major junction and intersection in the highway where the large Bingham Mercantile store was located starting in 1904. Carr Fork split off to the southwest and climbed up to the where the residential area known as Highland Boy grew up around the mine and surface buildings of the pioneering Utah Consolidated Mining company, as well as the Boston Consolidated Mining company, both at the highest reaches of Carr Fork and Mud (or Muddy) Fork. Between the canyon junction and Highland Boy at the top of Carr Fork there were the residental areas of Apex and Phoenix, that surrounded the Utah Apex mine at Carr Fork's midway point. At the canyon junction itself, on the ridge between Bingham canyon and Carr Fork, there was a row of company houses known as Copper Heights.
Although the focus of the photos in the Don Strack collection is the mines and railroads of Bingham, many of the photos also show the homes, houses and businesses of the towns of Bingham including Lark, Copperton, Lead Mine, Bingham, Lower Bingham (including Frog Town and Heaston Heights), Carr Fork, Highland Boy, Copper Heights, Copperfield (Upper Bingham) and Dinkeyville. The photos do not show groups of people, fires, floods, wrecked equipment or unsafe practices.
In May 2018 Michael Ann Scroggin shared several scrapbooks and binders of Bingham photos with Steven Richardson and Don Strack, including photos collected by her father John Creedon, and her husband's uncle Shirl Scroggin. Shirl Scroggin's astounding color slides and photographs show changes at Bingham from about 1955 to 1985, when he retired.
Michael Ann Scroggin wrote on May 21, 2018: "Thank you to Steven Richardson and Don Strack. Recently Isabell Scroggin [Shirl Scroggin's wife] had to downsize and move to a retirement home. She gave me her scrapbooks and Shirl's slides. Steven and Don have been so helpful. Shirl and Isabell lived in Copperfield then Copperton and last next door to me in Bingham. Isabell's father Gail Rose and Shirl's father Ted were both bosses at Kennecott. I hope you enjoy the slides and the articles." (Shirl Scroggin passed away in 1999, and Isabell Scroggin passed away in 2020.)
From 1960 to 1966 Michael Ann's father John Creedon wrote a regular column for the weekly Bingham Bulletin newspaper, called Down Memory Lane -- a total of 184 articles that ended with the last issue of the Bulletin when it ceased publication. It was his intention to compile his excellent histories into a book after his retirement, but he tragically died in 1970 in an automobile accident in Tooele County, Utah, while traveling to Reno, Nevada. A large part of the Down Memory Lane histories are available online as part of the digital copies of the weekly Bingham Bulletin newspaper, although the digital copies end with 1962.
Steven Richardson wrote on the same day (May 21, 2018): "When I knew Shirl he was a security guard for Kennecott. He'd stop by the geology office a few times a year to borrow historical photographs for school presentations on Bingham Canyon. I'll bet he kept on doing that after he retired, but more frequently."
Steven Richardson has been the source for a large variety of photos. He has shared photos scanned from prints, and digital copies of photos from many interested persons. The photos from Steve Richardson include photos he himself has made digital copies of, along with other photos (numbering in the hundreds) from additional sources including Wilbur Smith, Gordon Bodily, Eldon Bray, Gene Halverson, Rudy Lund, Craig Clement, Ron Peterson, and Bryan Johnson.
The photos of the United States Mining company came from Ron Peterson and from Steve Richardson. Steve Richardson in-turn received them from Craig Clement, Bryan Johnson and Scott Crumb. Steve shared each collection in a separate album as part of the Bingham Canyon History group on Facebook. Eldon Bray and Gene Halverson also shared many photos. In some cases there were as many as five copies of the same image. After reviewing each image, only the largest and highest resolution image among the duplicates was retained.
Wilbur H. Smith (1913-1988) was a former division geologist for Kennecott Copper Corporation. He collected Bingham photos to show the wide variety of changes taking place in and around the canyon as the mining companies expanded their operations. Most of the Wilbur Smith photos were initially passed to Jaren Swensen, who passed them to Steven Richardson. As they become available from other persons, Steven has regularly added photos to the Wilbur Smith online photo album that is part of the Bingham Canyon History group on Facebook.
Gordon D. Bodily (1927-2016) was a foreman at Kennecott. Gordon had started work with Kennecott in 1951, very soon after his marriage. He started out, like so many others, on the track gang and very soon moved up to various supervisory positions, including supervising specific shovel crews. He then moved into the Industrial Engineering department, then in 1962 he was promoted to the position of equipment coordinator for the entire Bingham mine, coordinating the movement of equipment such as bulldozers, power shovels, track shifters, and drilling machines, along with the men who operated them. His father-in-law, Vinal S. Barlow, had worked at Bingham for over 40 years, and by 1962 was the mine plant superintendent. In 1965 Gordon Bodily was named as Bishop of his local LDS Copperton ward. Gordon Bodily was known by many as the source for hundreds of photos of Bingham.
Rudy (Rudolph W.) Lund (1916-1994) worked at Kennecott for 43 years. He had collected hundreds of photos of historic interest, and passed them in the form of four photo albums to Ken Matson, which were later passed to Gene Halverson. Gene Halverson scanned most of the photos, but when he moved he passed the books to Isabell Scroggin, who gave them to the school where she worked for over 40 years.
Ken (Kenneth W.) Matson (1929-2004) grew up in Bingham and attended Bingham High School in the late 1940s. Ken was a welder at Bingham for over 40 years.
Bryan Johnson was born in Bingham and worked for Kennecott in the 1970s and 1980s. He loaned his amazing collection of photos to his son-in-law Craig Clement for scanning, and Craig sent the images to Steve Richardson for sharing on the Bingham Canyon History Facebook page. The pictures show the U.S. Smelting Refining and Mining Company properties and facilities at Copperfield and Galena Gulch, especially the Niagara Tunnel, its workings, and the men who worked there in the 1930s or 1940s.
Brad Allen and Ron Petersen both shared photos that they had collected over the years. Andy Pazell has also shared a wide variety of photos of the people, houses and businesses in Bingham. A set of color slides were shared by E. Larry Osoro, showing homes and buildings in Carr Fork.
Tim Dumas has been gathering Bingham photos for many years, and shared additional significant collections from Larry Sax and Berry Skinner. Tim also produces excellent videos that he shares on his Youtube channel.
Berry Skinner was a haul truck mechanic and the photos in his collection came from the abandoned Yosemite truck shop in the mid-1980s. The photos were found in the old truck haulage mine office, which was vacant with the windows broken out and snow coming in. Scattered on the floor, and in old file cabinets were photos of haul trucks in various stages of regular repairs and wreck repairs. Some were water-damaged but most were undamaged and were kept safe afterwards. The old mine pictures from the Berry Skinner collection were found in a dumpster outside the old Lark mine offices. In the 1980s Kennecott was using the offices at Lark for safety training for its employees.
Lawrence Peter "Larry" Sax (1937-2022) told Tim Dumas his pictures came from many different sources. Larry Sax started his career right out of high school in 1956 and retired in 1994 as a machinist in the haul truck shop, 38 years later. His uncle (Charles J. "CJ" Sax, 1895-1953) was the Bingham Mine Engineer at the time of his death in 1953 at age 57. CJ Sax had started at Utah Copper as a survey chainman in 1912, and at the time of his death had a lot of maps and pictures, which were passed to Larry. Larry Sax's father, Francis Sax (1907-1979) worked in the Bull Gang (wrecker crew) on the tool car, traveling with the Big Hook (railroad derrick). They worked on the train and shovel wrecks around the mine, and took pictures of those accidents, which Francis Sax saved, and which were passed to Larry. Larry was a long-time member of the Lions Club at Copperton, and friends over time shared a wide variety of photos. The photos of the Bingham post office came to Larry when members of the Lions Club were in the offices of the Bingham & Garfield railroad that were being moved.
Over the past 30 or more years many people were able to save photos of Bingham, its mines, railroads, buildings and people. As scanning technology became available, many of the photos were scanned as digital files. In the early days when file size was important, the size of the scans were kept small, as well as scanning the photos at low resolution. As scanning technology improved and file size became less of an issue due to improving storage capability, many of the same photos were re-scanned using higher resolution. As new photos were discovered, they were also scanned as high resolution digital images.
The many people with large collections of digital images freely shared them, and soon there were several collections being shared over and over as more people became interested in their own efforts to preserve the history of Bingham. This multiple sharing, with the best of intentions, invariably resulted in many duplicate digital images continuing to be shared, although the images themselves varied considerably in file size and image quality. As this collection at UtahRails was being reviewed, and duplicate images compared, only those images with sufficient high quality, high resolution, and large file sizes are being retained, including examining duplicate images to ensure only full-sized, uncropped images, are being retained and presented.
Utah Copper company had its own team of photographers, who were actively taking photographs for company purposes as early as the mid 1920s. Until about 1926 Utah Copper used a local commercial photographer, Shipler Commercial Photographers, for a large portion of its photographic needs, dating from the earliest days of 1903-1904. Shipler took a large number of panoramic views of Utah Copper's open pit mine as well as the surface and underground workings of the other mining companies. Although his work for Utah Copper was greatly reduced after the mid 1920s, Shipler continued to furnish panoramic views as late as the mid 1930s. Shipler's photos have been preserved as part of the Utah State History collection at the former Rio Grande depot.
The Utah Copper company photographers usually (almost always) wrote a negative number and a date on the negatives themselves, using permanent India ink. The number series used on the negatives depended on the size of the negative and the camera being used. The earliest negatives had sequential numbers, with a descriptive word (Bingham, B&G, etc.) as a suffix. In about 1929, the word Bingham was changed to a simple B. The 8x10 and 6x8 negatives were numbered from the low 500-series in the 1925 time period, to the 900-series by the mid 1930s. Unfortunately none of the photos before the 500-series of the mid 1920s are known to have survived.
The larger 8x20 panorama negatives, dating from about September 1929, had their own number series (B-2 is dated 9-12-29). For the 8x10 negatives, in mid 1937 the simple B for Bingham was changed to UCM for Utah Copper Mine, starting with the 90-series numbers and continuing into the 1960s using the 600-series (UCM-615 is dated 1-28-64). The earlier 800- and 900-series from the B for Bingham era, continued into the UCM for Utah Copper Mine era as late as 1950 with numbers as high as UCM-989 (dated 11-6-50).
The Copperton Low Grade railroad mainline was built in 1947 and received its own negative number series, CL for Copperton Line. The CL designation was changed to OH for Ore Haulage very soon after the new line went into full operation in mid 1948. The earlier photos of the Bingham & Garfield railroad used the B&G designation, then ODD for the later Ore Delivery Department, until it was shut down in 1948.
Photos of the Central Power Station completed in 1944 received their own designation of CPS (CPS-1 is dated 9-5-41).
The two concentrating mills at Magna and Arthur received their own designation of A&M (Arthur & Magna; A&M-271 is dated 5-1-43), then later M for Magna and A for Arthur (A-1809 is dated 8-7-57). Photos of the Bonneville crusher and grinding mill, completed in 1965, are not known to have received any negative number designation or dates.
An unknown series, UCEP, dated 6-2-66, shows construction activity near the Magna mill. The code UR was used for the Utah Refinery at Garfield.
Research suggests that during the $100 million modernization program of 1964, new more portable camera equipment was purchased and replaced the large-format view cameras (6x8, 8x10 and 8x20). This new more modern photo equipment apparently included smaller professional cameras and enlargers that used 120-size film, measuring 2-1/4x2-1/4 inches, or 6x6cm. None of the smaller 120-size negatives from the mid 1960s and later are known to have survived.
By 1983 Kennecott's photo department consisted of only one person, located in the engineering department at the Arthur mill. By this time there were few overall photos being created, with a majority of the work being to document engineering changes, accidents and unsafe conditions. As part of the April 1984 shut down of all of Kennecott's Utah operations, the company photographer was laid off at the same time that the Arthur mill was closed and the engineering staff moved to a new facility at Copperton. Any need for photos after this time period was filled by local and out-of-state commercial photographers. There were strong and consistent rumors during the shutdown that the entire collection of hundreds of photos and negatives would be simply disposed of by burying at the company landfill located at the Magna tailings pond. Other rumors suggest that prior to the Arthur mill being demolished in 1990, cooler heads prevailed and the collection (consisting of at least 10 five-drawer file cabinets) was moved to a new home, although efforts as early as 2010 to locate the collection have not been successful.
Bingham Canyon Photos
(Don Strack at UtahRails has over 6000 photos in his collection, from a wide variety of sources. Contact him for no-charge access.)
Bingham Photos at UtahRails -- Just a few of the photos in Don Strack's collection
Interested researchers can continue their quest by reading the numerous books that have been published about Bingham and its towns. These books include:
"Bingham Canyon" by Marion Dunn, 1973
"Copperton" by Scott Crump, 1978
"Copperfield" by Arilla Bullock Jackson, 1984
"Our Life In The Canyon, Bingham to Highland Boy" by Vern Abreu, 1986
"Old Reliable, A History of Bingham Canyon, Utah" by Lynn R. Bailey, 1988
"The Search For Lopez, Utah's Greatest Manhunt" by Lynn R. Bailey, 1990
"Copperfield Remembered" by R. Eldon Bray, 2007
"Bingham Canyon Railroads" by Don Strack, 2011