Lead Mine, The Town
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This page was last updated on February 28, 2021.
The community known as Lead Mine was located along the county highway, at the mouth of Bingham canyon, just west of Copperton. It was the site of several businesses that included the House of Copper souvenir shop, and at least two bars.
The community at the site of Lead Mine dated back to the earliest days of mining activity in Bingham Canyon. Research suggests that the community was where workers at the Lead mill had their homes, dating from the early 1880s (the mill was opened in 1883) through until the mill closed due to a fire in 1896.
The community was ideally located for travelers to and from the other towns in Bingham Canyon and soon became a regular stop-over because of its nice park-like open areas and large shade trees. With all the travelers taking time for a brief rest, small businesses soon started, including a store, a restaurant, and at least one bar and saloon. When automobiles became more common in the 1920s, more people were stopping at Lead Mine, and the community began to grow.
The name of Lead Mine comes from the site location near the concentrating mill of the Lead Mine Company. From about 1883 until in burned in July 1896, the mill of the Lead Mine Company was located at the mouth of Bingham canyon at what the Rio Grande Western railroad called its Lead Mine Switch, or Lead Mine Spur. Many maps of the era simply showed the spot as Lead Mine.
The actual mine of the Lead Mine Company was located about three miles to the south-southwest, near the Brooklyn and Yosemite mines, at the head of Yosemite Gulch. The original horse (or mule) tramway from the Lead Mine to the Lead Mill is shown on the 1900 Bingham district USGS map.
After 1906, the location was where the connection was made with the Rio Grande low-grade line into Bingham canyon, completed in 1907. This rail line was known as the Bingham Branch Extension, and the connection was known as Loline Junction. In early maps and railroad timetables, the same location is shown as Lead Mine.
Wayne Ray has recalled that the small raise in the road between Copperton, and low spot where Lead Mine was, was known as Kappele's Hill, and that there was a shallow pond near the Lead Mine community that was known as Kappele's Pond. Stella Saltas has recalled that Otto and Bessie Kappele bought all this property on July 9, 1908. Property records show that Joe Mayne bought Lead Mine on July 15, 1927. Stella Saltas' father bought their property from Joe Mayne in 1938.
Otto Kappele was a tailor living in Salt Lake City from 1895 until about 1905. He moved his family to Bingham and settled near the community of Lead Mine, where he maintained a hog farm in addition to his tailoring business. He and Bessie had married in 1895 and had moved from Salt Lake City to the Bingham area 10 years later. In about 1905, he had built a family home near what would later become Copperton (the home burned down in July 1934). In the early years before 1910, Kappele had a contract to haul children from the Old Copperton and Lead Mine communities, to the Central school in Bingham Canyon. Beginning in 1913, Kappele also held the contract for garbage collection in Bingham and Carr Fork, under contract from Salt Lake County, and after 1916 he was the county health inspector for Bingham. In later times, Kappele was an early creator of political newsletters, and regularly took the local leaders of Bingham Canyon, and Salt Lake County to task for their methods and decisions. The Kappele family moved from Lead Mine in about 1930, after their daughters Bessie and Bertha graduated from Bingham High in 1928. The family moved to Bremerton, Washington, and the two daughters had their time in the spotlights in New York City with the R-K-O Orpheum Theatre, starring in a show called "Bingham To Broadway." By 1934, both daughters were married and living in New York City, and at about the same time in 1934, Kappele began selling all or parts of his two 640-acre sections at the mouth of Bingham Canyon. Otto and Bessie Kappele celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary in 1945 while still residing in Bremerton.
The Lead Mine community grew larger when the Rio Grande Western railroad began construction of its low-grade line into Bingham Canyon in April 1906. The line was completed in February 1907, following a circular route that required horseshoe circles and steep grades. The new railroad line connected with the main Bingham Branch at a new location called Loline Junction, located adjacent to Kappele's Hill, about 1/4 mile east of the Lead Mine community, and directly across from the site of the burned-out mill of the defunct Lead Mine company. The new rail line was formally known as the Bingham Branch Extension, but soon became known as the High Line due to its entering the canyon high on the south side of the canyon above Lead Mine.
Lead Mine was also the site of Kennecott's precipitation plant, built in 1929 and greatly expanded in 1966. The precipitation plant at Lead Mine was closed in 2000 and the site was reclaimed.
House of Copper
In 1954, the House of Copper souvenir shop moved from Bingham Canyon to Lead Mine. The original site in Bingham was at the intersection of Main Street and Carr Fork, and the stored moved as Kennecott began buying businesses and homes along Main Street, and demolishing the buildings.
The first newspaper reference to the House of Copper souvenir shop in Lead Mine comes in August 1954. The business itself was shown in May through July 1961 as being for sale, by Mike Leventis, with an asking price of $10,000. "Law practice and other business interests prompt owners to sell."
A newspaper story on March 27, 1959, about the decline of Bingham businesses, noted that Union Drug was owned by Bob Jimas, and the House of Copper and Copper Trading Post souvenir shops were both owned by Mike Leventis.
By August 4, 1961, Union Drug had moved from Bingham into the former Emerald Club at Lead Mine, as Kennecott continued buying homes and businesses along Main Street and tearing them down.
In November 1962, the House of Copper, and the Union Drug (next door) shared an advertisement announcing the arrival of Santa Claus. In December 1962, an advertisement included the company name: "Union Drug Co. and House of Copper," with Bob and Marion Jimas as owner-operators.
Bars and Saloons
John Saltas wrote on November 13, 2016: "There were once at least two bars in Lead Mine. One was the Mooner (Moonlight Gardens). Another burned down, and I thought the building where Jimas put the pharmacy, later the liquor store, was once a bar. The building where the House of Copper was (prior was a small hamburger joint), was built in the late 1940s by John Leventis, and was expanded in the early 1950s and included upstairs apartments. One side of the building at street level was the House Of Copper, the other was the Gateway Cafe (where the cook was Gus Camilos). The building, along with the Emerald Cafe and House of Copper were sold to Bob Jimas and partners in the late 1950s. In the late 1960s, the cafe closed and the artifacts from the old Bingham Museum were moved into that space."
John Saltas wrote on November 13, 2016, referencing a conversation with Stella Saltas: "The first two bars were the Moonlight Gardens (Kampros and Vidilakis owners) built in the early 1940s and the Starlight (owned by Sam Condas) which was there when her family moved there in 1939. The Moonlight became the Ore House in the 1990s. The Starlight burned down in the late 1940s, the foundations are still seen in what was Lead Mine. A third bar, the Emerald Club, was built by Jack Tallas (managed at one one time by Jim Malkogiannis (later ran the Copper King), then by Tom and Mickey Caligori from SLC ran it. The building was closed and empty a short time before Jimas moved the Union Drug into the building in the late 1950s or early 1960s."
Joann Mattson Erickson wrote on November 17, 2016: "The first bar in Leadmine was called the Emerald Club in or about the early 50's a guy named Johnny ran it. At one point he had a training camp for boxing my brother started to train there. I don't know what happened but he sold to a Lady name Ethyl." "Bob Jimas bought it and thus became a building with a counter for hamburgers, fries, and drinks . A pharmacy, State Liquor store and gift shop and magazines." "Next to that early on I don't remember what was in the next two buildings. Then an alley and the Moonlight, a large parking lot then north were three houses, one a double-decker. Casals lived in one. Next to them a man named Benito and wife or girlfriend. Next was another bar called the Starlight." (There was also a Starlite bar, further up-canyon and part of the community known as Frogtown.) "Down from that was a Beehive gasoline station. The House of Copper opened up just before Bingham copper shop closed because Marion bought his merchandise."
Stella Saltas wrote on December 4, 2019: "Starlight bar was owned by Sam Condas. He also owned the property where Jimmie Elkin's family lived. When the Starlight burned down he sold his property to Jack Tallas, he moved to Arizona. Bob Jimas later owned all the property. I believe the fire was in 1947 or 1948."
Newspaper references to the Emerald Club start in May 1949, when the club began its sponsorship of a local softball team. James Malkos was shown as "operator" in 1951 when there was a $200 robbery. The Emerald Club had been closed by July 1961, when the Union Drug in Bingham, moved into the old Emerald Club building in Lead Mine.
There are references in online newspapers to the Moonlight Gardens bar at Lead Mine dating back to the early 1930s, with the most recent being an ad in December 1962 wishing their customers a happy Christmas season.
The first newspaper reference was in August 1934 when the club was known as the Moonlight Beer Garden., with Jim Varedakis and George Kambos shown as owners. The Moonlight sponsored a softball team at Bingham until about September 1936. According to information in the newspapers, Denton Carter became manager of Moonlight Gardens in 1948, and in 1961 Gene Johnson and Bill Hemmings took over management of the club.
(no newspaper references after 1962)
The Starlight Gardens bar was owned by Sam Condas until about 1944, when he and his family moved to Phoenix, Arizona. They visited Bingham regularly after that. Gus Anton was the manager in December 1945 when the Starlight was remodeled, making it larger. In August 1947, the Starlight became the Starlight Cafe, with Florence Baum, Marian Baum, and Janette Streator as managers. The Starlight Cafe was listed as being for sale in January 1948, with an asking price of $2500.
In June 1957, another bar using the "Starlight Club" name received a license to sell beer, under the name of Ambrose Cuevas. The club is shown as formerly being the A&M Club. (Bingham Bulletin, June 21, 1957)
(no newspaper references after 1957)