Mascotte Tunnel / Bingham Central Railway

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Early Years

What would later become the Mascotte Tunnel was started in June 1895 as the "Bingham Tunnel" by the Dalton & Lark Mining Company, when surveyors for the company laid out the planned route for a drain tunnel, including the entry point on the foothills east of the mine. By December 1895, work had progressed to a depth of 160 feet. Due to financial troubles, work on the tunnel stalled in late 1895, and the tunnel remained an inactive project while the Dalton & Lark company was focused on purchasing the nearby Lead Mine company. Then throughout 1896, 1897 and 1898, the price of metals was depressed and the combined Dalton & Lark and Lead mine properties were not able to pursue the plan for a big drain tunnel. In July 1896, the company's mill at the railroad station known as Lead Mine was destroyed by fire, and was not rebuilt due to the low metal prices.

By early 1900, the financial condition of the Mascotte of Bingham Mining Company (formerly Dalton & Lark) had improved, including obtaining clear title to the mining claims it had previous only been leasing.

(Read more about the Dalton & Lark company, 1890-1901; including a timeline that includes the construction of the Mascotte tunnel in 1895)

A drain tunnel was needed because these early Dalton & Lark, and Lead mines, as well as many other mines in Bingham soon found any mining below the 700 level became costly because of the added cost of pumping water. Development could not take place below the 700 level without constant pumping, or a way to drain the tunnels.

The first mention of the Bingham Tunnel (later the Mascotte Tunnel) was in a summary of mining activity at Bingham, in the January 1, 1896 issue of the Salt Lake Tribune:

A new and important enterprise was fully inaugurated six months ago (June 1895), and yet engineers and others have been busy in preparation the past two years.

In the east part of the district are three well-known veins running through the country and known as the Brooklyn, Yosemite and Old Lead lodes. The Brooklyn is the most southerly. Between it and the Yosemite it is 300 feet. Between the Yosemite and the Old Lead is a space of 150 feet.

The Bingham Tunnel Company is driving a tunnel to pass half way between the Brooklyn and Yosemite lodes. This company has thirteen claims at the east end, or around the mouth of their tunnel in a low gulch with ample dumping ground below. A tunnel has been started and driven 200 feet. It is eight feet high with a six-foot cap and seven-foot sill in the clear. Below this is a drain about three feet wide and two feet deep.

It is proposed to carry this size all the way through. Excavations have been made at the mouth of the tunnel for suitable buildings for a big steam plant to aid in driving this tunnel through the hills. Electric drills will be used in pushing the work ahead. This machinery will go in as soon as the tunnel has reached a safe distance from the plant.

A wagon road has been constructed, 300 feet of which was made through rock cuttings. A tramway four miles long, with 1-3/4 per cent grade has been surveyed to Revere station.

A townsite to be known as Lamson has been laid out. The tunnel is proposed to be three miles long, reaching clear over to and beyond the Old Telegraph mine.

All the mines on the seven lodes named above are to be tapped by cross-tunnels and at great depths. It will cut under the Brooklyn 500 feet below its present workings, and the Brooklyn is one of the deepest mines in the district and it will drain various mines at 500 to 1400 feet below their lowest cutting and get 1100 feet below the Old Telegraph. The company is capitalized at $5,000,000, in 50,000 shares at a par value of $100 each. The officers are Allan G. Lamson, Boston, Mass., president; J. W. Moffat, vice-president and manager; W. S. McCormick, treasurer; C. T. Stevenson, secretary, and these, with Thomas Marshall, form the board of directors. All these are citizens of Salt Lake City. Work on this great enterprise will be pushed vigorously. (Salt Lake Tribune, January 1, 1896)

January 1900
The name Mascotte was first used because the new owners of the Dalton & Lark briefly used the name of the Mascotte of Bingham Mining Company, named for the Mascotte placer claim, one of the mining claims owned by the company. The new name was necessary to show that their property was separate and different from the old Dalton & Lark company that still existed for a short period, made up of a small group of claims held by minority stockholders that did not sell to the new company. In June 1900 work on the drain tunnel resumed, using the interim company name, Mascotte of Bingham. By the end of 1900, the old Dalton & Lark company had been cleared up and the new company was again using the Dalton & Lark name, but the Mascotte name remained for the tunnel itself.

April 1901
The Dalton & Lark company was sold to the Bingham Consolidated Mining & Smelting Company in April 1901 in part to provide funding for larger pumps and to complete the drain tunnel. Work progressed steadily, and by August 1901 the tunnel had been completed to a length of 1,070 feet.

August 23, 1901
The Dalton & Lark tunnel had been completed to a length of 1,070 feet, and was progressing at the rate of seven feet per day, by hand drills by men on three shifts. (Salt Lake Herald, August 23, 1901)

January 1902
The tunnel's portal was at a new location known as Lark, the terminal station of a new railroad completed in January 1902 known as the Dalton & Lark Railroad. This new railroad connected with the Rio Grande Western's Bingham Branch at the existing station known as Revere, which was renamed as Dalton. The location of Lark was where the surveyors in 1895 placed the lower exit portal in the foothills of the east slope of the Oquirrh Mountains. The tunnel was to act both as a drain tunnel, and as a transportation tunnel for the Dalton & Lark mine, and surrounding mines, drilling into the mountain east of Bingham Canyon and meeting the mines at their 1200 level.

The new tunnel, at a length of 6,500 feet, reached the Dalton & Lark property in late 1903. In late March 1905 the tunnel was completed, with a final length of nearly 8,000 feet, and reached the main Dalton & Lark incline tunnel. This was all while the tunnel was under the control of the Bingham Consolidated Mining & Smelting Company.

(Read more about the Bingham Consolidated Mining & Smelting Company, 1901-1908; including a timeline for the construction of the Mascotte tunnel in 1895 to 1903)

In 1912, the Mascotte Tunnel was reported as being at 5,556 feet altitude or elevation. (Engineering and Mining Journal, April 6, 1912, page 701, "Caving System at Ohio Copper Mine")

In 1936, it was reported that the Lark portal of the Mascotte tunnel was at 5,485 feet elevation. The collar shaft of the original Dalton & Lark mine was at 6,250 feet elevation. These two elevations indicate that the Mascotte tunnel was 785 feet below the collar opening of the original Dalton & Lark mine, which was 2-1/2 miles west of Lark. (The 1952 USGS topographic map shows the Mascotte tunnel along the 5500 feet elevation line.)

Bingham Central Railway

The Bingham Central Railway was given extensive press coverage when it was organized, with grand plans to serve the mines of Bingham. But the railroad never built anything other than to extend the Masscotte tunnel farther westward under the mountain to serve other mines already controlled by its parent companies. At its eastern end, it never extended its route beyond Lark.

The railroad that operated within the Mascotte drain tunnel, as a single-track line, was known as the Bingham Central Railway, a separate corporation that was usually closely associated with the original parent company, Bingham Consolidated mining, and the later Ohio Copper company. In 1937, Ohio Copper sold its surface rights in Bingham Canyon to Kennecott, and in 1951 sold its subsurface rights and surface rights at Lark, including the Mascotte tunnel, to United States Smelting Refining & Mining.

(Read more about the Ohio Copper Company.)

Before the creation of the Bingham Central Railway as a common carrier for Bingham district mines, the Mascotte tunnel was part of the Dalton & Lark property, until 1901 when it became part of the Bingham Consolidated Mining & Smelting Company. It was separated from the latter company in 1908 as part of the bankruptcy and reorganization of its Bingham Consolidated parent company, which in-turn was due to the smelter smoke litigation law suits. The reorganized Bingham Consolidated was called Bingham Mines Company, and did not include control of the Mascotte tunnel.

At about the same time, in 1908, Bingham Central Railway became a subsidiary of Ohio Copper Company, with both being owned and controlled by F. Augustus Heinze and his associates.

Because of Rio Grande Western's reluctance to make improvements that were needed to increase its capacity, Utah Copper became interested in the Bingham Central Railway as an alternate method of transporting its ore from its Bingham mine to its Garfield mill and nearby Asarco smelter. This new railroad was to build a new rail line between Bingham and Salt Lake City. The new railroad would also serve the adjacent smelting and mining districts. (Railway Gazette, Volume 43, number 10, September 6, 1907, p. 277; Railway Gazette, Volume 44, number 19, May 8, 1908, p. 655)

All of the officers of the new Bingham Central company were also officers of Utah Copper, including A. C. Ellis, Jr., who was president of both Bingham Central Railway and Utah Copper Company.

(This was prior to Utah Copper organizing its Bingham & Garfield subsidiary for the same purpose.)

August 28, 1907
The Bingham Central Railway was incorporated in Utah.

(Read the corporate information for Bingham Central Railway; Utah corporation files, index 6542)

The national railway press at the time was too far removed to know the specifics, saying that the projected line was said to include the construction of a long tunnel. In fact, the long tunnel already existed, in the form of the Mascotte tunnel (at times shown as the Mascot tunnel), 9,000 feet in length, which already existed as a drain tunnel under the Dalton & Lark and other mines on the east side of Bingham, with its opening at the town of Lark, below the mouth of the Dalton & Lark mine.

In 1907, the drain tunnel was a single track line used to transport ore to loading bins on the Dalton & Lark spur, a rail line that already existed between Revere (later Dalton) station of Rio Grande Western, and the drain tunnel located at what would later become the town of Lark. The spur had been built by Bingham Consolidated, but was engineered by RGW and operated by them until they bought the spur in late 1903.

February 9, 1907
"Ground has been broken for the new 2,000-ton mill on the Ohio Copper Co., at the mouth of the Mascotte tunnel, on the Lark side." The Mascotte tunnel was to be extended an additional 1-1/2 mile to "tap both the Ohio and Commercial properties." The tunnel was 7-1/2 feet at the top and 8 feet at the bottom, and would be driven 7,500 feet from its present terminus. (Deseret Evening News, February 9, 1907)

October 2, 1907
The Bingham Central Railroad was "recently" incorporated to take over the Mascotte tunnel of the Ohio Copper Company. President was A. C. Ellis. (Engineering and Contract, Volume 28, July-December 1907, October 2, 1907, page 29, Google Books)

October 16, 1907
Negotiations began in Boston to separate the Mascotte tunnel from Bingham Consolidated, which was to receive a benefit of lower transportation costs as a result, as well as the right for the Ohio Copper company to process the Bingham Consolidated ore at its new Lark mill for less costs than other mills. (Inter-Mountain Republican, October 16, 1907)

November 3, 1907
The Mascotte tunnel was actively being extended to the Ohio Copper property, using three shifts of men. When the Ohio property is reached, "within a month to six weeks," it would be 13,000 feet in length. It would tap into the Ohio ore body at a depth of 1,200 feet, or 500 feet below the current workings. (Salt Lake Tribune, November 3, 1907)

December 1, 1907
The Salt Lake and Bingham Railway was incorporated by F. A. Heinze "a few months ago" to serve as centralized tunnel transportation system for all the mines in Bingham, including Boston Consolidated, Ohio Copper, and Utah Copper. There was to be at least five miles of double track in tunnels, along with a system of several miles of single-track tunnels cut as lateral lines to reach companies interested in the service. The Mascotte tunnel was to serve as a part of the new company. The new company was to serve three purposes; transportation of ore, drainage of the mines, and prospecting new ore bodies. (Inter-Mountain Republican, December 1, 1907)

January 2, 1908
"The Mascotte tunnel has been enlarged and extended another 8,000 or 9,000 feet recently by Mr. Heinze's Ohio Copper Mining company. If Mr. Heinze's plans are successful the Bingham Consolidated company's to be paid $156,000 for the tunnel, which was its cost. Its ores are to be drawn out through this tunnel by contract at 10 cents per ton, which is about half what it costs the company to do the same service itself." (Salt Lake Herald, January 2, 1908)

January 30, 1908
The Mascotte tunnel had reached the Ohio Copper property, and was draining the upper workings of the mine. The face of the tunnel was in the ore, but there was still another 625 feet to go before it reached a point below the Ohio working shaft. (Salt Lake Mining Review, January 30, 1908)

February 3, 1908
The Mascotte tunnel was being pushed at the rate of 300 feet per month, with only 500 feet to go before it reached the point of the Ohio working shaft. When the connection is made, it will be 1,800 feet below the surface. (Salt Lake Telegram, February 3, 1908)

August 14, 1908
Work was to resume on the Mascotte tunnel to connect it with the Ohio Copper incline tunnel. The Mascotte tunnel was 12,600 feet in length, with about 600 feet yet to go to reach the point where it will meet the Ohio Copper incline tunnel, when that project is completed. The bottom of the incline tunnel was 720 feet above the Mascotte level. The work in the Mascotte has laid idle for the past few months due to financial difficulties in the East. Before the tunnel can be pushed ahead, much work is needed to repair connections in the air system, and replace rails in the rail system, as well as improving the drainage system. Work in the Ohio Copper portion has laid idle for a year or more, also due to financial difficulties. (Salt Lake Tribune, August 14, 1908)

August 16, 1908
The Bingham Central Railway was organized to have the benefit given to all railways, that of condemnation by eminent domain. The railway company filed a condemnation suit against Bingham Consolidated Mining and Smelting Company for ownership of the Mascotte tunnel, and the water flowing through it. This was apparently a maneuver by Heinze to separate the railway and tunnel away from the mining company that had built the tunnel. This would give the railway common carrier status that would in turn allow separate tariffs and income from other mining companies that currently used the tunnel and its transportation system, or would or could in the future. It would also give Heinze yet another method of making money from more than just the Ohio Copper company. The tunnel was held in a separate mortgage to Federal Trust, which would approve the separation if its mortgage of $166,550.24 were satisfied. (Salt Lake Tribune, August 16, 1908)

October 15, 1908
The Mascotte tunnel was 13,000 feet in length. (Salt Lake Telegram, October 15, 1908)

Based on measurements on USGS topographic maps, the approximate distance from Lark to Dalton & Lark mine was about 5,800 feet; from Lark to the Brooklyn and Lead mine property was about 7,900 feet; from Lark to the Ohio Copper property was about 11,900 feet; and from Lark to the Commercial property was about 15,800 feet.

December 16, 1908
The Mascot tunnel was "three miles in length" (about 15,840 feet). It is in the position to serve the Ohio Copper property, along with the Boston Consolidated and Utah Copper properties. The fact that Heinze purchased the tunnel for $150,000 from the collapsed Bingham Consolidated company has saved Heinze from financial ruin. When Ohio Copper begins shipping ore to its new mill at Lark, it will have to pay Heinze 15 cents for every ton hauled. (Deseret Evening News, December 16, 1908)

March 26, 1909
F. Augustus Heinze paid Bingham Mines Company $76,000 as partial payment for his purchase of the Mascotte Tunnel. An additional $100,000 was to be paid on April 1, 1909. The Bingham Mines property is only being operated in a small way due to the low prices of metals, and no active development is taking place. (Wall Street Journal, March 26, 1909)

April 14, 1909
F. Augustus Heinze paid Bingham Mines Company the final $101,000 owed for the purchase of the Mascotte Tunnel. Total purchase price was $177,000. The purchase, which was part of the financing package for the reorganization plan for the Bingham Consolidated Mining company, reduced the mining company's bonded debt from $903,000 to $675,000. (Wall Street Journal, April 14, 1909)

October 10, 1909
A new Yosemite Mines company was organized on recently virgin patented ground adjacent to the Bingham Mines property, and to the United States Mining property. The mine opening used the existing Paradox tunnel near the upper terminal of the U. S. Mines aerial tramway, where new buildings and a compressor were to be built. The working face of the mine was on an incline plane 800 feet deep, but 1,270 feet southeasterly from the portal. The same ore vein was encountered on the Mascotte level, 1,800 feet below the new Yosemite portal, and the Mascotte would be used to ship the ore to the new Ohio Copper mill when it was completed. (Salt Lake Herald, October 10, 1909)

According to the 1905 USGS study of the Bingham district, the Yosemite mine was at the head of the north fork of Yosemite Gulch. A comparison of available USGS maps and satellite photos, along with descriptions in newspaper articles suggests that the Paradox tunnel was adjacent to the terminal for the U. S. Mining company's aerial tram at the confluence of Galena Gulch and Bear Gulch. The Paradox tunnel had been extended 1200 feet to the southeast from its portal, and the underground workings were being extended downward to connect on an incline with the Mascotte tunnel, 1800 feet below the Paradox portal.

By mid December 1909, the new Yosemite Mining company was shown as being controlled by Bingham Mines company. (Deseret Evening News, December 18, 1909)

January 1910
The following excerpts come from the January 8, 1910 issue of The Mining World:

The Mascotte tunnel is owned and operated by the Bingham Central Railway Co., and primarily was built to afford transportation of the Ohio Copper Co.'s ore to its new mill, and without which, it is doubtful if the Ohio could operate at a satisfactory profit. The portal of this tunnel is on the Lark side of the range. In addition to being a transportation tunnel it drains the territory it taps, furnishing ample water for the full operation of the Ohio Copper Co.'s mill. Being so closely identified with the Ohio, the tunnel or railway controlling same, has scarcely been considered apart from the mining company, and its management is under the same local supervision as that of the Ohio-Colin McIntosh.

The tunnel is single tracked, and this fact has caused a belief that it could not take care of additional traffic, and even in some quarters, that it could not take care of all of the requirements of the Ohio. If requirements warrant, a parallel tunnel can he driven more quickly, and with less expense than to enlarge the present one to a double track.

The tunnel is about 14,300 ft. long, it being completed to a point about 300 ft. beyond the collar of the Ohio shaft.

The tunnel is equipped with a splendid electric haulage system, and the trains are operated on a schedule in the same manner as if it were a surface railroad, 18 round trips being made per day. At present a train consists of one 10-ton General Electric locomotive, with 15 five-ton cars. This gives a daily haulage capacity of 1310 tons per train. Four trains per day can be easily operated to the ore bins of the Ohio inside the mines at the tunnel level. As many more trains to other properties could be handled by starting them say two minutes apart after the Ohio trains, and these could be switched to their respective destinations at the points where the properties connect with the Mascotte tunnel. The company has already planned to double the carrying capacity by making trains of 30 cars, carrying 150 tons per trip, and for the equipment of these trains have ordered from the Westinghouse Co. a tandem electric locomotive, each "tandem" of a 20-ton capacity. This will, with two trains per day, enable the Ohio to deliver 5400 tons to its mill. It will also be seen what the haulage capacity per day, through a single track tunnel, can be brought up to. It is not overstating to say that, under the system of operation as planned, with four properties using the tunnel, not less than 40,000 tons per day of ore could be readily handled.

The ore bins at the tunnel level, in the Ohio, are 165 ft. long and have 64 gates. Their capacity is 4000 tons. The tunnel at the bins is double tracked. Everything is arranged for the rapid loading of cars, and while the loaded train is on its way to the mill, a train of empties having been previously set, is being loaded.

July 1, 1910
The Mascotte tunnel reached a point under the incline shaft of the Yosemite mine in mid April 1910, approximately 2,100 feet below the surface on the incline of the ore body. At that time, the Mascotte tunnel began draining the Yosemite property and by July 1910, the Yosemite company (controlled by Bingham Mines) began extending its shaft below the 800-foot level. It would be an "easy matter" to use the old Paradox tunnel, which would meet the Yosemite shaft at the 500-foot level. A raise of 1,400 feet to connect the Yosemite shaft with the Mascotte tunnel, would be delayed to allow some profit to be taken from the Yosemite properties by way of the Paradox tunnel. "The Lark-Yosemite vein, the Lead Mine vein and the Brooklyn vein course roughly parallel to each other through that section of East Bingham. The Lark-Yosemite vein and the extension of the Lead Mine vein are in Yosemite ground." (Salt Lake Herald, July 1, 1910)

(This was the same Yosemite Mining company adjacent to Bingham Mines' Commercial mine, and organized in October 1909, and controlled by Bingham Mines by mid December 1909. This new company was organized after the Mascotte tunnel, while being extended to reach the Commercial property, had cut into ore that was found to be in unpatented virgin territory on the surface. The Yosemite Mining company incorporated the Yosemite No. 1, the Mississippi, and the Cluster groups of mining claims.)

December 29, 1911
The Bingham Mines company was to resume work on the Yosemite property, starting by digging a raise from the Mascotte tunnel, up to the Yosemite No. 1 shaft. When weather improves, work will begin from the Yosemite shaft to complete the connection. (Salt Lake Herald, December 29, 1911)

June 1, 1912
Bingham Mines began sinking a shaft from its Yosemite property to connect with the 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 collar, or top of the Yosemite shaft. (Salt Lake Tribune, June 1, 1912)

December 29, 1912
Work on connecting the Yosemite shaft with the Mascotte tunnel continued, with just 400 feet separating the two working faces. When the connection is completed, the Yosemite will be one of the deepest mies in the Bingham district. (Salt Lake Herald, December 29, 1912)

April 6, 1913
"Bingham Mines management at Bingham on Sunday (April 6) connected the old Yosemite shaft with the Mascotte tunnel level. The Yosemite shaft was down 1160 feet on an incline, and from the bottom of same to the Mascotte tunnel level it was 1066 feet, which distance was driven exclusively by raising and the workings were brought together to the fraction of an inch, or, as one engineer termed it, to a gnat's heel." (Salt Lake Tribune, April 8, 1913; Engineering and Mining Journal, April 19, 1913, p. 828)

By 1913, Bingham Consolidated's Mascotte tunnel had been greatly improved and was the home of a high production, three-mile long electrified mining railroad (double-tracked at the underground loading chutes) that had been christened the "Bingham Central Railroad". During this time, the Ohio Copper company alone was shipping over 65,000 tons of copper ore per month to their Lark concentrator mill, by way of the Mascotte Tunnel. (Wegg, p. 48)

The Yosemite incline shaft "...was completed in May [1913] after having completed a raise for 1100 feet from the Mascotte tunnel to connect with the Yosemite shaft. This work was started in June 1912 but during the fall of that year it was stopped." (Salt Lake Telegram, February 1, 1914)

May 23, 1914
The Salt Lake County assessor was reported as being surprised to have discovered a new railroad in the county. That new railroad was the Bingham Central Railway, operating in the Mascotte tunnel and owned by F. Augustus Heinze. The source of income for the railroad was the transportation of ore, at 15 cents per ton, for Ohio Copper and other mines in the Bingham district. The assessor has levied a $30,000 tax on the property, but would not make the tax retroactive to collect past taxes. (Ogden Standard, May 23, 1914)

September 1914
The following comes from the September 26, 1914 issue of Engineering and Mining Journal:

Ohio Copper Co. Bankrupt -- A friendly petition in bankruptcy was filed in New York on Sept. 16 against the Ohio Copper Mining Co, by certain Utah creditors. Under a joint bond of $20,000, M. J. Hirsch and George C. Austin were named receivers in New York.

The Ohio Copper Mining Co. is a successor to the Ohio Copper Co. and it is stated that its liabilities amount to $170.000, aside from its mortgage bonds on which it defaulted interest payment Sept. 1. The affairs of the company have lately been in the hands of a new management headed by Pres. W. O. Allison. For a number of years the management had been controlled by F. Augustus Heinze, who still controls the Bingham Central railway, which transports the Ohio ore. The Ohio company sued to recover for alleged excess transport charges and the Bingham Central retaliated by suing for money due for services. The Ohio accounts were attached and these steps, in conjunction with the business situation and the decline in the price of copper, prevented the management from carrying the company's operation to a satisfactory conclusion.

The mine in the Bingham district and the mill at Lark, Utah, have been closed. (Engineering and Mining Journal, September 26, 1914, Volume 98, Number 13) (Heinze died on November 4, 1914)

Moody's Analyses of Investments, Steam Railroads, for 1917 reported the following for the Bingham Central Railway:

Bingham Central Railway

History: Incorporated under laws of Utah, May, 1908, for the purpose of constructing a railway between Bingham and Salt Lake City, Utah, and various mines in the vicinity, a distance of 30 miles. 3.5 miles of 2-foot railway is in operation, of which about 3 miles is tunnel, extending from Lark to mines.

Location: Lark, Utah, to mines. Equipment: Electric locomotives, 5; 150 steel ore cars, 50 of which are side-discharge, and 100 bottom-discharge, and 2,225 h.p. 150 k.w. 600 volt motor-generator sets.

Reorganization: Proposed reorganization plan of the Ohio Copper Co. provides that $850,000 stock of the new company is to be reserved in the treasury for possible purchase of this property which transports the company's ore from the mines to smelter.

Management: Officers: Alfred Frank, Pres. and Gen Mgr., Salt Lake City, Utah; Frederick Eckstein, Treas., New York; P. T. Farnsworth, Secy., Salt Lake City. Directors: Alfred Frank, W. H. King, J. E. Bergh, J. W. Caswell, P. T. Farnsworth, Salt Lake City, Utah; Frederick Eckstein, New York. Annual meeting, third Wednesday in Sept. General Office, Salt Lake City, Utah.

Bonded Debt: $975,000 Bingham Central Ry. 1st 6s. Dated April 1, 1908; due April 1, 1948. Interest paid A. and 0. 1, at company's office in New York City. Coupon and registered, $100 and $1,000. Metropolitan Trust Co., Trustee. Authorized, $3,000,000. $900,000 reserved for construction of railway to Salt Lake City; $500,000 reserved for additional trackage; $375,000 for tunnel section, and $250,000 for additional equipment. Sinking fund of $75,000 per annum became operative April 1, 1911. Callable at 105 and interest. First lien on entire property. Income tax is not deducted from interest. In default.

Capital Stock: Authorized, $3,000,000 6% cumulative preferred and $5,000,000 common. Outstanding, $975,000 pfd. and $1,624,987 common. Par, both issues, $100. Preferred has preference for assets and dividends. Stock transferred and registered at Salt Lake City, Utah. (Moody's Analyses of Investments, Steam Railroads, 1917, page 794)

March 31, 1917
The management of the new Ohio Copper Company of Utah had purchased most of the bonds and all of the preferred and common stock of the Bingham Central Railway. This gave the mining and milling company control of the transportation of its ore from its mine to its mill. (Wall Street Journal, March 31, 1917)

The Bingham Central Railway was shown in 1918 as being controlled by the estate of F. Augustus Heinze, after his death in November 1914. "The Mascotte tunnel, controlled by the Heinze Estate, through the Bingham Central railway, exacts a toll of 15 cents per ton on all ore extracted along that avenue, yielding a very considerable revenue to the owners." (The Mines Handbook, Volume 13, Ohio Copper Mining Co., page 1366)

Papers in the Ohio Copper collection at Utah State Historical Society indicate that the Bingham Central Railway remained in existence as late as 1924. These papers also indicate that at some point, Utah Copper sold its interest in Bingham Central Railway to Ohio Copper, possibly as part of a group that may or may not have included Bingham Mines Company, as successor to Bingham Consolidated. Whatever the case, the tunnel remained in regular use as United States Mining Company's Lark tunnel until mid 1952 when Kennecott completed a new 3.9-mile tunnel at its own expense to replace the original Mascotte tunnel. The United States company shut down all of it mining and smelting operations in Utah in late 1971. More research is needed.

The Mascotte tunnel was reported as being 14,000 feet in length, with a single track railroad. (The Mines Handbook, 1922, page 1556)

June 1929
United States Mining (USSR&M) purchased the Bingham Mines group. (Wilson thesis, p. 5)

(Recall that the Bingham Mines company was the reorganized Bingham Consolidated company that had completed the Mascotte tunnel, as well as owning the Dalton & Lark and Yosemite groups of mines)

(Read more about the Bingham Mines Company, 1908-1929)

November 1932
A ten-feet wide, electrified railroad tunnel under all of the mines in Bingham Canyon was proposed in a request for a $2.5 million government loan from the Reconstruction Finance Corporation. The tunnel was to be 30,000 feet in length and would connect the bottom workings of a "dozen" mines, allowing them to haul their ores down to the new tunnel, rather than hoisting their ore up several hundred feet at great expense. (New York Times, November 19, 1932, "Mine Tunnel Loan Sought")

February 1934
Upon his death on February 19, 1934, Charles A. Kittle was reported as being the president of Ohio Copper Company, and vice president of Bingham Central Railway, indicating that the two companies were closely associated. (New York Times, February 20, 1934)

Ohio Copper Company sold all of its surface rights and minerals rights above the Mascotte tunnel to Kennecott in 1937. Ohio Copper retained its dumps and leaching plant at Lark, which were later sold to United States Smelting, Refining and Mining Company in 1950. (Arrington: Richest Hole, p. 88)

March 1939
Upon his death on March 17, 1939, Donald G. Goss was reported as being a director of both Ohio Copper Company and Bingham Central Railway. (New York Times, March 18, 1939)

United States Mining Company purchased the subsurface mineral rights of the Ohio Copper Company, along with the Ohio company's surface rights at Lark. (Billings, page 26)

April 30, 1951
The property of Ohio Copper company was sold by order of the bankruptcy court:

"Notice is hereby given that E. C. Jensen, Trustee of the Estate of the Ohio Copper Company of Utah, on April 30th, 1951, at 2 o'clock, p.m., at the west front door of the City and County Building in Salt Lake City, Salt Lake County, Utah, will sell to the highest bidder all of the property of Ohio Copper Company of Utah. Said property consists generally of approximately 115 acres of patented lode mining claims situated in West Mountain Mining District, Salt Lake County, Utah, excepting and excluding therefrom that portion thereof heretofore conveyed to Kennecott Copper Corporation and lying above a horizontal plane 50 feet above the present floor of the Mascotte Tunnel where said Tunnel enters the easterly boundary of the Henley Fraction Lode Mining Claim; such right or interest as Ohio Copper Company of Utah may have in 102.64 acres of unpatented lode and placer mining claims in Lisbon Valley Mining District, San Juan County, Utah; approximately 1800 acres of land embracing a tailings disposal area near Lark, Salt Lake County, Utah; approximately 80 acres of land embracing the Lark Townsite area in Salt Lake County, Utah; improved real estate consisting of a building lot with dwelling house situate thereon located at 1357 Third Avenue, Salt Lake City, Utah; all mine buildings, shops, warehouses and similar structures located at or near Lark in Salt Lake County, Utah; all right and interest of Ohio Copper Company of Utah in a certain haulage tunnel known at Mascotte Tunnel extending from portal at Lark, Utah, westerly through the Oquirrh Mountains, including easement and right of way, rails, overhead trolley, block signal, telephone system and all other equipment therein; all transformers, generators, locomotives, ore cars, passenger cars, timber cars, compressors, receivers, hoists, drills, machines, pumps, blowers and miscellaneous railway and mining equipment; all operating supplies and inventory and all miscellaneous office and automotive equipment." "No bid less than $115,000.00 for the aggregate of all said property will be accepted. the said property will be sold in bulk in its entirety and not in separate parcels."

Bingham-Lark Tunnel

The Mascotte tunnel was United States Mining's main haulage tunnel after 1914, with the Niagara tunnel at Copperfield serving as access to the company's underground workings for men and equipment. Following the rapid expansion of Utah Copper's open pit mine during the late 1930s and during the World War II years, Utah Copper, and its parent company Kennecott Copper, found that further expansion to the south was hindered by the Niagara tunnel, and its main opening at Copperfield.

T. P. Billings wrote in about 1952:

By the fall of 1941 both companies had carried on investigations of different sites in the Bingham area as to their suitability from which to conduct the operation of the US mine. Also Kennecott had projected a long range program and had determined its ultimate requirements from the USCo and Montana Bingham Company, a subsidiary of the USCo, in the ways of bench rights, railroad and dump rights, collection of its copper laden waters both from natural and artificial causes and spraying or irrigating all its dumps presently or which may in the future be made upon USCo or Montana Bingham ground.

Confronted with the magnitude of Kennecott's requests to fulfill its ultimate requirements and make itself whole so far as the US and Montana Bingham companies, the USCo selected a site at Lark, Utah for the construction of substitute facilities, far removed from any of Kennecott's operations, present or future, for the portal of a new tunnel to be driven to connect with certain workings in the US mine and the Lark and St. Joe mines. The US management decided to have everything new, including a combined office and change house building, a combined store house, machine shop, blacksmith shop, electrical shop, welding shop, repair shop and garage building, compressor plant, saw mill, heating plant, mancar storage house, sub-station, culinary water tank, ore dump trestles, railroad spurs, powder magazine, lumber yard, parking lot and roads.

A large area was leveled off at the portal of the tunnel and all the above facilities are located as conveniently and advantageously as possible both with respect to each other as well as to the mine. The projection of the new tunnel to best serve the US, Lark and St. Joe mines, together with new shafts for their respective functions, lowering ore to the new tunnel level, ventilation and repairs of a main underground hoist, were carefully designed by the US mining department, and the US engineering department has carefully designed the facilities both at surface and underground. The engineering staff had the help and approval of Kennecott engineers, and large equipment companies supplied a fund of data and technical information relating to the various phases of the enterprise. (History of the Bingham Mining District, by T. P. Billings)

July 26, 1948
Kennecott and United States Mining signed a agreement for Kennecott to provide an entirely new deep haulage tunnel for United States Mining, to replace both the deep Mascotte tunnel, and the facilities at the opening of the Niagara tunnel at Copperfield. (Kennecott chronology)

April 15, 1951
The new Bingham-Lark tunnel for United States Smelting, Refining and Mining was "bored through" on Sunday April 15, 1951. The work had started two and a half years before, with Kennecott paying the full cost of $6 million. The length was reported as 21,014 feet, or 3.9 miles. Construction was being completed by Utah Construction company. The tunnel was at the 5600-foot level, and a shaft would be completed to connect the new tunnel with the old Niagara tunnel at the 6688-foot level. Work began in November 1948, and was scheduled for completion in summer 1952. (Deseret News, April 16, 1951)

The new deep tunnel was completed in 1952, along all new machine shops and facilities for personnel at Lark, and the United States company abandoned all of its surface works in Bingham canyon.

March 18, 1952
The new Bingham-Lark tunnel, planned to be 21,300 feet long, was 80 percent completed. The new surface facilities at Lark were 40 percent completed. (Salt Lake Tribune, March 18, 1952)

(Various online newspaper searches failed to find any reference to when the new Bingham-Lark tunnel was completed and placed into service.)

"The tunnel(s) from Lark to the Bingham side were exciting to say the very least. At about one mile in there was a frog set-up and the man-train operator selected which tunnel to go into. Another mile or so would be the Bingham 1000 level. I would then hoist the main hoist-man to the large hoist room at the top of the shaft. It was the old US Bingham mine hoist. Every 200 feet in elevation change would be drifts (smaller tunnels for the miners to work from. The hoist I operated was at the 1000 foot level. I did some work down to the 16-2000 foot level where the waters had reached, presumably from the old fire in a charging room. I was able to follow a drift at the top of the main shaft back to where the water system for Lark originated. The crystal formations were magnificent. I was trained to be a timber-man, sand backfill man, shaft repairman and of course train operator and hoist man. Each level of training meant more coin." (from a member of the Bingham Canyon History group on Facebook)

The Bingham Tunnel at Lark was renovated beginning about 2004. A plastic pipeline was installed to remove water from the Bingham Canyon Mine, reducing the need for pumping.

(Read more about United States Mining's operations after 1948)

Butterfield Tunnel

The Butterfield tunnel drained the mines in the upper parts of Bingham Canyon, including the Butterfield and Queen mines, and in later years, the Old Jordan, Old Telegraph and Galena mines after the tunnel was purchased by the United States mining company.

The Butterfield tunnel was 8,700 feet in length, and its portal was in Butterfield Canyon, south of the Bingham district. It was extended to 15,000 feet in 1924-1925 to reach the properties of the United States mining company.

(Read more about the Butterfield Tunnel)


Bingham Haulage and Drain Tunnels -- A Google Map showing the locations of the Mascotte, Bingham-Lark, and Butterfield tunnels.