United States Mining Company
Index For This Page
This page was last updated on May 11, 2022.
(This is a work in progress; research continues.)
(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 U. S. company's ore to the mills and smelters.)
The United States Mining Company was organized in March 1899 to operate the Old Jordan Mine in Bingham Canyon, and Albert F. Holden is shown in July 1899 as the managing director of the United States Mining Company, as well as the Centennial-Eureka mine in Tintic.
The following comes from USGS Professional Paper 38, p. 233:
In 1899, the United States Mining Company came into control of the Old Jordan and Galena (including the Northern Light, Orphan Boy, Live Pine, etc.), Utah, Niagara, Spanish, and Old Telegraph mines. The West Jordan claim was located September 17, 1863, as a portion of ground staked by twenty-five men composing the Jordan Silver Mining Company. This is the earliest recorded mining location in Utah.
The plant of the United States Mining Company includes a small experimental concentrating mill; plant for generating the electrical power for lighting; complete compressor equipment for use on machine drills in all of the mines of the company; machine shop; sawmills, carpenter shops, and blacksmith shops at both the Old Jordan and Telegraph mines, and comfortable. boarding and lodging accommodations for officers and miners. Two stamp mills for gold ore and cyanide plant have been sold and dismantled.
The United States Smelting Refining and Mining Company was organized in 1906 to acquire the United States Mining Company, operating in Bingham, Tintic and California and to acquire other mining interests in Mexico and Nevada. The Company's first managing director Albert F. Holden.
United States Smelting Refining and Mining Company was also the parent company of Utah Railway, a coal-hauling railroad in Carbon and Utah counties, along with United States Fuel Company, which owned the coal mines in Carbon County served by Utah Railway.
Jordan and Galena Mines
(These were two separate mining claims, that by late 1873, were being worked as a single mine.)
The following comes from USGS Professional Paper 38, pages 232, 233:
The West Jordan claim was located September 17, 1863, as a portion of ground staked by twenty-five men composing the Jordan Silver Mining Company. This is the earliest recorded mining location in Utah.
The Jordan mine, which includes the properties now known as the "Jordan" and "South Galena" mines, is located on the north slope of Bingham Canyon, about halfway between Bear Gulch and the head of the main canyon, in the Jordan limestone.
It extends from the Neptune on the west to the Story on the east. It also includes the Orphan Boy and Northern Light tunnels, on the Commercial limestone, and extensive workings upon the Galena fissure below the Jordan limestone.
The Jordan was incorporated in 1864, under the laws of California, as Jordan Silver Mining Company, by Gen. P. E. Connor. In 1870 the property was purchased by J. W. Kerr, Isadore Morris, and others, who erected the Galena smelter. After working the mine three years they sold it to Carson and Buzzo, who constructed a wooden flume (15 by 9 feet) 12 miles long, at a cost of $120,000, to furnish water (to the smelter) for power. After they failed, in 1875, it was acquired by the Galena Silver Mining Company, which built the Galena smelter (5 stacks) on the Jordan River; in 1877 by the Jordan Mining and Smelting Company, and in 1879 by the Jordan Mining and Milling Company.
At that time, lead was being extracted with much success by L. E. Holden, in conjunction with operations at the Telegraph mine. From 1880 to 1888 special attention was devoted to rich oxidized gold ores and lead-hearing fissures. Cheaper smelter charges, adopted in 1888, allowed the exploitation of the galena bodies which underlay the carbonates.
In 1890 the Old Jordan, the Galena, and many other mining properties were consolidated, and lead sulphide was exploited on a large scale. The shipment of lead ore, as recorded, increased from 6,000 tons in 1896 to 39,000 tons in 1897. Since the property passed into the ownership of the present company, search for shoots of copper sulphide has been actively pushed, but the only shipments of ore have been made by leasers.
The following comes from "Department Of The Interior, Statistics And Technology Of The Precious Metals," 1885, page 409:
It is the oldest mine in the territory. The mine was purchased by J. W. Kerr & Co., who, in 1872, erected the Galena smelter (one stack). Afterward the property was bought by Carson & Buzzo, who constructed a wooden flume (5 by 9 feet) 12 miles long, at a cost of $120,000, to furnish waterpower. They failed in 1875, and the Galena Silver Mining Company became the owner. In the same year the Galena smelters (five stacks) were built on the Jordan river. In 1877 the property was sold to the Jordan Mining and Smelting Company, which Company was reorganized in 1879; with but slight change of ownership, under the name of the Jordan Mining and Milling Company.
(The Old Telegraph group of mines consisted of the Nez Perces Chief, Roman Empire, No You Don't, and the Telegraph Western Extension mining claims)
The Telegraph mine was L. E. Holden's first mine in Utah. He came to Utah in 1874 from Cleveland to manage the mine for a group of other Ohio and Michigan investors. His techniques were soon very successful and the mine was very profitable. Holden became familiar with good mining practices and took advantage of his location in Utah, and the distant nature the other owners, and gained control of the mine. He sold it in 1879 to a French company at a great profit, and used the proceeds to buy other mines in Utah and the West.
Niagara Mining and Smelting Company
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 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 late 1910 when it was developed as a transportation tunnel after Utah Copper purchased the surface rights to the adjacent Bingham Consolidated company, and that company moved the surface workings of its Commercial mine, down to the Niagara tunnel opening, and connected its underground workings to the Niagara tunnel. In 1914, the United States company itself, already owner of the Niagara tunnel, stopped using its aerial tramway to Bingham station, and expanded the Niagara tunnel to be its main transportation tunnel. (To serve the Niagara tunnel in this expanded role as the U. S. company's main haulage tunnel, in 1912 Utah Copper built the landmark and very long 'E' Line wooden trestle, spanning the Bingham Canyon at Upper Bingham, allowing rail cars movement to and from D&RG's Cuprum yards. The trestle bridge remained as a landmark of Copperfield until it was removed in the winter of 1940-1941.)
The Niagara tunnel remained in the role of the primary access for shipping ore from the United States properties, until 1941 when the United States company moved a major part of its surface facilities in Bingham from the opening of the Niagara tunnel, out to Lark, at the eastward portal of the deeper 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.
United States Mining
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)
March 26, 1899
The United States Mining Company was organized on March 26, 1899 by Albert F. "Bert" Holden, who "visualized the possibilities of the intensely mineralized Bingham area especially those related to the Jordan broad lode and the principal fissures. With an abiding faith in this well defined lode he concentrated his efforts in the acquisition of properties located on this lode, also, the consolidation of three richly mineralized groups of mining claims in Bingham all of which were located upon the Jordan limestone". (Billings)
Bert Holden's father was Liberty E. Holden, who was one of the organizers in 1875 of the original Old Telegraph mine, later owned by the French conglomerate, Societe des Minus d'Argent et Fonderies de Bingham. After selling out to the French company, L. E. Holden continued his activities in Utah mining, including buying the adjacent Old Jordan mine.
April 10, 1899
United States Mining Company was organized on April 10, 1899 to consolidate the Jordan and Galena (24 claims), Niagara (23 claims) properties located in Galena Gulch, and the Telegraph (15 claims) properties in 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)
April 12, 1899
Four deeds of conveyance were recorded in Salt Lake County transferring three properties to United States Mining Company, which was a group of New England and British investors. The total value of all four transfers was $5.25 million. The first three deeds conveyed three properties to Clarence A. Hight, a resident of Portland, Maine, and one of the organizers of United States Mining company. The first deed was for the Old Jordan and Galena Mining Company, whose majority stock holders were E. B. Wicks, A. F. Holden, and E. E. Rowe. A total of 51 claims, worth approximately $600,000. The second deed was for Conglomerate Mining Company's Old Telegraph group of 43 claims, owned by G. Lavagnino and worth approximately $1 million. The third deed was for G. Lavagnino's four claims that made up the Hamblin Mining Company that adjoined the Old Telegraph group, and which were also worth approximately $1 million. The fourth deed conveyed the three deeds from Clarence A. Hight to the United States Mining Company. The Niagara Mining and Smelting company was not mentioned in the transactions because it was "absorbed" by purchase of its stock. (Salt Lake Herald, April 13, 1899)
April 12, 1899
"The concluding act in the transfer of the Old Jordan & Galena and Old Telegraph properties in Bingham, to the United States Mining company, a corporation recently organized in Maine, with a capital stock of $10 million, fully paid, was completed yesterday, when deeds of conveyance were executed." " No mention was made in any of the documents of the transfer of the Niagara Mining & Smelting company's property, the third Bingham gold and copper property taken in by the new United States company, but this is accounted for in the fact that this property was acquired by purchase of the stock, which stock was absorbed." (Salt Lake Herald, April 13, 1899)
(The portion of the Niagara property sold to the U. S. company was 80 percent of the company's stock. -- Salt Lake Tribune, January 1, 1905)
August 1, 1899
United States Mining Company purchased the interests of the Centennial-Eureka Mining Company at Eureka in the Tintic district. (Deseret News, March 15, 1900, "turned over to the new owners on the 1st of last August")
August 1, 1899
"The sale of the Centennial-Eureka mine at Eureka, Tintic, to the United States Mining company, on Tuesday, August 1st, was a brilliant finale to the history of this property." The sale was reported to be at $70 for all 30,000 shares, or $2.1 million. It was reported that the United States Mining Company needed to siliceous ore from the Centennial-Eureka mine to balance its ore at its soon to be built smelter. James W. Neill was general superintendent of the United States company, and J. E. Bamberger was ???? The Centennial-Eureka was located in 1876 by W. W. Chisholm, J. F. Woodman, J. D. Kendall, and J. E. Bamberger. (Salt Lake Mining Review, August 15, 1899)
August 24, 1899
A special stockholders meeting of the Centennial-Eureka Mining Company was held in Salt Lake City on August 24, 1899 ("today") to accept the amendment to the corporation asked for by a group of Boston investors representing the United States Mining Company, and that company's purchase of 22,000 shares of Centennial-Eureka. The amendment was approved and enabled and authorized the company to buy and sell mines. (Salt Lake Herald, August 24, 1899; Salt Lake Mining Review, August 30, 1899) By September 2, 1899, all but 180 of the outstanding 30,000 shares had voted in favor of the sale and had received their compensation. (Salt Lake Herald, September 2, 1899; October 14, 1899)
December 6, 1899
The property of the old Centennial-Eureka Mining Company of Utah was transferred to the new Centennial-Eureka Mining Company of Maine was completed on December 6, 1899. The price of the transfer of ownership was reported as $2.1 million. (Salt Lake Herald, December 7, 1899, "yesterday"; December 31, 1899)
May 21, 1901
The board of directors of the United States Mining Company voted to begin construction of a 1,000-ton smelter. (Salt Lake Mining Review, May 30, 1901)
February 28, 1902
"The United States Mining Company has decided to convey its ores destined for the smelters via aerial tramway to Bingham station and estimates such transfer will cost about 8 cents per ton. The tram will be nearly three miles in length and have an automatic transfer station at mouth of Bear Gulch. The branch thence from Old Jordan and Galena mines will be something less than a mile in length, then down main canyon two miles." (Salt Lake Mining Review, February 28, 1902)
May 5, 1902
Tower foundations for the United States aerial tramway are under way, progressing from both ends. "About thirty carloads of timbers and lumber will be required. Of these, five have been delivered, while ten more are on the road." (Salt Lake Herald, May 5, 1902)
June 23, 1902
"Five towers of the United States company's tramway are completed. One near the upper terminal station is seventy-two feet high." (Salt Lake Herald, June 23, 1902)
August 30, 1902
"Contractors Dederichs & Burke report that the United States company's Bingham tramway will be completed by September 15th." (Salt Lake Telegram, August 30, 1902)
October 21, 1902
The new aerial tramway for the United States mine went into operation. (Salt Lake Telegram, October 22, 1902, "yesterday")
United States Mining Company completed its smelter in Midvale in November 1902. (Hansen, p. 274)
November 9, 1902
"The cheering information was brought in from the properties of the United States company at Bingham yesterday that the big aerial tramway is being rapidly adjusted to a point where it will do its work without a hobble. On Friday sixty buckets of ore containing 1,000 pounds each were sent over the line in a single hour from one of the upper spurs, and during next very few days there is little doubt that the entire system will be in perfect working order. The difficulty has been to make the clutches hold the great buckets firmly in place on the carrying cable, but that trouble is now practically overcome, and when final tests are concluded the maximum loads of between 1,200 and 1,400 pounds will be handled with perfect safety." "Some idea of the carrying capacity of these buckets can be understood when it is explained that the buckets on the Highland Boy tram are calculated to carry, when loaded to the brim, 700 pounds, or hardly 50 per cent of the maximum load of the United States company's. At the same time, it is understood that the disabled. The filling of the bins with ore from the Bingham mines will probably begin tomorrow. (Salt Lake Herald, November 9, 1902)
November 24, 1902
"Up to Wednesday night the ore delivered at the depot by the United States tramway and run down to the smelter amounted to forty carloads of fifty tons each. The tramway is working steadily and gradually increasing delivery. (Salt Lake Herald, November 24, 1902)
The new United States aerial tramway was delivering about 300 tons of ore per day to the lower terminal at Bingham, with 45 tons coming from the Old Jordan mine. (Salt Lake Mining Review, December 15, 1902, "Around The State")
January 1, 1903
No ore was shipped until January 1, 1903; all work was done in development and overhaul of the underground workings and overhaul and improvement of the surface workings. The improvements included construction of an 11,400 foot long aerial tramway, with a capacity of 50 tons per hour, from Bear Gulch to the Rio Grande Western at Bingham. (Engineering and Mining Journal, February 11, 1904, p. 121)
March 7, 1903
The United States Smelting Company incorporated on March 7, 1903. The corporation was "revoked" on January 30, 1920 after the assets of the smelting company were absorbed into USSR&M in January 1918. (Utah corporation, index number 4172)
April 5, 1903
"Four new towers for the United States tramway are being delivered along the line and will soon be in place. By their installation the grade will be equalized and transporting capacity materially increased." "From the united States mines 600 to 650 tons of ore are now being shipped daily, and another 100 tons will no doubt be added when the additional tramway towers are up. The number of men employed at the mines is 175 to 180." (Salt Lake Herald, April 5, 1903)
April 30, 1903
"During 1902 these mines were connected with the Rio Grande Western railway, a distance of about three miles, by a Bleichert wire rope tramway. This tramway was installed with an estimated capacity of sixty tons per hour. Owing to certain changes which have been found necessary since the erection, the tramway has not been able to handle the estimated capacity. Additional towers, strengthening certain parts and some minor changes in design, will, we believe, make the tramway satisfactory in all respects. We expect to have these changes completed before June 1st of this year." (Salt Lake Mining Review, April 30, 1903)
May 31, 1903
"The United States tramway was started again yesterday, extensive alterations having been completed." (Salt Lake Herald, May 31, 1903)
June 15, 1903
"The United States tramway having been readjusted and strengthened, it is now transporting about 500 tons of ore daily, filling the smelter's present demands upon the Bingham mines, and is said to have a daily capacity of nearly 1,500 tons." (Salt Lake Herald, June 15, 1903)
December 26, 1903
"Hundreds of heavy timbers have been delivered at the headhouse site of the Old Jordan tramway during the past 10 days. Reconstruction has fairly begun, and the new structure will be completed at the earliest possible date." (Deseret News, December 26, 1903)
February 19, 1904
"The new headhouse for the Jordan branch of the United States company's aerial tramway at Bingham was completed yesterday, so the entire system is again in operation." (Salt Lake Herald, February 19, 1904)
July 29, 1904
"The main driving cable of the United States company's Bingham tramway parted yesterday morning and caused considerable damage to the upper main head house, as well as the terminal at the Bingham depot end. Superintendent Andrew Mayberry had one of his hands badly injured by a flying bolt at the upper terminal and will be compelled to go it single handed for some time to come." "As it happened, the United States company will not be handicapped at all in the transportation of its ore, as an accident at the Utah Copper company's pumping plant will necessitate a few days' close down of the big concentrator, thus relieving the cars on the Copper Belt used to supply the plant with ore. Under these conditions, Superintendent Mayberry was able to have the cars go into the service of the United States company for the time being." (Salt Lake Herald, July 29, 1904)
September 10, 1904
"It is expected that the branch bucket tramway to connect the Galena mine with the Old Jordan tramway will be completed in October. Contracts for material will soon be filled." (Deseret News, September 10, 1904)
October 2, 1904
"The United States company's new aerial tramway that is being installed to handle the ores of its Galena mine and deliver them at the Old Jordan headhouse on the man line, is nearing completion. C. E. Allen, general superintendent of the company, stated yesterday that the line would be ready to go into commission in possibly ten days." "This line of tramway will be 1,640 feet long. Its operation will be practically automatic. It is a double rope, reversible, self-dumping equipment, and to operate it one man on a shift will be all that is required. All the lead ores of the company's Galena mine will be sent over the line to the Old Jordan connection with the main line to the loading station at Bingham, so the cost of the transportation from this property, like the others of the company, will be reduced to a minimum." (Salt Lake Herald, October 2, 1904)
December 23, 1904
As a final settlement of law suits among stockholders of the Niagara Mining and Smelting company, the Niagara lode was formerly sold to the United States Mining Company for $1 and other valuable considerations. The Niagara company continued to exist but no longer had any assets.
January 1, 1905
"A liberal contributor towards Greater Bingham in Particular and in making Utah bigger from a mining standpoint is the United States Mining company." "The Bingham holdings are probably the largest in the camp and among the largest in the state. In area they extend 1,200 acres, and the mine, or rather the mines, include the Old Jordan and the Old Telegraph groups and a large interest in the Niagara Mining company, which are among the earliest mining locations made in the state." "A part of the Bingham possessions were operated years ago by L. E. Holden, father of A. F. Holden, the organizer of the company, and its managing director. In the Bingham properties the underground aggregate fully twenty-five miles and the ore reserve exposed by this work are sufficient to run the smelter several years without further development work being done." "The transportation from the Bingham mines, which are situated well toward the head of Bingham canyon, is by way of an aerial tramway to Bingham station. The tramway has a combined length of 16,000 feet. The Old Telegraph headhouse is 12,000 feet from the station and from this headhouse the tramway extends 1,000 feet further to the Old Jordan property. From the Old Telegraph mine ore is conveyed to the headhouse, a distance of a quarter of a mile, in mine cars over track that is fully protected from storms by a system of sheds. The buckets used on the tramway are unusually large, having a capacity of nine cubic feet, and their contents weigh nearly one ton of the character of ore usually conveyed by them." (Salt Lake Herald, January 1, 1905)
January 1, 1905
"In addition to this copper smelter, which has been in operation for over two years, a lead smelter, with a capacity of handling nearly 400 tons of lead ores daily, is now nearing completion, and will probably be blown in within the coming month. It is composed of three stacks of an estimated capacity of 125 tons of ore a day each. The arrangement for handling ores, fluxes and slags and the feeding is by an electric system. This equipment also includes ten roasters." (Salt Lake Herald, January 1, 1905)
September 5, 1905
A. F. Holden was shown as being the general manager of United States Smelting & Refining company. (San Francisco Call, September 5, 1905)
January 9, 1906
United States Smelting, Refining & Mining Company was incorporated in Maine on January 9, 1906. (New York Times, January 11, 1906; Poor's Manual of Industrials, 1916, page 1237)
March 10, 1906
United States Smelting Refining and Mining company was organized. (Salt Lake Tribune, February 23, 1907)
In September 1910, Utah Copper had purchased the surface rights in Copper Center Gulch, where the surface working of Bingham Mines' Commercial mine were located. The surface workings were removed and the Commercial mine closed. Bingham Mines company began using the Niagara tunnel, after extending it 300 feet to connect with the bottom 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 1911 and 1912, USSR&M began buying coal properties in Carbon and Emery counties. First they purchased Black Hawk Coal Company from the Eccles interests, then the Castle Gate Coal and Coke Company, which became Panther Coal Company. The purchases continued when the so-called Sharp interests of USSR&M bought Consolidated Fuel Company, the largest coal producer in the state. They also purchased 52 percent of Castle Valley Coal Company. In January 1912, USSR&M formed The Utah Company to own and manage its Utah coal properties, along with its newly organized Utah [Coal] Railway, which it planned to build move its coal to its mining and smelting locations, and to other markets. In 1915 United States Fuel Company was organized to own and manage the coal properties previously held by The Utah Company)
October 10, 1913
The United States Mining Company bought the Last Chance mine at Bingham, Utah, from the Nevada-Utah Mines and Smelters Corporation. The Last Chance was made up of 13 patented mining claims, all located adjacent to the U. S. company's Jordan mine and in the same mineral belt. The price was reported as $50,000, and would give the reorganized Nevada-Utah company much needed cash to develop its properties at Pioche. (Salt Lake Telegram, October 11, 1913, "yesterday")
(Includes coverage of the Niagara tunnel after 1914)
(As a side note, it was when the United States company made the Niagara tunnel its main haulage tunnel in 1914 that Utah Copper built the large 'E Line' wooden trestle bridge at Copperfield, or Upper Bingham. Utah Copper was providing common carrier access through its Bingham & Garfield subsidiary, and the United States company needed access to the D&RGW tracks to ship its ore to its Midvale smelter. The large bridge across the canyon was the only way to provide access to the Rio Grande tracks, and was removed in the winter of 1940-1941 after the U. S. company began using the Mascotte tunnel to Lark as its main haulage tunnel.)
The United States aerial tramway was still in operation as late as January 1914. (Salt Lake Mining Review, January 15, 1914, "Progress At Bingham During The Year")
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)
The new ore bins were served by Utah Copper, who transported the cars to the Bingham & Garfield as part of its common carrier service to all of the mines in Bingham Canyon, further reducing the ore traffic for Denver and Rio Grande. By 1915, the valuable ore accessible from the Niagara level and below were no longer profitable, and Bingham Mines company closed all levels of the Commercial mine. (Billings, page 47)
The following comes from the Annual Report of the United States Smelting, Refining & Mining Company, for the year ending December 31, 1915, page 11:
BINGHAM MINES: The extensive improvements on the Niagara Tunnel level, referred to in last year's report, were continued during the year and carried to completion. The main tunnel and its branches were widened and straightened out; the grades were improved and the track entirely replaced and made to serve heavier loads and higher speeds. This level will be the main haulage level for all the Bingham Mines of the United States Smelting Company and of the Niagara Mining Company. This new haulage system will reduce the cost of ore production and will permit the development of all the mines at greater depth. Considerable of this development was undertaken during the year and demonstrated the continuation of ore deposits to that level, assuring a long life of the mines. The inauguration of the new haulage system will make unnecessary the aerial tramways, the hauling capacity of which was limited, and will allow of a material increase in the output of the Bingham Mines. Pneumatic locomotives were installed to take the place of electric locomotives heretofore used. In the short trial they have had, the pneumatic locomotives have given such satisfaction that steps are being taken to introduce them in other levels where transportation heretofore has been done by hand power.
Exploration work at depth and on the strike of known ore systems added considerable tonnage to the reserves. A crosscut is being run into the Old Telegraph ground, from which this mine will be explored at depth, after being practically idle for a number of years. In a similar manner the Niagara Mine, in which this company holds a majority interest, is being explored. Work has not advanced far enough to yield important results, though very favorable indications exist in these territories. The shipments from the United States Smelting Company Mines at Bingham during the year were 94,166 tons of lead ores and 34,313 tons of copper ores.
The following comes from the Annual Report of the United States Smelting, Refining & Mining Company, for the year ending December 31, 1916, page 13:
BINGHAM MINES: The improvements on the Niagara Tunnel level, including the installation of a pneumatic haulage system, are now completed. The haulage system has proven so successful that a similar installation was made on the 400 level from the Galena shaft. The Niagara Tunnel installation handles the whole output of the mines and is adequate for larger operations if such should be decided on in future. It eliminates the necessity of operating the aerial tramway, and the latter has been dismantled and shipped to the Stowell Mine in California, where it is now in successful operation. Mining and exploration work have been much simplified by the installation of the Niagara haulage system, the costs have been materially reduced, and efficiency increased.
Development work and exploration work are being carried on on a large scale, and ore is being opened up faster than it is extracted. There were shipped by these mines during the year 109,586 tons of lead ore and 46,017 tons of copper ore.
January 22, 1918
United States Smelting, Refining, and Mining Company was organized to take over United States Mining Company and United States Smelting Company. Incorporated in Utah on January 22, 1918. (Utah corporation files, index 13150)
November 30, 1922
"The United States Mining Company is preparing to push work in the old Butterfield tunnel at Bingham, which it recently acquired. It is believed that this will be the main operating tunnel of this property. At the mouth of the Niagara tunnel now being used there is no dump room, making it necessary to ship waste a long distance. By extending the Butterfield tunnel about one mile it will connect with a triple compartment shaft now being sunk." (Salt Lake Mining Review, November 30, 1922)
(Having its outlet in Butterfield Canyon meant that the United States company needed to build facilties at the mouth of the Butterfield tunnel, then add still more improvements such as a railroad branch line, to get its ore to its smelter at Midvale. There were already such facilities existing at Lark, where the Mascotte tunnel made its exit.)
June 15, 1929
The following comes from the June 15, 1929 issue of the Salt Lake Tribune newspaper.
U. S. Smelter Purchases Utah Mines. Control of the Bingham Mines company, a silver-lead ore producer of both the Tintic and Bingham mining districts, will pass to the United States Smelting, Mining and Refining company, according to dispatches received Friday from Boston, Mass., headquarters of both companies. Under the terms of the purchase, the Bingham Mines company has agreed to sell and transfer to the smelting company all its property and assets in return for 50,000 shares of common stock of the purchasing company. The sale is subject to the approval of the stockholders, who meet June 27.
The announcement of the terms of the sale comes within a month after Wall street rumors declared that the United States Smelting was to take over the smaller company. Last spring smelting company engineers made a complete examination and reported on the Bingham Mines property.
There are only 50,000 shares outstanding, so that under the terms of the transfer each stockholder will receive one shore of United States Smelting stock for each share owned by Bingham Mines.
Property owned by the Bingham Mines consists of 2550 acres, of which 1843 are in the Bingham district and the remainder in Tintic district.
The company was formed in 1908 and is a reorganization of the old Bingham Consolidated Mining and Smelting company. In the Bingham district properties controlled include the Dalton & Lark and Commercial, the Yosemite, the Montana Bingham, Ute Copper and the Watson or Dixon. In Tintic, Bingham Mines owns the Eagle & Blue Bell, the Victoria. the American Star, the Harrington and the Tesora.
United States Mining (USSR&M) completed its purchase of the Bingham Mines group. (USSR&M Annual Report for the period ending December 31, 1929; Wilson thesis, page 5)
(Recall that the Bingham Mines Co. was the reorganized Bingham Consolidated company that had completed the Mascotte tunnel, as well as owning the Dalton & Lark and Yosemite groups of mines)
July 18, 1929
United States Smelting Refining and Mining listed an additional 50,000 shares on the New York Stock Exchange, valued at $2,700,000, to finance the purchase of Bingham Mines Company. The U. S. board of directors approved the sale of additional shares on June 28, 1929. (Boston Globe, July 18, 1929)
The sinking of U. S. Mining's Niagara No. 2 shaft was progressing. The shaft had three compartments and measured 15 feet by 6 feet. The depth had reached 210 feet below the 1200 level. (Ax-I-Dent-Ax, October 1930, page 3)
During 1931, the Midvale smelter of United States Smelting, Refining and Mining company received 750 tons per day from the company mines at Bingham, including 400 to 450 tons per day from the U. S. mine, 100 to 150 tons per day from several leasers of U. S properties, and more than 200 tons per day from the Lark mine. The smelter also received tonnage from mines at Park City and Tintic, as well as mines in Colorado, Idaho and Nevada. The total amount of ore received at the smelter was between 900 and 1000 tons daily. (Ax-I-Dent-Ax, September 1931, page 27)
The Lark mine was taken out of production, pending higher metal prices. All lead and zinc production was coming from the U. S. mine at Bingham. (USSR&M Annual Report for the period ending December 31, 1932)
United States Mining Company moved its surface operations from upper Bingham, around the Niagara tunnel, out to Lark. The move was needed to avoid a seemingly continuous series of agreements with Utah Copper as it continued to expand its open pit mine. (Billings)
After the abandonment of the Bingham and Garfield railroad as a common carrier in 1948, Kennecott transported the United States Company's ores loaded into D&RG cars at various bench levels of the pit, also at the Niagara tunnel level, and delivered them to the D&RG at an assembly yard on the D&RG Bingham branch at the mouth of Bingham Canyon. Also Kennecott received the empty D&RG ore cars and all mine supplies for United States Company at the D&RG assembly yard at the mouth of the canyon and transported them to such places as were designated for the use and convenience of the United States Company in its mining operation in Bingham Canyon. (History of the Bingham Mining District, by T. P. Billings, page 14)
August 3, 1948
Kennecott Copper and United States Smelting Refining & Mining made a joint announcement that a new tunnel would be built between the Bingham Canyon mine and a new portal opening at Lark. On July 26, 1948, Kennecott had purchased "important" rights from the United States company that would allow Kennecott to extend its open pit mining operations. Kennecott's expanded operations would mean that the U. S. company would abandon the use of its Niagara tunnel, which was at present the company's main haulage route for both its U. S. mine and its Lark mine. The new tunnel, to be known as the Bingham Tunnel, would replace the Niagara tunnel, and would be approximately four miles in length. The new tunnel would connect at the Bingham end with the present Niagara tunnel at what was reported as "the 1000-ft." level, and with other underground workings as needed to replace the present facilities. The new tunnel was to include a transportation system that used both battery and electric trolley locomotives and cars, traveling in 36-inch gauge track. The existing surface plant at the Niagara opening would be moved to the new opening, including shops and equipment, air compressor plant, electric transformer station, ore loading trestle, mining waste handling facilities, and miner's changing house and mine office. (Salt Lake Tribune, August 4, 1948)
July 1, 1950
A strike by United Steel Workers of America idled 1,335 workers at work sites of United States Smelting, Refining and Mining company at Midvale, Lark and Bingham. Negotiations were put on hold following the July 16th fire, and resumed on August 1st. The 48-day strike ended on Friday August 18th. (Bingham Bulletin, July 14, 1950; Salt Lake Telegram, August 1, 1950; August 18, 1950)
July 16, 1950
Sometime in the very early morning hours of Sunday July 16, 1950, a fire began at a battery charging station in the Lark Mine. Five men from Lark lost their lives from carbon monoxide asphyxiation:
Horace Martin Seal, 59, Hoistman
Byron Gray Thomas, 46, Assistant Master Mechanic
Clyde Wilson Augustson, 41, General Mine Foreman
Robert Gordon Meyerhoffer, 38, Electrician
Leland David Neilsen, 38, Pump Operator
The bodies of Horace Seal and Byron Thomas were recovered during the early afternoon of Monday July 17th. The two men had been part of a maintenance crew working in the mine during the strike that had started on July 1st, and had entered the mine at the start of their regular shift at 11 p.m. on Saturday night. They were overcome by smoke from the fire, which was discovered at 4 a.m. Sunday morning. Clyde Augustson, Robert Meyerhoffer and Leland Neilsen entered the mine at about 4 a.m. in an early attempt to find Seal and Thomas, and to determine the fire's location. Nothing was heard from any of the five men after that time. The bodies of Augustson, Meyerhoffer and Neilsen were not found until August 9th.
A report compiled by Benton Boyd indicated that after seven days, during day shift on Sunday July 23rd, rescue crews arrived at the point where the fire started, at the motor generator set on the 1400 Level, at the 5728 Incline. The seven-day delay came from the extensive amount of smoke throughout the mine, and standard mine rescue protocol which called for the establishment of ventilating air prior to methodically checking each space within the mine, looking for injured or deceased workers. The rescue workers also found that as they progressed beyond the initial point of ignition, there was still elevated temperatures and high levels of smoke and bad air.
October 30, 1950
Work continued to make the mine safe following the July 16th fire, and to clean out the damaged areas. After two successive inspections by the State Mine Inspector, operations resumed on Monday October 30th.
USSR&M purchased the assets of Ohio Copper company at the company's bankruptcy. The purchase included 115 acres of patented mining claims and surface lands, buildings and equipment. (USSR&M Annual Report for the period ending December 31, 1951)
USSR&M also purchased the properties of the United Bingham Copper company, and the Bingham-Congor Copper company. The purchase of the two companies added 398 acres to the workings of the U. S. mine and the Lark mine. (USSR&M Annual Report for the period ending December 31, 1951)
April 15, 1951
The new 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 Jordan and Galena mines were among the predecessors of the United States company and were the first successful mines in Bingham, in the mid 1870s. The mines continued to grow, following the lead-silver-zinc ore (galena) ore bodies for over 80 years. In the process, miles and miles and miles of underground tunnels and shafts were dug. At first, from 1874 to 1900, they shipped their ore over the Bingham horse tram. The United States company was organized in 1899, and very soon after, from 1900 to 1914, the company used an aerial tram from Galena Gulch, down to Bingham station on the Rio Grande railroad. Then in 1914, they connected the underground workings to the Niagara level, and expanded the main Niagara tunnel as their main transportation tunnel. This lasted until 1952, when Kennecott constructed an all-new Bingham-Lark tunnel, which cost Kennecott $6 million. The new tunnel connected all U. S. Mining's underground workings with a new opening at Lark. This opened up all new copper ore areas for Kennecott to continue expanding its open pit mine. In addition to digging the new tunnel at their own expense, Kennecott agreed to share the proceeds from whatever lead-silver-zinc ore they found. Copperfield and the Niagara tunnel were in the way Kennecott's expansion plans. The completion of the new tunnel in 1952 allowed the U. S. company to move its operations to Lark. The new ground opened up by the new tunnel extended the life of the U. S. mine, and the town and lives of the people at Lark, for another 15 years.
May 1, 1951
USSR&M bought the assets of Ohio Copper Company of Utah, in an auction on the steps of the Salt Lake County courthouse. The U. S. company was the only bidder, and delivered a check in the amount of $6,092.75 as full payment of all fees and expenses of the transaction. The final bid was $116,000, meant as minimum to cover the debt the Ohio company owed the U. S. company. (Salt Lake Tribune, May 1, 1951)
March 18, 1952
"Eighty per cent of the underground construction on the 21,300-ft. Lark-Bingham tunnel is finished and surface facilities for this project are 40% finished." (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 completion of the new Bingham-Lark tunnel was also *not* mentioned in the extensive Utah Copper Division chronological history.)
October 1, 1952
Changes in USSR&M management structure indicate that the new Bingham-Lark tunnel was completed and fully functional. -- United States Smelting, Refining and Mining changed the leadership positions of its Western Division. A new general superintendent of the U. S. and Lark mine was named, promoting the previous superintendent into the position. The previous general superintendent was promoted to be assistant to the manager of the entire western mines division. (Salt Lake Tribune, October 4, 1952)
March 27, 1962
"Company to Open Butterfield Mine -- Intersection of ore in the Butterfield project in the Lark-Bingham district is expected in 1963, Mr. Rice added. In this arrangement, USSR&M is opening the Butterfield mine belonging to Kennecott Copper Corp. New access to the Butterfield is being created through a raise from a tunnel driven from workings in the adjacent U.S. and Lark Mine." (Salt Lake Tribune, March 27, 1962)
September 21, 1962
Kennecott and United States Smelting, Refining & Mining Company announced an agreement for the United States company to sell 7,400 acres of surface rights to Kennecott. Kennecott would also purchase lease rights to copper ore in the United States properties and agreed to pay the United States company at least $670,000 in annual royalties for copper ore extracted, for a period of ten years, at which time Kennecott would have an option to purchase the property. The price was reported as being $14 million, in the form of $1 million in cash, $6 million over the next two years, and $6.7 million in copper ore royalties over the next ten years. The United States company was to retain all lead-zinc-silver ores. The agreement would give Kennecott the freedom over the next 30 years to expand its open pit mine into the area controlled by the United States company, and at the end of agreement in September 1992, Kennecott had the right to acquire all of U. S. Smelting's property in the district. (Salt Lake Tribune, September 22, 1962, "Friday")
September 23, 1962
Kennecott Copper Corporation purchased land and certain mining royalties from United States Smelting Refining and Mining company. The agreement gave Kennecott surface and subsurface mining rights, and the freedom for its operations, and gave USSR&M the rights to mine lead-zinc ore from under certain Kennecott property for the next 30 years. (New York Times, September 24, 1962, "yesterday")
This same 1962 agreement between Kennecott and the USSR&M required that as the pit expanded, the Jordan Shaft be maintained and kept open every time shovel cuts mined through the area. The location was marked and protected by three small concrete structures, each about 10x10 feet, situated at the top of Galena Gulch. (verbal identification by Dick Rubright, courtesy of Steve Richardson on Bingham Canyon History group on Facebook)
During 1964-1965, United States Smelting, Refining and Mining company's U. S. and Lark mine was the third largest producer of lead in the nation. (Utah Mining Industry, Utah Mining Association, 1967, page 63)
By the year 1967, the concentrator section at the International smelter had been shut down. The United States company had been shipping concentrates from its mill at Midvale to the International smelter for smelting. By that time, the International smelter was the only lead smelter in the state. (Utah Mining Industry, Utah Mining Association, 1967, page 81)
USSR&M closed its Lark mine, and its Midvale mill and concentrator. The concentrate was being shipped to the International smelter near Tooele. (Deseret News, November 12, 1971)
November 12, 1971
United States Smelting Refining and Mining Co. announced it would close its mining and milling operations "before the end of the year." "Last week, the Anaconda Company announced it was closing its International Smelting and Refining Co. lead smelter at Tooele." The United States company employs 410 men, and the International smelter employs 437 men. The United States company had an estimated 500 miles of underground tunnels near the open pit copper mine of Kennecott Copper Corp., and had been losing money on its Utah operations over the past two years, reaching a million dollars in the first half of 1971. (Ogden Standard Examiner, November 12, 1971)
January 28, 1972
Anaconda closed its smelter near Tooele, owned and operated by Anaconda subsidiary International Smelting and Refining Company. The closed smelter left over 30 mining properties in the region without a nearby smelter. These mines were forced to close due the high costs of shipment of their ores to the nearest custom smelters at three out-of-state locations: El Paso, Texas; East Helena, Montana; and Kellogg, Idaho. The International smelter was closed to save costs following Anaconda's loss of its properties in Chile, which were taken over by the Chilean government in 1971. To save the company, its unprofitable properties were either closed or sold. The sell-off did not work, and by 1975, Anaconda was purchased by Atlantic Richfield. (part from "Mining, Smelting and Railroading in Tooele County")
June 12, 1972
United States Smelting, Refining and Mining Company changed its name to UV Industries, Inc., UV being its symbol on the New York Stock Exchange. The company was becoming more diversified and the name no longer reflected its "principle interests and direction." The U.S. company also owned the coal mines of United States Fuel Company in Carbon County, and the Utah Railway which served those same coal mines. The company announced on May 2, 1972 that the proposed change would be voted on at its annual meeting to be held on June 12, 1972. (New York Times, May 3, 1972, "yesterday"; Los Angeles Times, June 12, 1972; Fairbanks Daily News, July 20, 1972, giving the actual date)
December 14, 1977
Kennecott purchased the entire Lark townsite from U. V. Industries, the former United States Smelting, Refining and Mining Company. (Deseret News, December 26, 1982)
Liberty E. Holden
Liberty Emery Holden was born June 20, 1833. He was married to Delia Elizabeth Bulkley in August 1860. He came to Utah in the early 1870s after some success selling real estate in Cleveland, and was involved in mine investments in Michigan. With additional capital from Cleveland friends he bought a mine in Bingham. First known as the Nez Perces mine, it was later known as the Old Telegraph mine. After only limited success with the mine, and after battling his Michigan investors for ownership, Mr. Holden struck rich galena ore carrying high percentage lead and silver. The rich vein lasted weeks and he paid off his creditors, sold the mine to a French company and realized a good profit. Later he became the largest stockholder in the Old Jordan and South Galena mines, also in the Bingham canyon area. He sold his interests, making a considerable fortune and returned to Cleveland where in 1885 he bought the Plain Dealer newspaper.
In 1879, Liberty E. Holden was one of the organizers of the Salt Lake, Jordan & Bingham Railway, projected to build from Salt Lake City south to the furnaces and reduction works at West Jordan Settlement, then west to and up the Bingham Canyon to a point near the head of the canyon, with branches up the forks of the canyon, to the mines operated by Societe des Minus d'Argent et Fonderies de Bingham and to other mines in Bingham Canyon.
In December 1880, Liberty E. Holden was one of the organizers, along with Union Pacific interests, of Utah Southern & Castle Valley Railway, an unbuilt projected railroad that was to build from Juab Station on the Utah Southern, south and east to the mouth of Salina Canyon, then by one route east through Salina Canyon, a distance of 80 miles, and by another route south to Marysvale, Utah, a distance of 40 miles.
His daughter, Roberta Holden, was nine years old when the family returned to Cleveland. She married Benjamin J. Bole, who later became the president of Plain Dealer Publishing Co. She passed away on October 28, 1950. (Salt Lake Tribune, October 30, 1950)
December 19, 1884
L. E. Holden had recently purchased the Cleveland Plain Dealer newspaper for an undisclosed sum. His partner in the purchase was George F. Prescott, previously (for 11 years) the business manager of the Salt Lake Tribune newspaper. (Galveston Daily News, December 19, 1884; Helena Weekly Herald, January 1, 1885)
The Cleveland Plain Dealer newspaper started in 1842, and in 2013 remained the major daily newspaper for Cleveland and northeast Ohio, serving a population of 3.8 million, and is still among the nation's top 20 newspapers. Holden placed his nephew, R. R. Holden as the newspaper's editor-in-chief.
August 26, 1913
L. E. Holden died on August 26, 1913 at his home near Cleveland, Ohio.
Albert F. "Bert" Holden
Albert Fairchild "Bert" Holden was born December 31, 1866, the third of nine children. His father was Liberty E. Holden and his mother was Delia Bulkley. A. F. Holden graduated from Harvard with a degree in Mining Engineering in 1888, and took additional instruction for mining engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Following graduation he rejoined his father in the mining business in Utah.
A. F. Holden married Katherine Elizabeth Davis (1868-1900) on April 27, 1894, in the bride's home in Davis, Tucker County, West Virginia. She had been visiting relatives in Salt Lake City when they met. The wedding was announced in the Salt Lake Herald on April 8, 1894. He was 27 years old, she was 25. They had three children (daughters), Elizabeth Davis Holden (1895-1908), Emerine M. Holden (1896-?), and Katherine Holden (1898-1985). His wife was born on March 26, 1869 in Maryland, and passed away unexpectedly on December 4, 1900, at age 31. She was living in Cleveland at the time of her death.
In 1885 when his father, Liberty Holden, moved back to Cleveland, he turned over management of his mines to his son, A. F. Bert Holden. In 1899, the elder Holden was 66 years old and retired from the mining business, selling his interests to his son. After buying out the majority of his father's interests, Bert Holden organized the United States Mining Company to consolidate their interests. He also purchased the Centennial Eureka Mining Company in the Tintic District. His mines in Bingham canyon included the Old Telegraph mine, and the Old Jordan and Galena Mining Company. The mines of United States Mining supplied silver, gold, lead and copper ores to his five-stack smelter on the banks of the Jordan River, south of Salt Lake City. By 1906 he had created the second largest mining and smelting trust in the world, and was a serious competitor to the larger American Smelting and Refining Company (ASARCO).
April 14, 1899
A. F. Holden was shown as the managing director of the newly organized Unites States Mining company, whose headquarters were in Columbus, Ohio (later in Boston). His residence was in Cleveland. (Salt Lake Herald, April 14, 1899)
May 18, 1913
"A. F. Holden Dies At Cleveland Home -- Salt Lake City, May 18. -- Albert F. Holden, who died tonight in Cleveland, was managing director of the United States Smelting & Refining company and was director of Alaska Gold Mining company. He had not lived in Salt Lake City for 10 years." (Ogden Standard Examiner, May 19, 1913)
Holden died of cancer on May 8, 1913 at the age of 46.
Lark Township -- Information about Lark Township, and the later demolition of the buildings.
Aerial Tramways -- Information about the aerial tramways used by mining companies at Bingham (including United States Mining), to get their ore from mine to rail car, then to mill and smelter.