Newhouse Mines and Smelters Company
Newhouse, Copper Gulch & Sevier Lake Railroad (1903-1915)
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This page was last updated on January 22, 2023.
Copper was first developed in Utah's Western Utah Copper District as early as 1904, but before that time, the focus of most, if not all, mining activity was the silver mines around Frisco.
Railroad service reached Frisco in June 1880 when the Utah Southern Railroad Extension finished its route south from York, just south of today's line between Utah and Juab counties. Utah Southern Railroad Extension was a Union Pacific-controlled company, and within a year, UP had taken control of two connecting lines: Utah Central Railway (between Ogden and Salt Lake City) and Utah Southern Railroad (between Salt Lake City and York). The Utah Southern Railroad Extension as organized as a Union Pacific enterprise to extend the rails of Utah Southern south to reach the silver mines at Frisco, the largest of which, the Horn Silver mine, was partly controlled by men who were also directors of Union Pacific. Union Pacific consolidated its control of the three roads by organizing the Utah Central Railway in July 1881, a merger of Utah Central Railroad, Utah Southern Railroad, and Utah Southern Railroad Extension.
May 13, 1903
Newhouse Mines and Smelters Company was incorporated on May 13, 1903 in New York. Capitalization was reported as $6 million. "It is understod that mills and smelters capable of 1500 tons of copper ore per day have already been contracted for and are about to be constructed. (New York Times, May 14, 1903, "yesterday") Filed in Utah on May 16, 1903. (Utah corporation index number 4450)
April 30, 1904
News item about Samuel Newhouse and his building of the Newhouse and Cactus mine and mill. $100,000.00 was to be spent for the railroad extension. (Salt Lake Mining Review, Volume 6, number 2, April 30, 1904, p.20)
The following description of the Cactus mine comes from USGS Professional Paper 80, published in 1913.
The Cactus mine, owned by the South Utah Mines & Smelters Co., is located in Copper Gulch about 2-1/2 miles a little north of east of the town of Newhouse. The outcrop of the ore body is at an elevation of about 6,450 feet above sea level, or 1,200 feet higher than the valley at Newhouse. The outcrop is prominent and was discovered about 1870, being one of the earliest to be located in the district. Between that time and 1900 several different companies attempted to work the property without success. In the early eighties a French company did considerable development work but produced little metal. In 1892 a small smelting plant was erected in Copper Gulch, but very little ore was smelted before this plant was closed and operations again ceased. In 1900 the property was acquired by Samuel Newhouse and associates, and in 1903 it was taken over by the Newhouse Mines & Smelters Corporation, which operated it until early in 1910, when the company was reorganized as the South Utah Mines & Smelters Co. Production began in March, 1905, and to the close of 1909 the mine had yielded 19,419,319 pounds of copper, 7,510 ounces of gold, and 176,365 dunces of silver.
In 1905 the mine was equipped with an 800-ton concentrating mill, which was remodeled in 1909 and the capacity is reported to have been raised to 1,000 tons a day. When the mine began operation it was equipped with a steam plant, but this was later replaced by an electric equipment, the power being furnished by the Beaver River Power Co. from its plant on Beaver Creek. The mill, compressor, trolley road on the tunnel level of the mine, and principal hoists are operated by electric power. The company owns and operates the standard-gage steam railroad connecting the mine and the mill, and also owns the boarding houses, the club house, and most of the dwellings at Newhouse.
The mining company paid the San Pedro, Los Angeles & Salt Lake Railroad to build a seven-mile branch known as the Newhouse Extension, to serve the mill and smelter being built at Newhouse. At the same time, the mining company built its own private railroad, three miles in length, to connect the mill and smelter at Newhouse with the mine. This new railroad was operated with a 65-ton Shay locomotive. The branchline, and the new private railroad were completed in September 1904, when the new Shay locomotive was also delivered. (Read more about the railroad at Newhouse)
December 30, 1904
Article about Samuel Newhouse's enterprises at Newhouse, with two photographs of the Cactus Mill at Newhouse. (Salt Lake Mining Review, Volume 6, number 18, December 30, 1904, p.15)
In 1905, Samuel Newhouse, a mining profiteer from Pennsylvania, bought these mines, originally named the Cactus Mines, renamed them the Newhouse Mines and Smelters, and built the small town Newhouse around the mines. The venture was very costly, but did produce some capitol for Newhouse. Because of debt and other economic hardships, Newhouse sold and abandoned the town and mines in 1910. (Summary for "Newhouse Mines and Smelters Records," Special Collections, J. Willard Marriott Library, University of Utah)
December 15, 1905
Article about Newhouse Mines & Smelters, with photographs. (Salt Lake Mining Review, Volume 7, number 17, December 15, 1905, pp.19-27)
June 15, 1906
The first steam shovel used in Utah was of Vulcan make, and was used at the Cactus group near Newhouse. (Salt Lake Mining Review, Volume 8, number 5, June 15, 1906, p.27)
April 30, 1907
Description of tour of Frisco and Newhouse. (Salt Lake Mining Review, Volume 9, number 2, April 30, 1907, pp.25,26)
March 15, 1909
News item about the shutdown and closing of Newhouse Mines & Smelters mine and mill. (Salt Lake Mining Review, Volume 10, number 23, March 15, 1909, p.20)
October 30, 1909
News item about South Utah Mines taking over the Newhouse mill. (Salt Lake Mining Review, Volume 11, number 14, October 30, 1909, p.30)
November 15, 1909
News item about South Utah Mines & Smelters, formerly Newhouse. (Salt Lake Mining Review, Volume 11, number 15, November 15, 1909, p.33)
November 15, 1910
News item about the first annual meeting of the South Utah Mines & Smelters Company. The company was the reorganized Newhouse Mines & Smelters. Samuel Newhouse, credited with the largest block of shares, was elected as a director upon the resignation of L. A. Kramer. Newhouse had not been officially connected with the company prior to this. (Salt Lake Mining Review, Volume 12, number 15, November 15, 1910, p.32)
August 30, 1911
"Description of South Utah Mine & Mill", article describing South Utah Mines & Smelters at Newhouse, with photographs (same photographs used in the earlier Newhouse article, including the view of the Shay pushing loads up the trestle). (Salt Lake Mining Review, Volume 13, number 10, August 30, 1911, p.13)
In 1923 there was a U. S. Supreme Court case brought by South Utah Mines & Smelters against Beaver County, concerning the value, for taxing purposes, of a deposit of mill tailings located on the mining company's lands. The U.S. Supreme court reversed the lower court's decision, affirming the mining company's statement that the tailings were of lower value. (U.S. Supreme Court, South Utah Mines & Smelters v. Beaver County, 262 U.S. 325, Argued and Submitted March 15, 1923. Decided May 21, 1923)
The plaintiff is a mining corporation organized and existing under the laws of Maine, and since 1909 has owned mining property in Beaver County, Utah, consisting of mining claims, a concentrating mill, now obsolete and largely dismantled, and other property incident thereto. The property was continuously operated until August, 1914. The ores were copper-bearing and upon extraction were transported to the mill and there crushed and concentrated; the resulting concentrates being shipped and sold to smelters at some distance away. As a result of the concentrating operations refuse material, still retaining small quantities of copper and other metals, was deposited near the concentrating mill as tailings. This deposit was begun by plaintiff's predecessor as early as May, 1903, and from then until August, 1914, approximately 900,000 tons of tailings were accumulated upon desert land owned by plaintiff, nonmineral in character, and located about three miles from its mining claims. At the time of the accumulation of these tailings there was no known process by which th small percentage of metals which they contained could be profitably recovered. In August, 1914, plaintiff stopped work on its mining claims and has never since resumed. In January, 1914, plaintiff made an agreement with the Utah Leasing Company for the treatment and reduction of this deposit upon a royalty of 10 per cent. The leasing company took possession of the tailings, constructed reduction works, using in connection therewith some of the plaintiff's improvements on its mining property, and, as result of its operations, recovered from the tailings in the year 1918 the net amount of $ 120,547, 10 per cent of which was paid over to the plaintiff, under the terms of the agreement.
Samuel Newhouse Biography
Samuel Newhouse (1853-1930) was born on October 14, 1853 in New York City. Newhouse was the son of Jewish immigrant parents from Europe. He grew up in Pennsylvania. He studied law before going to Leadville, Colorado in 1879, where he was involved in the freighting business. Newhouse married Ida Stingley in 1883; she was a sixteen year old girl whose mother ran a boarding house in Leadville, Colorado. Together, the Newhouses operated a hotel there. Samuel later acquired mining property at Ouray, Colorado, and he eventually sold it for several million dollars. Afterward he moved to Denver where he operated as a speculator and promoter, and cultivated contacts in the eastern United States, England, and France.
In 1896 Newhouse moved to Utah, where he and Thomas Wier acquired the Highland Boy mine and other properties at Bingham Canyon. Newhouse secured English investments in the enterprise, and then organized them as the Utah Consolidated Gold Mines, Ltd. These properties were originally purchased for their gold potential; however, when high-grade copper ore was discovered, Newhouse pushed for construction of a copper smelter in September 1898 which was built at Murray and put in operation on May 23, 1899. In 1899 Standard Oil Company acquired the Utah Consolidated Gold Mines in a twelve-million dollar transaction. In 1898 Newhouse and Wier developed the Boston Consolidated Copper and Gold Mining Company, Ltd. They maintained control of that company until 1910, when it merged with Utah Copper Company.
In 1905 Samuel Newhouse acquired mining property in the San Francisco Mountains of Beaver County. He spent $2,000,000 there developing the mine, mill, and town of Newhouse. Newhouse was perhaps, at the time, the wealthiest of Utah's mining magnates, and occupied four residences: a home at 175 East South Temple in Salt Lake City which he renovated as a colonial style mansion in about 1905; an estate on Long Island; a chateau outside Paris, France; and a mansion in London, England.
Newhouse liked living in Salt Lake City, but his wife preferred living outside of Utah. In 1907 he launched a significant building program in Salt Lake City. Its purpose was to shift the city's center from the Temple Square area to Exchange Place between 300 and 400 South streets and between Main and State streets, about four blocks south. In 1907 construction began on the Boston and the Newhouse buildings, the city's first skyscrapers. Just east of the two buildings, Newhouse donated land for construction of the Salt Lake Stock Exchange and Commercial Club buildings. Exchange Place was to be a little "Wall Street" with a grand hotel, the Newhouse Hotel, and would be constructed between 1909 and 1915 across Main Street on the southwest corner of Main and 400 South. Newhouse was also involved in the development of the exclusive residential area of Federal Heights in the northeast section of Salt Lake City.
Over-extension ultimately proved to be Newhouse's financial downfall. Money from his mines failed to finance his elaborate projects, and there was addition strain caused by World War I. It became very difficult to obtain loans from eastern U.S. and European sources. Samuel and Ida separated in 1914. The South Temple mansion was sold. From 1915-1919, Samuel resided at the Newhouse Hotel. He then sold his interest in the hotel and left for France, where he lived with his sister in her chateau, outside Paris, which he had given to her. He died there, at the age of seventy-six, on September 22, 1930.
Newhouse Mines & Smelters -- A roster listing of the Shay locomotive used by Newhouse Mines & Smelters, on the railroad called Newhouse, Copper Gulch & Sevier Lake Railroad.
LA&SL Branches, West of Milford -- A Google Map of the railroads and mines in the area west of Milford, Utah.
Frisco Mining District -- Map from USGS Professional Paper 80, published in 1913; shows LA&SL Newhouse Branch, and Newhouse, Copper Gulch & Sevier Lake railroad.
Frisco Silver Mine -- Information about the original mine in the mining district west of Milford.
Western Utah Copper District -- Information about the development, after the railroad, of the copper resources near the former Newhouse copper mine.
West of Milford -- Information about the railroads and mines west of Milford, Utah; includes information about the abandonment of railroad service to both Frisco and Newhouse