History of Copperfield, Utah
By: Eugene H. Halverson (Links Added)
At one time Bingham was just one long narrow city. Then the ever expanding Utah Copper devided Bingham. For awhile the area was simply called “Upper Bingham". Soon a large thriving community developed as hundreds of families as well as hundreds of single males made their homes there. Many boarding houses, hotels, saloons, stores, restaurants, 4 churches, also a theater and a whorehouse sprung up. Apartments were scattered here and there. Copperfield Grade School was built in 1919. About this time "Upper Bingham" was also called Copperfield. I have often wondered which one was named first, the town or the school.The E-line Bridge, a mammoth wooden trestle, separated us from the mine. The only access to town was walking or driving up through the copper pit. It was sometimes a little scary because of the blasting and the operation of trains and trucks. When the warning whistle blew one would run to a wooden shelter and stay there until the all clear signal was given. In 1939 a new access to Copperfield was built. It was through a 1 Ľ mile tunnel with a one way road and sidewalk. The road was operated by automatic electric red/green lights that hardly ever worked properly. It was a dirty dark tunnel.
The houses we lived in were quite primitive with no running water, outhouses were common. Our house was a company house that did not see paint during the 20 years that we lived there. It sat on a minedump that was so poisonous that not even weeds grew there. For insulation the walls were filed with the same minedump dirt. What would todays EPA say about that? We must have had a lot of lead and arsenic in our veins. In time the companies built newer, modern, brick homes and apartments.
There was a real meltingpot of people with 20 or so nationalities scattered here and there. Sometimes it was hard to communicate with each other because some couldn’t understand or speak English. Kids were scolded if they spoke their native language on the school grounds.
As one walked up the street Jap Camp and Greek Camp were located high on the right side of the road while Terrace Heights and Dinkyville were high on the left. The telegraph, were we lived, was a mile farther up the road.
We contended with trains in front of, as well as in back of the house, along with other ore mining equipment using the roads. There were also trestles and bridges to fall off of and mineshafts to fall into. Running copper water was so potent that it could turn an iron nail to copper in a minute. A few of the supervisors had private lawns but at school we played on dirt, in cocoa dirt, the dangerous tailings from an old mill. But the mountains, with pines, quakies, and oak brush, were beautiful. This is where we found the grass to play on and the flowers to bring home to mother.
In the spring we fought the floods, but this was also the time to pan gold. It was fun. We lived in Bear Gulch which still had deposits of gold, silver and lead. At 6500 to 7000 feet elevation snow was also a problem. There were animals and birds everywhere. We lived near a creek in pines and quakies about a half a mile below the “Big Tree”. If you lived in Copperfield you knew about the big tree. The Indians must have loved it here too because of the many arrowheads and artifacts they left behind.
Our home was destroyed by the US Mine in 1948 and by 1958 Kennecott took all the rest of the homes and businesses. Our town was literally scooped away, leaving a ghost town floating in the air above the copperpit.
Each year, on the third Saturday of August about a hundred or so of us gather in the Copperton Park to hold our Copperfield Reunion, where, over a wonderful pot luck dinner we talk and remember the good friends and fun times we had .
Eugene H. Halverson