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South Jordan Journal

History is nearby: Bingham Canyon linked to South Jordan

Jun 05, 2024 03:51PM ● By Laura S. Crapo

Tim Dumas, a SoJo resident for over 40 years, in his train room. (Photo courtesy Tim Dumas)

Tim Dumas has lived in South Jordan for over 40 years. His love and direct link to Bingham Canyon started with his mother. She was born on the mountain top of the canyon which is how he grew up with eye-witness stories of the area and its community. He also worked in the mine just like his father, grandfather and numerous other relatives.

This personal connection has inspired him to write a book about the history of the mine, spanning from 1900 to 1971. He also started a YouTube channel (Bingham Canyon and Copper King Mine) about this unique community.

Mining has always been the main industry there. Underground mines had been operating since 1863 when the open cut mine started in 1906. So, the small canyon-sized community was full of those working at the mine, mill or smelter. Those residents were familiar with who did what in Bingham Canyon.

The need for cheap labor brought workers in from all over the world. Bingham became a potpourri of nationalities to accommodate the mine’s working force demand. This was the most ethnically diverse place in the state of Utah. By 1912, 65% of Bingham’s population was foreign born.

Each ethnic group had their own stores, restaurants, customs and religion. The Greeks and Italians were the first and largest groups of foreign workers. Many others followed and neighborhoods became to be identified per the residents’ country of origin.

The Carr Fork area was home to Norwegians, Swedes and Finns. In Highland you would find Southern and Eastern Slavs and Italians. Copperfield was home to Greeks, Japanese, Britons and Scandinavians. The French, Irish and many more also came to Bingham Canyon.

Racial and ethnic friction increased between so many different nationalities living so closely together.  However, children attending the same school and playing in the same open areas saved the day. Their togetherness spread to their parents and calmed the negative feelings.

People who lived in Bingham Canyon during that time reflected on it as a treasured memory. This is why Dumas wrote his book, which will be available for purchase in July. His aim is to save Bingham’s story and said, “Any kind of story about Bingham is to help promote my book and keep Bingham’s history alive.” λ