Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Copperton, A Forgotten Town

 There are a lot of small towns scattered throughout the state of Utah. Some have been farm towns from their inception while others sprouted from the desert as mining towns that boomed until the ore fizzled out and the people left to chase the next big score. Most of the boom towns of Utah have faded away to history leaving only crumbled foundations as evidence of their existence. But there is still one mining town that has not only resisted extinction, it thrives.
  Copperton, Utah is located 17 miles southwest of Salt Lake City, Utah. After the last census the town claims just over 826 residents. The narrow streets are calm and quiet. The houses are dated but well maintained and if you didn't know where to find the town you would be oblivious to its existence. 
   Today the homes in town belong to private owners but when construction began in 1926 the homes were built to house the families of miners that were working in the nearby Bingham Copper Mine. How nearby? Three of the town's borders are identified by chain link fence with No Trespassing signs every twenty feet. If there weren't so many cars parked along the city streets you might feel like you were inside some strange type of prison. 
 The town has a small wooded park that if you were to ask people outside of town this would likely be the reason they know of Copperton. It's not fancy but it does have a few small monuments to look at. 
 The town has a patriotic side that few would know if it weren't for these monuments. The largest stands at approximately 13 ft. tall, has four plaques mounted to each side and topped with a bronze eagle. The plaques are tributes to the men and women that served in World War II. One plaque honors those entombed in the U.S.S. Arizona, another honors the locals that served and another honors those that gave their lives.
 Across from this monument is a stone that lays like a grave marker. The inscription on this stone honors those the victims of the September 11th attacks in New York city. This is just another example of how much such a tragedy affects everyone, no matter where you come from.
  Copperton's mining history runs deep. A sign standing over the entrance to the park still bears the name of the Utah Copper Company, the original owners of the Bingham Canyon mine and the developers of Copperton itself. Bingham High School, located eleven miles east in the city of South Jordan is named after the mine and use a miner as their mascot. That building is the fourth Bingham High School building, the first two are long gone and the third building, razed in 2002, sat along the main street cutting through Copperton. An empty field and a small set of concrete steps are all that remain of it. Next to the WW II monument in the park is another monument honoring Bingham High School which opened in 1908 and continues to this day. Another sign of Bingham's presence is the large, white letter "B" that stands high on the hill. And another piece of useless knowledge for you, I graduated from Bingham along with Misty in 1997; twenty years after my dad graduated from there.
 We hung around the park for about an hour, using the old fashioned steel slides that I thought they had practically outlawed and tossed around my son's boomerang. We aren't very good with the boomerang by the way. There seems to be an art to throwing those things. The tall trees still held on to many of their yellowing leaves but the entire park is covered with leaves that we had a blast running through. I haven't done that in a long time and it was cool to do it with my own kids.
 There seems to be a theme that pops up now and again as I write these posts. For some reason I want to encourage folks to get out and explore their own back yards. It's amazing the things you find so close to home that you don't even know exist. Copperton's park isn't really something I would tell you that you have to see but it is something that if you happened to need something to do on a leisurely morning with the kiddo's to take advantage of. Perhaps I found this place more interesting because of my own history of the area and someone else would find this place boring. That's fine. But this is just another example of a diamond in the rough that can be found if you look for it. Oh yeah, I almost forgot. Go Miners!!


Brandan 

  
  

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