Historic Copperton is a tiny town that defied the boom-bust cycle typical of mining towns.
The commercial mining industry has driven Utah’s economic, political, and social development. Most towns associated with the mining industry went through typical boom and bust cycles, and many are now nothing more than ghost towns. But one mining town in Utah defied those odds. Six miles east of Kennecott’s famous copper pit in the Oquirrh Mountains lies the small community of Copperton. Its development is unique for a Utah mining town, as is evident by its quaint homes, Art Deco church, and community park. Copperton is an authentic 1930s suburbia.
Kennecott was formerly known as the Utah Copper Company, or UCC, and in 1926, its executives decided to construct a new housing area for UCC workers. Unlike typical Utah mining towns, with crowded streets and densely-packed boarding houses, Copperton was going to be different. This became evident as soon as construction began. Model brick and stucco homes were planned on plotted-out streets around the already existing UCC baseball diamond. A community park was laid out, and a high school and religious buildings were constructed. Electricity was installed and the paved streets had sidewalks and gutters. UCC employees and their families could rent a five-room Copperton home for $27.50 per month, with UCC in charge of the upkeep. Homes were built from 1926 to 1930.
The town of Copperton has endured the years of economic ups and downs associated with the mining industry. As a result of expanded mining operations in nearby Bingham Canyon, all company towns in the area – except Copperton – were demolished in the late 20th Century. Copperton eventually transitioned from a company town to private ownership, and while some non-residential structures were torn down, all the homes are still standing and beautifully kept and occupied by current residents. As the only UCC mining town to remain intact, Copperton was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1986.
Image: Copperton, Utah. Street of Copperton, Utah showing the Utah Copper Company archway into the park, as well as a Bingham Stage Line Company bus. Copperton was built as a model mining town for employees of the Utah Copper Company when Bingham became overcrowded. Courtesy of Utah State Historical Society.
See Scott Crump, Copperton, Pubishers Press, 1978, accessed in part at http://www.onlineutah.com/coppertonhistory1.shtml ; Linda Sillitoe, A History of Salt Lake County (Salt Lake City: Utah State Historical Society and Salt Lake County Commission, 1996); “Bingham Canyon,” Utah History Encyclopedia,