Category Archives: Engineering

Bountiful Streetcar

Published / by Christopher Bird / Leave a Comment

Write-up by Christopher Bird

Placed by: Bountiful Area Historical Society

GPS Coordinates: 40°53`4“ N 111°52`20“ W

Historical Marker Text:

The Bountiful Area Historical Society Marker, Photograph by Christopher Bird, January 25 2020.

The Utah Light and Traction Company, in the years 1913-1914, built and began operating a streetcar line running from Salt Lake City to Chase Lane in Centerville. It ran along Highway 91 to White’s Hill, then along Orchard Drive to First South, west to Main Street, then north to Chase Lane. Its power station was located in the tallest portion of this building. Fare was five cents a ticket to the Salt Lake City limits. It cost another nickel to ride into Salt Lake City. In 1920, the fare was raised to seven cents. The streetcar ran every hour until 12:00 P.M. It discontinued its service in 1926.

Extended Research:

It took seventeen years between 1872 and 1889 for Salt Lake City to evolve from horse-drawn to electric street car service. However, following the first successful test of electric service in Richmond, Virginia, the electric car traveled quickly to Salt Lake, and began service there in August 1889.[1] Yet, it would then take another twenty-four years before a streetcar line opened in Davis County, North of Salt Lake City. When it did, the line ran from Centerville all the way into Salt Lake, a distance of merely 15 miles. Bountiful streetcar service started on 27 December 1913, with eighteen trolley trips per day and service until midnight (contrary to the Bountiful Area Marker which incorrectly states that service ended at 12 P.M. or noontime).[2]

In 1988, one rider, Ves Harrison, recalled the streetcar route this way:

As I remember, the line ran up Salt Lake City’s Main Street to North Temple turned west to old First West, then continued north to Beck Street, past the old St. Mark’s Hospital, thence north into Davis County on the old State Highway to North Salt Lake, where it veered onto Orchard Drive. It continued north to First South in Bountiful, then down Main Street and on to Centerville and its terminus at Chase Lane.[3]

Routes Nos. 25 and 26 Centerville, Bountiful, and Holliday Lines, p. 33, Utah Light and Traction Company, 1921.

Mr. Harrison’s account is fairly accurate when compared against records from Utah Light and Traction Company, which operated the streetcar service in Davis County. A route booklet from 1921 describes both the north and south bound rail lines, whereas Harrison’s account only described riding the trolley car north. In 1921, the line to Bountiful was known as Route No. 25 and ran with Route No. 26 all the way from Centerville in Davis County to Holliday in Salt Lake County. The southbound route ran on Second South to Main Street then down to Ninth South, further proceeding to Holliday. The northbound route ran up State Street to First South then to West Temple and further proceeding to the Chase Lane Terminus in Davis County.[4] Harrison’s testimony further specified the streetcar line within Bountiful ran along Orchard Drive which matches the fact that the power station for the electric line was also located on Orchard Drive, the current location of the historical marker.

Although fares are described in the historical marker as costing a nickel, a contemporary newspaper accounts stated, “The Fare is as follows: From Bountiful to Salt Lake 15c, round trip 30c; with $2 commutation book 12c one way and 24c round trip; students 9c one way, 18c return.” All prices rose by a third for trips from Centerville at the opening of the trolley line.[5] Costs fell by 1921 when The Utah Light and Traction Company advertised, “It costs approximately 20 cents per mile to own and operate an automobile. It costs about 1 cent per mile to ride a street car. You can take a family of 10 for an outing on the street cars for one-half the cost to run an automobile. Be wise and economize.”[6] Further the company stated that a streetcar ride averaged four cents in 1916.[7]

The Bountiful Streetcar: notice the cattle guard that boys infamously clung to in order to dodge fares. Courtesy of Davis County Clipper, Utah Digital Newspapers, J Willard Marriott Library.

Although a relatively cheap public service (a round trip service to Salt Lake in 1913 originally cost $6.27 in today’s dollars), certain groups committed hijinks attempting to ride for free. The Davis County Clipper recalls a particular anecdote with school boys. Young boys in Bountiful attempted to skate around the fare entirely by having one boy hail the streetcar at a stop and get on to pay, while his friends would latch onto the cowcatcher unseen and thus hitch a ride to wherever they needed to go for the price of one fare.[8] Companies dealt with more headaches than just schoolboys looking to hitch a free ride though. As streetcar and trolley companies consolidated, transfer privileges became necessary. Typically, conductors stamped transfer tickets with the date, time, and direction to prevent use on a return trip. Salt Lake trolley companies moved in a much more artistic direction. Instead of having a date or time to punch, transfer tickets of the Salt Lake transportation companies came with the faces of five different men, progressing from clean-shaven to what was described then as “House of David” for those who were quite lush with hair, as well as two variants for female riders, although the significant difference was between a young girl wearing a sailor hat and an older woman wearing a sort of bonnet. Conductors then punched out the closest match to the rider. No longer could young men with mutton chops run to the barbershop and come out clean shaven for the ride home, his ticket had already been punched! Despite this supposedly foolproof plan to prevent multiple riders using the same ticket, pushback from older women who resented their selection as “older” and dismal enforcement of slips forced the abandonment of transfer tickets.[9]

Cheap travel costs for riding the streetcar were unfortunately not enough. Ultimately, the demise of streetcars in Bountiful came because of the rise of rear-engine bus service. A short-article highlighting the features of an “automobile street car” appeared in the Davis County Clipper in mid-1921. The article touted the bus’s thirty-five passenger capacity, similar to that of a contemporary streetcar, as well as its most remarkable feature, a “‘gasoline-driven’ interurban car.”[10] Besides competitions from buses, private automobiles became affordable commodities for average-income citizens creating an increased demand for paved roads–roads that would have to be built over existing trolley lines across Salt Lake County and adjacent counties.[11] The rival Bamberger train route, which ran from Salt Lake City to Ogden, also increased competition for passenger fares. The Utah Light and Traction Company formally petitioned to close the line from the northern boundary of Salt Lake City on 27 January, 1926. The petition came after the Bamberger Electric Railroad Company petitioned for a bus-line between Salt Lake and Ogden that ran almost parallel to the streetcar route, apparently never deviating more than a quarter-mile from one another. The petition reported that income received from

the streetcar line to Davis County was far under the cost of operation and that the Utah Light and Traction Company needed to pay for twenty-thousand dollars (just over $287,000 today) to maintain the trolley-line, money that the company did not have.[12] Streetcar service thus ended in Bountiful in 1926 and almost fifteen years later Salt Lake’s last trolley ran the tracks on May 31, 1941.[13]

Ultimately, the advent of buses, private automobiles, and competition between transportation companies led to the demise of streetcar service in Bountiful and eventually Salt Lake County itself. Today, the building where the Bountiful route’s power station was located is at 480 South Orchard Drive. The only reference that there ever was a streetcar line operating from the building is a small marker on the building’s eastern facade. The building now houses a dental office and other small businesses, with the historical marker as the sole reminder of a time when electric trolley companies dominated public transportation and   automobiles were a luxury only the wealthy could afford.

The building that housed the powerstation today. Located at 480 S. Orchard Drive in Bountiful. The Bountiful Area Historical Society Marker is seen just to the right of the planted flag. Photograph by Christopher Bird, January 25, 2020.

[1] C.W. McCullough, “The Passing of the Streetcar,” Utah Historical Quarterly 24, no. 2 (1956): 124, www.jstor.org/stable/45058629.

[2] “Street Car Will Start Running December 27,” Davis County Clipper, December 26, 1913, https://newspapers.lib.utah.edu/details?id=1165079&date_tdt=%5B1913-01-01T00%3A00%3A00.000Z+TO+1915-01-01T00%3A00%3A00.000Z%5D&q=%28%28Streetcar%29+AND+paper_t%3A%28Davis+AND+County+AND+Clipper%29%29.

[3] Doneta Gatherum, “Old memories flare as trolley car line celebrates 100 yrs,” Davis County Clipper, August 23rd, 1989, https://newspapers.lib.utah.edu/details?id=22522831&q=Bountiful+Streetcar&sort=rel.

[4] “Routes Nos. 25 and 26 Centerville, Bountiful, and Holliday Lines,” in Routes and Schedules of  the Salt Lake City Street Car Lines, 32, Utah Light and Traction Company, 1921, https://utahrails.net/pdf/Utah-Light-Traction_Route-Booklet_circa-1921.pdf.

[5] “Street Car Will Start Running December 27,” Davis County Clipper, December 26, 1913, https://newspapers.lib.utah.edu/details?id=1165079&date_tdt=%5B1913-01-01T00%3A00%3A00.000Z+TO+1915-01-01T00%3A00%3A00.000Z%5D&q=%28%28Streetcar%29+AND+paper_t%3A%28Davis+AND+County+AND+Clipper%29%29.

[6] “Routes Nos. 25 and 26 Centerville, Bountiful, and Holliday Lines,” in Routes and Schedules of  the Salt Lake City Street Car Lines, 32, Utah Light and Traction Company, 1921, https://utahrails.net/pdf/Utah-Light-Traction_Route-Booklet_circa-1921.pdf.

[7] “Routes No. 24 Depot Loop Lines,” in Routes and Schedules of  the Salt Lake City Street Car Lines, 30, Utah Light and Traction Company, 1921, https://utahrails.net/pdf/Utah-Light-Traction_Route-Booklet_circa-1921.pdf.

[8] Doneta Gatherum, “Old memories flare as trolley car line celebrates 100 yrs,” Davis County Clipper, August 23rd, 1989, https://newspapers.lib.utah.edu/details?id=22522831&q=Bountiful+Streetcar&sort=rel.

[9] C.W. McCullough, “The Passing of the Streetcar,” Utah Historical Quarterly 24, no. 2 (1956): 125-126, www.jstor.org/stable/45058629.

[10] “‘Automobile’ Street Car,” Davis County Clipper, August 26, 1921, https://newspapers.lib.utah.edu/details?id=1203016&facet_type=%22article%22&q=%28Streetcar%29&year_start=1913&year_end=1926&facet_paper=%22Davis+County+Clipper%22.

[11] C.W. McCullough, “The Passing of the Streetcar,” Utah Historical Quarterly 24, no. 2 (1956): 127, www.jstor.org/stable/45058629.

[12] “U. L. & Traction Co. Wants to Quit Bamberger Wants Bus Line Utility Commission to Decide,” Davis County Clipper, January 29, 1926, https://newspapers.lib.utah.edu/details?id=1233357&q=Streetcar&sort=rel&facet_paper=%22Davis+County+Clipper%22&date_tdt=%5B1926-01-01T00%3A00%3A00Z+TO+1926-12-31T00%3A00%3A00Z%5D.

[13] C.W. McCullough, “The Passing of the Streetcar,” Utah Historical Quarterly 24, no. 2 (1956): 123, www.jstor.org/stable/45058629.

For Further Reference:

Primary Sources:

“‘Automobile’ Street Car.” Davis County Clipper, August 26, 1921. https://newspapers.lib.utah.edu/details?id=1203016&facet_type=%22article%22&q=%28Streetcar%29&year_start=1913&year_end=1926&facet_paper=%22Davis+County+Clipper%22.

“Routes No. 24 Depot Loop Lines.” In Routes and Schedules of the Salt Lake City Street Car Lines, 30. Utah Light and Traction Company, 1921. https://utahrails.net/pdf/Utah-Light-Traction_Route-Booklet_circa-1921.pdf.

“Routes Nos. 25 and 26 Centerville, Bountiful, and Holliday Lines.” In Routes and Schedules of the Salt Lake City Street Car Lines, 32-33. Utah Light and Traction Company, 1921. https://utahrails.net/pdf/Utah-Light-Traction_Route-Booklet_circa-1921.pdf.

“Street Car Will Start Running December 27.” Davis County Clipper, December 26, 1913. https://newspapers.lib.utah.edu/details?id=1165079&date_tdt=%5B1913-01-01T00%3A00%3A00.000Z+TO+1915-01-01T00%3A00%3A00.000Z%5D&q=%28%28Streetcar%29+AND+paper_t%3A%28Davis+AND+County+AND+Clipper%29%29.

“U. L. & Traction Co. Wants to Quit Bamberger Wants Bus Line Utility Commission to Decide.” Davis County Clipper, January 29, 1926. https://newspapers.lib.utah.edu/details?id=1233357&q=Streetcar&sort=rel&facet_paper=%22Davis+County+Clipper%22&date_tdt=%5B1926-01-01T00%3A00%3A00Z+TO+1926-12-31T00%3A00%3A00Z%5D.

Secondary Sources:

Gatherum, Doneta. “Old memories flare as trolley car line celebrates 100 yrs.” Davis County Clipper, August 23, 1989. https://newspapers.lib.utah.edu/details?id=22522831&q=Bountiful+Streetcar&sort=rel.

McCullough, C. W. “The Passing of the Streetcar.” Utah Historical Quarterly 24, no.2 (1956): 123-29. Accessed January 28, 2020. www.jstor.org/stable/45058629.

Murray Smelting

Published / by Greg Murray / Leave a Comment

Write-up by Gregory Murray 

Placed by: Murray Chapter of the Utah Sons of the Pioneers 

GPS Coordinates: 40°39’25” N 111°52’36” W 

Historical Marker Text: 

Gold, silver, copper, lead and zinc were found at Alta, Park City and Tintic in the years 1834 to 1869. Since no smelting was done in the state or the surrounding area, smelters had to be built. Billy Moran built the first smelter at 5189 South State Street on American Hill in 1869. The Woodhall Brothers built the first furnace on State Street by Big Cottonwood Creek June 1870. In 1871 the Germania Refinery & Wasatch Smelter were erected west of State Street on opposite sides of Little Cottonwood Creek. The Hanauer Smelter was built in 1872. The Horn Silver Smelter at 200 West 4800 South and the Highland Boy Plant 800 West Bullion came on stream 1880-1886. American Smelting and Refining Company took over the Germania Plant operations and later built a plant at 5200 South State St. which began operations in 1902. 

Smelting and ore refining grew from 0 tons to thousands of tons of ore per day. The need for smelting eventually decreased and in November 1950, the great smelting operation at Murray faded into History. Smelting in Murray had directly employed 10,000 people and indirectly thousands more, many of these people were pioneers who settled in the Murray community prior to the coming of the railroad. 

Extended Research: 

   The smelting industry developed in Murray, Utah, to extract metals from the ores produced by the mines of the Utah Territory. The arrival of the railroad in Utah greatly facilitated the development of smelting in Murray, which enabled miners to ship ore from mines such as Bingham Canyon and Camp Floyd to smelters in Murray. After the ore had been smelted into bars of metal, the smelters could ship the finished bars out on the transcontinental railroad. In the 1870’s and 1880’s, industrialists built several smelters in Murray, including the American Hill, Woodhull Brothers, Germania, Wasatch, Franklyn, and the Hanauer smelters.[1] Many of these smelters were very unprofitable in the early years. In a report to the federal government, U.S. Commissioner of Mining Rossiter W. Raymond, commented on the smelters in Murray, when he wrote, “fortunes were there lost in slags, dust, and matte.” However, technological improvements were soon able to increase the efficiency and profitability of the smelters.[2] American Smelting and Refining Company (ASARCO) bought many of Murray’s smelters as part of its efforts to consolidate the smelting industry in Murray.[3] ASARCO built its own smelter in Murray in 1902, which became the largest and most modern lead smelter in the State of Utah and became a major landmark in the city of Murray.[4] The ASARCO smelter could handle 1200 tons of ore per day through its eight blast furnaces and employed nearly one thousand five hundred people.[5]

    The ASARCO smelter attracted many immigrant workers from Southern and Eastern Europe to Murray. Many of these immigrant workers lived in slum-like dwellings near the railroads and around the smelter. Most of these homes lacked running water, and indoor toilets.[6] ASARCO tried to alleviate this housing problem in 1911 by building houses for some workers, and some Greek immigrants built boarding houses for the many workers employed at the smelters.[7] Smelter workers in Murray unionized in 1900 as part of the Western Federation of Miners and went on strike three times, in 1900, 1909, and 1912.[8] The 1912 strike in particular wracked the city with intense violence as some rogue strikers attempted to dynamite the smelter and assassinate one of the company supervisors.[9] These strikes generally failed to win the workers’ demands, and after the 1912 strike, the Murray local of the Western Federation of Miners disbanded.[10]

    The smelters also made an environmental impact on the valley. In the early twentieth century, critics of the smelters, mainly farmers, complained that pollution from the smelters was damaging their crops. In October 1904, farmers met in Murray to decide whether to take legal action against the smelters. One local farmer named George Gardner stated, “If we do not fight the smelters, they will impoverish us and kill us off. This valley will be desolated if the smelter smoke is not stopped. I believe we should go into court and fight them to the last ditch.”[11] The farmers won several court cases against the smelters which resulted in the closure of the Bingham Consolidated Smelter in 1907 and the Highland Boy smelter in 1908, but the ASARCO smelter was able to continue operations after paying a $60,000 fine. [12]

   From 1902 to 1931 the ASARCO smelter in Murray operated at near peak capacity, but as the Bingham, Park City, and Tintic mines began to run out of ore, the smelter in Murray declined. In 1931 the smelter shut down for seven months as a result of a shortage of ore. During the Great Depression, the smelter experienced many more temporary shutdowns. Production picked up during World War II, but in 1949, ASARCO announced the impending closure of the smelter, which was closed completely by November 1950.[13] The giant smokestacks of the smelter continued to stand in Murray for another half century. After voters rejected a $3.4 million bond to preserve the stacks in 1998, the city of Murray approved the demolition of the smokestacks of the smelter in August 2000.[14] The site of the old ASARCO smelter is now occupied by Intermountain Healthcare’s Intermountain Medical Center. 

[1] Brian P. Winterowd, “Murray Smelters,” in The History of Murray City, Utah, ed. Edna Mae Wilkinson (Murray, Utah: Murray City Corporation, 1976), 251-253.

[2] Thomas G. Alexander, “Generating Wealth from the Earth 1847-2000,” in From the Ground Up: The History of Mining in Utah, ed. Colleen Whitley (Logan, Utah: Utah State University Press, 2006), 41.

[3]  David L. Schirer, The Cultural Dynamics of Urbanization: Murray City, Utah, 1897-1919 (Salt Lake City, Utah: University of Utah, 1991), 81-84.

[4] Brian P. Winterowd, “Murray Smelters,” 254.

[5] Brian P. Winterowd, “Murray Smelters,” 255, 257.

[6] Brian P. Winterowd, “Murray Smelters,” 255.

[7] Brian P. Winterowd, “Murray Smelters,” 255.

David L. Schirer, The Cultural Dynamics of Urbanization, 203.

[8] David L. Schirer, The Cultural Dynamics of Urbanization, 91.

[9] “Bullets and Dynamiting in Murray Strike,” Salt Lake Tribune (Salt Lake City, UT), May 5, 1912.

[10] David L. Schirer, The Cultural Dynamics of Urbanization, 95.

[11]  “Farmers Will Fight Smelters,” Salt Lake Herald (Salt Lake City, UT), Oct. 21, 1904.

[12] David L. Schirer, The Cultural Dynamics of Urbanization, 67.

[13] Brian P. Winterowd, “Murray Smelters,” 257.

[14] Amy Joi Bryson, “Murray’s landmark smokestacks finally fall,” Deseret News (Salt Lake City, UT), Aug. 6, 2000.

 For Further Reference: 

Primary Sources: 

“Bullets and Dynamiting in Murray Strike.” Salt Lake Tribune (Salt Lake City, UT), May 5, 1912. 

Bryson, Amy Joi, “Murray’s landmark smokestacks finally fall.” Deseret News (Salt Lake City, UT), Aug., 2000. 

“Farmers Will Fight Smelters.” Salt Lake Herald (Salt Lake City, UT), Oct. 21, 1904. 

Secondary Sources: 

Schirer, David L. The Cultural Dynamics of Urbanization: Murray City, Utah, 1897-1919. Salt Lake City, Utah: University of Utah, 1991. 

Alexander, Thomas G. “Generating Wealth from the Earth 1847-2000.” In From the Ground Up: The History of Mining in Utah, edited by Colleen Whitley, 37-57. Logan, Utah: Utah State University Press, 2006.

Winterowd, Brian P. “Murray Smelters.” in The History of Murray City, Utah, ed. Edna Mae Wilkinson. Murray, Utah: Murray City Corporation, 1976.