Lost Houses: Bingham Canyon

A few views of Copperfield in Upper Bingham Canyon as it existed in 1938. As many of our readers already know, this specific area is located west of Salt Lake City and is now the site of the world’s largest open-pit copper mine. All photographs were taken by the Salt Lake County Assessor. These and thousands more photographs and documentation of Salt Lake County buildings can be found at the Salt Lake County Archives.

205 Copperfield, Upper Bingham Canyon. Photograph taken in 1938. Salt Lake County Tax Appraisal Photographs, serial 19-22.
123 Copperfield, Upper Bingham Canyon. Photograph taken in 1938. Salt Lake County Tax Appraisal Photographs, serial 19-23.
123 Copperfield, Upper Bingham Canyon. Photograph taken in 1938. Salt Lake County Tax Appraisal Photographs, serial 19-23.
123 Copperfield, Upper Bingham Canyon. Photograph taken in 1938. Salt Lake County Tax Appraisal Photographs, serial 19-23.

Salt Lake County Archives Receives Grant


The Utah State Historical Records Advisory Board (USHRAB), administered by the Utah Division of Archives and Records Service, has announced that the Salt Lake County Archives is a recipient of its Spring 2021 grant funding to preserve and provide access to Utah’s history. Salt Lake County Archives was awarded $2,240.00 to digitize Salt Lake County Commission Minutes from 1852-1972. The digital records will then be available online in the near future. The minutes that are typewritten will also have OCR applied, enabling users to search by any keyword within the pages.

The Commission Minutes are an invaluable resource for both researchers in the history of Salt Lake County, the state of Utah, and the Western United States; for genealogists researching their families in the county; and for county agencies needing information about decisions made by the county prior to 1973. “Virtually any person living in, or any activity taking place in, unincorporated areas of Salt Lake County (up to and including the incorporation of municipalities) was affected by the actions of the county commission and is reflected in the minutes.  They document, record, and describe the structural, economic, and social foundations and development of Utah as a territory, Salt Lake as a county, and the early cities only a few years after the arrival of the Mormon Pioneers. The minutes outline the business mode, ethics, philosophies, and decisions of the county.”

The USHRAB’s grant program is funded by a State Board Programming Grant from the National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC) at the National Archives. The USHRAB assists public and private non-profits, as well as non-Federal government entities throughout the State of Utah in the preservation and use of historical records.

A huge thank you to USHRAB and the NHPRC at the National Archives for this wonderful opportunity!

Source: Salt Lake County (Utah). County Commission Minutes. Series 3790.  Utah State Archives finding aid.

Mining Records Now Online

Do you have an ancestor that was involved in mining? Do you enjoy rock hounding? Are you part of the Utah Abandoned Mines group on Facebook? Then you’ll love this! The Salt Lake County Archives has posted its mining records on our website! Staff spent several weeks digitizing the ledgers for various mining records so that there would be public access to the documents. A complete overview, including determining preservation needs and research value, was conducted. The conclusion found a large gap in the free access to mining records online across the state of Utah.

Now you can search many of Salt Lake County’s mining records to your heart’s content, looking for that mining claim, writing your history book, or trying to find that ancestor who claimed to have a mineral vein that made them rich!

An example of an index arranged by owner name. Salt Lake County Recorder, Index to Mining Deed Record Book Q, Series RC-044.
Some of the indexes are only accessible through the name of the mining claim. Salt Lake County Recorder, Mining Abstracts Index Book A, Series RC-041.

Along with the digitized records being available, a descriptive guide for the mining records series has been created and is accessible on our website.

For additional research in to mining in Salt Lake County, check out the additional records held by the Salt Lake County Recorder’s office.

~Entry contributed by Daniel Cureton, Archivist.

Happy Presidents’ Day

In 1903, President Theodore Roosevelt visited Salt Lake City. After arriving on a train at the Oregon Short Line Depot downtown, President Roosevelt was the star of a parade that proceeded from the depot all the way to the Salt Lake City-County Building. Over 40,000 people attended the parade, with 25,000 people gathered on the City-County Building grounds to greet him. He then proceeded to the Tabernacle downtown and gave a rousing speech. Read about the rest of his visit in this edition of the Utah Historical Quarterly from 2014.

Salt Lake County participated in the celebrations with significant contributions made to the parade decorations and infrastructure, as our Archivist Daniel Cureton discovered while processing Proceedings of the Salt Lake County Commission:

Salt Lake County Commission Proceedings, 1898-1918. Series CM-336. Salt Lake County Archives.

Blog idea and records discovered and contributed by Daniel Cureton, Archivist.

Land Title Certificates Online

For nearly two decades after the members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints first settled in Utah, land ownership in the territory was determined by the Utah Territorial government.  This territorial government established its own methods of surveying and of acquiring land title.  These titles however, weren’t recognized by the Federal Government.  In fact, by federal law all land in Utah was considered to be in public domain under the provisions of the 1848 Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo.  According to previously established federal law governing the territorial process, the determination of land title in new territories was supposed to be conducted through a federal land office and in accordance with federal government surveys. 

By the time the federal land office was finally opened in Utah in March 1869, the size and complexity of Salt Lake City made it difficult to resolve land title using existing federal laws.  Because of this, the U.S. Congress eventually passed specific laws allowing the territorial legislatures to create a process by which individuals could gain title to land in these already settled towns.  The Utah Territorial Legislature set up a system for individuals, corporations, and associations to present a claim to the territorial probate courts, which at that time in Utah had jurisdiction not only over the settlement of estates, but also over civil and criminal matters.

The Land Title Certificates at the Salt Lake County Archives are a result of this process.  The collection contains the land title certificates granted to petitioners from 1871 to 1879 which finally provided federally recognized land title to the people of Salt Lake County.  Although issued in the 1870s, these records can retroactively document land possession back to the 1850s.

The Land Title Certificates are currently being digitized and uploaded to our website, and records for surnames beginning with “E” are available online now. Additional records will be uploaded each week.

Check out the records online, and for additional history about the Land Title Certificates and the collection, check out the descriptive guide.

Happy Holidays!

Thank you to our patrons for their patience throughout this difficult year. We have had to either completely close or restrict access to the Archives at various times, and we appreciate your understanding while waiting for records requests to be filled. We are currently filling requests digitally Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays.

We hope that you have a safe and happy holiday season!

Please note: The Salt Lake County Archives will be closed the following dates for the holidays:

December 21 – 25 and December 31 – 1

New Look, Same Mission

You may have noticed our new blog header! Refreshing the overall look of this blog also involved adding a theme that expresses the basic mission of the Salt Lake County Archives.

We are the County’s official repository for its records of long-term value, dating from 1852 to the present.  This includes records in various formats as they were created and used, such as paper and photographs, and those that have reached obsolescence (think floppy disks and videocassette tapes, to name a few). The herculean task of migrating data from one format to another to ensure preservation of data also involves a large amount of staff time and resources. We are also responsible for the management of born-digital records.

Analog or electronic. Paper or PDF. The digital age has created many challenges, but our mission remains the same: preserve and provide access to the content of the records, “regardless of format.”

Archives Closures for November

Due to the Governor’s recent state of emergency proclamation, the Archives will be closed through November 20.  Staff will return to answer reference requests digitally on November 24 and 25.

We will be closed on November 26 and 27 for the Thanksgiving holiday.

However you celebrate the holidays, we hope you stay healthy and safe.