Latitude / Longitude:
5,938 ft (1,810 m)
Mountain (MST) (UTC-7)
Bingham Canyon was a city formerly located in southwestern Salt Lake County, Utah, United States, in a narrow canyon on the eastern face of the Oquirrh Mountains. The Bingham Canyon area boomed during the first years of the twentieth century, as rich copper deposits in the canyon began to be developed, and at its peak the city had approximately 15,000 residents.
The geographic feature known as Bingham Canyon received its name from the location’s two first settlers, the brothers Thomas and Sanford Bingham, who arrived in the canyon in 1848. Initially, the area was utilized for livestock grazing and logging, but the region’s economic focus changed with the 1863 discovery of rich gold and silver ore bodies in the canyon. Mining activity in Bingham Canyon boomed after the Bingham Canyon and Camp Floyd Rail Road completed a line to the canyon in 1873, and as the region grew the focus shifted to the high-quality copper ores in the district. As the mines grew, the town of Bingham also expanded, spreading along the narrow and steep canyon floor below the mines.
The success of the local mines eventually proved to be the town’s undoing, however: by the mid-twentieth century the huge open-pit Bingham Canyon Mine began encroaching on the community, and by the late twentieth century the Bingham townsite had been devoured by the mine. No trace of the former town remains today.
By the 1930s it was becoming apparent that the most significant threat to the town of Bingham was the mine itself, whose ever-expanding open pit began encroaching on lands formerly occupied by miners’ neighborhoods. The mine continued to eat away at Bingham throughout the middle years of the twentieth century, and by 1971 little of the town remained. That November, Bingham Canyon’s 31 remaining residents voted 11–2 to disincorporate the town, and the last buildings at Bingham were razed in 1972. Today, most of the land once occupied by Bingham has been consumed by the Bingham Canyon Mine.