Eureka

The Eureka Hill mine was discovered February 28, 1870. Miners soon flocked to Eureka Gulch, and Eureka was born. The town grew slowly at first, while most of the Tintic district's activity was situated between Mammoth and Diamond; with the latter's decline in 1875 several homes were relocated to Eureka. By the 1880s, four large producers: the Eureka Hill, Bullion Beck, Centennial Eureka, and Gemini, known as the "Big Four," ensured Eureka's ongoing growth. In 1889, the Salt Lake & Western Railway reached the town, joined by the Tintic Range Railway (Rio Grande Western) in 1891. The arrival of the railroad coupled with ongoing development of the mines brought a surge to Eureka's population, which exceeded 1700. In addition to frame houses, substantial stone and brick buildings began to appear. Eureka quickly became the center of the district, and was incorporated as a city on November 8, 1892. Despite a slowdown following a drop in silver prices in 1893 coupled with a devastating fire that year, Eureka grew to exceed 3300 by the turn of the century.

The early 1900s brought continued growth to Eureka. An increasing number of permanent buildings were erected, and the Telluride power plant was built in 1903 near Provo to provide power to the city. On January 21, 1909, the Chief Consolidated Mining Company was incorporated by Walter Fitch, Sr. and made extensive development plans. An assay office, machine shop, and six-compartment ore bin were built, and a 100-ton concentration plant was erected by the Utah Mineral Concentrating Company to treat Chief ore in 1914. A small suburb, called Fitchville, developed around Fitch's home just southeast of the main shaft. That concentration plant closed in 1916, but the Chief continued to expand, sinking Utah's first concrete-lined shaft (Chief No. 2) in 1918.

Unfortunately, despite ongoing development, the decade between 1910 and 1920 was also full of hardship for Eureka. Eleven miners were killed due to a cave-in at the Centennial-Eureka Mine in September 1914, the worst mining disaster in Tintic's history. In 1917, a severe snowstorm halted all railroad operations, with snow slides causing considerable damage and contributing to a shortage of coal in the area. Then in 1918, the Spanish flu pandemic swept through the Tintic district, causing the closure of dozens of businesses and the death of hundreds.

By the 1920s, Eureka was back on its feet and flourishing. From 1920 until 1929, ore production never dropped below $9.8 million per year, with a peak of over $16 million in 1925. The Chief Co. constructed a new flotation mill in 1924, treating ore from both the Chief properties and the Eureka Hill. After 1929, however, production began to drop off, reaching only $1.8 million in 1933. This drop in production led to a decline in business, and mining activity largely came to a close.

Today, Eureka is still home to around 750, and several historic buildings and homes still stand throughout town. Outside of the city, numerous mining remnants punctuate the hillside from various points of Tintic's history. Within a few miles, a handful of other old Tintic towns exist in various states, making Eureka and the Tintic district an excellent destination for any explorer.

I Visited the Eureka
8.8.2020

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