The Mines & Camps of the Newfoundland Mountains

History:

The Newfoundland Mountains stretch in a North-South direction along the southern border of Box Elder County in northwestern Utah, surrounded by the Great Salt Lake Desert on all sides where it rises from this “land of desolation”. Travel to the range is only accomplished via the Union Pacific Railroad causeway, accessed via Delle/Lakeside to the South or the Hogup Mountains to the north. These lonely mountains were once the site of great mining interests, each canyon combed over for what minerals might lay just under the ground.

The area was loosely associated with the Box Elder Mining District (formed in 1866) as prospectors first trickled into the area in 1871 and the Newfoundland Mining District was organized in 1872 with several claims staked on the ground. A small camp was established just south of what is known as the “Saddle”. The camp was dubbed Knowltonsburg, named after Chris Knowlton a resident of Grantsville and an early prospector and promoter in the area. Light prospecting and mining development continued to gain momentum until 1900 when ore started shipping.

There were several areas of major mining activity. The largest of which being the Miners Basin on the west side of the ridge, the site of a small town called Boston Terrace. Settled in the 1860′s, Boston Terrace was no different than mining mining camps of the era, few permanent buildings, rather lean-to’s and shanty’s for the mine laborers and a short lived inhabitance.

In 1905 the Boston Terrace area mines were listed in the “Copper Handbook” a professional publication detailing the active copper mines of the day. At the time there were 11 claims producing respectable amounts of copper, lead, silver, bismuth, tungsten, molybdenum and gold. For the next 50 years the mines would continue to produce trace amounts of precious metals at the hands of die hard prospectors and miners. By the 1970′s commercial mining had all be ceased in the area.

Very little of Boston Terrace remains to this day, remnants of several mines and a solo rock structure mark the spot that once was the epicenter for mining in the Newfoundland Mountains.

On the opposite side of the range, mining took place to decent extents in both Sleigh and Dells Canyon’s. Sleigh Canyon consisted of several small workings, some of which appear to have been worked within the recent years. Dells Canyon is the site of a rather picturesque tram system leading from the mine hundreds of feet above to a loading station below. Parts of the rudimentary tram system are still in place with an ore trolley hanging above the canyon and the remnants of a mining operation spread throughout the canyons bottom.

Interestingly enough, George Thompson, author of “Some Dreams Die”, spent a considerable amount of time in the Newfoundland Mountains prospecting and mining in the 1950′s. His experience in the area is second to none and while he doesn’t dedicate much reference to the area in Some Dreams Die, he does spend enough time describing the area to warrant picking up the book if you don’t already own it. He did offer a much more in depth historical perspective in an article that ran in the Summer, 1967 edition of the Old West magazine. The article. “Utah’s Unknown” offers great intel to the mines and camps in the area, well worth reading if you can find a copy.

Keep in mind that despite the appearance from older maps, it is no longer possible to circumnavigate the entire range. The southern tip is part of the UTTR (Utah Test and Training Range) and is heavily gated and monitored. Due to its close proximity with the UTTR, its not at all uncommon to see “weird” things out in this area in fact its often been referred to as “Area 52″. While spending a night in Dells Canyon on the western side of the range, overlooking the desert floor below us, we were treated what I can only describe as firework show. Flares that shot what seemed like miles into the air, only to explode sending another shot further into the air. While there is a much shorter route via Knolls along Interstate 80 (was Highway 40), given the fact the southern half of the range is now inaccessible, you can only gain access via the north end of the range. Tentative access is available through Lakeside (check for current access status) or via the Hogup Range and the Transcontinental Rail Road from the north.

Area Mines, Claims & Company’s:

  • Albatross Claim (SLMR 7/30/1924)
  • Blonderblu Lode (SLMR 7/30/1924)
  • Bluejay Claim (SLMR 7/30/1924)
  • Boston & Terrace Mining Company (TMR 9/30/1902 & TMR 8/30/1904)
  • Copper Flat Mining Area (UGMR #115, 1980)
  • Counselor Claim (SLMR 7/30/1924)
  • Desert Flower Mine (UGMR #115, 1980)
  • Judge Group (SLMR 7/30/1924)
  • King Extension
  • Lone Pine Mine (UGMR #115, 1980)
  • Marguerita Claim (SLMR 7/30/1924)
  • Nephi Mine (Utah’s Unknown, 1967)
  • Newfoundland Copper Mine (UGMR #115, 1980)
  • Pocahontas Group, ran by Doctor E.M. Southers (SLMR 5/30/1924 & SLMR 7/30/1924)
  • Polestar Claim (SLMR 7/30/1924)
  • Right and Left-hand placer claims (SLMR 7/30/1924)
  • Shepherd Lode (TMR 9/30/1902)
  • Silver King Mine (TMR 9/30/1902)
  • Stone House Canyon Mine (UGMR #115, 1980)
  • Sun Mining Company (Utah’s Unknown, 1967 & UGMR #115, 1980)
  • Sun Uranium Company, foreman Bart Duke, chief engineer/VP Tom Costas (Utah’s Unknown, 1967 & UGMR #115, 1980)
  • Utah Silver Mines group (SLMR 7/30/1924)
  • Utah Silver Mining Company (SLMR 5/30/1924 & SLMR 7/30/1924)
  • Whitehorse Claim (SLMR 7/30/1924)

SLMR – The Salt Lake Mining Review
TMR – The Mining Review
UGMR – Utah Geology and Mineral Resources

People of the Newfoundlands:

  • Birchard (Burchard), C.T. (TMR 9/30/1902 & TMR 2/15/1903)
  • Duke, Bart (Utah’s Unknown, 1967 & UGMR #115, 1980)
  • Costas, Tom (Utah’s Unknown, 1967)
  • Heather, Mr. (TMR 9/30/1902)

SLMR – The Salt Lake Mining Review
TMR – The Mining Review
UGMR – Utah Geology and Mineral Resources

Trip Reports:

http://www.expeditionutah.com/forum/showthread.php?t=141
http://www.expeditionutah.com/forum/showthread.php?t=610
http://www.expeditionutah.com/forum/showthread.php?t=661

Outside Resources (Books, etc):

  • The Mining Review – September 30, 1902 – “The Boston and Terrace Mines in Newfoundland Mining District”
  • The Mining Review – February 15, 1903 (date illegible) – “Present Development at Lakeside and Newfoundland Districts”
  • The Mining Review – August 30, 1904 – “The Boston and Terrace”
  • The Salt Lake Mining Review – May 10, 1924 – “Utah’s Mineral Resources are Barely Scratched; Newfoundland’s District’s History and Possibilities”
  • The Salt Lake Mining Review – July 30, 1924 – “Contemplation of Wonders of the Newfoundland Mountains Awakens the Poetic, Historic Mood of an Investigator”
  • Utah Geology and Mineral Resources of Box Elder County – Bulletin 115, 1980 – Hellmut H. Doelling (USGS Mineral Report)
  • Historical Guide to Utah Ghost Towns – By Stephen Carr (Book)
  • Some Dreams Die – By George Thompson (Book)
  • Old West Magazine – Summer, 1967 – “Utah’s Unknown” by George A. Thompson

Outside Links:

http://desertislands.org/newfoundland.htm
http://www.ghosttowns.com/states/ut/bostonterrace.html
http://books.google.com/books?id=oTMIAAAAIAAJ&pg=PA253&lpg=PA253&dq=boston+terrace+utah&source=web&ots=NyeWcgQBbJ&sig=_DokXpb-c-KmQrITndE8_foC44Q&hl=en&ei=KTCNSdy9LpGksQOz8dj5CA&sa=X&oi=book_result&resnum=10&ct=result#PPA253,M1

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