Tooele Transcript Bulletin – News in Tooele, Utah

April 6, 2017
In 1942, Mercur goes up in flames from Sacramento Mine fire

The Tooele Transcript Bulletin has published Tooele County news since 1894. Here is a flashback of local front-page news from 25, 50, 75 and 100 years ago that occurred during the first week of April.

April 7-9, 1992

Jan Furner, who had served as interim administrator for Tooele Valley Medical Center since Aug. 1991, was officially hired as the hospital’s new administrator.

Furner was chosen from four finalists who were screened from 39 applicants. He was offered a $90,000 annual salary plus bonuses based on a business incentive program.

He said he applied for the position because the hospital’s potential was “great” and he didn’t want to abandon what had been accomplished so far.

Furner became interim administrator after the hospital’s administrator had been fired.

Also that week, public and professional committees’ suggested that a new school replace Tooele’s 63-year-old Central Elementary.

If Tooele County School Board members followed that recommendation, voters could be asked to approve between $3.5 million and $10 million in additional bonded indebtedness for the local school district.

The recommendations were the result of over two months of study regarding Tooele’s antiquated school at 55 N. 100 West.

Three community reaction panels were organized along with consulting and architectural firms to study the issue. The panels and Superintendent Dr. Michael Jacobsen independently reached their conclusion, which all pointed toward a new school.

April 4-7, 1967

A proposed section of Interstate 80 through Tooele County would cost about $36 million to build, Utah State Highway Department officials told county commissioners.

State highway commissioner Elias Strong said most of the emphasis on interstate highway construction had been on the Wasatch Front. However, the department was right on the verge of expediting I-80 through Tooele County with many millions of dollars of construction going up for bid by July 1.

“The federal government wants to complete this highway system,” Strong said. “Interstate 80 will be given more priority than in the past, not only in our state but also in other states.”

The highway department already had one contract for $3 million for one-and-a-half miles of construction from the east end of the Big Rocky Cut in Wendover to the edge of the Salt Flats. The next contract of about $8 million would take the highway from the edge of the salt flats to Knolls.

He said the department was presently designing the 20-mile section of I-80 from Knolls to Delle.

A front page story the same week announced the death of a U.S. Army Reserve pilot who was killed when his light plane crashed about four miles west of Knolls, after being blown into utility lines by high winds.

Killed was 1st Lt. Homer Pierre Ledbetter, 42, of Salt Lake City. He was the lone occupant in the aircraft.

According to Tooele County Sheriff Fay Gillette, the plane was en route to Salt Lake City from Elko, Nevada. Gillette said it appeared the plane had turned northwest from its eastward flight, possibly to attempt a landing. Remains of the plane indicated the left wing caught an old abandoned transcontinental telephone line and plowed into the ground, flipping upside down.

High winds struck Tooele during mid-week damaging two homes and causing power line trouble.

April 7-10, 1942

The front page announced that a national defense savings canvass was underway in Tooele County. Teams were scheduled to visit every home in the county.

Each person would be asked to sign a pledge card, which was a promise to buy a certain amount of war bonds at regular intervals through an authorized agency.

The canvassers were sworn to secrecy, and no one would know if or how much anyone pledged. The pledge was also voluntary. If a person did not want to sign or couldn’t afford to, no one would force them to do so.

Four different plans for regular purchase of defense bonds were listed on the pledge cards. The pledge was to check the plan the person would use.

Stickers were provided for display on automobiles or houses to show evidence of participation in the financing of national defense.

Later in the week, the Mercur Gold Mill was destroyed by fire.

The mill of the Geyser Marion Gold Mining Company at the Sacramento Mine at Mercur was damaged to the extent of $30,000 on a Monday evening when flames swept through the building.

Mercur itself was destroyed by fire in 1901 from which it never recovered and later became a ghost town, reviving only when operations began again in 1935.

The fire on Monday broke out at 6 p.m. and by 11 p.m. had destroyed the mill and large quantities of electrical and mining supplies, despite efforts of more than 80 people to bring it under control.

The mine superintendent said the company was preparing to expand its operations when the fire occurred. He expressed doubt that the company would be able to obtain replacements. He said a quantity of high-grade ore would be sent to Salt Lake smelters.

April 6, 1917

Tooele County commissioners met in a Monday meeting and L. C. Peterson was appointed health officer in St. John.

Hamilton Orr was appointed deputy sheriff and health officer for Clover, and Archie St. Jeor was appointed deputy sheriff for the same precinct.

Glynn Bennion was appointed deputy sheriff and health officer for Vernon. R. R. Judd of Grantsville was appointed county road commissioner.

Ed Lougy was appointed deputy road commissioner for Tooele and A. J. Shields deputy road commissioner for Lincoln.

Charles R. N. Bush was authorized to investigate the changing of rooms at the courthouse, enlarging vaults, etc.

Staff Writer Mark Watson compiled this report

Mark Watson

Sports Editor at Tooele Transcript Bulletin
Mark directs all editorial coverage of sports in addition to reporting on a wide range of events from high school football to international racing. He has a wealth of journalism experience, having worked for four other newspapers in the state. Mark grew up in Tooele County and graduated from Grantsville High School and Brigham Young University.

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