Tooele Transcript Bulletin – News in Tooele, Utah

May 25, 2017
In 1967, explosion halts operations at International Smelting

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 fourth week of May.

May 26-28, 1992

A special pump was installed in Wendover, Utah to extract gasoline from groundwater nearly 60 feet below the surface.

A major gasoline cleanup project was underway after groundwater contamination was discovered the previous fall.

Myron Bateman, Tooele County environmental health director, explained that underground gasoline storage tanks were suspected as the cause of the groundwater problem. He said soil around tanks at a closed service station was also contaminated. He stressed that there is no immediate health or fire hazard.

“It is a good thing Wendover gets its drinking water 30 miles away at Pilot Peak,” Bateman said.

Also that week, the front page featured a photo of Tooele High School softball players celebrating their second consecutive 3A softball state championship.

The Buffaloes won two games on May 27 to win the championship. Tooele scored a 3-2 victory over Jordan in the first game, and then came back to defeat Box Elder 11-5 in the championship game.

Tooele coach Susan Rydalch said her team responded well to the pressures of being the team to beat in 1992.

“This has been a great season,” she said. “But it wasn’t easy. It’s hard to repeat. There was a lot of pressure on the team all the way through the season because we returned nearly everyone from last year’s team.”

May 23-26, 1967

The front page announced that smelting operations at the International Smelting and Refining Company were halted after an explosion the previous Saturday.

An explosion destroyed the blast furnace and air-blower system. No one was injured in the blast.

Officials said that a worker involved in the operation of the blast furnace noticed a leak in the lead well shortly before the explosion and tried to close two emergency valves. He was only able to close one and while he went for equipment to close the second valve, the explosion occurred. The cause of the blowup was attributed to gases being ignited by hot lead and slag. The force of the explosion caused heavy damage to the smelter facility.

A company spokesman said that many of the workers would be idled or asked to take their vacations until operations could begin again. The plant employed 330 people.

Also that week, it was announced that the commanding officer of Tooele Army Depot would be transferred to Washington D.C. effective May 31.

Col. Ralph J. Richards Jr., who assumed command of TEAD on July 29, 1966, was notified of the action on Tuesday, May 23.

Even though Col. Richards was scheduled to leave Tooele, he would not relinquish command of the depot until Aug. 1, 1967, at which time Col. Eugene C. Barbero, an ordinance officer currently on duty in Europe, would assume command.

May 26 – May 29, 1942

It was announced that the opening of bids to build Tooele Valley Ordinance Depot would happen on Friday, May 29 at the district engineer’s office in Salt Lake City.

The initial contract called for the construction of magazines, administration area buildings, and utility buildings to be completed in five months.

The Transcript Bulletin was asked to make clear to all interested citizens that construction of the project, and its operations afterward, are separate and distinct as to those seeking employment.

The initial construction phase was scheduled to be completed by November.

Later in the week, a front-page story announced that the war bond quota for June was increased by $5,000 over the May quota.

Tooele County’s war bond quota for June was set at $14,100, almost $5,000 over the May allotment of $9,200, according to Lionel W. Olsen, county war bond chairman.

Olsen urged a last-minute buying spurt to reach the May quota, and a more intensified drive to cover the June increase, which will require a $1.41 per capita sale to meet the goal.

It was disclosed with the announcement that the June war bond quota for the state is $1,7 million.

May 25, 1917

The front page announced that plans for a rousing Junior Chautauqua were complete. No effort had been spared to make the Junior Chautauqua the newest, best and biggest event for boys and girls.

The event was promoted to be a jarful of happy surprises. Boys and girls during the week take an imaginary trip around the world, visiting many foreign countries. They dress in the costumes of the boys and girls of other lands, sing their songs, dance their folk dances, play their games and act out many scenes from the lands across the ocean. Price of a season tickets for the Junior Chautauqua was $1.

According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, a chautauqua was a traveling show that flourished in the United States in the late 1800s and early 1900s. The shows mixed education with entertainment and were modeled after activities at the Chautauqua Institution in Chautauqua, New York.

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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