15 November 2010

Ch 21, Pt 4: "Lunch at Bonanza"

The Kennecott Mines:

        "Lunch at Bonanza," Chapter 21, "Legacy of the Chief," pt 4

                 ABOVE: Engineering and office staff at Kennecott in the 1930s. The man in glasses with the pipe is superintendent Richelsen

On July 15th, there were 72 men
working at Bonanza, 86 at Jumbo, 17 at Erie and 146 at the Mother Lode
Mine, for a total of 321. Another 142 worked at the lower camp. The
aerial trams, messes and staff accounted for the rest, bringing the
total workforce at Kennecott to exactly 550 that day with a monthly
payroll of $86,337.00. The previous year had seen peak ore production at
339,374 tons. The workforce then had been about 600 men. By the end of
1924, the production would be about three quarters of 1923. Such was the
state of the mines as Stephen Birch and Dan Jackling headed up the
Bonanza tram to visit the Bonanza, the Mother Lode and the Jumbo in the
summer of 1924.

Our entire staff had already arrived ahead of all the top-level managers
and visitors. We realized that the Bonanza and Jumbo were essentially
cleaned out. Even the Mother Lode was nearly depleted of its proven
reserves. Typically the company was able to establish reserves four
years in advance of actually removing the ore. This was no longer true.
Everyone knew what was coming.

I sat down next to Russell Belvedere at one of the two ten-man tables
placed together for our meeting. Coffee and water was already set up.
The meal would follow Stephen Birch’s speech. The Great Man rose to

BELOW: Stephen Birch, "the
great man," on the ground at Kennecott in a 1911 trip, probably a few
months after the railroad reached this site. The man next to him was
Superintendent Seagraves, while the two others were representatives of
the Guggenheim brothers--the original investors and originators


No comments: