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Eureka, UT

Eureka was originally known as Ruby Hollow before it developed into a bustling mining town. Incorporated as a city in 1892, Eureka became the financial center for the Tintic Mining District, a wealthy gold and silver mining area in Utah and Juab counties. The district was organized in 1869 and by 1899 became one of the top mineral producing areas in Utah. Eureka housed the "Big Four" mines -- Bullion Beck and Champion, Centennial Eureka, Eureka Hill, and Gemini-and later the Chief Consolidated Mining Company. The Chief was developed by the Walter Fitch family, who not only had their own mine in Eureka, but also the company headquarters, family residences, and family cemetery -- a most unique feature in any western mining town.

As with other mining towns, Eureka developed from a camp to a settlement then town. It benefited from competing transportation services of the Union Pacific (1889) and the Denver and Rio Grande Western (1891) railroads. By 1910, after 40 years of activity, more than $75 million in ore had been dug from the area’s mines. And the town’s population had reached 8,000. In fact, in 1909, 80% of the stocks being traded on the Salt Lake Stock Exchange were Tintic properties.

Eureka's role as the central financial point for the district ensured its survival. It housed business establishments, including the second-ever JCPenney store (then called the Golden Rule Store), financial institutions, local and county governmental buildings including Eureka City Hall (1899) and a Juab County Courthouse (1892), various churches, and the meeting places for numerous labor, social, and fraternal organizations. Mining entrepreneurs such as John Q. Packard, John Beck, Jesse Knight, and Walter Fitch Sr. were important figures in Eureka and Tintic history. Over the years, the reachable ore gradually ran out. High costs, lack of water, and lower prices shut most of the mines down by 1940. The last major mine closed in 1957. In 1979 Eureka was placed in the National Register of Historic Places as part of the Tintic Mining District Multiple Resource Area, recognizing the importance of remaining buildings and sites. Eureka is now a living ghost town with around 800 residents.

Eureka Utah became an EPA Superfund Cleanup Site in the early 2000s, due to high concentrations of lead and arsenic in the soil. The cleanup of approximately 700 residential and commercial properties with lead in soil concentrations greater than 231 parts per million (ppm) were performed. The cleanup generally consisted of removal of 18 inches of soil and construction of an 18-inch cap consisting of vegetated soil or rock. Numerous residential retaining walls and yard slopes were capped with 18-inch cap of rock. Mine waste/tailing piles near Eureka, which posed a human health risk, were capped with an 18-inch cap of rock. Money for the clean up came from previous mine owners and of course, us taxpayers.

When staying in Eureka, the place to stay is the historic Tintic Goldminers Inn Bed & Breakfast. The B&B is a restored home once owned by Lillian Fitch and J. Fred Johnson, superintendent of the Chief Consolidated Mining Co. The B&B resides in a small community on the south side of Eureka once called Fitchville as the homes were built for Mr. Walter Fitch and his family. The current owners Norman and Margaret Gillen have restored this mansion to bring visitors modern day amenities all while maintaining the original character and authenticity of this former C. Fred Johnson residence.

The Bullion Beck & Champion Mining Company Headframe constructed in 1890. Note the grey rocks covering the tailings pile in background...this is the result of an EPA Superfund clean-up effort.

Main Street, Eureka UT

The Gatley Building - served primarily as a saloon and billiards hall, owned by John and James Gatley.

Old Levi's Jeans sign on the alley side of a building known as the B.P.O.E. Block.

Shea Building - probably built for utilization as offices on second floor and commercial on main level.

Raymer Pharmacy (left) - bottom housed the pharmacy and Mrs. Conyer's millinery. Upper portion was the family dwelling.

Old building front, main street.

Old gothic style L.D.S. Ward Church (left), Tintic Garage (middle), and Methodist Church (right - built in 1891).

Eureka City Jail - in rear of City Hall building.


Porter Rockwell's cabin, built in 1865. Orrin Porter Rockwell (June 28, 1813 or June 25, 1815 – June 9, 1878) was a figure of the Wild West period of American History and a law man in the Utah Territory. Nicknamed Old Port and labeled "the Destroying Angel of Mormondom", during his lifetime he was as famous and controversial as Wyatt Earp or Pat Garrett. He was the bodyguard and personal friend of Joseph Smith, the founder of the Latter Day Saint movement.

Old mill foundation

Eagle & Blue Belle Mine.


Eagle & Blue Belle Mine Complex

Mine hoist

Hoisting engine controls.

Hoisting engine control.

Eagle & Blue Belle Mine safe.

Old balcony on Main Street.

Eureka Cemetery.


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Fitch Family Cemetery

Fitch Family Cemetery - Utah Historic Site


Walter Fitch Sr. & wife Exilda came to Utah from Michigan. Walter started the Chief Consolidated Mining Company, which became the largest mine in the Tintic Mining District, and one of the largest silver mines in the country. Walter discovered new methods of mining, including rapid shaft sinking and rapid drifting. He was not found sitting in his office giving directions, he preferred to be down where the work was going on. An excellent miner, he also found time to take a prominent part in the conduct of the affairs of the county, as well as in furthering the interests of his political party.  He was always in the harness, always working, with the best in view, and ever in closest touch with the enterprise with which he was associated.


Maud Fitch won recognition for her valor near the front lines in France during World War I. A native of Eureka, she was one of many Utah women whose efforts helped the Allies succeed in defeating Kaiser Wilhelm's war machine. Born in November 1882, Maud was one of five children in the family of Exilda Marcotte and Walter Fitch, Sr., a wealthy mine owner in Juab County's famous Tintic Mining District.

On June 9, 1917 while driving an ambulance she accomplished a daring rescue of wounded under heavy fire. For her bravery she received the French Croix de Guerre and the Bronze Star.

Upon the end of WWI, she returned to Eureka and married a mine superintendent named Paul Hilsdale and had a son, also named Paul. Two years later, her husband died in a mine accident. She never remarried. She did befriend Amelia Earhart, the aviator and adventurer who crash-landed her plane near Eureka in 1928. She excelled in golf, horsemanship and hunting -- years later, the hide of a cougar she had shot graced the bannister in her home in Fitchville.



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