Antelope Island State Park

Antelope Island Mining

In the past Antelope Island was thought by many to be an offshoot of the Oquirrh Mountains. In the 1870s several small mines dotted the Oquirrh Mountains. With the success of these mines, many felt that it would be lucrative to stake their claims on the virgin ground on Antelope Island. Exploration was soon started on Antelope Island and with promising ore found several mining companies were soon formed and prospecting began. Here is an outline of some of these mining activities.

1874: Deseret News August 12, 1874. An inexhaustible body of slate, unsurpassed in fineness of texture and richness of color, has been recently examined and thoroughly tested by Mr. Dunn, of Salt Lake City, and Gen. W.W. Lowe and Mr. H.H. Vischer of this city, assisted by experts and experienced slate workers from the old country and is pronounced equal if not superior, in purity, strength, and colors to any in the world.

1891: In the December 9, 1891 edition of the Ogden Standard Examiner it states; A late report according to the Salt Lake Stock Exchange Journal, that gold, silver and copper ores, in large quantities, and assaying 23 percent 15 ounces in silver and $23 in gold, have been discovered on Antelope Island, in Great Salt Lake. As soon as the season opens these discoveries will be developed, and if these statements are correct, a big mine will be opened out there.

1899: Davis County Clipper March 17, 1899. Of late considerable prospecting has been done on the west side of the first island (Church or Antelope) west of here, and since Prospector Leeche was killed over there still more interest has been aroused in mining in that locality.
Salt Lake Mining Review April 15, 1899. The Antelope Gold and Copper Mining company filed its articles of incorporation on Friday of last week, the capitalization of the association being placed at $20,000 divided into shares of a par value of five cents each. The officers and directors of the company, as named, are Alma Tanner, president; John Haston, vice-president; Joseph W. lee, Treasurer; George E. Cox, secretary, and George H. Knowlden.
Davis County Clipper May 19, 1899. George Payne, George Frary, “Bid” Young, A.E. Hyde, and Albert Richter incorporated their mining property over on Antelope Island last Friday. They own a number of Valuable claims, some of them right down to the water’s edge, in fact, the ore cars can be dumped into the boat.
Davis County Clipper May 26, 1899. George H. Payne came over from Antelope Island Monday evening. He estimates that there are about fifty men over there working at the mines. Mr. Vahrenkamp is going to put up a large boarding house on the island in the near future; he spoke to Messrs. Frary and Payne about boating 10,000 feet of lumber to build the same.
Salt Lake Mining Review June 30, 1899. Claim Holders on Antelope Island have filed a protest in the local U.S. land office against the issuance of patents to certain portions of the island as agricultural land, as they claim the ground is more valuable for minerals than for raising corn, wheat, Lucerne, or potatoes. With the magnificent showing of copper ore in the holdings of the mineral claimants, it looks as if it would be an outrage on the part of the government to bar them out and to give this barren section to individuals who merely want the island as a grazing place for their cattle.

1902: Salt Lake Mining Review April 15, 1902. In time to come, according to all indications, Antelope Island, in the Great Salt Lake, will be the scene of an active and successful mining operation. It is on this island that the Katherine Hope Mining company, J.M. Sullivan, manager, is doing some intensive development, in the performance of which a force of ten men is given employment. This is a tunnel proposition, and the cross-cut tunnel, being run to tap the ledge at the vertical depth of 1000 feet, is now into the mountain for a distance of 400 feet and it is believed that the ledge will be tapped within a distance of only fifty or seventy-five feet more.

1904: Ogden Standard Examiner February 11, 1904. Antelope Island in the Great Salt Lake may be the location of some large gas and oil wells in the near future. A derrick is to be set up over there within the next few weeks. It was learned from an authentic source and the drills started on their journey to the deep. The work is to be done by the Fountain Oil & Asphalt Company, recently incorporated, which has acquired by lease and otherwise something over 6000 acres on the north end of the island.
Davis County Clipper April 8, 1904. The Fountain Oil & Gas Co. has three rigs ordered and contracted for delivery not later than May 1st. One is to be set up near Farmington, another on Antelope Island, and the third on the west side of the Great Salt Lake. It is expected that in a few weeks there will be six rigs in operation in this vicinity.
Davis County Clipper April 22, 1904. Frank H. Rudy has located all the oil land on the east shore of Antelope Island from the south to the extreme north end of the same. He controls about 43,000 acres. He has contracted with an eastern firm to give them four sections of land, retaining a tenth interest if they strike oil. The company is to go down 2000 feet or forfeit a $5,000 bond.

1917: Davis County Clipper June 22, 1917. L.L. Boss, geologist of Casper Wyo. Has completed a study of gas and oil wells which have been opened on Great Salt Lake and on the edge of the lake immediately west of Farmington, Utah. Mr. Boss declares that every indication is that probably the greatest oil wells in the west lie between the Farmington shore and Antelope Island.

1967: Geology of Antelope Island Davis County, Utah pg. 131. In 1967, the Utah Department of Transportation (UDOT) investigated two potential sources of sand and gravel on the northern part of the island for the use of the construction of the causeway from Syracuse to Antelope Island. Material from this deposit, at least until 1969, was used as fill on the causeway

1979: Geology of Antelope Island Davis County, Utah pg. 134. In 1979 and 1980 about 16 million cubic yards of material were excavated from this part of the island for interstate highway construction. The excavation essentially removed the top 10 to 15 feet of surficial deposits. The material was loaded onto a 13 -mile-long conveyor belt and carried southeasterly to a stockpile and loading facility near 5600 West and the I-80 route west of Salt Lake City. At the time, this conveyer belt system was the longest ever built in the world. The excavated areas were graded, contoured, and revegetated.