Remembering the ghost town of Bauer

08 Sep

Bauer, Utah, circa 1923 (copyright Utah State Historical Society. All Rights Reserved.)

Bauer’s fate was sealed when its last viable operations were destroyed by fire. Rulon Aufdemorte’s final task was to dismantle and ship off any salvageable properties. When the last truckload finally pulled away, Aufdemorte gathered his belongings and drove to Salt Lake City, leaving Bauer’s crumbling ruins to the wind and ghosts.

The first ghost town I ever visited was officially Cortez, Nevada.  My first Utah ghost town, however, was Bauer.  I haven’t written anything about that trip because it ended up being a wild goose chase.  Tyler and I had no waypoints or directions to guide us to the townsite– nor did we know anything about the town’s history.  And it probably didn’t help that we were searching for this ghost town after dark.

To be sure, we got close that night– within at least 50 yards.  We may have seen a few outbuildings, none of which we logically attributed to the town itself.  Disappointed, we moved on to the next ghost.

Years later I realized that the odds had been stacked heavily against us.  Not much was left of Bauer by the time we tried to find it.  The few walls and foundations that remained were quite visible in daylight, but obscured by the adjacent Tooele County Landfill and were inaccessible to the public.  At present, most of Bauer has been bulldozed.  Oh, and it’s a Superfund site.

I don’t foresee being able to explore the remains of the town any time soon, but recently I was able to interview a few old miners who lived there back in 70’s.  For the interviews and a quick run down of Bauer’s history, check out my Hometown piece at the Tooele Transcript Bulletin:

Remembering Bauer: Former employees reflect on camaraderie, memories shared at historic mine

Miners at Bauer, date unknown (Copyright Utah State Historical Society. All Rights Reserved.)


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7 responses to “Remembering the ghost town of Bauer

  1. Nate Olson

    May 24, 2020 at 10:14 pm

    Been to Bauer a few times. The first time had to be in the early 1990’s.It was a fun little ghoste town. It was about 10 years later I went back and found that the kids had found it, It was all covered in graffiti. I was disappointed. I felt a disrespect. Last time I was out there most of it had been leveled and I was sad to see it go. Isn’t there some way we can preserve our ghost towns in utah?

    • Wayne Shaw

      November 14, 2020 at 11:38 pm

      Lived there in two of the houses from 1953 to 59, 11 to 17 years old. Bittersweet memories. Not sure why every time I get back to Tooele, out I go. Was there May 2019. Last few years, we have been staying at Guest Quarters at TOD. In my day, it was TAD. At least we don’t have far to drive for me to do my little tours of Bauer from there.
      I don’t suppose you would have any pictures of any of the houses before they demolished the whole place that you would like to share? I know, but you can’t even tell me no if I don’t ask.
      Thank you for your time,
      Lois (Helsley) Shaw

      • Nate Olson

        November 15, 2020 at 6:25 pm

        I do have pictures from the firs t ime I went out there, but they are in a box some where and it will take me a minute to find them, but when I do, i will share them with you.

      • Sharon Bryan

        July 13, 2021 at 5:34 pm

        I lived in Bauer as a small child, from 1943 to 1946, and then visited my grandparents, Glenn and Goldie Storrs, until the moved out when the town closed altogether. It was a magical place to me as a child, my home. I’d love to talk more.

      • Paula (Bunn) Fletcher

        January 2, 2022 at 7:43 pm

        I just read your post from November 2020 today. I posted here and hope to hear from you.I have been thinking about your name and it is sounding more and more familiar. I think you were my sister Deneice’s age. I was 5 1/2 years younger than her so you probably remember me as the bratty little sister. Do you remember my cousins Delpha Bush? Ralph and Jerry Edwards? Steve and Lee Bunn?
        I will look for some pics. I was in Bauer in 2018 and went to the pond that was on the farm. Did you ever swim in the pond? I was never able to because I was “too little “. The only thing I recognized there was the pond, slaughterhouse, and corrals on the farm.

        Paula (Bunn) Fletcher

  2. Paula Fletcher

    January 2, 2022 at 6:59 pm

    I lived in Bauer from about 1949 to 1960,ages 2-12) with my mom and dad, Ruth and Norman Bunn and sister Deneice. We lived in what was called the boarding house. My mom cooked breakfast and lunch for the men (I don’t remember any women) who worked for Combined Metals. Her sister, Anna Bush and Marion Thomas from Stockton helped her at times. What a production line of sandwiches, bags of chips (nothing pre-bagged then), fruit, and cookies for the sack lunches the men took into the mine!
    One of my chores every night was to walk through the mining offices area and turn on the yard lights and check some doors to make sure they were locked. Nothing automated back then! I would also pick up our mail as I walked through.
    My grandma and grandpa, Edith and Art Bunn, lived at the farm that you passed by when entering the actual housing area that made up our little community. My dad worked the farm along with Grandpa. It seemed they had lots of cows and baled a lot of hay. They had horses, cows, pigs, turkeys, chickens, rabbits, dogs and cats. As a child, I believed I had an idyllic life.
    The remember the name Helsley but it has been a long time and I don’t remember much else about the family. I remember Glenn and Goldie Storrs. They lived on the side road opposite most of the houses in Bauer. They used to give us nickels when we went trick-or-treating at their house!
    I would love to hear more memories of Bauer, if anyone has some.
    Paula (Bunn) Fletcher

    • sharonbryanpoet

      March 24, 2022 at 5:09 am

      Paula, Glenn and Goldie were my grandparents. My mother and I lived with them during the war (I was born in 1943) until my father came home in 1946. We moved to Salt Lake, but my true home was always Bauer and I went back on weekends and summers. I remember the Yarchos, the Kayes (he was a photographer), the Craigs, Clyde and Rosetta Shields, Tessie and Heinze Hansen and their daughter Miriam. I’d love to hear more of your memories.


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