Bingham High Celebrates its 112th Birthday

Bingham+High+Celebrates+its+112th+Birthday
September 9, 2020 marks the 112th birthday for Bingham High School. Bingham High first opened its doors on September 9, 1908. As Bingham Miner Alumni, we can all celebrate the beginning of our alma mater in the narrow confines of Bingham Canyon in the upstairs room of the town’s community center known as Canyon Hall. Since that first year in the City of Bingham’s Canyon Hall, Bingham High has had five different locations: three in Bingham Canyon (1908-1931), one in Copperton (1931-1975) and the current location in South Jordan (1975-2020). Although it may be difficult for some to believe, as of 2020, Bingham High School’s South Jordan campus surpassed the 44 years Bingham High was located in Copperton.
 
The following is a summary of the first school year of 1908-1909 at Bingham High. We have certainly come a long way since then. For more information on Bingham High’s history see Bingham High School–The First Hundred Years (1908-2008) by Scott Crump.
 
 
ESTABLISHING BINGHAM HIGH SCHOOL (1908-1909)
by Scott Crump
 
So successful was the district high school’s first year that on April 14, 1908, the school board voted to create a ninth-grade branch of high school work at Bingham Canyon—thus establishing Bingham High School. The Jordan School District Board of Education minutes recorded:
The high school received some discussion after which Mr. (Heber A.) Smith moved that we give a two-year course in high school work (to the district high school—Jordan) and a ninth grade in Bingham Canyon. (41)
 
Mr. Eugene S. Hart (1908-1909) of Bloomington, Idaho, was hired as the supervising teacher at Bingham under the direction of Enoch Jorgensen, the newly appointed principal of Jordan High. Classes began on September 9, 1908, in some rooms located above Canyon Hall. (42)
Canyon Hall was a natural choice for the high school since this historic structure had been the site for educational pursuits for many years prior to the completion of the old Central School. Shortly after the turn of the century (most likely after the grammar school moved), the one room building was expanded by Ade Heaston and Harry Steele by constructing additional rooms and an upper floor for a dance hall and opera house. As an opera house, it served as the site for traveling troupes to perform stage shows and for early silent films to be shown like The Great Train Robbery and Birth of a Nation. As a dance hall, it was a gathering place for not only community dances but also for meetings of numerous civic organizations. The upstairs floor was unique. When a show was being performed, the floor could be raised or lowered at one end, tipping it slightly to allow the seats to be arranged for good viewing. The spring-supported floor would be set in a level position for dances, allowing one to dance all night with a minimum amount of tiring. One of the largest buildings in town, Canyon Hall with its huge bulk and quaint little bell cupola on top, proved quite impressive to all who passed Markham Gulch. (43) It was at this site where 12 eager freshmen (5 more were added by the end of the year) started their high school education in the fall of 1908. (44)
 
Bingham High Calendar (1908-1909)
September 7 Labor Day
September 8 Teachers’ Institute Day at Sandy
September 9 Regular school work begins
October 24 Opening Social at Canyon Hall
December 4 Hop (dance) at Canyon Hall
December 18-January 4 School closed for holidays
December 25 Grand Christmas Ball at Canyon Hall
 
January 17-April 11 A series of public lectures, supplemented by musical selections given by high school students. Their order and locations were as follows:
January 17 at Sandy by Supt. John W. Smith
January 31 at Sandy by State Supt. A. C. Nelson
February 7 at South Jordan by Principal Enoch Jorgensen
February 12 at Sandy by William E. Rydalch (Civil War veteran)
February 21 at Draper by George H. Brimhall
March 7 at Riverton by State Supt. A. C. Nelson
March 14 at Midvale by Judge W. D. Livingstone
April 11 at Union by Prof. R. R. Lyman
 
April 15 Arbor Day activities
May 28 Commencement Exercises-Sandy Ward House
May 29 Jordan School District Field Day, Draper Park (45)
 
The academic and activity programs were supervised by Principal Jorgensen from Jordan High’s main Sandy campus located in the old Sandy Central Elementary School building at 250 East 8800 South. Enrollment during Jordan’s second year totaled 10 sophomores and 63 freshmen at the Sandy Campus, in addition to 17 freshmen at the Bingham Campus. Principal Jorgensen made regular trips during the year to the Bingham Campus to monitor academic progress, and he received weekly reports about the school from Mr. Hart. To further enhance the school’s scholarship on both campuses, a series of public lectures and literary programs, officially called symposiums, were scheduled throughout the year in locations throughout the south valley. A wide variety of speakers participated, including the State Superintendent of Schools A. C. Nelson, and Jordan District Superintendent John W. Smith. One of the popular programs given during that initial year included Superintendent Smith speaking on the subject of “Benedict Arnold—the Patriot and Traitor,” and Principal Jorgensen performing a dramatic recitation entitled the “Deathbed of Benedict Arnold.” At the same symposium, the newly formed high school orchestra (with students mostly from the Sandy Campus) performed a song, and students sang a mixed quartet number entitled, “The Faun-footed Nanny.” Lincoln’s Birthday featured a special program that included two Civil War veterans, one of whom was personally acquainted with Abraham Lincoln. (46)
 
Continuing the push for academic excellence and good citizenship, the following rules of discipline were formulated during the school’s early years:
Rules of Discipline
1. Students must enroll promptly in classes for which they are registered and must continue all work until excused by the principal.
2. Students absenting themselves without excuse for five consecutive periods from any class will be marked “withdrawn.”
3. All absences from class can be excused only on the written request of a parent or guardian.
4. A student whose work continues unsatisfactory may be dropped from any class.
5. Students must reach 70 percent in order to pass in any subject. Marks from 50 to 69 inclusive designate the student as conditioned.
6. Any student injuring property will be held responsible for the act.
7. No student shall be permitted to take fewer than fifteen hours of work except by special permission of the principal.
8. No student not carrying successfully at least fifteen periods of work, shall represent the high school on debating team, dramatic company, athletic team, or other student organization. (47)
 
Supplementing the activities planned for both high school campuses were activities held for just the Bingham students. Due to their small number and distance from the Sandy campus, the students at Bingham organized a high school club. The Salt Lake Tribune announced the following in its October 18, 1908, edition:
The students of the high school have organized themselves as the Bingham High School Club. It is planned by them to hold parties each week at Canyon Hall to assist in social and financial efforts. The first of these parties will be held Saturday, October 24. (48)
Their first social, a card party, was judged a big success. The newspaper reported:
The Bingham High School students gave a delightful card party at the Canyon Hall Opera House this week (October 24). Refreshments were served in abundance. (49)
Club activities, which included both socials and “hops” (dances), were usually held on Fridays (giving the club the nickname the “Friday Night Club”) and organized throughout the school year. One of the year’s biggest events was the Grand Christmas Ball on Christmas night at the Canyon Hall. (50)
Highlighting the end of the year activities were commencement exercises and Field Day. Although there would not be any Bingham High graduates until 1912, commencement exercises provided the opportunity to reflect on the year’s accomplishments and promote the freshmen and later the sophomores and juniors to the next grade. The first Bingham High School commencement was held on May 28, 1909, at the Sandy LDS Ward House located next to the Sandy campus of the Jordan District High School. Commencement exercises, held jointly with all the Jordan District high school students until 1917, were grand celebrations of the year’s activities and they attracted large crowds from the entire southern part of the county. The initial program consisted of student musical numbers and speeches as well as addresses from Principal Enoch Jorgensen and Jordan Superintendent John W. Smith. (51)
Field day was an exciting day of athletic contests and games conducted by high school students from both Bingham and Jordan for all the students of the Jordan School District. Held for a number of years at Draper Park and later at Jordan High, the all-day event included track and field events for individual, group, class and school championships. Boys participated in baseball, running broad jump, running high jump, pole vault, a 25-man tug- of-war, a standing broad jump, foot races, and team pull-ups, in addition to shot put, and javelin competitions. Girls competed in baseball, a 25-team “Message to Garcia” race, 50-yard to 100-yard sprints, and relay races. Snow cones and other refreshments were sold throughout the day. A free dance for everyone was held in the evening. Students not only looked forward to Field Day to test their individual athletic abilities against students from all over the school district but also to claim yearlong bragging rights for their class and school. (52)
Principal Jorgensen was so excited about the success of the school year (at both the high school campuses) that he wrote in the school’s manuscript history that he felt the whole community realized and appreciated the high school’s worth. To build upon this success, during the summer of 1909, he issued a circular promoting the high school and made personal visits to every town in the school district to “talk high school.” (53)