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History of Tooele County, Utah
Taken from the Utah History Encyclopedia (Links Added)
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The International Smelting and Refining Company's smelter, built east of Tooele City in 1910, for some sixty years processed ore carried by aerial tramway from the Bingham mine. The plant attracted workers from southern and eastern Europe, diversifying Tooele's ethnic and religious mix. The Tooele Valley Railroad, completed in 1909, served the smelter's needs and provided additional jobs.

Military installations built during World War II boosted the county's population and continue to pump millions of dollars into the local economy. Wendover Air Force Base (now closed) near the Nevada border became an important site for bomber training, at one time employing almost 20,000 military and civilian personnel. Tooele Ordnance Depot (now Tooele Army Depot, or TAD), built in 1942 on a huge tract of land south of Tooele City, served as a major supply, storage, and repair center, employing almost 2,000 civilians in 1944. Activity at TAD peaked during the Korean War and again during the Vietnam conflict. Dugway Proving Grounds, a chemical and biological warfare test center built at the same time, became controversial in the 1970s when a large number of sheep in the area were killed, presumably as a result of nerve gas testing. Today, most of western Tooele County is reserved for military use. Citizens of Tooele County received a major economic blow in 1993 when the Tooele Army Depot was included on a Defense Department list of bases to be closed. Although the closure of the depot will undoubtedly greatly affect the county, citizens and officials are working to mitigate the impact.

Miriam B. Murphy


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