The Cactus Mine was located on the western slopes of the San Francisco Mountains of western Beaver County. It was first identified as a silver mine in 1870, one of the first claims in the mining district named for the mountains. A number of companies tried, for over thirty years, to make it profitable. They all failed.
In 1900 Samuel Newhouse bought the property. Newhouse had successfully financed the Bingham Copper Mine in the Oquirrh Mountains on the west side of the Salt Lake Valley in northern Utah. He knew copper mining, and he recognized that the Cactus wasn’t a silver mine at all, but it could be mined for its copper and, he thought, show some good returns. At this point, Sam Newhouse wasn’t interested in making money from copper mining, he had long ago learned that most money was made, in the mining business, by selling stock to financiers in the east and in Europe.
But Newhouse put a new spin on his development of the Cactus Mine, the mill that would process the ore, and even the mining town itself, built to support the enterprise. It wouldn’t be a hodge-bodge of tents and rickety wooden buildings thrown together with little concept of quality construction or planning. He had seen other camps — sprawled out in the bottom of canyons – burned to the ground from a single candle or swallowed by cave-ins from the mines beneath them. He would build the ideal mining camp – complete with an opera house, a clubhouse for the miners and millworkers, a hospital, a school for the children, a drug store, cottages for the workers with running water, and to top it all off, a park in the center of town with trees, flowering bushes, and grass – plus a tennis court for recreation.
By 1912, the Cactus Mine was closed, but Sam Newhouse had made his money by selling high. The price of both copper and silver had dropped to the point where mining wasn’t profitable – but then it never was at the Cactus. Most of the buildings from Newhouse were lifted on to rail cars and freight trucks and moved to Milford, about thirty miles away. The water from the ever-flowing Wah Wah Springs on the west side of the valley was diverted to farms in the valley floor and the whole town of Newhouse disappeared into the dust.