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Park City Museum is having Bonnie Bedford Park give a lecture called Metal Mining and the World War II Effort – Life and Times in a South American “Company Town” on Thursday, March 7th from 5-6 p.m. at the Education and Collections Center located at 2079 Sidewinder Drive. Inspired by old family letters and the research that went into her book Brides of 1941, author Bonnie Bedford Park will share historical insights into an iconic company town in the Andes, set above the world’s largest underground copper mine, El Teniente. The Braden Copper Company (a subsidiary of Kennecott) was at the forefront of U.S. capitalization that developed the foreign-owned enclave where Park’s maternal grandfather accepted a job after graduating from the Columbia College School of Mines in 1911. In 1916, during WWI, her grandmother joined him as a new bride.
Flash forward- The rush to marry gained impetus for Park’s mother and aunt, depicted in Brides of 1941, leading up to U.S. involvement in WWII. So did armament programs. When the demand for copper exceeded supply from domestic sources, the War Production Board turned to South American mines. Today, the abandoned mining town stands as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Bonnie and her husband of 36 years, Pete, have lived in their Park Meadows home since the 1970s. Pete is an enthusiastic collector of WWII memorabilia. Several copper-based collectibles (shell casings and communications equipment) will be on display. More information about her book can be found at bridesof1941.com.