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A Brief History of Park City

By September 20, 2012 No Comments

Thousands of people visit Park City every year for its excellent skiing, beautiful scenery and vibrant local culture. But many visitors do not know that it also has an amazing history which began after the area was settled by Mormon pioneers. Park City was home to one of the biggest silver mining camps in the country and has an interesting heritage just waiting to be discovered. The area has since become a premier skiing destination and has been home to many world class athletes as well as hosting the famous annual Sundance Film Festival.

Early Mormon pioneers traveled through Park Cityto establish Salt Lake City before they returned and built a toll road. The basin at the top of the canyon was good for grazing and some families settled in the area. It was known as “Parley’s Park City” at the time. Silver, gold and lead was discovered in the area and it flourished until almost becoming a ghost town when the price of silver dropped and The Great Depression arrived.

A fire almost destroyed the town in 1898 and it faced another crisis in 1902 when 34 miners were killed in an explosion. The town was in desperate need of a new industry, when some miners proposed a ski resort called Treasure Mountain which ended up saving the town. It is believed that as early as the 1920s, miners used underground trains and shafts to access the mountain for skiing.

The resort opened in 1963 on 10,000 acres of land the miners owned with mineral rights. That was essentially the beginning of America’s ski industry and since then Park City has housed more tourists than residents. It now has several million annual tourists and had a large part in the 2002 Winter Olympic Games.

Currently there are more than 1000 miles of old silver mine tunnels beneath the slopes at Park City Mountain Resort and its neighbor Deer Valley. The main street also has 64 Victorian buildings which are listed in the National Register of Historic Places.

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