Park City Mining History

Park City History


You might say that the Park City story started with a feud between Mormon leader, Brigham Young, and the  United States Army in the person of Col. Patrick E. Connor.  Brigham Young led his Latter Day Saints away from religious persecution in the East to the remote valley of the Great Salt Lake. He admonished the "Saints"to build a self-sufficient agricultural community and, lest his exclusive haven be flooded with "Gentiles" (non-Mormons) such as California prospectors, he forbade his people to prospect for any ores except coal.

Meanwhile, the U.S.government trained a jaundiced eye on the Mormon settlement. Fearing Young might use the impending Civil War as an excuse to declare the Territory of Deseret an independent commonwealth, Connor was sent to keep an eye on the Mormons. It didn't take the Colonel long to figure the best way to combat Young was to encourage prospecting. An ore strike would surely trigger the rush of non-Mormons that would solve his problems.

It happened on a cold afternoon in October 1868.  Connor's soldiers planted a marker by an outcropping of Yellow Metal-bearing quartz that kicked off a bonanaza of silver, gold, lead and zinc mining that produced $400 million in ore and $90 million in dividends.

On July 4, 1872, George and Rhonda Snyder opened a boarding house amidst the jumble of tents and brush shanties and hoisted a homemade flag, christening the town "Park City".  By 1880 the population of 3.500 Irish, Cornish, English, Scotch, Scandinavian and Chinese boasted a town with 350 buildings, 27 saloons, boardwalks, two railroad spurs and the weekly Park Record (the oldest newspaper of continuous publication in the state of Utah).  Over 1000 miles of tunnels honeycombed the bowels of the city.

As with every mining town, ParkCity had its share of rags-to-riches millionaires.  Tom Kearns strolled into town with a pick and shovel and left as a United States Senator with our Boulevard named after him. Susanna Bransford Emery Holmes  Delitch Engalicheff sparkled in international society as "Utah's Silver Queen".

On June 19, 1898, Park City was virtually demolished by fire.   Only a handful of buildings remained on Main Street, but the Parkites banded together and rebuilt their town from the rubble. Building with stone soon became the new vogue!

Depressed silver prices,  increased pumping costs and World War I slowed the activity in the early 1900's.   It wasn't until the late 1930's that a few far-sighted people envisioned the quaint little mining town as a ski resort. In 1963, the United Park City Mines Co. opened the Treasure Mountain Resort (now the Park City Ski Area owned by Alpine Meadows of Tahoe, Inc.).  

My father helped erect some of the first ski towers on the mountain.


Park West (then Wolf Mountain and now The Canyons) followed in 1968. DeerValleyResort premiered in 1981.

Park City was selected as a venue city for the 2002 Winter Olympics and, as they say, the Rest is History!!!!!!!!!!

For more detailed information please check out ParkCity - Deer Valley History.