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75 Year Celebration of
Snowsport History
in the
Far West region!

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History of Park City, Utah

1808 In late October, soldiers climbed over the mountains from Big Cottonwood Canyon to the Park City area and find silver. As the snow is swirling and a storm is brewing, they mark the outcropping with a bandanna and return in the spring. The first mine is named Flagstaff and the first to ship ore ore from the Park City area. Park City became known not only for its silver, but for lead, zinc and gold.
1870 Parley’s Park City has a total population of 164.
1872 Parley’s Park City is soon shortened to Park City. The discovery of exceedingly rich silver ore (400 ounces to a ton) leads to the opening of the Ontario Mine and starts a boom town atmosphere in Park City, population now 5,000. George Hearst, father of William Randolph Hearst, and partners buy the Ontario for $27,000. It produced over $50 million in silver over its lifetime.
1880 Water in the mines is a continuing problem despite numerous underground pumps. The Cornish Pump, a machine 30 feet high with a 70 ton flywheel, is imported from Philadelphia by freight wagon. It pumps water from 1,000 feet below the surface in the Ontario Mine, taking our over 4 million gallons of water each day. Later, drain tunnels will replace pumps. The first issue of the Park Record comes off the press. Publish continuously since this date, the newspaper is available every Wednesday and Saturday.
1881 Park City is the third city in Utah to receive telephone service. St. Mary’s Catholic Church is built.
1884 Park City is incorporated and City Hall is under construction and finished in 1885.
1889 The town’s population is over 5,000. The city is one of the first in the state of Utah to have electric lights.
1893 Because silver is no longer used in currency, prices drop. Miners at the Silver King accept a pay cut from $1.00 to 50¢, allowing the mine to continue to operate while others close. First drilling contest occurs. In 15 minutes, Frank Ward sinks his drill 17.5 inches into the rock. Yearly contest continue to this day as part of the Miner’s Day (Labor Day) festivities.
1894 The Silver Queen, Susanna Bransford Emery, is making $1,000 a day from her interest in the Silver King Mine.
1895 Park City approaches a population of 10,000. In June, 200 of 350 structures, homes and businesses burn in the worst fire Park City has ever seen. Three quarters of the town is gone, 5000 are homeless, one million dollars in property is lost. Gone is the grand new Opera House built at a cost of $30,0000 which had been open for less than three months.
1899 The town is rebuilt in one and one half years. The buildings are more substantial, many are built of brick and stone to withstand any future fires.The saloon is the first to be built.
1902 The mines are going strong with new companies, new buildings and equipment. On July 15, 34 men die in the explosion and from the resulting fumes of a large underground store of dynamite . It is the worst mine disaster in Park City’s history and resulting in a state law which forbids the underground storage of large amounts of explosives.
1903 The Miners Hospital (now the Park City Library) is built at a cost of $5,000 raised by the coal #144 of the Western Federation of Miners. Six thousand miners are treated for miner’s con, similar to silicosis, in the first year.
1907 Hard times befall the town, with cave-ins and flooded tunnels making mining a poor enterprise. The panic of 1907 affects the whole United States causing a general recession. However, the economy improves by the end of 1908.
1916 Heavy snow cause fatal snowslides and the collapse of the famed Dewey Theater (where the Egyptian Theater now stands) just hours after 300 patrons had finished watching the evening movie.
1917 The prohibition of liquor called “The Nobie Experiment” begins in Utah. tow years before the rest of the nation. Bootleggers abound, and stills and home brewing are popular.
1920 Skiing becomes more widespread as some workers take the mine train to the top of Thaynes Canyon for a ski trip to the bottom of the mountain.
1921 There are 27 bars in Park City and despite prohibition, a thirsty soul could buy a drink in all but one of them. Prohibition continues through 1932.
1926 The town’s first Winter Carnival is a success with over 500 skiers arriving in Deer Valley on a ski train, a four-hour long journey from Salt Lake City.
1930 A ski jump is built on the Creole mine dump. Downhill skiing is mostly a spectator sport.
1931 Alf Engen sets a world record at Ecker Hill by jumping 247 feet. The following December he jumps a new record 266 feet.
1946 The first list is installed at Snow Park. Mining prices drop lower.
1949 On July 1, the mines are shut down, putting 1,200 miners out of work.
1951 Park City is included in a book called “Ghost Towns of the West” indicating no population. There are actually 1,150 ghosts in this town!
1963 Park City qualifies for a federal loan from the Area Redevelopment Agency. With the government loan of $1.25 million from Park City contributions, a total of $2 million is used to start a ski area. A gondola, a chairlift and 2 J-bars are installed. A lift pass costs $3.50 and there are almost 50,000 skier days that first year.
1964 As work of the new ski area spreads, people start moving to Park City. Snow Park is open on weekends.
1968 Snow Park closes and Park West Ski Area Opens.
1969 Park City Arts Festival debuts on Main Street.
1980 KCPW, Summit County’s noncomercial public radio, goes on the air.
1981 The United States Film and Video Festival, highlighting independent films opens in January for the first season in Park City.
1982 The Miner’s Hospital, threatened with demolition, is moved from its site near the base of Park City Ski Area to the City Park and its new use as a Public Library. After extensive renovations on the building, a human chain forms a “book brigade” to move thousands of books in the collection from the old library on Main Street to its new home.
1986 TV45, Park City’s television station, begins broadcasting.
1990 The estimated population of year-round residents is 5,000. Skier days for the three ski areas (Park City, Deer Valley, Wolf Mountain) are 850,000.

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