As Park City evolves into a modern resort town, the past industry that built Park City fades quickly into the mountainside. Park City has an extensive collection of industrial mining sites that are remnants of the rich mining heritage, but the buildings, structures, and machinery that remain are somewhat haphazardly distributed in wooded gulches and canyons and considered by some as visual clutter. A growing number of these relics have been left with little thought to how the many years without use will affect them and some are even near collapse.
The Park City Historical Society and Museum partnered with the city to raise funds and awareness for these unique sites. Over the past two years the organization has spearheaded the stabilization of these sites focusing on the remaining water tanks and aerial tramway towers. This spearheading also included working with the owners of private land where these sites still exist.
In the early 1900s water tanks dotted the hillsides around mining sites. Each tank held approximately 50,000 gallons of water. The tanks stand sixteen feet tall and consist of three inch redwood planks stacked vertically. Following the mining decline, the tanks were used by the ski resorts to store water for snowmaking equipment, however, the use of sawdust to keep the water from freezing caused the jets to clog and the ski resort to abandon the water tanks altogether.
Much like the historic water tanks, the aerial tramway towers are an integral part of the cultural landscape. Initially, the miners relied on horse-drawn wagons to carry heavy loads of ore down to the railroad at Park Avenue. But in 1900 and 1901, the Silver King Mine Company installed a state-of-the-art aerial tram system that connected to mine directly to the railroad. Of the thirty-six original tramway towers, only four have been removed. That’s amazing!
The Park City Historical Society and Museum has made a tremendous contribution to the community by safeguarding our mining history. The Museum has worked hard to partner with financial supporters, volunteers, and the City to complete maintenance and stabilization work on these distinctive historic structures.