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Area History


It was the late 1860's when a group of prospecting soldiers, stationed near Salt Lake City, discovered silver in the hills surrounding what is today Park City. In 1872, a trio of prospectors tapped into an extremely rich silver vein in Ontario Canyon. Word of the strike spread quickly and adventurers from around the world flocked to the area, turning the tiny camp into a boomtown. The new population soon put down roots, the weekly Park Record newspaper was launched and schools, churches, and businesses were established. In 1884, Park City was incorporated as a town.

Before the miners migrated to Park City, the area was referred to as Upper Parleys. After the miners put down roots, the town was called several names including Mineral City and Parley's Park. Then on the Fourth of July 1872, the locals dropped the 'Parleys' and the town officially became Park City.

The town's residents enjoyed great prosperity for half a century. The mountains surrendered $400 million in silver and established 23 millionaires, most notably Utah's Silver Queen Susanna Bransford, and George Hearst, father of newspaper publisher William Randolph Hearst. Interestingly, Park City was one of the few Utah towns established by non-Mormons. During the mining boom, 27 saloons existed on Park City's Main Street. Hearty miners made and lost fortunes beneath the mountains surrounding the town. In fact, there were more residents in Park City at the turn of the century than there are today. Unfortunately during 1898, a major fire destroyed more than 200 businesses on Main Street. Eighteen months later the town was rebuilt.

It was said that there was enough ore for another 100 years but by the 1930's falling mineral prices ended the boom years and enterprising locals began turning their attention to the snow-covered mountains. Ski jumpers from around the world started competing at Ecker Hill in 1930. Then in 1946, the town's first ski area, Snow Park, opened.

As the sport of skiing caught on, three more ski areas were opened within four miles of town, in 1963, Treasure Mountain Resort (now Park City Mountain Resort), and then The Canyons (now Park West) and Wolf Mountain opened in 1968. In 1981, Deer Valley Resort opened incorporating many of the former Snow Park runs. In 1973, the U.S. Ski Team made Park City its permanent home with the United States Ski Association following suit in 1988.

*Information and facts for the above provided in literature from the Park City Chamber of Commerce.