|Park City Utah Real Estate|
Long before Park City Utah became a world class mountain resort and venue for the 2002 Olympic Winter Games, it was famous as a silver mining town, and boasts a lively and colorful past. Founded by prospectors in the late 1860's, Park City continued to mine silver until the early 1970's. The mining company, Park City Consolidated Mines, started the ski business in 1963, when they built the first lifts on what was then called Treasure Mountain. The Park City Utah area now has three world class resorts: Park City Mountain Resort, Deer Valley Resort, and the Canyons Resort.
Silver was discovered in the mountains of Park City Utah in 1868 and soon thousands of miners arrived seeking their fortunes. At one time there were as many as 300 mines in operation at Park City. Lead, copper, zinc and gold were also mined here. The rise and fall of fortunes was an often repeated story in Park City Utah. Mining prices started to decline during the Great Depression in 1929. The last year of any mining activity in Park City was 1982.
Before the miners came to Park City Utah, the area north of the present city was colonized by Mormon settlers. In 1848, Mormon leader Brigham Young sent Parley P. Pratt to see if this valley was suitable for colonizing. Pratt discovered a large open meadow that was park-like. The area was soon home to brothers Samuel and Chester Snyder and their families. Both men were polygamists and soon 150 people were living in the community of Snyderville. In 1872, their brother George Snyder brought his fifth wife, Rhoda, and their three children from Wanship and settled in this mountain valley five miles to the south. George and his family built a two-room home near what is now the corner of Park and Heber Avenues, with lumber from the sawmill in Snyderville. This high valley had been known by different names, including Upper Kimball's and Upper Parley's, until 1872 when the Snyders raised a flag and proclaimed that the new community should be know as Parley's Park City.
In the early 1900's, skiing was both a form of recreation and transportation in Park City Utah. Emigrant miners from Scandinavia brought skiing from the old country. The steep streets of Park City packed with abundant snow provided the ideal terrain for the popular winter pastimes. Early skiers made their skis from lumber or wood planks. The wood was steamed and a rope attached to a hole drilled in the tip used to bend the ski and secure the curve while it dried. A piece of leather was then attached to the middle of each ski to hold the shoe or boot in place. Christopher Rasmussen and his wife Elsie Marie to wanted to teach their children to ski. Using trees cut on their property, Chris constructed a jumping scaffold and opened the ranch to skiers, installing one of the first rope tows in the West. By 1927, the new ski area in Park City was hosting Salt Lake high school ski clubs.
After WWII, skiing continued to grow in popularity. As silver prices declined mining companies started to look for other ways to use their resources. In 1963 United Park City Mines Company created the Treasure Mountains Resort (now Park City Mountain Resort). They installed a gondola, J-bars and chairlifts, but the most unique way to travel to the top of the mountain was by the "Skier Subway." Using the old Spiro mine drain tunnel, the mine company created the world's first underground ski lift, using the existing electric mine train coupled with cars fabricated to carry skiers and their skis. The skiers traveled three miles into the mountain at to the Thaynes Shaft where a hoist (mine elevator) lifted them 1,800 feet to the surface in Thaynes Canyon. There they put on their skis and traveled the short distance to the Thaynes Chair Lift. The unique underground transportation system at Park City Utah was soon dubbed the "Skier Subway."
- contains info from town of Park City and Historical Society