Park City - how a mining camp morphed into a holiday destination

During the winter, skiers flock to the slopes of Deer Valley and Park City Mountain.The glorious summer season continues to attract visitors and among the town's many attractions are more than 400 miles/600 kms of hiking and biking trails. Park City also hosted many of the events of the 2002 Salt Lake City Winter Olympics. Vestiges of Park City's past remain and visitors will get a sense of this strolling along the Historic Main Street of town. A keen eye may notice evidence of long since abandoned mining operations in the mountains close to town. Park City is no ordinary tourist destination and its roots are embedded in silver mining, beginning in the second half of the 19th century. At a similar time, Brigham Young was leading Mormon followers on an arduous journey west to seek a new home, following religous persecution further east in the US. Seeing the Salt Lake Valley, it was decreed that this was the place to make their future home. The Mormons weren't the only Utah newcomers. For a while there was an army garrison stationed in the territory, but the soldiers were ordered to leave Utah and head back east as the American Civil War was raging. However, this military vacuum was soon filled my a militia of three hundred, led by Colonel Connor. This militia was based in Nevada, but hearing about the departure of the army garrison, travelled from Nevada. However, Colonel Connor's men were also prospectors and once in Utah, his men spent at least as much time prospecting as soldiering. Late in the autumn of 1868, on a cold, stormy day three of Connor's men were making their way over a high mountain crest and began to descend what today is called Guardsman Pass. They found shelter under an overhang of rock, made camp and passed the night away from the developing snowstorm. The following morning the soldier prospectors noticed the rock formation had a promising structure and took samples. To mark the spot they left a bough from a dead pine tree with a bandana attached and in the deep snow, rode back to Colonel Connor. The samples showed a high level of silver (96 ounces per ton of rock) and although less valuable, lead as well. Consequently, Park City's first mine was born. It was named Flagstaff, after the pine bough and bandana left behind to identify the spot. This discovery inaugurated more than a century of silver mining and an infinity of stories. To be continued


Posted by: Visit Park City
Posted on: 23/04/2020

Park City - how a mining camp morphed into a holiday destination - by Visit Park City

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