Mining History

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thumbnail The Early Prospectors  Photo Courtesy of Park City Museum and Bea Kummer., Photo description courtesy of The Park Record.

For years the Union Pacific railroad hauled coal from the mines in Coalville to the silver mines in Park City. Now the rails have been removed and the deep deposits of coal dust have been graded and covered with a base to create Utah's first rail trail. Hikers, bikers, and horseback riders can take the trail all the way from Park City to Echo Reservoir.

thumbnail Life of the Early Miners  Photo Courtesy of Park City Museum and Bea Kummer., Photo description courtesy of The Park Record.

Many of the miners in Park City in the late 1800's and early 1900's lived in tents. Because times were rough and tough, they usually carried guns and often had cause to use them.

thumbnail Miners and Lumber  Photo Courtesy of Park City Museum and Bea Kummer., Photo description courtesy of The Park Record.

After completion of the railroad at Promontory in 1869, large-scale mining became feasible, and with large-scale mining came the problem of housing the miners. The Snyder sawmill, which had supplied much of the lumber to build Salt Lake City, had a bonanza of its own. The lush forests, which gave name to Parley's Park and Park City, were cut to build boarding houses like these.

thumbnail Miner Poetry  Photo Courtesy of Park City Museum and Bea Kummer., Photo description courtesy of The Park Record.

Many a long winter's night was spent composing verse on the walls of a lonely miner's cabin or bunkhouse. One of the most common poems found was the Miner's Ten Commandments. Following is one of the most typical forms. The ragged old man spoke these words and said unto me, I am a miner who wandereth from the East to sojourn in a strange land and saw the elephant. And behold! I saw him, and I bear witness that his whole body passed before me, and I followed him until he stopped before a rough cabin, and with his trunk extended he pointed to a printed shingle tacked to the cabin, as though to say, read the Miner's Ten Commandments! Thou shalt have no other claim but one. Thou shalt not take unto thyself any false claims, nor shalt thou jump one. Thou shalt not go prospecting again before thy claim gives out nor shalt thou take thy hard-earned dust to the gaming tables in vain for the more thou shalt put down, the less thou will take up. Thou shalt dig or pick only six days for on the seventh thou shalt washeth thy dirty clothes and darneth thy socks and choppeth the whole weeks wood. Thou shalt not think more of the gold than thy father's blessings or thy mother's love. Thou shalt not kill thy body by working in the rain nor by getting stewed or three sheets to the wind from drinking down whiskey punches, rum toddies or brandy slings. Thou shalt not grow discouraged nor go home before thou strikes it rich lest in going home thou will work for fifty cents a day while thou might strike lead and make fifty dollars a day by staying. Thou shalt not steal a pick or shovel nor take thy neighbor's tools nor borrow those he cannot spare and return them broken nor remove his stakes to enlarge thy own claim. Thou shalt not tell false tales about thy diggings in the hills nor salt thy claim to deceive thy neighbor. Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor's wife nor trifle with the affections of his daughter but if thou truly love and covet each other, thou shalt pop the question like a man.

thumbnail Mine Rescue Teams  Photo Courtesy of Park City Museum and Bea Kummer., Photo description courtesy of The Park Record.

In the 1930's, when disaster struck one of the many Park City mines, a mine rescue team risked their lives by going underground to save lives.

thumbnail The Miners' Union  Photo Courtesy of Park City Museum and Bea Kummer., Photo description courtesy of The Park Record.

In 1881, even before the incorporation of Park City, this mining camp was looking to unionize. Originally created as a fraternity to offer health and accident benefits to members, the Miners Union Hall became the symbol of stability for the organization. Built at the top of Main Street near the Egyptian Theatre, the hall also hosted the Elks, the Knights of Pythias auxillary, and the Knights of Columbus.

thumbnail Miners' Day Celebration in Swede Alley  Photo Courtesy of Park City Museum and Bea Kummer., Photo description courtesy of The Park Record.

One of the most popular Miners' Day contests in 1898 was the tug-o-war. Here in Swede Alley the women were doing everything the men did and trying to outdo them (in the hat department as well.) At the turn of the century, Swede Alley was the gathering place for most town celebrations including Miners' Day (known elsewhere as Labor Day) and the Fourth of July.

thumbnail The Daly West Mine  Photo Courtesy of Park City Museum and Bea Kummer., Photo description courtesy of The Park Record.

In February, 1880, the Daly Mining Company was established. The Daly West Mine, located off the Guardsman road, was one of several owned by John Daly. The head frame and hoist building are all that remain.

thumbnail Water and Mining  Photo Courtesy of Park City Museum and Bea Kummer., Photo description courtesy of The Park Record.

Water was a constant obstacle in Park City's mines. One solution was to dig drain tunnels like the Spiro. Another approach was to use pumps. By far the biggest of those was the famed Cornish pump, installed at the Ontario Mine in 1883. It weighed 486 tons and had a capacity of almost 4 million gallons a day.

thumbnail Silver Mining in Park City  Photo Courtesy of Park City Museum and Bea Kummer., Photo description courtesy of The Park Record.

Thirteen ounces was the average yield of silver per ton of ore taken from all Park City mines in their 100+ years of production. This Main Street assay office was where miners got the good news or the bad news.

thumbnail Zinc Mining in Park City  Photo Courtesy of Park City Museum and Bea Kummer., Photo description courtesy of The Park Record.

There's more than silver in them thar' hills. Lead and zinc were both heavy deposits around Park City. In fact, this zinc plant, at the Judge Mill played a vital role in the Judge operation turning an early profit. Quite often zinc, because of it's low market value, was relegated to the dump pile. The Judge Mill accumulated enough of the zinc to build the plant, process the ore, and pay off several debts that were hindering the plant operation.

thumbnail The Marsac Mill  Photo Courtesy of Park City Museum and Bea Kummer., Photo description courtesy of The Park Record.

The Marsac Mill was completed in 1885 to process ore from the Flagstaff Mine. It stood at the lower end of Swede Alley. The stone wall is all that remains. This photo, taken before the fire of 1898, pictures Main Street in the foreground. The Marsac was a 20-stamp mill. Stamping is a process of concentrating ore by crushing it with huge weights until the silver is filtered out. With 20 stamps operating, the mill could turn out 60-70 tons per day. Because of the long distance the ore had to be hauled to the mill and the technical problems associated with the crude stamp machinery, the Marsac was not necessarily a steady or satisfactory producer.

thumbnail The Union Concentrator  Photo Courtesy of Park City Museum and Bea Kummer., Photo description courtesy of The Park Record.

In 1889, the Union Concentrator opened in Empire Canyon, setting new levels of efficiency in the concentrating of low-grade ores. The mill could treat more than 100 tons of ore in 24 hours using a crew of only four men and a boy per shift. The Park Record called the mill a "model of completeness, and more nearly what a concentrator should be than any other similar plant in the country." Remnants of the Union are still visible just uphill from the Ridge Avenue turnoff on Daly Avenue.

thumbnail The Daly Judge Mill  Photo Courtesy of Park City Museum and Bea Kummer., Photo description courtesy of The Park Record.

The Park Record of November 25, 1943, carried the report of the sale and imminent dismantling of the Daly Judge Mill in Empire Canyon. The mill was built in 1903, and, except for a one-year shutdown in 1904, operated steadily until 1931.

thumbnail Transportation of Ore  Photo Courtesy of Park City Museum and Bea Kummer., Photo description courtesy of The Park Record.

When the mines first opened in the Park City area, most ore was hauled in horse-drawn wagons. Ore was loaded from bins, such as the one shown, to be taken to the mill. As steep as the local terrain is, the wagons came with good brakes. But there are many stories about drivers losing control. Eventually the wagon teams were replaced by more modern devices like the Silver King Tram.

thumbnail The Union Pacific Railroad Trail  Photo Courtesy of Park City Museum and Bea Kummer., Photo description courtesy of The Park Record.

For years the Union Pacific railroad hauled coal from the mines in Coalville to the silver mines in Park City. Now the rails have been removed and the deep deposits of coal dust have been graded and covered with a base to create Utah's first rail trail. Hikers, bikers, and horseback riders can take the trail all the way from Park City to Echo Reservoir.

thumbnail The Silver King Aerial Tramway  Photo Courtesy of Park City Museum and Bea Kummer., Photo description courtesy of The Park Record.

The Silver King Aerial Tramway crossed over Park Avenue, parallel to what is now the Town Lift. The idea of using buckets to haul ore was an economic success, far more efficient than using teams and wagons. Men could ride to work in the ore buckets from the lower terminal (the Coalition Building) up to the mine. Processed ore was then brought down the mountain and loaded into railroad cars. The house in the center, as well as the one to the right, were moved when the ski run was extended to Park Avenue.

thumbnail The Miniature Trains of Park City Consolidated Mines  Photo Courtesy of Park City Museum and Bea Kummer., Photo description courtesy of The Park Record.

This little fellow is a battery charging station used by tiny locomotives in the Park City Consolidated Mines. Narrow gauge trains carried ore through the mines' lower tunnels and delivered it to the shafts for transport to the surface. The trains recharged their electric engines here.

thumbnail Quadricycles - not only for shift bosses...  Photo Courtesy of Park City Museum and Bea Kummer., Photo description courtesy of The Park Record.

These quadricycles traveled on rails into the mines and were used by shift bosses to cover the long distances between work stations. Eventually they became a popular Sunday afternoon entertainment for the "civilians". The Park City Museum has a cycle in its mining exhibit.

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