By Saundra Stroope
Mining prospectors discovered silver in the Park City hills in 1868. While they made their fortunes, Main Street began catering to the town’s founders as the primary shopping district. As you
stroll the historic street look for plaques along the street corners and walls for clues of Park City’s past.
You might begin your journey in the China Bridge parking garage. The name alone reveals some clues to Park City’s past. This is the historic location of what was once Park City’s China Town and a bridge linking it with Main Street. This is where most of the city’s Chinese population lived in the 1800’s.
You’ll find another sign at the original City Hall constructed in 1885 noting the original jail cells located in the basement. A fire destroyed part of the building in 1898 and it was reconstructed. The old City Hall has since been converted into Park City Museum celebrating the mining history. Take a tour for only $10 admission or $5 for children to discover more about our unique past.
Inside the museum you can discover what it was like to live in the neighborhood, travel via stagecoach, and work in a dark and dangerous mine. You can even visit the original jail. The museum gift shop is free and open to the public and offers fun souvenirs and gifts including children’s mining helmets, gems, and a picture book of Park City’s Past and Present.
Another great way to learn about past residents is to attend the Park City Ghost Tour. Make a reservation 24 hours in advance and you will be greeted by a guide in costume at the bronze statue of the miner. As you stroll along Main Street after dark, you will hear interesting and spooky tales collected over the past century. Whether you believe in ghosts or not, you will certainly learn about the past.
When the silver prices declined, Park City reinvented itself as a ski town. You’ll find the first modern condominium ski hotel, Treasure Mountain Inn, at the top of Main Street. It was built in 1963 just after Treasure Mountain Resort, now Park City Mountain Resort, opened. Today, it remains open for lodging and its halls are decorated with an extensive collection of historic photographs and antiques.
While the times have changed, one thing remains consistent. Main Street continues to cater to the shopping needs of visitors. Lined with art galleries, restaurants, and boutiques you will find everything you need on historic Main Street.
You may even find some silver and a few gems at Park City Jewelers or western style clothing at Park City Clothing Company. Doug & Margie Hollinger, owners at Park City Clothing Company, currently have two original jackets produced in Park City by the Timpanogos Clothiers for the Frontier. They were a historical and rare find at an antique store.
Today, the silver mining has stopped, but visitors on Main Street are sure to find other rare commodities including the greatest snow on earth.
Park City Museum, 528 Main Street, 435-649-7457
Miner Statue and Ghost Tour Meeting Place, 415 Main Street
Park City Ghost Tour Reservations, 435-615-7673
Treasure Mountain Inn, 255 Main Street, 435-655-4501
Park City Jewelers, 430 and 580 Main Street
Park City Clothing Company, 558 Main Street