History marked by ribbons
May 27, 2016
It’s no secret that Park City is a historic mecca.
Many businesses and homes have utilized structures that have been around since the 1800s.
Each year the Park City Historical Society, which runs the Park City Museum, honors these buildings with ribbons and it’s a huge project, according to volunteer Hope Melville.
"We receive about 460 ribbons and put them on buildings that are on the Park City historic site inventory," Melville said during an interview on Tuesday with The Park Record. "The list has all the houses and structures that relate back to the mining era and have maintained their essential form. We did some today, as a matter of fact. We went up Main Street."
In order to put ribbons on the mine sites, volunteers go on hikes.
"We divide the area up and volunteers each take a chunk of ribbons and we get the job done," Melville said.
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The ribbons are usually in place before the Park City Museum’s annual Historic Home Tour, which will be held this year on June 25.
Most of the ribbons can be seen in the town’s Historic District, according to Park City Museum Executive Director Sandra Morrison.
"We also go out and put ribbons on the McPolin Farm buildings out there and the historic mining buildings," Morrison said.
Even the most weather-beaten structures will get a ribbon.
"Deterioration doesn’t impact the significance of a historic site or building," Morrison said.
There are some buildings that deserve more than just historic recognition, Melville said.
"While the regular ribbons go on all the sites, we decided in the past 10 years to select 10 special examples of historic buildings that have been remodeled well and still keep their original design," she said. "These will be given a gold ribbon."
Volunteers pick 10 buildings each year for this special recognition.
"Last year, the selections included the High West Distillery building, which is so gorgeous, and Zoom (restaurant) that was originally the railroad terminal," Melville said. "One year we put a gold ribbon on the Marsac Building, our city hall, and some historic houses that are so beautiful."
This year’s gold ribbons go to the following buildings:
"All of these businesses and homes have been beautifully renovated and are still recognizable from their historic photos," Melville said. "You can certainly see that these are from the historic mining days."
Sometimes volunteers stumble across buildings that aren’t on the historic site inventory.
"When that happens, the museum does some research and brings the findings up to the city’s planning department," Melville said. "A couple of years ago, there were a couple of homes up on Woodside Avenue that were clearly historic buildings and they have since been added to the site or will be soon."
Structures such as the Silver Queen water tanks and the Silver King tramway towers are no-brainers when it comes to historic significance and the Park City Historic Society has worked to maintain them in the past.
"When you’re up at the top of the Town Lift, you can see the tanks," Melville said. "Twenty years ago, the Park City Museum had the redwood Silver Queen water tanks stabilized and renovated. Then two years ago, the museum had them stabilized again, so, they are good for another 20 years."
Last year, the Park City Museum worked with the proper owners to maintain the Silver King tramway towers.
"We raised funds to get the growth and aspen trees out of the foundation area so they wouldn’t destabilize the towers," Melville said.
Melville has been placing ribbons on historic buildings for the past five years.
"I go out with my husband and we have a bag full of ribbons and we’re not there to trespass," she said with a laugh. "When approaching private homes, we don’t want people to be surprised to see people walking up their steps and standing on their porches to tie the ribbon on their doors."
If someone objects, they won’t put a ribbon on the building.
"However, the interesting thing is sometimes we miss someone and they will call the museum," Melville said. "Some people even like the ribbons enough that they will keep the ribbons from the past. Some of those ribbons do get a little ratty."
Melville, as well as the other volunteers, loves seeing these buildings up close.
"When you walk from one building to the next and get up there, you really see these buildings in a whole new way," she said. "Many of these houses have been lovingly restored and have lovely settings. It’s a pleasure to do this because you see how charming they are."
For more information about the Park City Historical Society and the Park City Museum programs, visit http://www.parkcityhistory.org.
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