Relive Park City history one step at a time
June 14, 2013
Park City is full of history, stretching back to the 19th Century.
From the early mining days to the ski-industry boom to an all-year arts and sports destination, Park City has always found ways to reinvent itself.
That’s why the Park City Museum, located at 528 Main St., offers daily Historic Main Street walking tours, said Jenette Purdy, education director for the Park City Museum.
"If people are interested in the tour, they can show up just before 2 p.m. and purchase their tickets at the museum," Purdy told The Park Record. "We charge $5 per individual, but we also have a package that includes the tour and admission to the museum for $12. That’s a deal because our regular admission to the museum is $10."
Once everyone arrives, the group rides the Main Street Trolley up to Grappa restaurant.
"The guide will then walk the group down the street and tell the different stories and history of Park City," Purdy said. "The tours last about an hour and ends at the Park City Museum."
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Tour groups cap out at 15 people.
"If there is a large group that is interested in the tour, or if they can’t make the 2 p.m. tour, we will set up a special, separate time for them," Purdy said. "Sometimes when more than 15 people show up at the same time, we’ll split the group in half and have two tours going on at the same time.
"I like that you get to learn some of the history of Park City on historic Main Street, which is so beautiful, and you’re outside doing it. It’s just a great combination."
In addition to talking about the town’s history, the tour will also examine the different architecture and designs that are found on the buildings.
"I love so many of the individual buildings on the tour, and it’s fun to see some of the different designs from the different eras," Purdy said. "We have buildings that were constructed during the early mining days and some that were built in the 1960s during the development of the skiing areas."
Purdy said she has seen many Park City residents join visitors for the tour.
"It’s amazing what you can get out of the tour," she said. "I’ve had locals come to me after a tour and tell me they learned something new about the history or the buildings."
One of Purdy’s favorite historic Park City stories is that of the Great Fire of 1898.
"It is also one of the biggest events in our history," she said. "It burned everything on Main Street at that point."
The disaster helped shape the area into what it is today.
"One thing I always notice while I’m leading a tour is how Main Street looks like, after seeing other photos during my research," Purdy said. "Almost everything we see now, for the most part, was built after 1898. So it is interesting to know the people in the town were able to rebuild it.
"I love that the city has a story of resiliency and community," she said. "It’s fun to see the changes and how Park City is always reinventing itself."
This year, the tours are expanding to Saturdays, which will start on June 29.
"We’re excited to offer them on Saturday," Purdy said. "This all came about after one of our volunteers offered to do them that day and so, we’re thrilled to offer them then.
"Hopefully, those who haven’t been able to take a tour before will be able to," Purdy said.
This year’s tours will also include an added element working around construction.
"With all the renovations being done, we will do a little more criss-crossing along Main Street," Purdy said. "That’s the only impact the construction will have on the tour, and, frankly, some of the buildings are seen better when you are across the street anyway."
The Park City Museum, 528 Main St., will host its historic Main Street walking tour Mondays through Saturdays, beginning at 2 p.m. Tours are $5 per person and last one hour. Participants need to meet at the Park City Museum at 1:50 p.m. There will be no tour held on June 15, June 22, July 4 and Aug 2 and 3. Tours may be canceled due to inclement weather. For more information, visit http://www.parkcityhistory.org .