Park City rushes to preserve collapsed mining-era relic
May 15, 2015
Park City officials want to ensure a large mining era relic in Deer Valley is not scrapped as a result of its recent collapse, indicating there are efforts underway to preserve the hulking remnant.
The derrick of the historic Daly West Mine fell on May 8. It is located outside the Montage Deer Valley. Investigators said the shaft of the Daly West Mine started to cave in on the sides. The derrick, also known as the head frame, collapsed as a result of the shaft caving in.
The steel derrick is believed to have been built sometime after 1912. It was 85 feet tall and is among the most visible mining-era structures left in Park City. The Jordanelle Special Service District, a Wasatch County water provider, owns the shaft.
City Hall staffers briefed Mayor Jack Thomas and the Park City Council Thursday evening about the situation. A roster of staffers from at least four departments is addressing the issue, the elected officials were told. City Manager Diane Foster said the staffers are focused on a plan to preserve the relic in some fashion.
Matt Dias, the assistant city manager, and preservation planner Anya Grahn held a meeting with representatives from the Jordanelle Special Service District. The elected officials were told the Jordanelle Special Service District understands the seriousness of the situation. City Hall staffers and the Jordanelle Special Service District plan to meet at the site on Monday.
Dias said the collapse did not appear to create further safety issues, but a chain-link fence was expected to be put up at the site shortly. He also said the Jordanelle Special Service District was preparing to hire a firm to address the safety of the derrick prior to the collapse.
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City Hall, meanwhile, is researching the details of the nature of the collapse. It seems the responsible parties will depend on the specifics.
Park City leaders, the influential preservation community and tourism officials have long seen the mining-era relics that dot the mountains as a link to the days before skiing. Park City was founded as a silver-mining camp in the 19th century and the industry dominated the economy through the middle of the 20th century. Mining eventually gave way to the ski industry as the price of silver fell.
Sandra Morrison, the executive director of the Park City Museum, addressed the elected officials on Thursday, saying she visited the site that day with a mining engineer. She said it appears the derrick can be put upright. She encouraged the Jordanelle Special Service District to keep the derrick intact instead of dividing it into pieces for removal.
Tom Clyde, once the city attorney in Park City and now a Park Record columnist, urged City Hall to make a statement affirming the derrick will be put back up. Clyde spoke broadly about the condition of mining-era relics, saying Park City could lose them as a result of deterioration. He urged City Hall to increase its preservation efforts.
"It’s what makes us unique," Clyde said.