Historian celebrates anniversary
Ryan Summerlin September 2, 2014
NaVee Vernon is celebrating her 10-year anniversary of being Summit County Historian, enriching the knowledge of all Summit County residents.
"There is so much history," she said from her office called "The Birdcage" nestled inside the Summit County Courthouse.
In those 10 years, the list of her projects is staggering to consider:
- She is responsible for helping organize and write six driving guides: "Lincoln Highway: The Main Street Across America," "Summit County Historic Driving Tour," "The Kamas Valley and Uinta Mountains," "Park City," "Echo Canyon," and "Snyderville Basin."
- She helped create the Summit County Historical Museum in the expansive basement of the Courthouse, with hundreds of schoolchildren touring it throughout the school year.
- She writes books about the history of the area that Summit County Manager Bob Jasper ensures are widely disseminated throughout the county and beyond.
"She knows everything about history, and not just the details, but the themes," said Jasper, Vernon’s boss. "She knows her stuff."
After spending much of the year working on historical markers that will eventually populate the county — some can be seen now in Peoa — Vernon is hard at work on two books, one year after publishing the book "Under One Sky: Summit County Utah — Historic Scenic Highways & ways," co-produced by Janet Thimmes.
One of the books is about the county’s dairy industry, full of trivia such as that there were once 350 dairies in the county, but now there are only four. The other book has the tentative title of "Coalville: Then & Now."
Both she hopes to publish before Christmas.
What is interesting about Vernon’s more recent career is that she was at best an amateur historian before assuming the role as Summit County Historian (and with it the title of head of the Summit County Historical Society). She and her husband were mink ranchers until disease killed most of the animals in their care, and they stopped in 1998.
Vernon, who grew up in Coalville and now resides in Hoytsville, said her passion for history comes from always unearthing new facts about where she has spent all her life. "It’s fun because you are learning about where you live," she said. I’ve always loved where I lived. I enjoy the people. We have some really unique people."
Vernon said the 10 years have flown by, with many more projects she wants to accomplish.
"It goes so fast," she said.
Other historians in the area hope Vernon stays at her post for another 10 years, and beyond.
"She is a great resource," said Ramona Pace of Coalville, county president of the Daughters of Utah Pioneers.
"She is the greatest thing to ever happen to Summit County history," said RaNae Crittenden of Coalville, and former captain of the Coalville Camp of the Daughters of Utah Pioneers.
Vernon remains devoted to the sentiment of a sign on her wall: "A county without its history has none!"