Historic Walking Tours opens doors to Park City’s past | ParkRecord.com

Historic Walking Tours opens doors to Park City’s past

Docents lead groups of up to 15 people

The discovery of silver ore in the hills and the great fire of 1898 are only a couple of significant events that are revisited during the Park City Museum's Historic Main Street Walking Tours.

"We also talk about the historic buildings and the architecture," Diane Knispel, the museum's education director, told The Park Record. "We tell the stories of the things that have happened in the buildings and on the street."

The Historic Main Street Walking Tours' summer season will start on Monday, June 19.
The tours, which last about an hour and a half, begin at 2 p.m. and will run Monday to Friday through Sept. 1.

"We meet at the Park City Museum gift shop at 1:45 p.m. and flag down the free Main Street Trolley," Knispel said. "The group will ride the trolley to the top of Main Street and walk down."

Park City Museum docents lead the tours.

"The docents receive information packets about Park City's history and go through a training session," Knispel said. "Some of the docents learned the history for the first time in these sessions. Other docents have grown up in Park City or have lived here for a while and know some of the history."

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The docents will will discuss how much Park City has changed.

"I, personally, love hearing about what the buildings were before they became what they are now," Knispel said. "Some of them used to be a bar and now they are an art gallery.
Some used to be a shop of some sort and now they are restaurants."

The tour groups will also learn how much Park City hasn't changed since the late 1800s.

"The funny thing is that there were a lot of bars on Main Street in the past, and today, there are still a bunch of bars on Main Street," Knispel said with a laugh.

The tours are designed to be loose and casual.

"Depending on how many questions the group has, we can stop at one place for a while to talk," Knispel said. "There is a lot of interaction during the tours.

"Although people can ask questions at any time, we usually have the time to make it down to the intersection of Main and Heber Avenue."

The recommended age for the tours is 13 and older.

"The reason being is that Park City was a rough-and-tumble western town, and we talk about themes that aren't appropriate for younger children," Knispel said.

Those themes include prostitution, saloons, alcohol abuse, barroom brawls and murders.

"Since we address those topics, we try to caution people ahead of time," she said.

Tours can accommodate groups up to 15 people.

"We have found that people walking up and down the sidewalk are able to get around us if there is only 15 of us," Knispel said. "If we have more in the group, it gets challenging."

Knispel did say, however, people can schedule private tours, which can accommodate more than 15.

"Reunions, corporate retreats and other groups can call and make arrangements for specialized tours," she said. "The minimum number for a specialized, private tour is 12."

While the Park City Museum docents will bring their knowledge, tourists should bring their own equipment.

"Main Street can be very steep, even when you're waking slowly down the hill," Knispel said. "It not an easy walk, and the elevation also adds to the challenge, so we ask people to wear comfortable walking shoes."

Tourists should also bring a full water bottle.

"If the sun is out, we suggest wearing sunscreen and a hat, because the sun is strong in this elevation and can burn (skin) quickly," she said.

The tours cost $5 per person. The price varies for specialized tours. In both cases, RSVPs are appreciated.

"Reservations can be made the morning of the desired tour," Knispel said. "When people call, we will write their names down so we know who will be coming."

Tourists can call 435-649-7457, ext. 102, or email education@parkcityhistory.org to set up a tour.

There is no cancelation fee, but Knispel appreciates it when people give her a cancelation notice.

"We would like them call us, because we do have a wait list," she said.

Park City Museum volunteers will lead Historic Main Street Walking Tours at 2 p.m. each week Monday through Friday. For information, call 435-649-7457, ext. 102, email education@parkcityhistory.org or visit http://www.parkcityhistory.org.