Park City celebrates historic homes with ribbons
Park City is a small town with a big history.
It started as a mining town and then turned into a resort town that has hosted the Olympics and continues to host the Sundance and Slamdance film festivals.
Each year the Park City Historical Society, the nonprofit that runs the Park City Museum, honors the town’s history by placing ribbons on all of the historic buildings located within the city limits, said Sandra Morrison, executive director of the Park City Museum.
This year’s ribbons are the blue, yellow and purple.
“We’ve been doing this for 30 years, and the buildings we recognize just aren’t historic homes,” Morrison said. “They include shops, garages, farm buildings, outbuildings and mining structures. We go hiking into the mountains and put the ribbons on all of the historic mining structures up there.”
Ribbons are also placed on the buildings at McPolin Farm and in Park Meadows, Morrison said.
“We ordered total of 470 ribbons, and I think we may be short a few,” she chuckled.
The ribbons that are placed on the mining structures are a different color.
“We decided to put gold ribbons on them,” Morrison said.
A historic building, according to Morrison, is any structure that was built at least 50 years ago and is still standing.
“Although we haven’t gotten to the point of putting the ribbons on some of the A-frame buildings that date back to the start of the ski resort era in the 1960s, we certainly put ribbons on the homes that were built in the 1930s, ‘40s and ‘50s, during the decline of the mining era,” she said.
Finding the historic buildings was made easy when Park City adopted an inventory of historic sites in 2009.
“The Park City Museum partnered with the city and worked with the planning department to keep that list up to date,” Morrison said. “So that’s what we use for this project.”
The state of the structures isn’t an issue when defining a historic building, according to Morrison.
“We want to keep as much as the physical evidence of our history as long as we can,” she said. “Many of the mining structures are in desperate need of restabilizing efforts. Just because they are ready to fall down, doesn’t mean they don’t deserve a ribbon.“
Although honoring these buildings is a nice activity for the museum, Morrison said there’s an added bonus that comes for the home and building owners.
“They are putting their hearts and souls into efforts to keep their historic homes and businesses standing and make them functionable,” she said. “So these ribbons signify all of their hard work.”
Many of the homes were built before there was indoor plumbing and running water in Park City, Morrison said.
“The kitchens were always located at the back of these homes because they got too hot with the wood-burning stoves and ovens,” she said. “So the owners today, because of the designs and small sizes of the homes, have had to be creative in how they live in these buildings as viable residences.”
Hope Melville, a Park City Museum volunteer who organizes the ribbon effort, said some homeowners aren’t familiar with the ribbons.
“Many times people come out to the porch to see what we are doing, and they will sometimes ask questions about the significance of the ribbons,” she said. “In one case the homeowner came out all excited and gave us a big hug and was wondering what he had won – tongue in cheek, of course.”
Some owners of historic homes look forward to getting new ribbons each year, said volunteer Ron Butkovich, who helps Melville with the project.
Butkovich got some complaints when the museum delayed putting ribbons on homes located on upper Woodside Avenue this year.
“I got at least three phone calls from one historic homeowner and various calls from others saying, ‘We haven’t gotten our ribbons yet,’” he said. “The neighborhood was in an uproar.”
All of the homeowners who called Butkovich asked if they could help place the ribbons.
“Now we have two more volunteers from that neighborhood helping,” he said.
Morrison said the museum always welcomes volunteers to help place ribbons. They just need to call the museum at 435-649-7475.
“Also if you’re a homeowner and your ribbon has gone missing, we do have a few replacements available at the Museum front desk,” she said.
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