Homeowners open their doors for annual Historic Park City tour
June 10, 2014
A great way to learn the history of an area such as Park City is to visit its historic buildings.
While it would be great if walls of houses, schools and businesses could talk, there is a reverence people feel when they walk through a home that was once owned by a miner, a teacher or a business owner.
This is what the annual Park City Museum’s Historic Home Tour is all about, said Ron Butkovich, chairman of the Historic Home Tour.
"This event gives people a chance to experience Park City’s history," Butkovich told The Park Record. "It’s usually a lot of fun, and I think it’s going to be a great weekend."
This year’s tour, featuring nine homes, will be held on lower Ontario, Sandridge and Marsac Avenues on Saturday, June 14, from 10 a.m. until 3 p.m.
Butkovich said the Park City Historical Society takes many things in consideration before selecting an area for the tour.
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"There are about seven sections in town that have accessibility," he said. "We try to keep the tour condensed and look at buildings close by, so people aren’t traipsing all over town."
Last year, the tour was held on upper Park Avenue, and was attended by 200 people.
"This is relatively a small tour, but it takes about three hours to go through all the houses at a comfortable pace," he said.
One of the structures on the tour this year is the Marsac Building, home to Park City’s administrative offices. It was once the town’s elementary school.
"We’re trying to get people who attended school or taught at the Marsac together for the tour," Butkovich said. "There will cookies and lemonade at the building to celebrate."
Once an area is selected, volunteers from the Park City Historical Society knock on doors to see who’s home.
"We talk with them about including their homes on the tour," Butkovich said. "If the owners not around, we’ll send letters or an email, once we track them down."
That can prove to be a challenge.
"Many of these homeowners are part-time Park City residents," he said. "So we have to do some research to find where these people are so we can contact them."
Other times contacting the owners is simple.
"There are some homeowners whose houses have been included on the tour before, so we already have their contact information," Butkovich said. "It’s nice to talk with these people to see if they would be interested."
Still, there are occasions when homeowners contact the Park City Historical Society or the museum.
"Usually a few weeks prior, the Park City Historical Society places ribbons on all the historic buildings in town," Butkovich said. "Sometimes a building is overlooked or someone will come by and pull down the ribbon, and when that happens, they will call to get a new or replacement ribbon."
One enjoyable aspect of the tour is to see how these homeowners have refurbished these historic buildings.
"If someone has done a bunch of work or renovations, it’s always great to talk with them," Butkovich said. "I live in an Old Town house and have for some time. I have learned the ups and downs of owning a historic home and the challenges of maintaining it."
Other fun parts of the tour are the surprisess.
"Many times a lot of the houses don’t look cared for on the outside, but once you go in, it’s a whole new story that comes out behind the doors," Butkovich said. "It’s always interesting because we like to get a cross section of different homes, some that have been renovated and some that haven’t."
Many of the owners are present during the tour and they answer questions about their homes, but some aren’t.
"In those cases, we have volunteers who take their place and answer the questions," Butkovich said.
Sometimes the homeowners join the tour to visit their neighbors’ houses.
"The tour gives them an excuse to see what’s going on in neighborhood," Butkovich said.
Tickets for the tour are $15 for museum members and $20 for nonmembers.
Tickets can be purchased in advance at the Park City Museum, or online at http://www.parkcityhistory.org , Butkovich said.
"Tickets can also be purchased the day of the tour," he said.
This year, the tour sponsors are offering a perk.
"When people buy a Historic Home Tour ticket, they will get a free, one-year family membership to the Park City Museum," Butkovich said. "We hope people will come out and celebrate our town’s history."
The Park City Museum will present its annual Historic Home Tour on Saturday, June 14, from 10 a.m. until 3 p.m. Participants will see Park City’s historic homes on lower Ontario. Tickets are $15 for museum members and $20 for nonmembers. Tickets can be purchased in advance at the Museum, 528 Main St., online at http://www.parkcityhistory.org or the day of in the Marsac parking lot. For more information, visit http://www.parkcityhistory.org or call 435-649-7457.
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