Lunch and hike fundraiser will put a ring back in Little Bell ore bin
Park City Museum will partner with Deer Valley and Friends of Ski Mountain Mining History for a lunch and hike on Thursday, June 28. The cost is $75 per person or $140 for two. Tickets can be purchased online at www.parkcityhistory.org.
Park City’s 100-year-old mining heritage is literally at a tipping point.
Sandra Morrison, executive director of the Park City Museum, said the many of the wooden mining structures, such as the Little Bell ore bin, are on the verge of collapsing.
The old mining structure might be familiar to regulars of the Deer Valley ski trails.
“It’s on the Bandana ski run, and many of us have skied it past on our way to Empire,” said Morrison. “The Little Bell Mine was one of the more than 300 operating mines during our town’s mining era.”
The structure is basically wood sitting on dirt, and the unprotected wood is deteriorating because of melting snow and other weather conditions she said.
“We have to get the wood onto concrete foundations so it’s not sitting in water,” Morrison said.
To help cover the cost of preserving historic structures like the ore bin, the Park City Museum is partnering with Deer Valley and the Friends of Ski Mountain Mining History, a committee of the Park City Historical Society, for a fundraiser that will include a gourmet lunch and a hike to the historic ore bin.
The event will be held on Thursday, June 28, at Deer Valley. Morrison said admission to the luncheon is $75 for one diner or $140 for two. The start time will be revealed when tickets are bought.
All the money will go to efforts to stabilize the Little Bell bin, Morrison said.
“The cost estimate is between $40,000 to $50,000, but you never know what will come up until after they start working on it,” she said.
The luncheon will consist of a special menu created by Deer Valley chefs and a short presentation by contractor Clark Martinez, CEO of Xcavation Co., who will talk about the preservation work.
“Clark is a fourth-generation miner, and he is the perfect person because he knows how these structures worked when they were operation,” Morrison said. “He and structural engineers spend a lot of time figuring out the best and least intrusive ways to maintain the historic materials while adding structurally sound components that don’t interfere with how the building looks.”
Martinez will be joined by Park City Museum historians who will talk about the mining operations in Park City 100 years ago, according to Morrison.
The wooden ore bin has sat on wet ground for decades and has fallen into disrepair, Morrison said.
“The angle it’s leaning at is very precarious, and it doesn’t take a lot of imagination to foresee what will happen if we have another heavy winter,” she said. “Once it falls over, it will be lost forever.”
Morrison would like to see work start on the ore bin as soon as possible.
“We’re hard up against time, and we want to get as much done on them because the construction season is very short in high elevations,” she said.
The hike up to the ore bin will be led by Deer Valley host Michael O’Malley. While the destination has been set, the route is still subject to change.
“We are in the process of devising some interesting routes that will include some of the other historic mine sites in the area,” Morrison said. “We’re still working on the finished route, but we’ll talk about the Ontario mine and some other ones.”
Once the routes are approved, Park City Museum volunteers will make reprints of the area’s historic photographs that will be pulled out during the hike.
“This is the area where George Hearst, the father of newspaper titan William Randolph Hearst, made his first million (dollars),” Morrison said. “If he hadn’t made the millions, then, maybe William may not have made a newspaper.”
Park City Museum will partner with Deer Valley and Friends of Ski Mountain Mining History for a lunch and hike on Thursday, June 28. The cost is $75 per person or $140 for two. The start time will be given after tickets are purchased. Tickets can be purchased online at http://www.parkcityhistory.org.
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