New book finds the spark of Park City’s Pop
January 31, 2018
The Park City Museum wants to reintroduce Joseph Edward Jenkins Jr. to the community.
Jenkins, known to locals as Pop Jenks or Mr. Park City, was a local photographer and restaurateur, who captured the essence and people of Park City and was also instrumental in the campaign to turning Park City into a skiing destination.
Many people have seen his photos on display in businesses throughout the town, without realizing they were his.
To rectify this, the Park City Museum partnered with author and former Park Record editor David Hampshire to write a book, "Park City's Pop: A Portrait of Photographer J.E. Jenkins (Pop Jenks)."
In addition, Hampshire will give a short and free presentation about the book and do a book signing at 5 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 2, at the Park City Museum Education and Collection Center, 2079 Sidewinder Drive.
The book is filled with historic black and white images Jenkins took of Park City and the other parts of Utah.
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The photos were provided by Jenkins' daughter Thelma Uriarte back in 1986, when Hampshire was the part-time director of the Park City Museum.
"She told me that her father was a photographer in town and she had some photos she wanted to show me," Hampshire said. "I went to her house in Highland Estates, and she pulled out this trunk that had more than 600 images and negatives. I was blown away."
Knowing the value of the photographs, the Park City Museum teamed with the Kimball Art Center a few months later and presented an exhibit of Jenkins' photos.
"We found a place in Salt Lake that would enlarge the photos," Hampshire said. "We mounted them and the exhibit pretty much took up the Main Gallery."
Shortly afterwards, the museum commissioned author John Kinch to publish a book about Jenkins and his photographs that was sold at the museum.
"By the time the museum closed in 2007 for our remodeling, we had finally sold them all," said Park City Museum Executive Director Sandra Morrison.
Morrison, who has admired Jenkins' photos for years, wanted to see another, more substantial book that documented the photographer's life.
"I talked to David about doing that," she said. "I first thought he had done the original book, and asked him to rewrite the text. Then I found out he didn't write it, so I asked him to write a new one. And he did a wonderful job."
The wheels of the new book gained traction when former Parkite Stacy Dymalski, a writer and editor, emailed Morrison to see if she could help with publishing a book.
"Sandra sicced Stacy on me, and Stacy was a bulldog," Hampshire said. "She gave me these ridiculous deadlines, and I didn't know any better and thought that I needed to meet them."
Dymalski, in turn, brought in another local writer, Katie Mullaly, author of the "Land of" children's book series, which helps develop self esteem and decision-making skills, to design the new Pop Jenks book. Nancy Hull was also called to design its cover.
After 30 years, Hampshire still can't believe the detail in the photographs.
"Pop used a big (large) format camera,and some of the negatives measured eight inches by 10 inches," he said. "They were huge, so blowing them up as big as we did for the exhibit was no problem."
Jenks took photos of police officers, businesses, skiers and many subjects from Park City High School, Morrison said.
"His subjects included the high school band and the football teams, and the yearbooks, especially," she said. "He also did portraits of all the babies that were born at Miners Hospital."
During Jenkins' later years, local residents knew him as a restaurateur.
"He had two locations, one on Main Street, which is now occupied by Park City Jewelry, and he also had one near the junction where Squatters Roadhouse is," Hampshire said. "That's how he made his money in his later years because it was a struggle."
Morrison, Mullaly and Hampshire sifted through the more than 600 photographs to select which ones would appear in the book.
"We used quite a few of photos that were in the Kinch book, and there are many that can be recognized from other showings and displays throughout the town," Hampshire said.
"Many of the photos go along with the storyline of the book," Morrison added.
The challenge for the three was finding out when the photographs were taken.
"Some of them were marked with dates, but most of them weren't," Hampshire said. "So we had to find different ways to pinpoint the dates."
They did that by finding clues — movie posters, historic figures, advertisements and landmarks — in the photos.
"There was a photo of a cafe with a car, so we projected the photo on the wall so we could read the license plate," Morrison said.
Hampshire likened writing the book to an adventure.
"One of the great things that happened in the 30 years since John Kinch wrote the other book was that all of the Park Record [newspapers] are digitized thanks to Sandra, Sally Elliott and others who raised money for the equipment," Hampshire said. "So I just typed in the word 'Jenkins' and you can find thousands of references that go back to 1915."
Hampshire developed a comprehensive chronology from those articles.
"I talked to his daughter Thelma, who is now 94 years old and sharp as a nail, and got some great detail about her father," he said. "So it came together pretty easily."
Morrison is delighted to have the new book on sale exclusively at the Park City Museum.
"Pop's photographs have played a huge role in the museum since we acquired them back in the 1980s," she said. "So to put them together in a book that people can take home is a great way to celebrate the history and his time in Park City."
Another reason why Hampshire and the museum want to reintroduce Jenkins to the community is to give him credit for his photographs.
"His daughter Thelma doesn't feel like he has gotten the recognition he deserves," Hampshire said. "So I'm on a campaign to make sure he does."
The Park City Museum required people who use the photos publicly to credit the photos as "Pop Jenks Collection."
"There are places that do that and some that don't, and I'd like to see that rectified," Hampshire said.
Author and local journalist David Hampshire will talk about and sign his book, "Park City's Pop," which is about local photographer J.E. "Pop Jenks" Jenkins from 5-6:30 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 2, at the Park City Museum Education and Collection Center, 2079 Sidewinder Dr. The event is free and open to the public. For information, visit http://www.parkcityhistory.org.
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