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Park City Museum’s Historic Home Tour allows a peek into the past

Dick and Sally Pick stand outside the St. JohnÕs Swedish Lutheran Church during one of the past Park City MuseumÕs annual Historic Home Tour. This yearÕs tour will focus on the Lower Park Avenue and Lower Woodside Avenue areas. (Courtesy of the Park City Historical Society & Museum)
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For the past 19 years, the Park City Historical Society and Museum has given locals and tourists a glimpse into the past with the Historic Home Tour.

For one day in June, tourists can walk a mile or more loop and visit homeowners of these buildings that were built 100 to 120 years ago, said Sandra Morrison, executive director of the Park City Museum.

"I’m always so impressed with the home owners and their willingness to open their homes and let us come peek inside and be nosy," Morrison said with a laugh. "They are so proud of their homes and we’re so pleased that we can recognize their efforts."

This year’s Historic Home Tour will be held on Saturday, June 25, from 10 a.m. until 3 p.m. And it’s Morrison’s favorite event.

"We understand just how much effort it requires to take a small miners cottage that and restore it and make the adjustments so that it is livable for a 21st century family, but maintain the unique qualities of the historic aspect," Morrison said. "Everyone knows it’s so much easier to build something from scratch to get everything you want. With restoring and remodeling a house, there are lots of tradeoffs."

One of the tour’s highlights is seeing the homeowners’ creativity.

"It’s just amazing," Morrison said. "There was one house we had on the tour a few years ago and they had stairs that went up half a story to the attic. However, they stuck in bunk beds underneath the stairs.

"It was like the Harry Potter room and I’m sure their kids loved it," she said. "It’s that creativity of living in smaller spaces and making them functional."

This year, there are 10 homes located in the Lower Park Avenue and Lower Woodside Avenue areas featured on the tour.

"We’re starting at Miners Hospital, which will also be on the tour, and we’ll have a station there where people who bought tickets in advance can turn them in and get a map and a program," Morrison said. "People can also purchase tickets at the station as well."

Tickets are $15 for museum members and $20 for nonmembers and can be purchased by visiting the Park City Museum, 528 Main St., or logging on to http://www.parkcityhistory.org.

"People can also buy a membership at the station and get the members discount," Morrison said.

Memberships cost $55 for individuals and $100 per family.

As in the past, the Park City Museum has partnered with the Christian Center of Park City for the tour.

The nonprofit will decorate one of the Miners Hospital rooms, according to Morrison.

"We thought that would make the Miners Hospital more interesting because there isn’t a lot going on in there now," she said.

The tour will also feature the Park City Library.

"We thought we would include it for people who haven’t seen the building’s beautiful renovation," Morrison said.

Park City Museum volunteers will be stationed at each of the buildings and homes on the tour.

"We would like to give out a big thank you for our volunteers," Morrison said. "We have 45 of them this year because it’s a huge effort to put this on."

The volunteers have done a lot of research about the historic homes they have been assigned to, according to Morrison.

"So, they will have a wealth of knowledge to share," she said. "That way, people can walk at their own pace through the tour and stop and chat with the volunteers. Also, most of the owners will be at home, so the people can talk with them as well about their experiences."

Each year the Park City Historic Home Tour focuses on a different part of the town’s historic area, Morrison explained.

"Park City has more than 450 historic homes and when we pick a different neighborhood, we like to make sure the tour is in a loop that people can easily walk in an hour or two," she said. "The past few years we’ve hosted the tour on upper Main Street, Ontario to Upper Park Avenue. So, it was time for us to head to the lower area of the Historic District."

This area is interesting because George Snyder originally homesteaded it.

"He was kind of like Park City’s founding father," Morrison said. "He was a Mormon pioneer and plotted the area and sold some of the lots in the 1880s. Then he later sold the remaining lots to a corporation called the Park City Townsite Corporation, which was probably the town’s first real estate company."

In 1901, the corporation’s principal officer passed away unexpectedly, and everything ended up in probate for about 20 years, according to Morrison.

"A lot of new construction didn’t happen in the area at that time because everything was tied up in the courts," she said. "So, we have the hall-parlors that were built in the 1880s on the tour, but then we also have some bungalows that were built in the 1920s after the probate was settled on the tour as well."

There are also some pyramid style houses that are on the tour that were built at the turn of the century.

"That was the Victorian era in Park City and it was about highly decorated homes with lots of trim," Morrison said. "So, you can see the different architectural styles on the tour and see how the styles have changed."

This tour also includes homes at which renovation efforts have just concluded in the past six months to a year.

"One of them is a two-story hall-parlor house on Park Avenue, which I’m excited about that one, because I’ve never been in it," Morrison said. "We have two hall-parlor houses in town, but the other’s renovation hasn’t been completed, yet."

Looking back on these homes’ history puts things, especially issues regarding housing, into perspective.

"Some of the homes were built for families and others were built for renters of a transient work force," she said. "That’s something that hasn’t changed."

While Morrison and a committee will start talks about next year’s home tour in the winter, she loves input from local historic homeowners, as well.

"We like to have different houses each time we return to a neighborhood," she said. "We have a committee that keeps an eye on the different renovations that have happened. And we encourage people to reach out to us if they want to be included in an upcoming tour."

The Park City Museum’s annual Historic Home Tour will be held on Saturday, June 25. The event, which will run from 10 a.m. until 3 p.m., showcases some of Park City’s historic homes. This year’s tour will focus on Lower Park Avenue and Lower Woodside. The cost is $15 for museum members and $20 for nonmembers. Tickets can be purchased by visiting the museum at 528 Main St., or http://www.parkcityhistory.org.


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