Step inside a piece of history with the Park City Historic Home Tour
June 11, 2013
On June 19, 1898, a fire raged through Park City and destroyed many businesses on Main Street.
One of them was The Park Record office.
Then-publisher Sam Raddon woke to find Main Street on fire and rushed to the scene in an attempt to save the newspaper’s equipment that was located there at the time, said Park City Museum executive director Sandra Morrison.
"He rushed to Main Street to save his business, and in the meanwhile the fire spread to Park Avenue and burned his house," said Morrison. "So he actually lost his home and business in the same night."
This is an example of many stories people will hear during the 16th Annual Historical Homes Tour presented by the Park City Museum.
This year’s tour will be held on Saturday, June 15, from 10 a.m. until 3 p.m., and will cap off with a reception at Zoom restaurant from 3 p.m. until 5 p.m.
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Tour tickets are $15 for museum members and $20 for non members. The ticket price includes admission to the reception. Tickets can be purchased at the museum prior to the tour or at the check in tent, located at Park Avenue and Fourth Street that day.
"The reception is a wonderful way for everyone to get together with the homeowners, volunteers and anyone who participated in the tour to share stories and continue the conversations that start during the day inside the homes," Morrison said.
The 12 homes on the tour will be located on Park Avenue between Fourth Street and St. John’s Swedish Lutheran Church, and also on Woodside, between Fourth Street and King Road.
The tour will include the church, which is now a home owned by Marion Lintner, Morrison said.
"The buildings were built in the 1880s and 1890s," she said. "The Woodside area was not affected by the Great Fire, so they tend to be a little older, and the homes closest to the headquarters tent in the 300 block were all built after the Great Fire."
Morrison said the Historic Home Tour is one of the highlights of the season.
"Park City prides itself on the Historic District and how we have such an accumulation of these historic homes that represent Park City in its mining era 100 years ago," she said. "It’s not very often we can go inside these homes, and the tour gives us an opportunity to visit and see how small these homes are and how people who live in them manage today."
Some of the homes are no bigger than 900 to 1,000 square feet.
"Of course, the owners have found interesting ways to adapt, renovate and utilize that space," Morrison said. "In fact, in one of the houses, owners built bunkbeds under the stairs. The kids love it and it makes the home more unique."
When selecting neighborhoods for the tour, Morrison said the first thing to consider is keeping the tour "fairly compact."
"Since the houses are small, it doesn’t take very long to see inside them," she said. "We also like to make sure there is a short distance between the houses. That way people can spend between and hour and an hour-and-a-half on the whole tour."
An interesting aspect of this year’s tour is the socio-economic differences of the original homeowners.
"The homes on Park Avenue housed more of the wealthier people in the town, and were usually owners of successful businesses on Main Street," she said. "The houses on Woodside are smaller and were used by members of the working class."
The Independent Organization of Odd Fellows, a fraternity organization dedicated to promote social and personal development in a community, built one of the Woodside homes Morrison said.
"One of their members died in a mining accident, so the organization decided to build the widow and children a house, which is kind of interesting," she said.
Morrison said she looks forward to the annual tours, because she gets to learn about different areas and meet the homeowners.
"After we decide what neighborhood to showcase, we contact the people," she said. "I’m always so appreciative when people are excited and agree to show their homes, because they are willing to tidy up their homes and open it up to let total strangers come in and walk around."
Morrison also likes doing the research.
"I feel like I get to know the homes personally, and then I can poke my nose in and see how the people lived in these homes and can share that," she said. "We do a writeup about each house and we have docents or volunteers in each of the houses who share this information with the tour participants."
The museum staff also tracks down photographs of the original homeowners and displays them during the tour.
"Some of these people are from Cornwall or Italy who come to Park City in their 20s to work in the mines," she said. "Others are newlyweds who come to Park City to start new lives."
Morrison encourages visitors and Park City residents to take the tour, because it’s an easy, enjoyable, information-filled event.
"The houses on the tour are just a few paces away from the check-in tent, and those who have challenges walking, can use golf carts that will be provided," she said.
The Park City Museum’s annual Historic Home Tour will be held on Saturday, June 15, from 10 a.m. until 3 p.m. Tour tickets are $15 for museum members and $20 for non members. The ticket price includes admission to the reception. Tickets can be purchased at the museum prior to the tour or at the check in tent, located at Park Avenue and Fourth Street that day. For more information, visit http://www.parkcityhistory.org.