Walking tours show off Park City’s historic Main Street | ParkRecord.com

Walking tours show off Park City’s historic Main Street

Park City's history is one of reinvention.

It started off as a successful mining community in 1868 before turning its focus on becoming a ski resort town in the 1960s.

It has survived three major fires — the worst was in 1898, that left Main Street and nearly 200 businesses and homes in ruins — but managed to rise from the ashes in the 1920s.

In 1951 Park City teetered on the brink of ghost-town status, before reinventing itself again as a ski mecca in the 1960s thanks to a loan from the Federal Area Redevelopment Agency.

Park City has its roots in the Old West, and we have a history of violence and prostitution and things like that...” Diane Knispel, Park City Museumeduction director

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It has furthered its reputation as a tourist destination thanks to the Sundance and Slamdance film festivals and from hosting many of the competitions during the Olympic Winter Games in 2002.

These timeline highlights are all discussed during the Park City Museum's historic Main Street walking tours, which start at 2 p.m. Monday through Friday until Aug. 31, said Diane Knispel, Park City Museum education director.

"The tours give visitors and local residents the opportunity to learn about Main Street's history," Knispel said. "We do this every summer. The weather is great and we love having people outside exploring our town."

The tour starts at the Park City Museum at 528 Main St., where a group of 15 catches the Main Street Trolley.

"We ride the trolley up to the top of the street and then walk down, while pointing out buildings and landmarks," Knispel said. "We talk about the architecture and history of the buildings."

Tours start at 2 p.m., but registration and early arrival is required.

"We ask people to call or visit the museum and reserve their spots in advance, because we only have 15 slots per tour," Knispel said. "We then meet at 1:45 p.m., where we have more of a chance to catch the trolley."

The cost of the tour is $7 per person.

"If a large single group of at least nine or more want to take a tour, they can call and make arrangements for a private walking tour," Knispel said.

Private tours are $8 per person and will be scheduled at a different time.

The tours, which are led by Park City Museum volunteers, usually run one hour and 15 minutes.

"How far we get down the street depends on the group," Knispel said. "If there are a lot of questions or if there is a lot of interest of a certain topic, we may only get as far as Heber Avenue. If there aren't a lot questions, the tours go further down Main Street."

Walking tours are recommended for ages 13 and older, because of the subject matter.

"Park City has its roots in the Old West, and we have a history of violence and prostitution and things like that," Knispel said. "So we want to be comfortable talking about those types of things to the group."

Tourists should come wearing comfortable walking shoes and sunscreen, she said.

"They should also bring a filled water bottle, because the sun up here can get pretty intense in this high altitude," Knispel explained.

Park City Museum hosts historic Main Street walking tours at 2 p.m. Mondays through Fridays until Aug. 31. There will not be a tour on Friday, Aug. 3, due to the Park City Kimball Arts Festival, which occurs during that time. Reservations can be made by calling 435-649-7457 or visiting the museum at 528 Main St. For information, visit http://www.parkcityhistory.org.