Flanagan’s celebrates five years and rich history on Main Street
January 3, 2014
In 1919, Charles "Charlie" Kenworthy was an orphan riding the Union Pacific railroad tracks performing small skits for money to eat. Meanwhile, in Omaha, Neb., a Catholic priest by the name of Father Edward J. Flanagan wanted to start an orphanage. The Catholic Church was less than encouraging, but the owner of the railroad’s attorney heard about it and wanted to help.
He told Flanagan that if he could take in and reform Kenworthy, he would get a wealthy family to sponsor his endeavor. Ninety-five years later, the boy’s grandson, John Kenworthy, is celebrating his business’ fifth year on Main Street: Flanagan’s Bar and Grill.
"I wanted to honor Father Flanagan by naming it after him, because without his assistance, I would not be here," he said. "That is for sure, because Grandpa turned into a pretty good man."
For seven years, Flanagan and young Charlie traveled the country raising money for a small boys’ home that would eventually turn into the largest orphanage in the country: Boys Town. Every year, from 1919 to 1924, Flanagan and Charlie stopped in Park City to raise money, and John said it was his grandfather’s favorite place to visit.
Now, John owns and runs Flanagan’s in the building right across the street from the bandstand his grandfather and other orphans used to perform their minstrel show at. John said his grandfather moved to Los Angeles in 1937 when MGM filmed the Academy Award-winning movie, "Boys Town," where he had three of his six children.
Kenworthy bought property in Park City 10 years ago and moved to Utah full-time from Los Angeles two or three years after. In 2008, he began renting the building and opened Flanagan’s in honor of his grandfather and the priest that saved him from "riding the rods."
Recommended Stories For You
January 7 marks five years since the opening of Flanagan’s, and John said they will be celebrating Monday through Friday, Jan. 6-10.
"We’ll be having $5 specials, give-aways, live music and Trivia Tuesday, which is in its tenth season," John said. "We’ll also be doing half-price on all of our merchandise and food."
The Irish pub pays tribute to Kenworthy’s heritage, as well as Father Flanagan’s, serving Irish and American food and drinks. Now that the pub and restaurant is in its fifth year, John said he looks back and realizes what a great coincidence it is that he rented a building with such a strong connection to his grandfather.
"I had no idea the history of my grandfather and this building," John said. "This was the Elks Club building where he stayed while he was in town, so it was kind of freaky but also some wow-factor serendipity."
Flanagan’s features live music, and during their five-year celebration week, there will be live music every night. John said every night of their celebration week will hold something new in store for both visitors and locals that want to commemorate the rich history of Flanagan’s.
"We’re really just looking to have fun, and hopefully, people will want to celebrate with us," John said.
Flanagan’s Bar and Grill is located at 438 Main Street. For more information about its five-year celebration week, call 435-649-8000.