Park City mining-era relic deemed too heavy to be put back at historic spot
A large relic from Park City’s silver-mining era that collapsed in Deer Valley in the spring is apparently too heavy to be put back upright in the same spot where it stood for decades, a City Hall official said in a recent memo, making it likely the structure will be shifted slightly from its historic location as part of the preservation efforts.
Matt Dias, the assistant Park City manager, distributed a memo to Mayor Jack Thomas and the Park City Council updating the elected officials about the situation involving the Daly West Mine headframe. The headframe, which resembles a derrick, fell in May and has been sideways on the ground since. It is one of the largest mining-era relics in Park City.
There have been calls from the preservation community and City Hall officials to return the headframe to an upright position. Preservationists and Park City leaders have long promoted the city’s silver-mining heritage as something that separates the community from some of its mountain resort competitors. The headframe, at the top of the Daly West Mine shaft, is owned by the Jordanelle Special Service District, a Wasatch County water provider. The Dias memo addresses the issues at the site.
"Recent geotechnical testing and the load/weight of the headframe appear to indicate that the structural and mining engineers contracted by Jordanelle will recommend that the headframe no longer occupy the area directly above the mine shaft," Dias says in the memo. "Though initial assessments and recommendations, they have been fairly consistent ever since the structure was removed and found to be heavier than expected."
The memo also briefly outlines some of the efforts that have been underway since the collapse, including studying any damage to the headframe.
In an interview, Dias said structural engineers who have assessed the situation do not recommend returning the headframe to the top of the shaft. Issues involved "weight, load, mass," Dias said. He said the officials involved, though, want the headframe to be put as close as possible to the original location. A shift in the location would likely be a few feet and be within the original parcel of land, he said.
The Jordanelle Special Service District will be required to obtain a City Hall approval for the preservation work. Dias said a historic district design review will be needed since the site is considered historic. He said it is anticipated the Jordanelle Special Service District will submit an application shortly. City Hall staffers have the authority to approve a historic district design review. The application for a historic district design review would provide details about a preservation plan, including the proposed new location of the headframe.
Dias said the Jordanelle Special Service District submitted an application to cap the top of the Daly West Mine shaft, which was exposed when the headframe collapsed. He said the Park City Building Department was expected to approve a permit for a cap this week.
Dias said City Hall and the Jordanelle Special Service District are each committed to the preservation efforts as well as ensuring the site is safe.
"We’re very thankful we have the same goals," he said.
The Park Record was unable to contact a representative of the Jordanelle Special Service District.
A critic of a Park City workforce or otherwise affordable housing project in Old Town said he is considering an appeal of the Park City Planning Commission’s approval of the development.