Park City’s Glenwood Cemetery, resting place from mining era, feted
Many do not see the Glenwood Cemetery as a location that is critical to understanding Park City’s silver-mining legacy.
There are no mining towers looming in the treetops, no shafts securely closed decades ago. The cemetery, though, was an important spot in Park City’s early decades as the final resting place for prominent families from the mining days.
The Park City Historic Preservation Board, a City Hall panel with a role in Old Town design issues and other duties related to the city’s history, recently selected the Glenwood Cemetery to receive an annual Cindy Matsumoto Historic Preservation Award. The municipal government will commission an artwork that will be displayed at the Marsac Building alongside works commemorating previous recipients. The artwork is expected to be unveiled in May. City Hall is seeking an artist.
The Glenwood Cemetery Committee, the organization that for decades has been responsible for the maintenance of the grounds, is pleased with the honor after work over the years to ensure the cemetery remains in good condition. The maintenance is performed on a volunteer basis. Bruce Erickson, the chair of the Glenwood Cemetery Committee, noted the importance of the grounds to the past of Park City.
“Keeping it so that we can maintain the story of Park City appropriately,” Erickson said about the maintenance work at the cemetery.
Erickson is also the planning director at City Hall.
Erickson said the earliest burials at the Glenwood Cemetery date to the mid-1880s. Someone must still generally be a member of a local fraternal organization dating to the mining era to be eligible for burial.
Approximately 900 people are buried in the 5-acre Glenwood Cemetery. Erickson said the cemetery is not aware of burials on approximately one-half of the grounds. He said the cemetery remains “very selective” when considering burial locations based on the historic nature of the grounds. He said the Glenwood Cemetery requires a body be cremated before burial in an effort to preserve space.
Anya Grahn, the senior historic district planner at City Hall, described the cemetery as a “really good example of stewardship.” She said the Glenwood Cemetery in the 1960s and 1970s, a time when Park City suffered a downturn as the mining industry faltered, fell into a state of disrepair. She said vandals targeted the cemetery during those years and the grounds became overgrown. The restoration started in the 1980s. The Park City Historical Society acquired the cemetery in 2016 with the Glenwood Cemetery Committee still maintaining the cemetery, according to a City Hall report prepared in anticipation of the recent Historic Preservation Board meeting.
The report says the bodies of Parkites were frequently brought to Salt Lake City in the years after Park City was settled since there was not a local cemetery. The trip to Salt Lake City, though, was difficult in those days, influencing the fraternal organizations to acquire the land for the cemetery, according to the City Hall research. The Glenwood Cemetery is the final resting place for some of the people described in the report as “Park City’s first families.”
“Following World War I, as mines began to decline, the fraternal organizations lost members. Many of the fraternities dissolved or moved away, leaving no one to care for the cemetery,” the Grahn-authored report says. “By 1950, the cemetery was in severe decline. Many of the headstones were deteriorating while vandalism ruined many others.”
Park City leaders, the influential preservation community and tourism boosters have long seen the silver-mining history as something that sets the city apart from many other competitors. The mining history has long been part of tourism promotion and the historic buildings and other pieces left from the era draw the attention of skiers, hikers and bicyclists.
The Historic Preservation Board at the same time of the Glenwood Cemetery selection honored four other historic locations that will be honored with plaques. They are:
• the Little Bell Ore Bin, located in Empire Canyon and dating to 1910, according to the City Hall report. It was associated with a mill, the research shows.
• the Jupiter Mine Ore Bin, a location that is now on the Park City Mountain Resort acreage.
• the location of the Alliance Mine in Empire Canyon
With 40,000 square feet of retail space, 234 condos and something called a “ski beach,” the Pendry project will be a major addition to Canyons Village.