The Park Record editorial, July 24-27, 2010 |

The Park Record editorial, July 24-27, 2010

Whether by handcart or ore cart, pioneers enriched our state

Always a bit irreverent, some Park City citizens have dubbed this weekend’s celebration of Utah’s heritage "Pie and Beer Day." We are hoping that does not offend regular Pioneer Day fans who see the day, primarily, as a tribute to the first Mormon settlers who came seeking refuge from religious persecution elsewhere in the country.

We are confident that during the festivities there will be plenty of room in Utah’s tent to include the full spectrum of cultures that helped to shape this great state.

Park City’s pioneers came from all over the world, some seeking work, others, like the early Mormons, looking for religious sanctuary. It made for a raucous, diverse multilingual landscape of Swedes, Basques, Irishmen, Chinese, Englishmen, etc., who populated the boarding houses and bordellos in Old Town.

Yes, in the early days, there was some friction between the Mormon settlers in the valley and the "gentiles" in the mountain mining camp, but those barriers have long since been breached. We’d like to think that the remaining nuances complement each other rather than conflict.

Park City still leans a little to the left and citizens sometimes chafe against the state’s Republican majority. Also, local business boosters say the city’s tourism-centric economy calls for looser alcohol restrictions. But overall there is enormous give and take and respect between Park City residents and the rest of the state.

The recent Fourth of July, that happened to fall on a Sunday, is a perfect example. Most Utah communities chose to postpone their celebrations so families could attend church services. That left a quiet hole in the vacation itinerary that many around the state filled by driving up to Park City where the Fourth was celebrated on the Fourth with a parade and fireworks. Those who chose to do so were able to celebrate the Fourth twice, and we didn’t hear anyone complain about the bonus.

So, whether your ancestors arrived pulling a handcart or in a VW bus, we encourage you to take a moment this weekend to reflect on Utah’s rich history. We would especially encourage everyone to share stories about the citizens who came before us and their immense contributions to the cities and towns we now call home.

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