Way We Were: Historic homeowner was a busy Parkite | ParkRecord.com

Way We Were: Historic homeowner was a busy Parkite

Mahala Ruddell
Park City Museum
Research coordinator

Most of Park City's historic houses follow a handful of standard architectural forms. The hall-parlor, noted for its square structure and central hallway separating a hall room and a parlor with one or two back bedrooms, the pyramid style, noted for its gabled roof, and the T/L cottage, noted for its shape resembling said letters, are the most common.

The house at 949 Park Avenue, originally built in the 1880s by Charles V. Jenkins, is a classic T/L cottage. Jenkins obtained the legal title to the property in 1890, meaning he had built and was living in the house prior to actually owning the land. This was a common occurrence in the early years of Park City's settlement.

Jenkins was a prominent and busy Parkite. Among "other important positions," he was a notary public, expert accountant, typist, manager for the Park City Heat, Light, and Power Company, and served as private secretary for mining magnate E.P. Ferry.

Jenkins and a small group of the town's "leading citizens" gathered together in November 1891 to "discuss the advisability of organizing a social club for Park City patterned somewhat after the style of the Alta Club of Salt Lake." At that meeting, the men appointed a committee to promote the idea, gauge interest, and recruit members. Optimistically, the group decided that "if sufficient members can be obtained, the club will erect a new building and begin its existence in a pleasant and approved manner." The Park City Social Club was officially organized with about forty members, including Jenkins, by January 1893.

Utilizing his noted stenography skills, Jenkins was appointed to several mining delegations and appropriations committees in the state legislature. During the legislative session, he traveled to and lived in Salt Lake City in order to better conduct his official business.

In mid 1893, Charles Jenkins left Park City and moved to Blackfoot, Idaho. Shortly after, he moved to Rossland, British Columbia, where he managed a power company and later worked as a purchasing agent for the War Eagle mine.

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He stayed in touch with his Park City friends, keeping them apprised of his various activities. In 1905, a short mention of him appeared in The Park Record, noting that he had accepted a "more lucrative and important" position at the American Smelting and Refining Company, a company founded and owned in its early history by such recognizable names as William Rockefeller and Meyer Guggenheim.

Later owners of the house at 949 Park Avenue included John F. Geiger and the Bircumshaw family.

This and other homes on middle Park and Woodside avenues will be featured on this year's Annual Historic Home Tour, hosted by the Park City Museum. Join us for this one-day-only special event on June 23, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Catch a glimpse into Park City's past and see how today's residents make creative use of these historic structures. For more information and to purchase tickets, please visit our website at http://www.parkcityhistory.org.