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Way We Were: Red’s dream

Steve Leatham
Park City Museum
CBS broadcaster Lowell Thomas, center, is briefed by resort employee Tim Hayden (left) while mine officials Seth “Red” Droubay and James E. Hogle, behind Thomas, and ski school director Jim McConkey listen in. The top of the chart reads “Preliminary Long-Range Development Plan: Park City Mines Area – Utah.”
Park City Historical Society and Museum, Park City Mountain Resort Collection

On Friday, May 8, 1953, the two largest mining firms in the Park City district, the Silver King Coalition Mines Company and the Park Utah Consolidated Mines Company, officially merged to establish the “United Park City Mines Company.” Former Salt Lake City Mayor and president of the Walker Bank and Trust Company, John M. Wallace, became president of the new coalition.

The Park Utah comprised a consolidation of the Park City Mining and Smelting Co. (a previous consolidation of the Judge Mining and Smelting Co., the Daly West Mining Co. and the West Ontario Mining Co.); the Daly Mining Co.; the Ontario Silver Mining Co.; and the Park Utah Mining Co.

The Silver King Coaition obtained control of the Silver King Consolidated in 1924 and the two merged in 1928. The properties of the Iowa Copper Mining Co. and Midnight Sun Mining Co. were also added in 1926 and 1928. The combined properties of both companies gave United Park City Mines Company control of an estimated 22 square miles of continuous mining ground and claims in Park City as well as Summit, Wasatch and Salt Lake counties.

The 1953 unification of the companies could not have come at a more inauspicious time. The miner’s union served notice on the company that it was on strike and had been since June 27, 1952. Moreover, the mines were inoperative because of depressed lead-zinc prices. The continued “dumping” of foreign ores and metals on the U. S. market threatened the mining industry of the United States with complete stagnation. The industry contended that a 15 ½ cent price per pound was necessary for survival. Current prices were 11 cents for zinc and 14 cents for lead. Because of ore grades and wage scales, domestic mines had to mine two tons of ore to each ton of foreign ore to produce an equal amount of metal.

It would be mid-December before the 2-year old labor dispute was settled and a new contract approved with the United Steel Workers of America Local Union No. 4264. The 600 men affected by the new pact hoped that “economic conditions would permit resumption of operations in the near future.”

More than 16 months after its formation, United Park City Mines Co. opened mining operations. The first miner crews in more than two years entered the company’s Keetley unit early on Monday morning, Sept. 20, 1954.

S. K. “Red” Droubay, a man with a dream, was appointed general manager of the newly organized United Park City Mines Co. Mr. Droubay, 50, attended grade and high schools in Tooele and Salt Lake City and was graduated with an engineering degree from the University of Utah in 1926. It was Droubay’s original idea that two “lodes” could be mined at Park City; the mineral wealth already being mined under the ground and the recreational and tourist wealth on the surface.

Join the panel of Phil Jones, Jim Tedford, Jana Cole and Steve Leatham tonight, January 8, 2020 for a look back at what became of “Red’s” dream at the Park City Museum Education & Collections Center on Sidewinder Drive at 5 p.m.


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