Miners Day: a tribute to Park City’s legacy of diversity, hard work and ingenuity
September 2, 2016
On Labor Day, known locally as Miners Day, Park City pays tribute to the town's hard working pioneers who established a modest mining camp that eventually turned into a world-class ski town.
If you are new to town, take a moment to tour the historical museum on Main Street where kids can 'detonate' a simulated rock wall perforated with sticks of dynamite or skulk around in a turn-of-the-century dungeon. Adults can marvel at an intricate two-story model of the underground workings of the Ontario Mine during its heyday.
Park City's rich mining history, from boom to bust, is also highlighted throughout town. Look for the National Register of Historic Places plaques on many restored miner's homes lining Old Town. And keep an eye out for the remains of several old mining structures left scattered on the mountain that are now being carefully preserved.
They are poignant reminders of the citizens who arrived in the 1850s, bunked in tents and lodges and survived deadly underground explosions, above-ground avalanches and a fire that nearly destroyed the entire town in 1898.
But while the town's silver mining legacy is heralded throughout the year, it takes center stage on Monday, when everyone is invited to watch the parade, followed by an old-style, hard-rock drilling contest.
The festivities are also an important reminder that, a century and a half later, Park City's success still depends on the hard work and dedication of thousands of employees, many of whom, like their predecessors, come from far away, struggle to find living quarters and yet meld into a dynamic workforce driven by boundless energy and commitment.
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Park City is in their debt today just as much as it was when the town was fighting back from the collapse of the mine industry, then a depression that almost turned the city into a bona fide ghost town.
Whether you refer to it as Labor Day or Miners Day, this weekend's about acknowledging the contributions made by workers — from the miners of old to the construction and service industry employees of today — and recognizing that their issues are still of critical importance, from fair labor practices and affordable housing to a decent minimum wage.