Workers past and present take center stage on Miners Day
The Park Record editorial, Sept.2-6, 2017
Labor Day has a special significance in Park City. The town was still in its hardscrabble infancy when the holiday, celebrating the great accomplishments of American workers, was established in the 1880s. Local residents quickly latched onto the occasion to lavish attention on the men who were turning their little mining camp into a thriving silver-mining boom town.
It has been known as Miners Day, locally, ever since.
Like their counterparts in many other towns dotted throughout the Rocky Mountains, those miners worked under unimaginably treacherous conditions in order to support their families, their churches and their community. But while their work ethic never flagged, the price of silver fluctuated wildly and eventually could not sustain them. One by one the mines closed and so did most of the city. At its lowest point, Park City’s draw as a tourist destination was its status as a quaint western ghost town.
That is almost impossible to believe today. As the roads into town this weekend fill with visitors headed to swanky hotels and sophisticated restaurants, some might be tempted to cast a wistful eye back in time. But only for a moment. Like the heady days during Park City’s silver boom days, tourism has imbued our town with a level of prosperity that no one could have imagined.
But there is one constant. It is the men and women who show up for work, day in and day out, who ensure the town’s economy can support everything from hanging flowers to fine schools, from free outdoor music to professional public safety providers and all of the other amenities and essentials that today we take for granted. It is the city and county public works employees, the cooks and servers, the housekeepers and maintenance workers and all of those who punch a clock to keep our businesses humming that deserve credit for our collective success.
Even though there are only a handful of miners left who can find their way through the maze of tunnels below the city, we are happy to single them out for special recognition on Monday. And we will also take time to honor their successors – today’s hard-working employees who may heft vastly different types of equipment but are still the backbone of our thriving community.