Barn cannot become another heartbreaking historic loss
There have been heartbreaking losses of historic buildings or structures through the decades in Park City, some to fire, others to the elements and still more to neglect.
But just off S.R. 224 on the entryway between Kimball Junction and Park City stands what is the city’s most visible historic property. The McPolin Farm, with its immediately recognizable white barn and silos, has for generations greeted people headed into Park City and bid safe travels for those leaving.
City Hall, the owner of the McPolin Farm for more than a quarter of a century, has taken incremental steps over the years to ensure the prized acquisition did not fall into a state of disrepair unworthy of the taxpayers who funded the purchase. Those efforts were generally successful since success has, essentially, been measured by ensuring the barn remained standing.
Park City officials are now preparing for a major upgrade of the barn, something that could eventually cost in the neighborhood of $1 million. It is a welcome project. City Hall says the work will include putting in a steel frame and new footings that attach the structure to the ground. There will be other upgrades as well, but the frame and the footings are the most important.
The project is meant to ensure the structure remains standing. It is not something that will be undertaken to improve the barn to the point people will be allowed inside. That is fine for the time being. There can be debates later about another project to improve the interior, but it is more important today to pursue the upgrades to the structure itself.
Park City’s colorful history of silver mining and, in the case of the McPolin Farm, dairy farming, has long been a draw for people who live in the community and tourists alike. There has been much more interest in the mining history, as evidenced by the heartbreak when the Daly West Mine derrick collapsed in Deer Valley last spring, but the McPolin Farm certainly has a rightful place alongside the mining-era sites.
The upcoming work at the barn, though it will look dramatic, is a necessary responsibility of owning a piece of history. And the citizens who own the McPolin Farm would not accept another Daly West Mine-style disaster, this one right along the entryway.
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“So, gone is the mountain lion, the fox, the beavers, the grouse and so many others. We have made Park City into the city left behind,” writes Ann Kruse in a letter to the editor. “No wildlife, only empty mansions.”