United Park City Mines Company
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This page was last updated on March 18, 2014.
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In 1953, United Park City Mines Company was formed by consolidation of the Silver King Coalition Mines Company and Park Utah Consolidated Mines Company. By the 1960s, more than 90 percent of the district properties were owned by United Park City Mines Company and New Park Mining Company. In 1970, The Anaconda Company and ASARCO formed Park City Ventures and leased all mining properties of United Park City Mines Company in the district. After Park City Ventures ceased operations in 1978, Noranda Mining Company leased the Ontario mine from 1979 to 1982, and was the last company to operate a mine in the district.
On March 3, 1953, the consolidation of Silver King Coalition Mines Company and Park Utah Consiolidated Mines Company was approved in special meetings of each company's shareholders. (Spokane Daily Chronicle, March 4, 1953, "yesterday")
May 8, 1953 is used on real estate legal documents as the transfer date of property from Silver King Coalition Mines Company, to United Park City Mines Company.
United Park City Mines Company was incorporated in Utah on May 13, 1953 (Utah corporation 28666), with Anaconda and American Smelting, Refining & Mining Company having controlling interest. The two companies each had two directors, of a total of seven (later, six) directors of the joint venture. From 1953 through 1970, the focus was on mining, with a small side line of a small resort developed in late 1963, that included nineteen ski runs, an aerial gondola, a ski lift, and a nine-hole golf course.
With the 1953 merger of the region's two largest mining company's, the Park Utah Consolidated (which included the pioneer Ontario claim) and the Silver King Coalition, forming the United Park City Mines Company, UP's business in Park City was greatly diminished. Although organized in 1953, the only work being done was tunnel extension and development work. According to the September 23, 1954 issue of the Park Record newspaper, actual mining began in that month. The Silver King Coalition's ore loading station was closed, and the "Park City Con Spur" in Deer Valley was abandoned and removed in 1954. Almost all rail traffic, except the occasional carload from the Park City truck dumps, was focused at the Ontario mine opening at Keetley on the Ontario Branch, which had been completed in 1923.
On September 9, 1954, United Park City Mines announced that production would resume at its Park City properties. The company was to employ 80 to 100 men, working in the old Ontario property. Production was expected to start within ten days to two weeks, and reach 6,500 tons per month within 60 days. About 200 men were expected to be working soon, at which time, production will be about 250 tons per day. The men entered the mine, and the ore was to be shipped, through the Keetley unit. The old Silver King property was to remained quiet in the near future. The mines had been shut down due to uncertain metals prices, and uncertainty concerning lack of political support on the national level for support of a strong domestic lead-zinc mining industry. (Park Record, September 16, 1954; September 23, 1954)
United Park City Mines Co. merged with Daly Mining Co. on June 28, 1957. Daly Mining Company was incorporated in Utah on November 22, 1884, and along with the old Ontario Mining Co. pioneered in development of the district. By mid April 1957, United Park City Mines owned 91 percent of Daly Mining Company, and a special stockholders meeting was scheduled for May for a proposed merger. The merger would unify ownership of the Ontario Drain Tunnel No. 2 by eliminating large numbers of leases and operating agreements. The United Park City properties completely surrounded the Daly property, and would allow extension into productive areas of the main Ontario drain tunnel controlled by the Daly company. The meeting for stockholders of the Daly company was held on May 21, and for the United Park City company on May 28. The Daly meeting was delayed because of a lack of two-thirds votes, as required by law. The Daly meeting was held on June 25th. The merger was finalized on June 28, 1957. (Park Record, April 18, 1957; June 27, 1957; Utah corporation 241)
McFarland & Hullinger were contract operators and truckers from the Tooele area, and by 1956, had been hauling from Park City area mines "for several years." Work resumed during early April 1957, after a shut down during the winter. Trucks were "hauling the dump at the Ontario mine to the loading patform in the Union Pacific yards." (Park Record, December 13, 1956; April 11, 1957)
In May 1958, hauling of the old Ontario dump resumed. The dumps were being hauled by truck to the railroad cars on Union Pacific, and were being used as flux at the Garfield smelter. (Park Record, May 22, 1958)
On October 12, 1958, in a New York Times article about the declining lead and zinc mining industry in Utah, mention was made that "Engineers are surveying this week the long idle aerial tramway of the Silver King Coalition Mines. They are seeking to determine if the 7,000-foot-long canyon-spanning cable way can be used to haul skiers and sightseers rather than high grade lead, zinc and silver ore which once flowed from the surrounding Wasatch Range." (Park Record, November 6, 1958)
In late 1958, lead was selling for 12.5 cents per pound, and zinc for 11 cents per pound, but 17-cent lead and 14.5-cent zinc would be better for local mines, and allow more exploration and development, resulting in more employment. (Park Record, November 6, 1958, citing the New York Times, October 12, 1958; additional commentary concerning metal prices and long-range mineral policy is in Park Record, March 27, 1958)
During early January 1960, McFarland and Hullinger were using three 15-ton trucks to haul the waste dumps from the Daly No. 2 mine above the Ontario, along Park City's Main Street to be loaded into Union Pacific railroad cars and shipment to Kennecott Copper for use as flux ore. The trucks were making six trips each day and had started up again after stopping in August. During the week between January 7th and the 14th, the trucks loaded 19 rail cars. (Park Record, January 7, 1960; January 14, 1960)
The Park City mines were producing high value ore that contained lead, silver and gold. Known as galena ore, the busy mines included the United Park City Mines Company, which shipped 34 rail carloads during March 1960. The other operators included McFarland & Hullinger, who shipped 30 carloads, and the Mayflower lease, which shipped 15 carloads. (Park Record, April 7, 1960)
McFarland & Hullinger continued loading Union Pacific cars through July 1960, when 30 cars were loaded in one week, a rate that continued into November when 30 cars per week was also being loaded. The trucks usually stopped during the winter months due to bad roads, but as spring arrived, the trucks would resume hauling sand and flux ores to be dumped into the cars of Union Pacific and shipped to Kennecott's smelter at Garfield, and the International smelter at Tooele. (Park Record, various issues throughout the 1960s, under the irregular heading "Shipping, Sales At Park Mines")
The other mines continued to ship ores by rail as late as the early 1960s. There are newspaper accounts, in the form of regular weekly reports of mining activity, saying that 10-20 cars were shipped from various mines in any given one week period. The Ontario mine continued to ship material from its mine dumps above Park City throughout this same period. While the mine dumps were not high grade ore, they worked very well as what was known as flux-ore, a product needed by the smelters to balance the ores they were processing from other mines throughout the region, which included Nevada and Idaho. The Ontario dumps were trucked from the mine site down Park City's Main Street to a truck dump built for the purpose, and located about 300 yards north of the landmark Silver King Coalition building.
In later years, until the Ontario Branch was abandoned beyond Phoston in the mid 1960s, Union Pacific provided rail service to Keetley to serve what later became the Mayflower mine, a subsidiary of the Hecla Mining Company, as the leaser of the old Ontario Mine. The Ontario property was owned by the New Park City Mining Company, and the Ontario mine itself was being leased to a company known as Park City Ventures, a joint company owned by The Anaconda Company and American Smelting & Refining Company.
During December 1964, "Utah's United Park City Mines are shipping a car-load or so of silver-lead-zinc ore each day." (New York Times, December 10, 1964)
By 1965, United Park City Mines was shipping 33 cars per week, but Hecla was only shipping five cars per week from the Mayflower. (Park Record, May 6, 1965)
In late April 1968, mining resumed at the mines of United Park City Mining Co., following a 8-1/2 month strike by workers at Kennecott's operations in Utah, Nevada, Arizona and New Mexico. The strike was honored by workers at the all of the western smelters, including the United States lead mill at Midvale, where the Park City company was sending its ores, and the International smelter in Tooele where the Park City concentrates were smelted. (New York Times, April 7, 1968, "within two weeks")
In 1970, Park City Ventures was organized as a joint venture by Anaconda (60 percent) and ASARCO (40 percent) to lease and operate all of United Park City's mining property and equipment, with Anaconda and ASARCO receiving two-thirds of the net mining profits, and United park City the other one-third. The Ontario mine had 500 miles of drifts (horizontal shafts) and raises (vertical shafts). Anaconda authorized Park City Ventures a $17 million investment to close other openings and open a No. 3 shaft south of Park City. Production from the new opening was projected to begin in April 1975, producing 250,000 tons per year and employing 300 miners. Until the new opening is completed, and during the development phase, miners entered the mine at Keetley and traveled by rail a distance of 13,000 feet to the new despoits. The vertical No. 3 shaft was first opened in about 1900 as a ventilation shaft, and was being considerably expanded and improved to serve as the headquarters and primary center of future operations. Improvemnets include new steel supports down to the current 1,700-foot level, with the shaft to be extended down to the 2,200 and 2,500-foot levels. The Ontario mine was to be connected with the Silver King mine by a new 7,200-foot tunnel to allow access to additional known ore reserves, bringing the total miles of the connected mines to about 1,000 miles of tunnels and shafts. The present operating shaft at Keetley, used since 1894 primarily as a drain shaft, was to be abandoned. (Deseret News, November 17, 1973)
The major change in 1970 came when United Park City Mines Company sold and leased the surface rights to over 10,000 acres in the Park City area to a new company, Greater Park City Company (formerly Treasure Mountains Resort Company, a direct United Park City Mines subsidiary), with the intent to further develop and operate recreational properties. This new company was a joint venture between United Park City and a company known as Royal Street Development Company, along with their banks. The company lost money by trying to do too much, too soon, and in 1971 sold the resort to Aspen developer Edgar Stern. It was Stern who saw that greater financial rewards would be in real estate sales, with skiing as the attraction. He built condominiums and restaurants to turn that first resort, renamed from Treasure Mountain Resort to Park City Resort, into a ski destination. By the mid 1970s, the debts continued to increase, and in 1975, the resort was sold Nicholas Badami, under the business name of Alpine Meadows Corporation. Alpine Meadows focused solely on the ski resort itself, selling the associated condos and restaurants to local businessmen.
As an indication of the continuing mining traffic coming from Park City, in one week in mid March 1970, United Park City Mines shipped 22 carloads of ore over Union Pacific. (Park Record, March 19, 1970)
In early November 1971, Anaconda announced that it would be closing its lead smelter at Tooele, and one week later, the United States company announced "phased shutdown by year's end" of its lead smelter at Midvale. With the closing of the Midvale and Tooele plants, several mines in Utah, including the United Park City mine at Park City and Keetley, were faced with having to ship their raw ores to either the ASARCO and Bunker Hill smelter at Kellogg, Idaho, or to the ASARCO smelter at El Paso, Texas. All of the mines faced likely shutdown due to the high cost of transportation, and the low market value of lead, zinc and silver. Hecla Mining Company was already sending its ore from the New Park mine at Mayflower to ASARCO at El Paso. (New York Times, November 27, 1971) (click here for more information about the end of lead smelting and refining in Utah)
In a New York Times article from June 1972, the Anaconda Company is shown as holding 21 percent of United Park City Mines common stock, and American Smelting & Refining Company is shown as holding 14.5 percent. (New York Times, June 10, 1972)
"Park City to Halt Operations at Mine -- Park City Ventures announced it would suspend its lead, zinc and silver mining and milling operations at its Ontario mine in Park City, Utah, by Feb. 15. Park City Ventures is a joint undertaking of the Anaconda Company, the mining and metal fabricating subsidiary of the Atlantic Richfield Company, and of Asarco Inc. Park City said operations at the mine were being suspended because of reasons that have made the existing operation unprofitable for some time." (New York Times, January 14, 1978)
On February 15, 1978, after spending $30 million since 1971 to expand and develop the property, and only selling $5 million in concentrates by 1976, Park City Ventures shut down the former Ontario mine. Its revenues simply could not pay off the large debt that had been incurred. The lease to Park City Ventures was turned over in 1979 to Canadian mining company Noranda, Inc., and the Ontario mine was reopened. The mine's new life was short, however, and Noranda closed the mine on April 9, 1982.
"Until 1982, the company and its predecessors had been mining in the Park City Mining District for more than a century. The company founded the Park City Resort in 1962. It disengaged from resort participation in 1976. In 1985, Loeb Investors, New York, acquired the former 33.4 percent position of the Anaconda unit of Atlantic Richfield Co., and Asarco Inc. in United Park City Mines. For three years the firm has been in litigation with the Park City and Deer Valley resorts, claiming a variety of transgressions including violations of fiduciary trust, misstating of lift revenues and misappropriation of the firm's land and water. A state district judge recently dismissed defendants' motions to disqualify the company's counsel on allegations of conflict of interest. Defendants are now seeking review of the district court action by the Utah Supreme Court." (Deseret News, August 16, 1989)
United Park City Mines remained in the mining business, through the leasing of its mines until August 1985, when they sold their mining interests, and became a real estate development company operating in the Park City district. In February 2002, United Park City Mines Company was purchased by Capitol Growth Partners, a Utah real estate developer.
During the 1930s, the snows of the Park City area became known among the early skiers, those diehard pioneers who would willing strap a couple long boards to their feet and willingly head downhill. This was in the days before ski lifts, or even uphill rope pulls. The first ski trains were operated by Denver & Rio Grande Western over its own branch between Salt Lake City and Park City. Rio Grande continued to operate ski trains on regular basis until the line was closed in 1946, when operation of the occasional ski train specials was moved to Union Pacific, by way of Ogden and Weber Canyon.
Fewer than 200 men were working in the Park City mines during the late 1950s. With Colorado mining towns such as Aspen and Vail being developed as ski resorts, United Park City Mines Company, decided that it too should take advantage of the growing sport of snow skiing. The company, which owned the surface rights to over 10,000 acres of mining claims, along with the other mining companies, obtained and matched a $1.2 million redevelopment loan from the federal government and set about its work. In 1963, the Treasure Mountain Inn was opened, the resort's first ski lifts were built, and a new golf course was completed, forever changing Park City's history.
On May 11, 1963, United Park City Mines Company and the town of Park City held a "Bonanza Day" celebration, which included a ground breaking ceremony for a $636,000 aerial enclosed gondola 2-1/2 mile tramway, as the first step of a new "multimillion dollar, major year-round playground" resort called "The Treasure Mountains." In attendance was Utah governor George W. Clyde, who swung a symbolic silver-coated mining pick to open the event. The project was being financed by a $1,232,000 loan from the federal Area Redevelopment Administration, the largest ARA loan granted west of the Mississippi River. Also in attendance was U. S. Senator Frank E. Moss, who had worked with the ARA to secure the loan. (Davis County Clipper, May 10, 1963; includes a full description of the plans for the resort; May 16, 1963, which included a full description of the ceremony)
The new aerial gondola tramway was completed and held its grand opening on December 21, 1963. Known as the "Treasure Mountains Tramway", the gondolas traveled 2-1/2 miles, rising 2,300 feet from Park City, up to the summit of Pioneer Ridge at 9,300 feet elevation. Each gondola car carried four persons. (Summit County Bee Park Record, January 9, 1964)
December 21, 1963 has been reported as being the first day of business for Treasure Mountains Resort Company. (Deseret News, December 22, 1988)
United Park City Mines "recently utilized" a $1.2 million loan from the federal Area Redevelopment Administration, using the money to construct a two-and-one-half-mile gondola lift, a chair lift and two J-bar tows. By February 1964, the company had 100 employees working on the resort side of the company, which they called their recreation division. (New York Times, February 16, 1964)
In February 1965, UP operated what became known as the "Hootspa Special," the first passenger train to serve Park City since 1950. The occasion was the first Lowell Thomas Classic ski competition. The train was pulled by UP's new SDP35 passenger locomotives, and was remembered by many for the liberal serving of liquor-by-the-drink, which was not allowed on the ground in Utah, but was allowed on trains because Utah's liquor laws did not apply to the federally-regulated railroads. Other ski specials were operated, using UP's famous E8 and E9 locomotives, usually in February of each year, coinciding with the annual Lowell Thomas Classic. The last of what were usually known as "The Snowball Express," operated in 1970.
In May 1970, United Park City Mines sold 4,200 acres to Treasure Mountain Resort Company for the purposes of resort and recreational development at a reported $5.4 million, and leased to the resort company another 6,100 acres for the development of ski lifts and ski runs. At the time, United Park City Mines was 30 percent owned by Anaconda and ASARCO, which was also controlling interest. (Deseret News, June 18, 1970)