Silver King Coalition Mines Company

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Silver King Mining Company

The Silver King mine resulted from the consolidation of claims in the Treasure Hill area in the early 1880s, and formation of the Silver King Mining Company in 1892. Further consolidation of claims around the Silver King mine led to formation of the Silver King Coalition Mines Company in 1907. The Daly, Daly West, and Judge mines were merged to form the Park City Mining and Smelting Company, which was merged with the Ontario and Park Utah mines to form the Park Utah Consolidated Mines Company.

Silver King Coalition Mines Company was incorporated in Nevada on June 19, 1907; merged with Park Utah Consolidated Mines Company to form United Park City Mines Company on May 13, 1953. (Utah corporation 6427)

The Silver King Mining Company was a group of claims in Woodside Gulch, with the Mayflower mine as the starting point where Thomas Kearns and David Keith had their first mining claim, first recorded in 1891. The Mayflower claim adjoined the original Woodside claim, and Kearns and Keith started work in early February 1890. Ore was struck in the the same ore vein at a depth of 200 feet in April 1890. The vein continued into the adjacent Silver King group, which itself was made up of four separate claims. Over a period of years, these claims were all under single ownership as the Silver King Mining Company, which was organized in July 1892. (Utah Since Statehood, Noble Warrum, 1919, biographical data for Thomas Kearns and David Keith)

Due to inadequate surveying equipment, there was much litigation concerning who was mining whose ore. A solution came in January 1907. "In January last, in order to put an end to all pending litigation, the Silver King Mining Company arranged for the purchase of all holdings in the district of the plaintiffs in the cases filed against it. Through this transaction the Silver King came into possession of a large area of additional territory, and this was followed a little later on by the formation of the Silver King Coalition Mines Company, which absorbed the property of the original Silver King company." (Engineering and Mining Journal, January 4, 1908, Volume 85, Number 1, page 46)

Included in the coalition were the Silver King, Kearns-Keith, Woodside, Alliance, Magnolia-St. Louis, Pinyon Ridge, Odin, Belmont, and Jupiter. (Salt Lake Telegraph, November 24, 1908)

The Silver King mine was high on the side of Woodside Canyon, and the road to get the ore down to Park City to be loaded into rail cars was steep and dangerous, especially for loaded ore wagons. Transportation by wagons was also subject to seasonal effects such as mud, snow and ice. In 1900 the Silver King put in an aerial tramway over 7,000 feet in length, with its lower terminal smack in downtown Park City, adjacent to the Union Pacific and Rio Grande depots. Although the tramway remained in service until 1952, the building itself remained and became an iconic symbol of the Park City ski industry until it burned in 1981.

Changes in 1952 and 1953 brought an end to the Silver King aerial tram, when the Silver King Coalition Mines Company and the Park Utah Consolidated Mines Company merged to form United Park City Mines Company. By 1953, most of the ore was moving underground by way of the expanded Ontario drain tunnel, three miles to the east, served by a Union Pacific spur built in 1923. This same Union Pacific spur was extended in 1941 to serve the Mayflower mine of New Park Mining Company.


August 2, 1900
The Silver King awarded the contract for its new aerial tramway. For several days previous, representatives of five different companies had been on the ground in Park City gathering data and preparing bids. Material was to be on the ground within 60 days, and work was to be completed within 90 days. The cost of the tramway was reported as $17,000, with the total cost of installation to be about $25,000. At the same time, the foundation and excavation of the new sampler building at the mine was well under way. (Park Record, August 4, 1900, "was awarded Thursday")

August 1900
"The Silver King Mining Company has let the contract to the Mine & Smelter Supply Company for a Finlayson wire rope tramway, the aerial tram to be 7,200 feet in length, the cables to be supported by forty iron towers. Seventy five buckets with a carrying capacity of pound each will be utilized." (Salt Lake Mining Review, August 15, 1900, "Trade Notes")

A. Leschen & Sons Rope Company of St. Louis, furnishes the Finlayson Patent Aerial Wire Rope Tramway, one of which is now being put in for the use of the Silver King Mining Company at Park City, one of the largest dividend paying mines in the west. (Salt Lake Mining Review, November 15, 1900, "Trade Notes")

Construction of the lower terminal and loading bins at Park City for the Silver King aerial tramway was to begin during the third week of September 1900. During August 1900, the Silver King mill produced 728 tons of concentrate, which was shipped by wagon from the mill to the loading station at Park City, pending the completion of the new tramway. (Park Record, September 15, 1900, "next week")

On October 17, 1900, the city council of Park City approved the petition of the Silver King company for a franchise to operate its aerial tramway above certain city streets and avenues from the mine to the Rio Grande depot. (Park Record, October 20, 1900, "Wednesday")

December 3, 1900
"All the cable and about half of the buckets for the Silver King aerial tram arrived this week, and work on the towers, ore depot and refinery is being pushed right along." Ore from the Silver King was extracting ore from the tunnel vein of the Ontario drain tunnel at the 1,300-foot mark from the mouth. (Deseret News, December 3, 1900)

December 11, 1900
"The aerial tramway towers which are being built by the Silver King company are completed and if the weather stays favorable it will not be long until the ropes are strung and the buckets put on. Work has been delayed at the aerial depot on account of not having lumber but lumber is expected every day." (Deseret News, December 11, 1900)

The output of the Silver King Mining Company was 2,700 to 3,000 tons of shipping ore each month, "while the modern mill but lately completed is taking care of vast quantities of the lower grade material." (Salt Lake Mining Review, December 30, 1900)

May 4, 1901
"The work of stringing the two standing cables of the Silver King aerial tram was completed Tuesday and the tension put on Wednesday." (Park Record, May 4, 1901)

The new tramway and sampler for the Silver King were put into operation on the same day, June 1, 1901. (Park Record, May 25, 1901)

"From the Silver King mine the ore and concentrates are conveyed to the loading station in Park City by an aerial tramway. This tramway is of the Finlayson pattern, 7,300 feet in length, and is strung over 39 steel towers ranging from 16 to 65 feet high. It carries 80 buckets, each having a working capacity of 500 pounds of ore or 325 pounds of coal, which are attached to the cable (long lay) at intervals of 172 feet; the normal speed is 150 feet a minute. Loading is done by one man and unloading at the lower terminal is automatic, the ore falling directly into freight ears. On the return the buckets bring all the coal used at the mine, mill, and boarding house. The total fall from mine to lower terminal is 1,000 feet and despite a steep rise at the head allows the buckets of ore to be propelled by gravity, but when coal is returned a little additional power is required. From the bins near the sampler, coal is carried to the various works on the property largely automatically. Shipping by this method has proved very satisfactory and the cost averages from 17 to 22 cents a ton." (USGS Professional Paper 77, Geology And Ore Deposits Of The Park City District, Utah, 1912, page 24)

By December 1901, the Silver King aerial tramway was moving 27 tons per hour of both crude ore and concentrate, from the recently completed sampler, down to the RGW depot. While operating only nine hours per day, the tramway could ship 600 tons per day if it worked 24 hours. (Deseret News, December 21, 1901)

Silver King Coalition Mines Company

May 1914
The Silver King put into commission a new underground hoist and air compressor station, at the junction of the Alliance tunnel (at the 500-foot level of the King shaft), and 8,500 feet distant from the Alliance portal in Empire Canyon. The hoist was installed at the top of a 370-foot shaft which was to be extended down an additional 800+ feet to the 1,300-foot level of the Silver King mine where crosscuts and drifts would be added to bring ore to the hoisting shaft. The new station was 1,600 feet below the surface. "The arrangements for loading the cars at the bins at the station for haulage either to the portal of the tunnel or the 500-foot station of the King shaft are shown. Ore will be hoisted to the station level and dumped into bins, reloaded into cars, trammed to the station on the King shaft, hoisted to the surface and trammed to the upper terminal of the aerial tramway for conveyance to Park City and railroad transportation from there to the Salt Lake Valley smelters." (See Salt Lake Mining Review, May 30, 1914; which cites the November 30, 1913 issue, which states that the excavated room for the new station was 42 feet by 30 feet by 20 feet high, with roof beams made from 56-pound rails purchased from D&RGW and formed into arch supports spaced at 2-1/2-foot intervals.)

December 1915
"For the month of December there were shipped out of Park City cars of ore aggregating 10,976 tons. Of this amount the Union Pacific carried 141 cars and the Denver & Rio Grande 89 cars (47 tons per car). The shippers were Silver King Coalition 3,731 tons; Daly Judge 2,433 tons; Ontario Silver Mining Company 1,232 tons; Silver King Consolidated 1,278 tons; Daly West Mining Company 1,019 tons." (Park Record, December 31, 1915)

The mill of the Silver King Coalition Mines was destroyed by fire on January 27, 1921. The replacement mill was very similar in appearance, but was modern in every aspect, using steel and concrete construction throughout, replacing the wooden structure built in 1900-1901. The new mill had a capacity of 450 tons per 24 hours, with the modern machinery using half the floor space as the old mill, which had a 24 hour capacity of just 250 tons. "During 1920, about 14,500 tons of first-class ore was produced which went direct to the smelter and was sold for approximately $800,000; in the same period about 25,000 tons of second-class ore was milled to produce about 4,500 tons of concentrates which sold for approximately $200,000. The ratio of concentration has been about 5.5 to one." (Salt Lake Mining Review, December 15, 1921, which includes several photos and a full description and flow chart of the milling operation.)

On May 19, 1924, Silver King Coalition Mines Company announced that it had purchased control of the adjacent Silver King Consolidated Mining Company. The Silver King Con was the owner of a 17,000-foot tunnel started in 1916 and meant to drain the company's workings. The surface acreage of the combined companies totaled 3,800 acres, with 2,400 coming from Coalition, and 1,400 acres coming from Consolidated, which also operated a floatation mil at the mouth of its tunnel, known as the Spiro Tunnel. The purchase option expired on June 16, 1924. The sale was finalized on June 6, 1924 when the last stock of Consolidated was purchased. A connection between the Spiro Tunnel and the 1300 level of the Coalition mine was to be completed within a month, and would greatly improve the combined mines ventilation, transportation and safety. (Salt Lake Mining Review, May 15, 1924, "tomorrow"; May 30, 1924; Park Record, May 23, 1924, "Monday"; June 6, 1924)

(This last article mentions that the portal of the Spiro Tunnel was situated directly on the Denver & Rio Grande branch to Park City, this was not actually the case. The portal of the Spiro Tunnel, located along today's Three Kings Drive at the Park City municipal water plant, immediately west of the golf course, was in fact over 2,000 feet from the rail line. There is no record or document showing a railroad spur to the Spiro Tunnel, so transportation of ore and concentrates from the Spiro Tunnel would have required the use of wagons, which would then dump into rail cars by using a raised platform.)

(Also note no mention of ore being shipped from the Spiro Tunnel after its purchase by Silver King Coalition in 1924. This likely indicates that the 15,000-foot Spiro Tunnel was used almost solely for ventilation, and for transportation of miners and materials. The Coalition company already had its newly rebuilt concentrator mill at the top, and its aerial tramway connecting the mine and mill with the ore loading station in downtown Park City.) (Read more about the Spiro Tunnel)

During 1924 the Silver King Coalition Mining Company produced 38,147 tons of first class or shipping ore, and 76,951 tons of second class or milling ore. From the milling ore, 20,952 tons of concentrates were produced, making a yearly total of 59,099 tons of first class ore and concentrate sold to the smelter. Crude ore carried an average value of 31.9 per cent lead and 53.77 ounces of silver per ton. (Salt Lake Mining Review, May 30, 1925)

During 1925 the Silver King Coalition Mining Company produced 57,913 tons of first class or shipping ore, and 85,388 tons of second class or milling ore. From the milling ore, 18,953 tons of concentrates were produced, making a yearly total of 76,846 tons of first class ore and concentrate sold to the smelter. On January 3, 1926, a new floatation mill at the mine site was completed and placed into service. (Park Record, February 19, 1926; this issue includes a general description of all Park City district mines; Salt Lake Mining Review, January 28, 1926)

(Based on the average drop-bottom railroad gondola car having a 50-ton capacity, 76,800 tons shipped to the smelter means that there was approximately 1,536 carloads, or approximately six rail cars per day shipped from the Silver King Coalition's ore loading station in downtown Park City.)

"The Silver King mine is served by one main vertical hoisting shaft, five vertical underground shafts and two drain tunnels, the total subterranean working exceeding 200 miles. One of the latter, the Alliance tunnel, connects with the main shaft 500 feet below the surface, and the other, the Silver King Consolidated, connects with the shaft 1300 feet below the surface." (Salt Lake Telegram, December 31, 1931)

(No mention of a connection between Silver King workings and Park City Consolidated workings, or either the Ontario tunnel above Park City, or the Ontario drain tunnel at Keetley, meaning that in 1931, Silver King ore was only and still coming out via the Silver King's main hoist and aerial tramway, not yet by underground means.)

In early May 1951, a group of 38 Boy Scouts from Ogden visited the Silver King Coalition mine and mill to see the mine's operation.

The boys came from Ogden in a regular passenger coach of the Union Pacific railroad accompanied by Trainmaster B. W. Collins and Passenger Agent Charlie Stone of Ogden who made arrangements for the Scouts' transportation They were met at the Park City station by members of the Park City Kiwanis club and taken by auto to the surface workings of the mine where they visited the shaft house and watched the ore being hoisted out of the shaft then taken in mine cars by motor train to the mill where the ore undergoes the floatation type of milling which produces almost pure metals. They next visited the sampler where they saw the concentrate loaded into buckets and taken by aerial tramway to the terminal station in Park City where concentrates are loaded into railroad cars and taken to various smelters. The same train taking the Scouts back to Ogden pulled the carloads of concentrates the boys had seen milled." (Park Record, May 3, 1951)

The Silver King Coalition aerial tramway was shut down in August 1952 when the mine converted to using trucks to get ore and concentrate down to the loading station in Park City. In March 1963, the tramway was started up to remove the 90 ore buckets, which had been decided to be a safety hazard after hanging suspended from the cable since 1952. The work was completed by the shop crew of the United Park City Mines Company, and the buckets were stored at the lower terminal. The towers and cable was to be left intact. (Summit County Bee Park Record, March 21, 1963)

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 Consolidated 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.

More Information

New Park Mining Company and the Mayflower mine.