Native American History
The area that would become Park City was inhabited by the Ute, Goshute and Shoshone tribes for centuries prior to its settlement by European settlers. The indigenous people of the Wasatch Range lived off the land and fishing in what is now Park City’s namesake, Big Cottonwood Creek. They had a long, rich history of living in the area that dates back to prehistoric times. Today, the Ute, Goshute and Shoshone tribes are still present in Park City and have a great influence on its culture. These Native American communities continue to hold their traditional beliefs while also participating in modern aspects of life in and around Park City.
The city’s first major industry was silver mining, and it grew rapidly with the discovery of rich silver ore deposits in Park City’s Big Cottonwood Canyon. It became one of the most productive silver mines in Utah, drawing miners from around the world. In 1869, Park City was established as a city by an act of the Utah State Legislature and soon became one of the most prosperous towns in Utah. The city flourished throughout the rest of the 19th century and into the early 20th century with a booming population and increasing wealth. Mining eventually declined in Park City but it still remains an important part of its history and culture to this day. The town is home to several historic mining sites, including the Ontario Mine, which is now a tourist attraction. The Park City Museum is dedicated to the city’s mining history and offers a variety of exhibits, activities, and educational programs to visitors. Mining continues to play an important role in the local economy with many of the town’s recreational businesses relying on it for their livelihood.