The Montage Hotel is built on what was once the great Daly West Mine. The toppled steel headframe and the great engines surrounding it were once enclosed in a building, one of many impressive structures that made up this very large mining complex.
John J. Daly arrived in Park City in 1876, with a little money in his pocket. Orphaned in Illinois when he was 12 years old, Daly only received 2 years of formal schooling. Rather than rely on the charity of relatives, he struck out as a cabin boy on a steamboat bound for Fort Benton, Montana. While there, Daly worked for traders and around the evening campfire, learned from their stories. In 1869, he arrived at the White Pine Mining District in Nevada where he gained great knowledge of mining techniques.
On his arrival in Utah, he worked at the Utah State Penitentiary where he met John Judge who also worked there. Oddly enough, the famous Ontario Mine Superintendent R. C. Chambers had also worked at the Utah State Penitentiary on his arrival in Utah. The three would later conspire to produce great mining wealth.
Presumably, John Daly met R. C. Chambers when he worked briefly at the Ontario Mine after a stint working the Jones Bonanza Mine on Bonanza Flat. Daly became convinced that the Jones Bonanza ores were the same vein as the Ontario and he began to acquire claims in Empire Canyon.
In 1885 with 24 claims, he established the Daly Mining Company with the help and cooperation of R. C. Chambers and Chamber’s Ontario Mine partners.
In 1891, as it became apparent that the Ontario's ore vein was heading west, John Daly acquired 40 patented mining claims and established the Daly West Mining Company in Empire Canyon with the Ontario owners controlling an undivided half of the property. By 1898, John Daly was President and R. C. Chambers was Vice President. The 15 claims of the Morgan Group, the Quincy Mine and the Little Bell Mine were all added to the Daly West’s large holdings and eventually the Daly West comprised of 1200 acres in Empire Canyon. However, disputes arose with the Ontario owners (who owned half of the mine) and gradually members of the Bamberger family amassed the majority of the Daly West stock.
On July 15, 1902 one of the worst underground mining accidents occurred when dynamite housed underground exploded. Thirty-four miners died either from the explosion or asphyxiation as the fumes from the explosion backed up into Daly West and Ontario mines.
In 2015, the large steel Daly West Headframe collapsed as the shaft caved. The shaft was remediated by Clark Martinez with the help of Utah Abandoned Mine Reclamation Project and it is hoped that soon the head frame will be standing tall near its old location.