Solon Spiro is best known in Park City for his development of the Silver King Consolidated Mine in Thaynes Canyon. But for his first 20 years in Utah, he was known as the manager and secretary of the M.S. Ascheim Mercantile Co., a clothing store in town. Despite working in Park City, he could afford to live in Salt Lake City, which at that time had much cleaner air and was a more respectable town.
According to the Park Record, “Spiro was a distinguished looking man, heavyset, alert, forceful, who went after what he wanted and usually got It.” He traveled often for work, meeting with vendors, garment-makers, and other proprietors – mostly back East. It is during these travels that he met Ms. Ida Marks, the daughter of a prominent Cincinnati merchant.
Solon Spiro and Ida Marks were married on October 16, 1899 in Cincinnati, Ohio. From Cincinnati, the newlyweds embarked on a honeymoon tour. They started with New York City, jumped over to London and Liverpool, then continued into Europe where they visited Paris, Berlin, Cologne, Frankfort, and many other places in Germany and France. Spiro was born in Germany in 1863. They also spent a considerable amount of time in Breslau, Poland, where Spiro had lived for a while before coming over to Park City in 1881.
The couple returned to many congratulations from friends, family, and acquaintances and decided to settle in the Knutsford Hotel at the northeast corner of State Street and Third South (Broadway) while they searched for a house. The Knutsford was an upscale hotel that turned into a department store later on. It was demolished in 1935. The Spiros later moved into a home at 757 First Avenue in the Lower Avenues neighborhood of Salt Lake City.
Spiro returned to Park City to a surprise gift from his employees at the mercantile. They gifted him a “magnificent gold mounted clock.” According to the Park Record, Spiro said “of all the valuable presents that were received by himself and bride on the occasion of their wedding, he prizes none more highly than this one, showing as it does the regard with which he is held by the men under his direction.”
Just a year after he was married, Spiro was able to buy mining claims from John Bogan, after Bogan had leveraged his claims at the M.S. Ascheim Mercantile store. Spiro had always been interested in mining in Park City and had made various dealings and kept his eye on opportunities over the years.
Bogan’s claims, along with several others he bought, allowed Spiro to develop most of Thaynes Canyon as part of the Silver King Consolidated Mining Company. He also later bought the California and Comstock mining claims and California Comstock mill. Ultimately, his mining efforts were not as fruitful as he hoped, and he had to sell his mining company to the rival Silver King Mining Company.
Spiro’s name is still embedded in Park City with his namesake Spiro Tunnel near the Silver Star development. The tunnel is used by the municipal waterworks.
Solon Spiro’s life and mining efforts will be featured in a lecture by mining engineer Mark Danninger and local history buff Sandy Brumley called “Solon Spiro: From Immigrant Store Clerk to Mining Magnate” on Wednesday, November 15 from 5 to 6 p.m. at the Museum’s Education and Collections Center (2079 Sidewinder Drive).