Whatever Happened to the Silver Mine Adventure?

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  1. I remember going with a group of youth from the Utah Boys Ranch in about 1997. It was such a cool experience being able to participate in the Park City Silver Mine Adventure. I remember being fascinated with the mine and the bits of history that seamed to be still and timeless as I learned the history of those who worked at the Ontario Mine, I remember going through the main entrance and being taken to the gift shop / exhibit as there were a few things to keep one’s mind busy. I remember a table with rocks where children could sift through and try to find small ingots of gold, then there was the animated manikin that told the story of the mine. Then there was a gym-like open area that we were taken to, as we were told to put on a yellow rain poncho with the “Park City Silver Mine Adventure” logo on it, and then we would go down some porch-like steps as we walked over to the shaft or elevator entrance directly ahead. I still remember the accordion doors that slid open to allow us into the elevator, and then we would descend down the shaft and into the main mining area for the tour. I remember it getting drafty as we made our descent. I also recall in the history being told that the shaft in the mine was so deep, that the distance from top to bottom was significantly larger than that of the empire state building, and the statue of liberty. It was said that both could fit inside the shaft because the descent was about 2,000 feet. That’s quite a distance. The descent I remember took maybe 5-10 minutes to get from top to bottom, so if you were bored, it would be good to have something to yak about. As we would reach the shaft floor, I remember the small train with cage cars that would take us past the walls where blast marks could be seen from where the miners worked. Then we would be taken to 2-3 rooms where heavy machinery would be situated. I remember one room called “the hoist room” where we were shown a large hoist (about 8 feet tall and 9 feet wide with a conveyor belt that was thick and possibly 2 feet wide) which went up or fed the conveyor belt through a deep shaft to the top of the outside tower at the top of the building that you could see when you first came to park for the exhibit. In fact, if you looked through the shaft, you could see a tiny dot of light. Kind of an eerie feeling doing so, but it was kinda cool. The hoist was described to us, but I don’t remember what exactly is was used for unfortunately. I want to say it was used for hauling the mined materials into rail cars to be processed at another facility somewhere, but I’m not certain. I think we were also informed regarding some of the unfortunate events that happened there too. A somber feeling could be felt while hearing of some of these terrible accidents. Probably since then I have always had a quiet reverence and respect for those who had the guts and the courage to work in such a dangerous location knowing full well that ominous dangers that loomed above them if something every went wrong. This is about all I can recall about the adventure there, but I do remember it being quite a fun and fascinating experience. I was really disappointed to hear of it’s closing however. It could have impacted so many lives if it were still open today. Anyway, Hope this is helpful information 🙂 – Robert

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