Park City Origins

A Summer Sanctuary

Long before our town was called Park City, there is evidence of nomadic camps in the Summit County region dating back 5,000 years. Only habitable during the spring and summer, the surrounding lands became a seasonal hunting destination stop for centuries of cultures seeking solace and sustenance.  About 700 years ago, the Shoshonean people began settling in Northeastern Utah. Recorded Ute oral histories also describe men, women, and children climbing into the Uinta mountain range to live and hunt from early June to late September. These seasonal visits continued well into the 19th century.

Parley's Park City

In 1848, Mormon pioneers traveling to the growing town of Salt Lake City, founded a year earlier by Brigham Young, explored the area, and noticed the basin at the top of the canyon was an ideal place to graze. A few families stayed, and the area settlers named the spot "Parley's Park City," later shortened to "Park City" upon the town's incorporation in 1884

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Settlers and Conflict

Early settlers reported interacting with large Shoshone parties of up to 400 people. Both Shoshone and the new settlers shared food and kindled close friendships. Other settlers living permanently along Ute seasonal paths also reported positive relationships with Ute people camped along the outskirts of their towns.

But growing change to the indigenous people’s way of life and their land brought on by the technological “improvements” of the settlers, including stream diversion for crops and trees felled for timber, created tension and violence between the settlers and tribes and ultimately, death. The violent conflicts resulted in the eventual evacuation of settlers and the construction of forts in Henefer, Chalk Creek, Rockport, and Peoa. By 1868, treaties barred indigenous people from using their land, and they were forcibly relocated to reservations, leaving the area open for white settlement and continued development.