PARK CITY, Utah — On Thursday a ceremony was held at the Montage Deer Valley to commemorate the revitalization of the Daly West Headframe, a major artifact of Park City’s mining history.
The headframe stood as an icon of the area between the Montage and Deer Valley’s Empire Express chairlift and was part of the Daly West Mine Complex, which was rebuilt following a fire in 1914.
Another fire on Easter of 1974 destroyed the surrounding buildings, however, the headframe itself survived the event to stand in its original location until May of 2015, when a cave-in around the mine shaft caused the large steel structure to topple over.
The headframe has been repaired and now stands again on a location about 100 feet up the hill, to ensure that it remains a proud icon for the foreseeable future.
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Collaboration between the Empire Pass Master Owners Association, Deer Valley, Park City Municipal, and the Friends of Ski Mountain Mining History (FOSMMH) prioritized the preservation of the historic mining relic.
EPMOA and Park City Municipal gathered the financial resources required to complete the project, in fulfillment of the Flagstaff Development Agreement which governed how the land was developed within Empire Pass.
“This is the big one, that’s been kind of an albatross,” said Doug Ogilvy, the president of EPMOA. The headframe weighs roughly 80,000 pounds and is 107 years old.
Brian Buck, a retired mining consultant who assisted with the project, gave some background: “It was state of the art when it was built in 1914. And it was built in a form that’s called lattice construction. If you see the main columns, there’s two channels and they’re connected together by criss-cross plates. And that was state-of-the-art structural construction… it was done professionally and it was done very, very well. And it served and stood strong for 107 years.”
For the rehabilitation, Buck said a special welding technique was used to combine the old steel with modern steel. He said the headframe had been “abused” four times. “I call it abuse only because it was never designed for those beams to experience those sorts of stresses. So these guys are going a fantastic job.”
Two of the largest cranes in the state were used for the lifting this week.
Deer Valley helped with the process by acquiring the surface rights to the current location of the headframe and donating the land for the location where the Daly West Headframe now stands again.
Park City Municipal Corporation provided a major source of funding for the project as well as approvals required to support the project. The total project cost was slightly above $400,000.
“Thanks to everybody who’s played a part in this,” said Sally Elliott, a FOSMMH member. It was announced that Elliott will be receiving the 2022 Utah Heritage Award from Preservation Utah.
“I can’t think of a better way to kind of celebrate my first year in Park City,” said Morgan Pierce, the executive director of the Park City Museum.