"Ol' Miner" Statue Dedicated; Recognizes Rich Martinez And City's History
At least three generations of the Martinez family turned out for the dedication of the larger than life Ol' Miner statue at the base of Treasure Mountain – appropriately on Miners' Day.
Rich Martinez was born in Park City in 1935 into a mining family. The statue, created in his likeness, celebrates his life and contributions to Park City. His eldest daughter Deanna Welch talked about her father, known as the Old Miner, and she highlighted the sacrifices made by men who worked in the dangerous mining profession. She said many men lost their lives in the Park City mines, including her husband's grandfather.
“Our dad's generation was the last of the Park City miners to work full time underground and support their families through mining. This statue is a likeness of our father, but more importantly, it is a memorial to all the miners who worked in the Park City mines. This statue is to honor and recognize all those miners who worked in a cold, dark, underground cavern. It was a dirty, back-breaking, and dangerous job."
Park City Mayor Andy Beerman opened the ceremony with remarks highlighting the significance of the location at the base of Treasure Hill on Lowell Avenue and the importance of maintaining the City's mining legacy.
"This hill has long played an important role in our community. For many years it was the nexus of the mining industry. We had the ore carts come down here. You can still see the remnants. We had the Crescent Tram run through it, and we had mines on this hillside, and then early on, there was ski jumping and skiing, sort of a sign of things to come. When we took on a ski economy, and then this hill was slated for development, but this community said no, they said they wanted something else."
Beerman reminded those attending that in 2017 the community overwhelmingly supported a bond to preserve the 112 acres of open space that will house the statue of Rich Martinez, create a public gathering area and access to recreation.
He said Rich Martinez lived his entire life in Park City and had contributed in too many ways to mention them all.
"Rich was an icon in our community. He spent 16 years on the city council was very dedicated to it. Still, today is particularly appropriate because not only for many years he was a key organizer on Miner's Day, but for over 20 years, he participated in the drilling and mucking as well. But he also helped bridge the mining to the ski industry by building some of the first chairlifts in town."
Deanna Welch said the Sweeney family helped to accelerate the placement of the statue. She mentioned Martinez' grandchildren, who emptied piggy banks to support the family raise money for the project. She acknowledged the city's help in dedicating the land for the sculpture and thanking the artist who created the monument.
You can find photos of the statue and ceremony on KPCW.org