Park City History Bits - December 5, 2013

Dec 5, 2013

Did you know the “King of Denmark’s” saloon helped Park City recover from the Great Fire of 1898?

This is Bill Redeker with your weekly Park City History Bit.

George Wanning was born around 1859 in Denmark, arriving in Park City in the late 1870s. Wanning helped build the town, but what might have been his most significant mark on local history was his saloon.

Not 24 hours after the Great Fire of 1898, the George Wanning Saloon was constructed and open for business. Although it was just a shack, the structure hoisted a bold sign, emblazoned with the word “SALOON”, marking its spot through the smoke and ash.

For a community ravaged by hardship, the saloon was like a beacon. It was located at what is today The Dancing Hands Gallery, and quickly became a popular location for special events and celebrations.

Wanning gave himself the nickname “King of Denmark” because of an annual party he held that townsfolk treated as their own unofficial holiday. Unfortunately, health problems began to affect his business, and by 1913 his creditors foreclosed on his saloon. Not long after that, Wanning moved to his wife’s hometown of Ogden, Utah, where he spent the last years of his life, passing away in March, 1932.

This Park City History Bit is brought to you by the Park City Museum, and their newest exhibit, “Miners to Moguls: 50 Years of Park City Skiing”, and is sponsored by Julie Hopkins of Keller Williams Real Estate.