Park City History Bits - November 21, 2013

Nov 21, 2013

Did you know avoiding water was once a huge challenge for miners?

This is Mark Eaton, with your weekly Park City History Bit.

Park City’s Ontario mine descended 2,500 feet below ground, and a giant Cornish Pump had to pump nearly four million gallons a day from a thousand-foot depth to the drain tunnel on the 600-foot level.

When mine development went below the reach of the pump, the pump was removed from the mine, and in 1888 work was begun on the Number 3 drain tunnel to empty water from 1,500 feet below the surface. The tunnel’s outlet was near the town of Keetley (now under the Jordanelle Dam). Engineer John Keetley was hired to supervise the construction of the three-mile drain tunnel, with hand drills and dynamite.

After six years of drilling and blasting, the drain tunnel was completed to a Keetley shaft at a cost of $400,000 and the loss of one life. It was so straight, a person could stand at the Number 2 shaft and see daylight at the mouth of the tunnel. The flow of water was 6,000 to 9,000 gallons per minute. Today, the mountains continue to produce water, however, now it ends at a filtration plant, before flowing to Park City and other towns.

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.