With the discovery of lead, gold, and silver, Park City was settled as a mining community in 1870. Due to the mining boom, Park City became so populous that many people thought it would replace Salt Lake City as Utah's largest city.
In 1898, Park City was almost destroyed by fire. Then in 1902, thirty-two miners were killed in an explosion in the Day West Mine. Because of the tragedy, the mining community never fully recovered.
Due to the collapse in silver prices after World War I, the town's population declined because of the economic down turn associated with the war. Park City was considered one of the ghost towns of the west in 1950.
Skiing helped put Park City back on the map. As early as the 1920s, miners were using underground trains and shafts to gain access to the mountain for skiing. In 1963, the slopes were opened to the public. Aerial trams once used for hauling ore were converted into chairlifts.
Today there are still more than 1,000 miles of old silver mine workings and tunnels sitting below the slopes of Park City Mountain Resort and Deer Valley. Historical Main Street sets the tone for Park City's personality. Sixty-four Victorian buildings are listed in the National Register of Historic Places.
Remnants from the past have been left near the slopes including old mine buildings, mineshafts, and hoists. The worn remains of the Walker Webster Silver Mine and the Silver King water tower are still evident.
Since the rise of the skiing and tourist economy, Park City houses more tourists than residents. Park City has grown through the ideals of a winter wonderland. It has become a place of fame through the 2002 Winter Olympic games and provides more attractions than ever before. Utah drew in over 648,000 tourists in 1970 and now has a yearly average of 4 million tourists. In a small town with a population of 8,000, the average number of tourists in Park City is 600,000 a year. Growth has accelerated in the last few decades, and Park City is now one of the most affluent and lively resort towns in the United States.