Back in the Day: Holiday Traditions in Park City

written by: Vanessa Conabee   photo provided by: Park City Museum

Holidays held special meaning for the hard-working miners of Park City. The mine companies only allowed two days off: Christmas and Independence Day. Far from relatives and friends, most miners celebrated the winter holiday with a hot bath in the local bathhouse and a trip to the saloon. As Park City grew, families moved in and brought the traditions of gift giving and decorated trees. Bands played carols on Main Street, and businesses gave bottles of whiskey to their regulars. Merchants decorated their storefronts, ordering decorations months in advance to avoid being cut off by snowfall. McPherson’s store displayed a fruitcake and a giant-sized doll in its window. For a quarter, a customer got to guess the number of raisins in the cake to win the doll. Many stores boasted new fangled toys, such as cannons that shot rubber balls, magic lanterns and Cinderella dolls. Local churches hosted Christmas celebrations at which every child received a popcorn ball, bag of candy and a small gift.

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Vanessa Conabee
Vanessa Conabee
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