In the three decades Yukon Construction has been building luxury custom homes in the Park City area, the style and architecture have substantially changed. As much as this can be attributed to the general changing of design trends nationally over the past 30 years, it’s also clear that Park City’s architecture and design have followed the development of Park City.
First, Some History
Members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, following their president Brigham Young, entered the Salt Lake Valley on July 24, 1847. These Mormon pioneers were the first non-native Americans to settle in Utah, however, in this era of gold rushes and silver mining, prospecting miners soon followed and found their way to the mountains of Park City.
The first mining claim was filed in December of 1868 and Park City’s development was off to the races. As Park City grew into a bustling, successful mining town, tiny miners’ homes and hundreds of businesses along Main Street were constructed. The Great Fire of 1898, however, destroyed approximately 200 businesses and homes. The iconic Union Pacific train station, which was built in 1886 to transport silver from the mines, is one of the few surviving structures on Main Street. Homes up and down Park Avenue, Woodside Avenue, Hillside, and other Old Town streets, thankfully, survived the fire.
Park City banded together to rebuild the town, and the historic buildings and homes that line Park City’s main avenues today are what many think of when they imagine Park City’s architectural style.
Changing Times, Lost Architecture
The mining boom ended in the 1950s and Park City was quickly turning into a ghost town. In an attempt to salvage whatever business prospects the mountains might provide, the United Park City Mines Company opened Treasure Mountain ski resort in 1963. The rest, as they say, is history.
Lost history, that is. During this period scores of abandoned miners’ shacks, larger homes, and businesses were left to dilapidate or were demolished. It wasn’t until the late 1960s, once Treasure Mountain was more established, new homes started going up and a visionary group of locals took note of how historic towns around the country were drawing in tourists. We can thank this small group of history lovers for the historic architecture alive and repurposed in Park City today.
Modern Park City Homes
As Park City grew into the ski town we know and love, home design has followed the city’s development as a community. In the 1980s and 90s, the style was very mountain rustic with A-frames and ski cabins in the woods and in town. As we moved into the early aughts, mountain traditional design – meaning rustic exteriors with more modern interiors – became the norm. Next came mountain contemporary, soon followed by super modern home design.
While this may seem like a natural progression in general architectural design, Park City’s evolving population has had an outsized effect on its architecture and custom design style.
In 2006, the state of Utah launched a $14M campaign to rebrand the state with the slogan Utah: Life Elevated. The tourist officials’ thinking was to pitch all of Utah as a place to recreate year-round, now that everyone knew we had The Greatest Snow on Earth. It worked.
In the past decade and a half, Park City has become a year-round destination. Gone are the days of shoulder seasons and lazy summers – the secret of Park City’s amazing four seasons is out. Now that people are spending more time in their luxury custom homes all year long, second homeowners in Park City want a more contemporary home design. In short, new part-time Park City residents are spending more time here and they want their luxury custom homes to reflect that fact.