Historical mine head frame in Deer Valley collapses

Posted at 7:15 PM, May 11, 2015

PARK CITY, Utah – A piece of history came crashing to the ground in Deer Valley on Friday.

The head frame for the Daily West mine shaft was used as an elevator for miners in the late 1800s and early 1900s. It sits on the ski runs at Deer Valley Resort directly behind the Motage Hotel.

“The city was contacted early Friday morning to a report that a structure had collapsed,” said Jason Glidden, spokesman for Park City. “City building staff responded along with police to investigate the scene.”

The Daily West mine shaft is one of dozens of mines that sit along the ski runs at resorts in Park City. Park City is known to be an old historic mining town. City officials say it's common for mine shafts to collapse and they've been monitoring the site for a while now.

"We've had a couple last year and we had a larger one on the road the year before,” said Chad Root, building official for Park City. “With the moisture from the spring, we had a snow melt, and as the snow melted, the structure, or the soil, ended up loosening up and then the structure came down into the hole."

Property owners - the Jordanelle Special Service District - said they plan to fill up the hole with insulating foam and cap it off with dirt and concrete.

Glidden said the district had been evaluating the site and had plans to repair in the next few months before it collapsed.

"They had identified that there was some work that needed to be done, I believe, and they did have a plan in place to start work in the near future,” Glidden said.

Root warns hikers and skiers to be aware of mines when they're recreating in Park City's backcountry.

"If there's a hole in the ground, stay away from it,” Root said. “By chance, what's taken place is the mine shaft has collapsed and it's opened up."

No one was injured in the incident. But Root said while the mines are marked and fenced off, it's important to pay attention.

"What was a normal trail can open up at any time with the right conditions.” he said. “We do have some shafts that pretty much go straight down, up to 1,700 feet."

City officials are working with the property owners to see if they can save the structure and keep it as a historic site in Park City.