History of St. Mary's
A Historical Narrative – St. Mary of the Assumption - Park City, UT
St. Mary of the Assumption Parish was established in 1881, three years prior to the incorporation of Park City as a town. The cornerstone of the small wood framed church was laid in 1882. The church burned to the ground a year later. A new church was begun and completed in 1884, this one was of stone. It became home to the miners of Parley’s Park as Park City was originally known. For the miners, its prominence at the top of Park Avenue became the last bit of home they would see as they climbed to the mine entrances and descended into the earth. It was the beacon that drew them home at the end of a long day. And, in times of disaster it was the gathering place for countless worried wives and families. In the early 1990’s an adjacent building of stone was constructed as a school and classes were taught by the Sisters of the Holy Cross. The school was closed during the Depression when the mines were closing and the town population waned. However, the parish remained open.
In the 1950’s, fire again struck the church; this time destroying the roof and much of the interior. The town was again in depression, the mines largely closed, and Park City’s population small. It seemed the will of the Bishop that this parish be closed. However, strong defenders of the parish rallied. The structure was sound and the roof could be rebuilt if the bishop would permit it. The parishioners agreed that if the Bishop would allow the parish to continue, they would never be a burden to him. The bishop ultimately agreed, the church was restored, and the parish continued despite the continued waning of the mining industry.
In the 1960’s, the advent of the ski industry revitalized the town. By the end of the century, the parish had grown so large, the tourists and visitors to the town had so increased that the little church, the Old Town Chapel, as it is now affectionately called, remains open as home to the daily Mass of our Catholic brethren and as a revered functioning establishment of the Old Town Community. It is a precious reminder of our roots and a landmark for our town.
In 1991, Jim and Sally Ivers donated land in the meadow of Park City’s entry corridor for a new church. In 1997, the new church was completed and dedicated on August 15th, the feast of St. Mary of the Assumption. In 2001, the new Parish Center was built. Today, St. Mary of the Assumption is a landmark of Park City’s entry corridor – its lofty design and incredible setting is complemented by wonderful views of the mountains from within the church and center.