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2018-09-04 11.47.33

“Ten O’Clock Whistle” and Old Public Library

At 4:00 a.m. on June 19, 1898 a Chinese cook spotted flames on Main Street, and alerted a policeman who fired three pistol shots to awaken Parkites to the conflagration which destroyed virtually all the buildings on Main Street. Reconstruction of City Hall began almost immediately, and this three-story wood frame tower was added to house a more reliable fire alarm. A 1,500 pound bell was installed to alert the community to future fires. In 1905 the bell was replaced by an electric siren activated from the telephone company’s switchboard.

With the establishment of a reliable local fire department, the siren was used as a curfew warning for Park City’s young people, and became known as the “Ten O’clock Whistle.” Although the curfew had not been enforced for many years, the whistle continued to sound regularly until 1980.

The tower’s tall interior walls were used to hang fire hoses to dry. Otherwise empty, it became dilapidated. It was restored in 1983-84 as part of the City Hall restoration, and is now part of the Park City Museum.

The one-story brick commercial building adjacent to the tower was built just after the 1898 fire, on the remains of the two-story structure which burned down. Original occupants were a tailor and harness shop. A furniture store stood over the premises in 1907. In 1910 the Park City Public Library moved in, and remained here until 1982, when it relocated to the newly restored Miners Hospital in City Park. This building was restored in 1983-84, also a part of the City Hall restoration project. Owned by Park City Municipal Corporation, it has been leased out for commercial use.

The Bell Tower and Public Library Building are listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

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