Colonel Patrick Edward Connor’s Contribution to Park City

Standing on Main Street amidst the commercial real estate of Park City, Utah I find it sometimes hard to believe that this area was once quite different. I am a history buff and recently I read about Colonel Patrick Edward Connor who administered the District of Utah from Camp Douglas in 1862. At the time there were rumors that the Mormons lead by Brigham Young living in the area were conspiring to establish an independent Kingdom called Deseret that would encompass the lands comprising modern day Utah, Nevada, northern Arizona, southern California and parts of Colorado, New Mexico and Wyoming.

While stationed in Utah Colonel Connor acted as a force to counterbalance the power of the Mormon Church. In this capacity he provided protection for non-Mormons living in the territory as well as Mormons wishing to leave the church. It is well documented that Colonel Conner’s heart was never in his mission because he and the men of his detachment wished to be fighting for the Union in the U.S. Civil war raging in the eastern United States at the time. However, while in his post he performed competently by signing a treaty that concluded hostilities with the local Indian tribes as well as discovering the rich silver mines in the region near present day Park City.

Colonel Patrick Edward Connor continued at his post commanding the District of Utah until it became merged with the District of the Plains in March of the year 1865. This new district was established per his suggestion and became a subset of the Department of the Missouri. The Department of Missouri was comprised of the former districts of Utah (which was renamed West Sub District), Nebraska (renamed East Sub-District), Colorado (renamed South Sub-District), and the Territory of Idaho (renamed North Sub-District). At this time Colonel Connor was named commander of the new District.

Obviously, the area comprising the commercial real estate of Park City was quite different during the time of Colonel Connor. For one thing the area was hardly populated until the silver deposits he discovered were mined. It is so easy to go about my daily life unaware of the rich history of this land. Sometimes I like to stop and appreciate it all which is why I read about Colonel Connor in the first place.