Kimball Hotel

Historical Resort Town

It's hard to believe that our growing Snyderville Basin community was once something other than a resort area and bedroom community. But amongst the growth some of Summit County's historic structures wait quietly undiscovered. The Kimball Hotel is the oldest of all. Located between Kimball and Silver Creek Junctions on the north side of Interstate 80, surrounded by ranch land, lies the once elegant hotel. The building has been well preserved, perhaps because the hotel was once a focal point of the county.

Kimballs Hotel in Black and White

Kimball Hotel History

With the Civil War outbreak in 1861, the Overland Stage company moved their main southern stagecoach and wagon route to pass through Utah where they established new stations, including the hotel at Kimball Junction. Passengers traveling both east and west found themselves bedding in one of the 11 rooms that were considered some of the finest along the Overland Route. Those guests may have included Walt Whitman and Horace Greeley.[1]

While at the hotel, guests ate fresh trout caught in Spring Creek, sage grouse (now endangered), beef and mutton. Built in 1862 by William H. Kimball, the son of Heber C. Kimball who was a counselor to Brigham Young, the hotel was family owned and operated the hotel until the turn of the century.

[1] Mark Twain (Samuel Clemens) is often identified as staying at the Kimball Hotel when he traveled by stagecoach to Nevada. Given his overland stagecoach adventure occurred in 1861 before the hotel was built, his visit is unlikely. 

Adapting to Change

The Kimball’s Station comprised several successful businesses. The Kimball family offered an express stagecoach between Salt Lake City and Park City as well as local U.S. mail service. When the railroad arrived in Summit County, the Kimball’s adapted to the changing technology, opening a livery stable in Park City. Drivers hauled freight and ore from the mines and rented saddle horses, buckboards, sleds and cutters through their satellite station, the Kimball Livery Stable, located near Main Street.

The Kimballs also took advantage of the growing non-Mormon crowd that descended upon the area by opening a saloon inside the hotel’s sandstone walls. During the winters through the 1890s, the brothers dammed up the nearby creek, cut blocks of ice from the frozen water and stored them in sawdust for future transport to Salt Lake City. They called their venture the Park City Ice Company.

Even after the use of coaches had succumbed to rails, the Kimballs provided excursions in the stagecoaches to the Midway hot pots and other social adventures for the large, diverse population in Park City.

Preserving History

When the Lincoln Highway Association built the first transcontinental highway in 1913, its route ran front of the old sandstone building. But in 1960, as the plans for Interstate 80 were being drawn, engineers were persuaded to veer around the back of the building in order to preserve the oldest remaining in Summit County

By Sandra Morrison
Located at Interstate 80 rest stop, 1.5 miles east of Kimball's Junction. View a map of the area.