Jim Weaver laughs when he describes what a big spender he was back in the day. “I could go on a date in Park City with a dollar! Fourteen cents for the show ticket, so that’s twenty-eight cents, plus a candy bar. Coming home, we’d stop for a milkshake or something.”
Weaver is a survivor, the oldest native-born Parkite still living in Old Town (95-year-old Carl Workman, lives just outside the city limits in Snyderville Basin). In Weaver’s 87 years, he’s lived through the Depression, wars, the decline and closure of the mines, and the town’s evolution into a world-renowned ski destination—all while losing neither his sense of humor nor his sense of place.
“It was a good place to grow up,” he smiles. “Gosh, you’d be gone early morning ’til early evening, and you knew people were watching out for you. If we were causing trouble, our mothers would get phone calls.”
Weaver’s dad was a miner. His Irish-born mother ran two boarding houses for Irish miners. Despite their hardscrabble lives, they still found time to help others. Even as his dad was slowly dying from silicosis contracted underground, he was out shoveling walkways for the widows of fellow miners, fixing up their houses, and delivering food.
“It’s the way I was taught. Dad helped people and he passed it on.” Young Weaver paid it forward by teaming up with his friends to help his neighbors (many of whom were widows) by fixing plumbing, shoveling roofs and driveways, and running errands.
When his friends from the mining days left, Weaver stayed. He has children in Salt Lake City and his lifelong “church family” from St. Mary’s Catholic Church. And while some locals begrudge the steady flow of newcomers pouring into town to enjoy the ski life, he does not. “Some of the best friends I’ve ever had are new people,” he says. As for the changing face of his hometown, “We have every amenity you’d want, and we still have small-town living.”