write-up by Peter G. Lewis
Marker Text (Placed by the Division of State History for the National Register of Historic Places):
“The Bogan Boarding House, built in 1904, was established as a boarding house for miners after the passage of the mine boarding house bill in 1901. Prior to 1901, single miners were required to live in the company owned boarding houses close to the mines. After passage of the bill, finer accommodations such as this boarding house were allowed to be built in Park City proper to accommodate the influx of single miners. None of the boarding houses that were built close to the mines have survived and this is one of only four existing boarding houses in the entire Park City area to have survived to the present. Known for many years as the Imperial Hotel, this building served primarily as a boarding house for miners, but during the 1918 flu epidemic it was used as an emergency hospital. Marker placed in 1985.”
In 1901, a law was passed in Summit County that would improve the living conditions of Park City miners. Prior to 1901, miners could be forced by their employers to live in boarding houses near the mines if they were not married or had family living with them in town. Employers could even force their workers to do business exclusively at shops that they owned. Around March 30th, 1901, the Boarding House Law was put into action in order to prevent mine owners from putting a stranglehold on miners’ lives outside of the mines. The Boarding House Law (displayed on the right) made it so that if an employer were to intimidate or coerce an employee to board at any particular boarding house or do business at any particular store, that employer would be charged with a misdemeanor.
By the start of 1904, living conditions in Park City had greatly improved for miners. Around January 2nd, John and Anna Bogan had their old Bogan Mining Company boarding house torn down after the company was absorbed into Silver King Consolidated Mine. In its place, a more convenient boarding house was built for them on Main Street in Park City: The Bogan Boarding House.
John Bogan came to Utah from Illinois in 1877 to work in the mines at Alta and Dry Fork. Park City became his home in 1879. He died in 1907 at age 62 and his wife Anna passed in 1919. The Utah Historical Society claims that their sons, John T. and James F. Bogan, retained ownership of the Bogan Boarding House until 1925; however, an article from the September 22nd, 1916 issue of the Park Record states that Stevens Brothers purchased the Bogan Boarding House that year. Stevens Brothers was a Park City store that acquired various other businesses in town that year, including St. Louis Bakery and a cigar and candy shop named Stanley Rolley. Stevens Brothers ended up returning the property to the Bogan family at some point. Evidence of this transfer of ownership is found in a classified ad that appeared in the July 1st, 1921 Park Record wherein James F. Bogan listed the Bogan Boarding House for sale at $2,500. The same ad appeared weekly in the Park Record through August 19th, 1921.
The outbreak of influenza in the state of Utah in 1918 caused Park City to shut down. School and church services were cancelled and social gatherings were prohibited. Park City would not let outsiders into the town without a signed certificate from a doctor stating that they showed no signs of flu symptoms. With no influx of people needing a place to stay in Park City, it’s no wonder that the Bogan Boarding House was used as an emergency hospital during this time.
At some point, the Bogan Boarding House was renamed the Imperial Hotel. This was done somewhere between 1925, when John T. and James F. Bogan last had it, and 1937. An obituary in the Park Record on March 4th, 1937 lists the most recent owner of the Imperial Hotel as Bernard Larzaro, a Spanish man who came to Park City the same year as John Bogan. Larzaro may have purchased the Bogan Boarding house from James F. Bogan and he may have been the one to rename it the Imperial Hotel. Larzaro’s obituary is the first time the structure is referred to as the Imperial Hotel in the Park Record.
In January of 1940, a fire caused damage to the Imperial Hotel, claiming the entirety of the original roof. The structure was restored and used as an apartment building in October of 1940. Pictured on the right is the building circa 1968. In the fall of 2015, the building was yet again repurposed and renamed. That fall it was dubbed Riverhorse Provisions and it continues to hold that name to this day. Inside Riverhorse Provisions is a small food market, a coffee shop, and a high-end restaurant known as Riverhorse on Main (pictured below).
The Bogan Boarding House is a landmark that stands as a testament to the personal advancement of miners and other residents in Summit County. It was built by a miner to help improve the quality of life for other miners. John Bogan went from mine worker to mine owner to boarding house owner and, thusly, a caretaker for miners. Surely Mr. Bogan wanted other miners such as he had been to have more comfort than he had. Today his former boarding house still operates within the field of hospitality, continuing to serve both locals and visitors in Park City over 100 years after John Bogan did so.
“Bernard Larzaro Dies.” Park Record, March 4, 1937. Utah Digital Newspapers.
“The Boarding House Law.” Park Record, March 30, 1901. Utah Digital Newspapers.
“Hotel Destroyed by Fire.” Park Record, January 25, 1940. Utah Digital Newspapers.
“Mining Matters.” Park Record, May 11, 1907. Utah Digital Newspapers.
“News About Town.” Park Record, September 22, 1916. Utah Digital Newspapers.
“News About Town.” Park Record, September 29, 1916. Utah Digital Newspapers.
“New of the City during the Week.” Park Record, August 18, 1916. Utah Digital Newspapers.
Park Record, July 1 – August 19, 1921. Utah Digital Newspapers.
Park Record, October 10, 1940. Utah Digital Newspapers.
“Resume of 1903.” Park Record, January 2, 1904. Utah Digital Newspapers.
“To Ward Off Epidemic of Influenza.” Park Record, October 11, 1918. Utah Digital Newspapers.
Fields, Melissa. “Dine with a Ghost at Riverhorse Provisions.” Park City Magazine, December 14, 2016.
Utah State Historical Society. “Structure/Site Information Form.” May 29, 1984.
Van Leer, Twila. “Flu Epidemic Hit Utah Hard in 1918, 1919.” Desert News, March 28, 1995.