Page prepared by Donald Richardson

Left is the Historical Plaque on the old Mortuary building. Right is a Summer 1998 photo of 586 Main Street, Park City, Utah, the former Richardson Mortuary. The building, at the time of this picture, was used as a Sushi restaurant. Bon Appetite! [left of the brick building] (Photos by Donald Richardson ) 
There are two versions published in books about Park City as to when Jacob F. "Jake" Richardson retired from being the head blacksmith at the Ontario Mine and "took up undertaking"! [1] Besides the mine closures and the beginning of skiing as the major industry, there were two major events in Park City history: the 1898 fire and the explosion at the Daly-West mine in 1902, that were used by local writers:

The first tale takes the story about the Daly West Explosion [July 1902] as the point when Jake changed professions.  "...operator of the mortuary was quite drunk and, when the wagons started to deliver victims of the explosion to his establishment, he looked at the room full of bodies, promptly decided his bottle looked better, and took off on a binge. When news the his defection hit Salt Lake City, William D. Richardson, who worked in a mortuary there rushed up the canyon to help... two weeks later that the former undertaker realized he had made the sale." [2] The truth is William D. Richardson was in the US Navy in 1902 [3] and had to be called home when his brother George died in the mine explosion! This story tells a great yarn, but it has serious problems with reality. Unfortunately, this tale is the one told by some family members.

The second tale, says that "Jacob F. and William D. "Dan" Richardson took over the Feeney's mortuary business after the 1898 fire." The tale goes on to say that " In 1921 George M. Archer took over the mortuary..." this is correct, that was the year in which Dan Richardson moved his family to Ontario, California. [4] This story is by far the most researched, and I think,  this version is closer to the truth; regarding when Jacob F. Richardson take over of the business, but I think the date is off by a few years. William D. Richardson did not start to advertise in the Park Record until 1913.[5]  Jacob's brother, Richard Levi "Lee" Richardson and his wife Jennie moved to Park City from Missouri. Upon their arrival in Park City, Lee and Jennie lived over the undertaking business and Jennie sowed gowns for the ladies to be buried in as well as liners for the coffins. Lee and Jennie's child Grace Ann Richardson was born in Park City on 1/10/1896. There was an ad in a1890 Park Record for "J. F. Richardson Undertaker and Funeral Director, across from Park City Hotel". Just recently, I was sent an article from the Ontario, CA Daily Report which states that Jake Richardson "...was in the undertaking business there [Park City, Utah] in 1887 and for many years after that time." [6].

The facts are the following: J. F. "Jake" Richardson arrived in Park City about 1882/3, we know his family was there in 1884. Jake was the head blacksmith for the Ontario [Silver] mine from about 1882/3 until he quit the mine to become an undertaker in 1887. The Mortuary at 586 Main Street, Park City, Utah was owned by the Richardson Family from 1887 until 1921. Jake Richardson was in the undertaking business from 1887 until 1913 when he retired to his farm in Fruitland, Idaho. W.D. "Dan" Richardson, his son, learned the business starting in 1903 and took over the business in 1913. Dan Richardson sold 586 Main Street in 1921 and moved to Ontario, California, where he started a new mortuary. Jake Richardson moved from Fruitland, Idaho to Ontario, California also in 1921. In addition, Dan served the town Marshall of Park City during 1916-1918. Jake left 4 buried in the Park City Cemetery: 2 sons, a daughter and one granddaughter. R. L. "Lee" Richardson started a successful scrap business in Park City and then moved to Portland Oregon with his family in the early 1920s. This is the real story of hard working and civic minded pioneers of Park City, Utah.

1 Park City Record November 28,1930

2 Walking Through History Park City by Raye Carleson Ringholzand and Bea Kummer pg. 7 [1984 Artistic Printing].

3 Park City Record May 9, 1903

4 Park City Underfoot by Brent Corcoran pg. 26 [1995 Signature Books].

5 Ads from the Park City Record with the name Richardson in them provided by the Park City Library.

6 Ontario, CA Daily Report March 26, 1928 pg. 5. Provided by the Model Colony Room, Ontario Public Library.

This page last updated on December 11, 2002