The careful tiny stitches take hours to craft before they form a design connecting patches of fabric. Tina Lewis’ award-winning creations in stitchery were the pattern she had created before she met the love of her life, Jim, and moved to Park City in the ’70s. Then, she started to stitch together, a falling down ghost town into a vibrant, four-season, historically preserving, tightly connected community.

Yet, when Tina Lewis landed in Park City with her husband Jim, she had already lived a full, enviable (young) life. 

Tina grew up in Seattle, around the aerospace industry, where her father was an engineer. They moved to Salt Lake City in the ’50s when Tina was still in elementary school.

Tina Lewis

In high school, she was named winner of the national Singer sewing contest- which vaulted her to Paris and New York, where she both modeled and created in couture houses. The statuesque, stunning young woman modeled her own designs, and later worked in the fashion industry in New York City.

Her formal education eventually led to graduate studies in architecture, historic preservation, and philosophy.

The study of both historic preservation and renovation in a dying western mining town, where a ski resort was emerging, became the intersection of her interests and her boundless enthusiasm. It led her to shape a community and a culture that is the foundation of the Park City we now see- an internationally recognized Olympic ski venue, home of the Sundance Film Festival and a community that embraces authentic historic preservation. Lots of folks were needed to weave together the fabric we wrap ourselves in now but in the beginning, it was Tina who was a powerful cheerleader convincing government officials, recalcitrant landowners, and longtime residents to band together- time and time again -and save a building. Or perhaps use a new logo for all city business letterhead and create street signs or care how our cemetery looked to the living who honored the dead.

Her first memorable project was to restore the old City Hall on Main Street. (Now the Park City Museum- also later guided by her hard work, homework, and historic preservation.)

The Miner’s Hospital building on Nelson Hill had a new owner, Blaine Huntsman, who wanted to move it to build his condo hotel in 1970. When Tina asked for it to be saved- he said she could have it for the City–for free. But she would have to find a way to move it, and so she did. One day, the town watched as an entire brick building was lifted- and gently transported, down the hill to the site where it has sat since, at the edge of City Park.

After it was moved, it sat empty for ages. When she was elected to City Council, Tina worked to make it the library.

Tina didn’t originally set out to do any of this. She wanted to make her adopted home better, more authentic, and of course, more fun. And she managed all of that -with grace and grit- taking lots of well-placed tiny tight stitches.