Union Station

Union Station
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Ogden’s Union Station is home to the Utah State Railroad Museum, John M. Browning Firearms Museum and Browning-Kimball Classic Car Museum. Union Station is also the perfect location for weddings, receptions,

History of Union Station


2501 Wall Avenue
Ogden, UT 84401

History of Union Station

On March 8, 1869, Union Pacific came to Ogden on its way to Promontory Summit to meet the Central Pacific, thus completing the transcontinental rail line. Four cities near this location, Corinne, Promontory, Uintah, and Ogden, competed with each other for the opportunity to house the train station that would be the junction for railroad travel in the Intermountain West. Promontory and Uintah lacked the necessary resources to house the Station. Corinne and Ogden competed for many years for the “Junction City” title, until Brigham Young donated several hundred acres of land to the two railroads on the condition that they build the yards and station there.

The first station, built in 1869, was a two-story wooden frame building built on a mud flat on the banks of the Weber River. The building soon became inadequate, being also the facility for the narrow gauge Utah Central Railroad (later Oregon Short Line) and the narrow gauge Rio Grande Western (later Denver & Rio Grande Western). Local newspapers complained about, among other things, the quarter mile of wood boardwalk required to traverse the swampy ground to reach the station. In response to these complaints, the Union Pacific and Central Pacific Railroad Companies organized the jointly-owned Ogden Union Railway & Depot Co. to oversee the construction and management of a new Union Station. A new structure, considerably larger than the old and constructed of brick, was built in 1889 and served the community until it burned in 1923.  Designed in the Romanesque style, with a large clock tower in the center, this building served the needs of the railroad, contained 33 hotel rooms a restaurant, barbershop and other conveniences needed by the traveler.

In 1923, a hotel room in the depot caught fire.  Fire quickly spread throughout the building. When the blaze was finally controlled the depot had received serious damage. The walls and clock tower were standing but in a fragile state. No deaths or injuries occurred.  Workers returned to work despite the condition of the building.  When a stone from the clock tower fell and killed a railroad clerk it the building was condemned. Rather than build to the former design, John and Donald Parkinson, architects of the Caliente, Nevada, and Kelso, California, stations proposed a new design.

Completed in 1924, the architecture of the new building is Spanish Colonial Revival (also known as Early Christian/Byzantine) style.  With the corner stone laid on November 22, 1924, the new Station was ready for occupancy.  The community celebrated with speeches and photographs. One photograph, showing thirteen young women pulling the first train to arrive at the Station by ribbons, made its way into the La Domenica del Corriere, an Italian newspaper in Milan, with the headline “Curious American Custom.” Southern Pacific Railroad (originally Central Pacific) and the Ogden Union Railway & Depot Co. occupied the upstairs north side of the building and the south side housed the Union Pacific Telegraph Department offices. The ceiling of the Grand Lobby, taking up the center portion of the building, has a height of 56 feet. In 1945-46, the massive beams in the Lobby ceiling received a faux wood grain painted by artisans

Of special note are the two drinking fountains on either end of the Grand Lobby. These fountains, surrounded by colored mosaics, were a favorite resting spot for Superintendent Hubert Lloyd Bell, Ogden Union Railway & Depot Co. At Bell’s passing in 1927, the OUR&D placed a bronze plaque bearing his likeness over the fountain on the north end. The plaque reads “In Memory of Hubert Lloyd Bell SUPT. O.U.RY. AND D. Co., 1918-1927 A Just Man, A Friend Who Will Be Remembered”. Above the fountain on the south end is a picture of Union Station Foundation’s first Director, Elizabeth Griffith. ‘Teddy’, worked tirelessly for the benefit of Union Station. It is due to her dedication that the building is in its’ current condition.

In 1977, with the demise of passenger service, Ogden City received a 50 year lease from Union Pacific for the Union Station building. Renovations began to for the planned museums. At the dedication ceremony in 1978, Union Pacific brought the famous UP 8444 at the head of a special passenger train from Cheyenne, to the new museums. In 1988 the State of Utah designated the Union Station as the Utah State Railroad Museum.

In 1980 muralists Edward Laning came to Ogden to personally oversee the installation of his two 50’ by 12’ murals in the Grand Lobby. The northern side depicts the Union Pacific company coming from Omaha, Nebraska and the southern side depicts the Central Pacific coming from Sacramento, California. The National Academy of Design of New York City granted $100,000 to Union Station for Mr. Laning’s commission (Laning painted the Ellis Island murals in 1935). The murals are oil on Belgian linen canvas done in the artist’s studio in New York City and then shipped to Ogden. This was the last mural painted by Laning before his death in 1981.

The Station now houses three museums, Utah State Railroad Museum, John M. Browning Firearms Museum, Browning-Kimball Classic Car Museum, three fine arts galleries and Warren’s Train Shop, Union Grill Restaurant, the U.S. Forest Service Information, and the Union Station Library. It plays host to many conventions, weddings, banquets and events other events such as the Annual Hostlers Model Railroad Festival, Ogden Marathon Expo, craft and bridal fairs and birthday parties in the Ginger Wallace Birthday Caboose.

Thanks to Wikipedia, Lee Witten, Roberta Beverly, Charles Trentelman and Diana Azevedo

Frequently Asked Questions from Ogden Tourists

What are the best hotels in Ogden?

One of the most popular places to stay in Ogden is Alaskan Inn And Spa. The Hilton Garden Inn is also in great demand.

Among other top accommodation options:

What are the top family-friendly hotels in Ogden?

For those looking for a family accommodation, Booked.net offers 7 deals to choose from. Hampton Inn And Suites Ogden (rating: 8.4/10): a family-hotel with cribs, a business center and a gym for 103US$ per night. Days Inn By Wyndham Ogden and Super 8 By Wyndham Ogden all received 211 reviews from families traveling in Ogden. All Ogden family hotels here

What are the finest boutique hotels in Ogden?

One of the finest boutique hotels is Hampton Inn And Suites Ogden rated 8.4/10 at the cost of 103US$ per night. Another popular 3-star stylish accommodation is Comfort Suites Ogden Conference Center rated 8.0/10 with a business center, a gym and a Jacuzzi on site. See all boutique hotels in Ogden, United States of America

What are the best budget hotels in Ogden?

There are more than 5 top budget properties in Ogden. Sleep Inn Ogden Near Event Center with a rating 6.0/10 is a good option set 3.6 miles from Historic 25th Street. At this 3-star hotel you can take advantage of newspaper service, a business center and a gym. Guests mentioned an impeccable service. Also Days Inn By Wyndham Ogden is a good choice with rating 5.8/10 at the cost of 51US$ per night. All cheap hotels in Ogden, United States of America

What are the best accommodations with easy access to Utah State Railroad Museum?

There are 6 deals to choose from. Select a hotel close to Utah State Railroad Museum, such as Courtyard By Marriott Ogden, situated a 10-minute walk away. Featuring printers, skiing and a xerox, this property offers rooms from 100US$ per night. More hotels in Ogden near Utah State Railroad Museum

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  • Museums
  • Fountain Plaza Dinner, Dedication and Concert
  • Historic 25th Street
  • Fountain Plaza Renovation April-May 2011
  • Dedication of Utah Centennial Golden Spike and Safe