The Alamo, OK Corral, and other Wild West sites of worship are undoubtedly enshrined partially for their architectural accolades, yes, but far more so for the historical intrigue in which they are steeped. Ogden’s Union Station falls squarely within this same vein.
A fabulously preserved facade, this one, with a whole lotta history behind it.
Originally, Ogden cropped up along the transcontinental railroad, and, a few years after its inception, submitted a bid to become a railroad junction for the entire intermountain west. Attracted by the economic growth that was sure to follow the construction of a railroad station, a number of other Utah towns followed suit, and Ogden became embroiled in a near-decade-long competition with Corinne over which of the two would become the home of the train station. Eventually, Brigham Young donated the land on which Union Station would come to stand, effectively ending the feud and promoting Ogden to “Junction City” status.
Since its first iteration in 1869--a wooden building on the edge of the Weber River--Union Station has taken a few forms. What followed the timber two-story was a stately and far grander brick building, which become home to all manner of old-timey establishments -- adorably-quaint hotel rooms, a restaurant, and a slew of shops, to name a few.
Think: boutique hotel meets bustling train station, mixed with a dose of old-west appeal.
Sadly, a fire some three decades later rendered the brick beauty structurally unsound. After initially announcing that they would simply repair the ailing structure, railroad officials soon came around and the entire junction was torn down. What replaced it was a stunning, Spanish Revival style station that ran until the last passenger train passed through Union Station in 1997.
Since then, the purpose of this stately station has shifted, but its value remains untouched.
Although no longer a functioning junction, the building is now equal parts elegant event space and multiplicitous museum. Perfect for a party of any kind, and chock-full of old-west insight (the Utah Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum, and the Browning Firearms Museum, among others, are housed there) Ogden’s Union Station remains a true testament to the city’s past. One that is well worth a visit.