OK, this just takes coolness to a whole ‘nother level.

President Woodrow Wilson’s special train pulls into Ogden.


Charles McCarthy, the Ogden railroad worker with a camera, was on the scene of a lot of really fun stuff: The day the circus came to town, the day the parade to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the Driving of the Golden Spike, and so on.

And, fortunately for all of us, his pictures didn’t get tossed out. A lot of them were donated a number of years ago to Weber State University’s Special Collections. Last year his granddaughter, Jan Puckett, donated another stash of his negatives to Union Station.

To be brutally honest, I hadn’t looked through them much, but I gave scans of all of them — WSU’s and ours — to our

President Wilson’s train is met by a crowd in Ogden

chief archivist, Lee Witten, who has been busily cataloging them.

I know he’s working on something good when he makes a lot of happy sounds, and today he was doing so every two or three minutes:

“Charlie, look at this, White City under construction!”

Or: “Wow, the back side of the old Union Station!”

Or: “Is that president Wilson?”

President Woodrow Wilson on the back platform of his train inOgden.

Yes it was.

On Sept. 23, 1919, President Woodrow Wilson pulled into Ogden at 2:30 p.m. on a Southern Pacific train. He was greeted at the station by Mayor Thomas S. Browning, loaded into eleven cars and give a quick tour of the city.

“The people of Ogden were notified of the arrival of the president’s special when the whistles of the Southern Pacific Shops echoed forth a volley of welcome,” the paper says. “Other whistles of the city joined in the chorus and the entire welcome was carried out amid flying colors. the whistles ceased immediately after the train stopped at the Union Depot and Ogdenites then knew that the leader of the land was ready to pay this city a visit which has been southt for years.”

Crowds line the streets. “Curb positions were at a minimum long before the parade started,” the paper reported.

President Wilson’s motorcade going down Washington Avenue in Ogden.

The tour was a quick one. Wilson only stayed an hour, then moved on.


Wilson was touring the country as part of his effort to get  post-World War I League of Nation approved by the United States. It was his goal to lead the world to a system of world government similar to the ideals of the later-United Nations, but Congress never ratified it.

So his national tour was for nought, but at least for a day Ogden got to throw a huge party in his favor. And Charles McCarthy and his trusty camera recorded it. These pictures are part of the collection at Weber State University Special Collections, and I am immensely grateful for them letting me show them here.

President Wilson’s car touring Ogden