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TBT: What used to be, and what a crazy place this was

Throwback Thursday on Facebook is a time of old pictures, mostly, so here’s one from Ogden’s Union Station going back quite a ways.

This one, showing our Grand Lobby, breaks my heart. Would you look at those chandeliers? Gorgeous things.

A few of us thought this picture had been photoshopped, but no. This is an actual historic photo, courtesy of the Union Pacific’s history library, showing the Union Station’s lobby as it looked when the place was finished, 90 years ago.

Those amazing chandeliers lit the lobby for years and years. What happened to them?

We’d love to know. I am told they were shipped out to be refurbished and never came back. Melted down for the war effort during WWII? No clue.

We are working to put a few of those benches back. We’ll never have them all — a lot are gone, and we need the space clear for events — but two will be there on a permanent basis, both for the historic value and, frankly, just a good place to sit.

One was returned from restoration in December and the second will be back this month. We’ll be announcing its coming with great fanfare, of course. Watch this space.


From the Jan. 8, 1915 Salt Lake Telegram

Ogden’s downtown is beyond family friendly these days, with cafes and even a maternity shop. But it wasn’t always so. The area’s rough reputation was well-deserved. The street was so tough that one preacher even suggested someone dig a tunnel under it, all the way from Union Station to Washington Boulevard, just so travelers wouldn’t have to see all the shenanigans going on.

100 years ago today Edward Hart found out the hard way. He was standing at the intersection of Commercial Alley (now Kiesel, I think) and 24th Street when someone hit him on the head, stole his money — $20 was a sizable sum back then — and gold watch, and ran off.

The police found the watch in a pawn shop, where it had been sold for $6.

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1 comment

  1. Clark Johnson

    Very happy to see this blog. Worked from age 16 to 21 in the SP offices upstairs as a telegraph office messenger and as a janitor. The coffee shop in the depot was a hub of activity when the trains came in and also supplied hot coffee to keep you wide-eyed if you worked 2nd or 3rd trick. One morning in the early 60’s I went down for cup before the offices upstairs opened and suddenly the floor started shaking and the chandeliers which are presently installed started swinging in 10 ft + arcs. Needless to say, it was a small quake and those of us in the depot got out quick, especially some San Fran SP brass who knew right away what was occurring.

    On another subject, if you haven’t been to the archive up in the old SP Sup office, you’re missing something. One item you should see is a framed copy of the front page of an Italian tabloid which I found on Ebay years ago. It shows a large photo of the grand opening of the present depot complete with young women leading an engine with ribbons into the station. It is colorized and no I have no idea why this photo took up the entire front page of an Italian tabloid. Need to get it translated.

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