The imposing Spanish Colonial Revival Ogden Union Station is the expression of Ogden as a significant railroad hub in the American West and the determination of a community to cherish that identity.
In 1869, having completed its part of the transcontinental rail line, the Union Pacific Railroad constructed a line through Weber Canyon to Ogden on a grade completed by men working under a contract granted Brigham Young, president of the LDS church. It was agreed that Ogden would serve as a temporary terminal for both the Union Pacific and the Central Pacific. Both companies built and maintained facilities in Ogden, including express offices, engine, lodging, and baggage houses. By mid-January 1870, ten trains were operating daily through the Ogden terminal.
There was some controversy between Ogden and Corinne for designation as the final junction point. However, the decision of Brigham Young to designate land in Ogden for specific use as railroad yards, eventually led to Ogden becoming the “Junction City.” The designated space included facilities serving UP and CP, the Utah Central branch line to Salt Lake City, and the Utah Northern line to Cache Valley. In 1878, the companies agreed to use a common depot – the original 1869 Union Pacific building. Therefore, the building became a “union” station.
In 1888, the Ogden Union Railway & Depot Company was organized to fill Ogden's need for a new depot. The building was designed by architect Henry Van Brunt and featured a large electric clock tower that was donated by Ogden jeweler John S. Lewis. Mayor David Eccles declared a city-wide holiday for the laying of the cornerstone. He invited businessmen to close their establishments and urged citizens to "engage in the ceremonies." Reporting on the 5,000 to 6,000 persons who attended, the Ogden Standard commented that "the old shanties called the depot will not be used much longer."
However, in 1923 the building caught fire and was all but destroyed. A new depot on the foundation of the old was completed in 1924. The father and son team of John and Donald Parkinson designed a Spanish Colonial Revival. The artist Edward Laning painted the murals that adorn the Grand Lobby, the last that the artist painted before his death in 1981. The Ogden Union Station was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1971.
Passenger and freight trains no longer use the Union Station. Instead, the building now hosts: the Utah State Railroad Museum, John M. Browning Firearms Museum, Browning-Kimball Classic Cars Museum, and Utah State Cowboy and the Western Heritage Museum. The building also serves as a gallery for art and as a meeting place for special events. Saved from demolition and restored by determined locals, the Station is now city-owned and city-run.