Oregon Short Line Depot

The Oregon Short Line Depot sis a reminder of the importance of the railroads in the economy of Northern Utah during the 19th and 20th centuries.

The Oregon Short Line Company was established in 1878 to provide the Union Pacific with access to the Pacific Northwest. In 1906, that company built the Brigham City Train Depot. A.C. Rainey and his staff of 22 laborers constructed a “Hudson Bay Gothic” style building. It had all of the modern amenities including plumbing, electricity, steam heat, and lavatories. The Depot was later purchased by the Union Pacific Railroad.

The Depot was important in Brigham City’s early economic success. Countless cars of locally grown fruit and produce were shipped from that location. In fact, so much fruit was shipped that the Knudson Brothers located their fruit packing and storage business close by and built a spur track. A cannery was also located on the west side of the tracks so that canned fruit could be easily loaded onto the train cars. Large quantities of fish and mail were also shipped from the Depot. Residents of Brigham City remember being able to take their mail straight to the Depot in order to get it out faster.

During WWII, the Depot had 14 employees and as many as 17 passenger trains daily. Countless soldiers passed through the Depot on their way to various assignments or the Bushnell Military Hospital located nearby. Tons of military and medical supplies were brought in. However, by the 1950s, passenger service declined, and eventually came to a standstill. Amtrak operated daily from 1971-1977; then the Depot fell into disuse. Some in Brigham City thought the abandoned building an eyesore and urged demolition. However, on July 16, 1992, the building was listed on the National Register of Historic Buildings, and in February of 1994, it was deeded to the Golden Spike Association.

Today the Depot serves as a museum of railroad and historical artifacts and has multiple original pieces. It also serves as an education hub for nearby school children and patrons. The Depot is the gateway to Brigham City from the West, and is popular among local photographers, history fans, and train buffs. It retains much of its original grandeur, including the large sweeping multiple hip roof, the wide overhanging eaves with wooden brackets, and even benches that passengers sat on while waiting for trains. Over 500,000 man hours have been donated by volunteers to restore this unique building to its original beauty.

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833 West Forest Street, Brigham City, Utah