In 1889, Ogden history changed forever with the opening of the Union Station. The arrival of the railroad brought new life to the town of Ogden as people from all over the nation now stopped in and became acquainted with the previously little-known town. With the increase of visitors, Ogden quickly needed to provide better accommodations for incoming guests. The answer came in the summer of 1889 with the approval of a new 5-story hotel to be built on the corner of Washington and 25th street. The hotel was to be built by E.A. Reed Esquire at the cost of $75,000. Initially the hotel had several struggles and delays in development but it finally opened its doors for business on July 4th 1891. The hotel opened with 130 rooms and had elegant interior furnishings including velvet carpet. The hotel struggled financially early on, even closing briefly in 1893, but it quickly reopened and continued to serve guests to the city.
With the boom in the economy at the heels of World War I, the hotel was completely remodeled in the 1920’s to become a more modern facility. M.S. Eccles and A.P. Bigelow took on the reconstruction project, adding eleven stories to the hotel. With much anticipation, the hotel officially reopened under the new name of The Bigelow Hotel, on March 3rd, 1927. The remodeling was praised for its elegance and quickly became known as a first class hostelry as it was considered one of only 3 grand hotels in Utah. In 1933, the hotel was again renamed as it took on the new title of the Ben Lomond Hotel, named after the local mountain in Weber County.
The hotel is part of the intriguing history of 25th street in Ogden. With the arrival of the railroad on the west end of 25th, many new and interesting personalities descended on Ogden and more specifically on this famous street. Soon after the railroad arrived, brothels infiltrated many of the establishments on this road. With these came much gambling and crime, including many murders. In the 1920’s, the street became known for its many moonshiners selling alcohol illegally during the prohibition. Many of these establishments would hide the alcohol under floorboards, or would have someone posing as a guest to conceal the alcohol under a coat. When a guest came asking for a drink, the bartender would give a signal to the individual who would then secretly come forward with the illegal drink. These are just a few examples of the crime and corruption that permeated this street.
Today, the Bigelow Hotel and 25th street have held onto their compelling history and is true to their historic roots. As one explores the hotel and wanders down 25th they truly feel that they have stepped back almost 100 years into 1920’s Ogden.