Filed Under Architecture

The Historical Ogden Swift Building

For over 100 years, the Swift Building has been a landmark for the city of Ogden. However, when the decision was made to demolish the building, city officials found that the building's history would last into the imminent future.

The Swift Building, found near the Weber River in Ogden, Utah, has been around  for decades. Originally built in 1917, the building has been a landmark in the city. In that time, the building has passed through many hands, serving  many purposes. It was first a meat-packing plant. Later, it served as an administration building. It was then bought to be used as military storage for surplus items and was lastly used by a chemical manufacturer. When the chemical manufacturing company went bankrupt, toxic waste and other chemical products were left behind. Since then, the building has sat vacant for many years.

Before steps could be put in place to clean it up, the building was first purchased by the city. The city wished to raze the building and sell the acreage. However, after purchasing the building, city workers discovered a trove of hazardous material and leftover supplies. In 2018, that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) was asked by the city to step in and complete an assessment. They found more than 40,000 dangerous chemicals, including water reactive, flammables, toxic substances, explosives, and corrosives. The EPA agreed to remove the toxic  chemicals by the spring and to provide a safe environment for the community members and workers during this process. The cleanup was completed around October of 2019  and plans to demolish the building were put in place.

The demolition was started as soon as the cleanup was completed. The whole project was estimated to cost $3.01 million. In May 2020, the building was completely razed. As of June 2022, the city of Odgen was still working to address contamination of soil and groundwater, costing over $6 million total for the project. The total cost and timeline of the project will not be known for years, creating a heavy legacy for the Swift Building. 


The Swift Building
The Swift Building Source: "Cleanup Success at Ogden's Swift Building." 2020. Utah Department of Environmental Quality: Environmental Response & Remediation.
Inside the Swift Building
Inside the Swift Building Within the swift building, years of decay had left the building damaged. Source: "structural damage." Sam Scholes. August 3, 2008. Via Flickr.
The Swift Building Before Cleanup
The Swift Building Before Cleanup Shown are some of the hazardous materials left in the building. Source: "Before Cleanup (Room ADB16)." Ogden Swift Building. Via United States Environmental Protection Agency.



Louisa Gates, Weber State University, “The Historical Ogden Swift Building,” Intermountain Histories, accessed April 23, 2024,