Main Streets 2016: Utah
Ogden is anything but the traditional image you may have of Utah. That’s especially so when you zoom in on historic 25th Street.
The colorful story of this American main street begins in 1869 with the opening of Ogden’s first Union Station at 25th Street and Wall Avenue. Tracklayers for the Union Pacific Railroad reached town shortly before completing the nation’s first transcontinental railroad, with the driving of the famed “Golden Spike” at the joining of the Central Pacific and Union Pacific tracks in nearby Promontory Summit. Ogden became a boom town, a major railroad junction on both the east-west and north-south routes — and its current Union Station, opened in 1924, is the third railroad depot at the same location.
Built in Spanish Colonial Revival style, the station now houses four museums, including the Utah State Railroad Museum. Featured there are two large murals that depict progress from both directions toward the driving of the Golden Spike, plus fascinating exhibits on railroading, with several historic locomotives on display, and on firearms, classic cars and model railroads.
By the early 20th century, 25th Street had become known as “Notorious Two Bit Street” and “Electric Alley,” with brothels, gang rivalries and all sorts of scandalous activities. Nearly a hundred years later, visitors see a very different scene. Many of the street’s original buildings are still standing, so the history is here — but the tone is much different. In fact, Forbes magazine recognized the Ogden-Clearfield metropolitan area as one of the country’s fastest growing cities and best places to raise a family. Ogden also recently made headlines when Newsweek ranked it first in the nation for economic equality.
The Ogden area attracts droves of visitors, and many head out to go skiing, canoeing or kayaking, mountain hiking, fishing or exploring some of the nearby national parks. But 25th Street offers its own rich array of attractions, from diverse and colorful shopping, and some of Utah’s best dining, to lively nightlife. Popular events include downtown’s monthly First Friday Art Stroll, and free Jazz at the Station each Wednesday.
Stroll down historic 25th Street, and you’ll discover the vibrancy and fun of a community that treasures its colorful past — and has built a magnetic, thriving present.
All photos courtesy of Kim Bowsher – kbent LLC Media Group
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