SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4) — As today’s travelers now fill local airports to reach their destinations abroad, the voyages of last century looked much different then, with commuters relying on passenger trains to get from point A to point B and beyond.
During much of the 1900s, Salt Lake City was at the forefront of the country’s travel hubs, being considered the “crossroads of the West” for its blossoming rail services and intersecting lines.
This railroad craze of the late nineteenth and early twentieth century took on a whole new meaning with fierce competition underway between two rival stations — the Union Pacific Railroad (UP) and the Denver and Rio Grande Western Railroad (D&RGW).
Utah was a key battleground for these organizations, as both vied for control of the region with their transcontinental railroad networks.
Stemming from this opposition, both had constructed depots in the Salt Lake City area. The Union Pacific Depot (400 W S Temple) was completed in 1909, costing roughly $300,000. In the following year, the Rio Grande Depot (300 S Rio Grande St) was built for a total cost of $750,000.
For decades, these stations acted as primary travel hubs for those looking to trek to Salt Lake City and across the western United States.
Today, these depots have long been absent from the passenger trains that once were so momentous to travelers here and abroad. Still, with generations of train travel at the center of Utah’s history, they’ve each played an important role in making Salt Lake City what it is now.