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Salt Lake Terminal Company

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Overview

The Salt Lake Terminal Company was a joint company owned by Bamberger Railroad and Salt Lake & Utah Railroad, and served as the two companies terminal in Salt Lake City. There was a joint passenger terminal that stood on the southwest corner of West Temple and South Temple streets in Salt Lake City, where today's Symphony Hall is located.

The company was formed in 1913 and in early 1915 was planning to build its terminal building on West Temple street at Pierpont Avenue (350 South), with the tracks being in the street of Pierpont Avenue. There was resistance from residents and business owners in the immediate area, and through the efforts of local businessmen, a new site was purchased on the southwest corner of West Temple and South Temple streets. The site was previously owned by the LDS church, which donated a large portion of the larger site. Additional real estate was purchased using a $75,000 grant from the business owners at the north end of Main Street, one block to the east. Also, the LDS church intended to build a first class hotel on the southeast corner of the same intersection (today's Temple Square Hotel). A first class interurban terminal was seen as a positive establishment for that area of downtown Salt Lake City. Ownership of the site was settled in November 1915 and railroad tracks were laid in December 1915. A temporary terminal station was completed September 1916, but a permanent terminal building waited until October 1922 for construction to start. The new permanent interurban terminal station was opened to the public on October 4, 1923.

Timeline

November 29, 1913
Salt Lake Terminal Company organized to build a joint union station in Salt Lake City. Owned jointly by Bamberger Electric Railroad and Salt Lake & Utah Railroad. (Utah PSC corporate index 10380)

December 18, 1913
Officials of the Salt Lake Terminal Company told the Salt Lake City commission that although the terminal building was planned to be on Pierpont Avenue, between First West and West Temple, an offer had been made on property in the middle of the block further east, bounded by Main Street, West Temple, Second South and Third South. Entrance to the mid block area was to be by an arcade through the David Keith building on Main Street, and arcades on the north side of the block, along with a formal entrance on West Temple. (Ogden Standard, December 18, 1913)

(March 23, 1914 -- Salt Lake & Utah operations began, using three gas-electric motor cars. Formal electric train operations began on July 24, 1914)

(Salt Lake & Ogden passenger and freight operations were already well established from its existing terminal at 350 West on South Temple. The SL&O trains departed northward along Jennings Avenue and Third West. Electrified SL&O train operations began on May 14, 1910.)

June 19, 1915
Formal operations begin of the Salt Lake Terminal Company's new interim joint railroad passenger terminal, at the intersection of Third South and First West. The new terminal was used by the trains of the Salt Lake & Ogden Railway and the Salt Lake & Utah Railroad, and would be used for baggage and express business for both railroads. Salt Lake & Ogden passengers were to board only at one of two stations in Salt Lake City. What was called Temple Station was at South Temple and First West, with passengers using the Schramm-Johnson drug store as the waiting room. The second station for SL&O passengers was at North Temple and Third West, near the current SL&O yards. (Ogden Standard, June 18, 1915)

November 10, 1915
Salt Lake & Utah, and all the other companies and interests of A. J. Orem & Company (Salt Lake & Utah RR, Nevada Copper Belt RR, Nevada Douglas Mining Co., Interurban Construction Co., and Salt Lake Terminal Co.), moved from the Newhouse building, to the former location of the old Commercial Club, at 222 South West Temple. The building had been purchased by the Terminal company during 1914 to fulfill its plans of a new terminal building. The building was on the west side of the street, and was just north of Pierpont Avenue, where the Terminal company planned to build its new interurban terminal. (Salt Lake Tribune, November 10, 1915)

November 18, 1915
The following comes from the November 20, 1915 issue of The Ogden Standard newspaper:

Salt Lake, Nov. 19. -- The location of the new interurban terminal was definitely settled yesterday when a deal was closed between the Mormon church and business men of upper Main street on the one hand, and the Salt Lake Terminal company on the other, by which the terminal company acquired the Valley house corner and some adjacent property at South Temple and West Temple streets. In addition to the Valley house property, which was donated by the church, the business men of upper Main street gave the terminal company a cash bonus of $75,000. The deal has been under way for more than three weeks.

The property acquired by the terminal company has a frontage on South Temple street of 330 feet and on West Temple of 121 feet. The bonus, or a portion of it, will be used to obtain additional frontage on West Temple street, which will bring the terminal company's holdings up to the driveway adjoining the Gold hotel. In order to obtain some of the property needed condemnation proceedings will be necessary. The proceedings will be begun as soon as the papers can be prepared and it is expected that title will be acquired within ten days. The terminal company has already acquired a right of way through the block westward to First West street for its tracks into the terminal station.

Upon the site now occupied by the Valley house a $200,000 station is to be erected within the next five years, according to the terms of the contract. However, the erection of the permanent structure will not be attempted at present. The work of constructing a temporary station will be started at once and will be completed within ninety days. All tracks, however, will be of a permanent nature and will be so arranged as to permit their use by other interurban lines, if so desired. At the present, it was said yesterday, there are no prospects of other interurban lines than the Salt Lake & Utah and the Salt Lake & Ogden railroads. As soon as the tracks and temporary station are completed the passenger trains of the Orem and Bamberger lines will be operated into and out of the new terminus.

The church donated the Valley house site, 121 feet fronting on West Temple and 330 feet on South Temple, valued at $75,000. Fifty-six and a half feet along West Temple was purchased from the West Temple Investment company at $18,000. The purchase money comes out of the $75,000 bonus donated by the North Main street business men. Some $58,000 was paid from the same bonus for 100 feet of ground in the block, extending through to First West. (Ogden Standard, November 20, 1915)

December 1915
Track laying started during mid December 1915, "Frogs and switches are being placed in First West street, where the interurban line will turn east through the block to the new terminal site, and the razing of the buildings will be started as soon as condemnation proceedings are sufficiently under way." Tracks to be laid along the 100-foot right-of-way in the middle of the block bounded by South Temple and First South, and by West Temple and First West. Franchise for the turnouts in First West Street were granted on December 14th. (Salt Lake Tribune, December 1, 1915, "next week"; Salt Lake Telegram, December 14, 1915)

December 9, 1915
"General Offices To Go To West Temple -- The removal of the general offices of the Salt Lake & Ogden railroad from their present quarters with other Bamberger interests to the old Commercial club building on West Temple street was announced yesterday by President Julian Bamberger. With the moving of the Salt Lake & Ogden offices, the old Commercial club building will be known as the Electric Terminal building and will house all the general offices of the Salt Lake & Utah, the Salt Lake & Ogden and the Salt Lake Terminal Railroad companies. The exact date for moving the offices of the Salt Lake & Utah railroad has not been announced. but the change will be made before the first of the year. The offices of the other Bamberger interests will remain in the present quarters on Main street." (Salt Lake Tribune, December 9, 1915)

September 25, 1916
A temporary interurban terminal station was completed on the site recently purchased at the southwest corner of West Temple and South Temple streets. The tracks were in their permanent locations, but the construction of a permanent building was to be delayed due to economic conditions. (Salt Lake Herald, September 20, 1916)

(Newspapers carried an illustration of the temporary station, but the low resolution of the online digital image makes the image unusable.)

October 19, 1922
Contracts were let for the construction of the permanent interurban terminal station for the Salt Lake Terminal Company. The contracts, with a reported value of $210,308, were signed in the offices of Young & Hanson, architects for the new building. Work was to commence "next week or in ten days," and the building was to be ready for occupancy within 150 working days (30 weeks). The new building was to have a frontage along South Temple of 194 feet, and a frontage along West Temple of 92 feet. The main entrance was to be on the South Temple side. The building was to have two stories and a full basement. (Salt Lake Telegram, october 20, 1922, "yesterday")

February 4, 1923
The following description of the new interurban terminal station comes from the February 4, 1923 issue of the Salt Lake Telegram newspaper:

Electric Union Station Will Be Ready By June 1 - New Terminal To Include All Modern facilities -- At a cost of approximately $300,000, the new electric union station building at West Temple and South Temple streets will be completed, furnished and ready for occupancy about June 1. The structure, which alone will cost $210,000, is now in course of construction.

The building is being constructed for the Salt Lake Terminal company and will be utilized by trains of the Bamberger Electric Railroad company and the Salt Lake & Utah Electric Railroad company, the Orem lines. The companies are joint owners of the terminal company.

Modern Facilities Planned. -- The electric trains will enter and leave from what will be the basement of the structure, where concrete floors and proper sheds for the protection of passengers will have facilities for four tracks, an inbound and an outbound for both north and south services. Entrance to the trains will be had from a concourse of the most modern type, from which will lead entrances to the trainmen's rooms, the express and baggage rooms, and to a number of storage rooms.

Passengere entering the depot will descend to the concourse via ramps, constructed of concrete, ramps being used in preference to stairways as being of a higher degree of safety in the handling of large crowds. Another ramp will lead directly from the train sheds to the waiting room and so that pasengers inbound and outbound will not meet.

Restrooms Included. -- At the head of the ramps on the main floor will be the waiting room and ticket offices, with conveniently located women's restrooms, cigar, candy and news stands, telephone booth and telegraph stands, men's smoking room, lunchroom and restaurant, and also entrances of fifteen store rooms which will face both First West and South Temple streets. These store rooms will have plate glass fronts on both the streets and waiting room, so that passengers can enter any one of them without going on the street itself.

According to present plans, all stores will be noncompeting, only one store of each sort being allowed. At the corner will be located a large and modern drug store, directly to the south of which on the West Temple street side will be a barber shop. Adjoining this will be located the dispatcher's offices, so placed as to overlook the tracks and trainsheds.

The second floor of the building will be devoted entirely to office rooms many of them occupied by the rallway company for its headquarters and others fitted especially for the needs of manufacturers' agents, traveling men who have sample lines for display, etc. The offices will be of the most modern type, with all equipment for general business purposes.

Utah Materials Used. -- While the main structure will be but two stories high on the street level, foundation and wall construction is such that the building may be increased in height whenever desired. The general type of construction is concrete with a glazed, varicolored brick and granite facing. The brick used is a product manufactured in Provo, and generally all materials, wherever possible, were purchased from Utah manufacturers.

The new station is being erected on the site of the old Valley house, at one time Salt Lake's leading hotel, where was entertained many notable men of olden days. This site was donated by the Mormon church as the key site at the time construction of a station was contemplated at a location near Pierpont street and West Temple. Other interests aided in obtaining adjacent property now included in the land the station occupied.

According to reports, the church contemplates in the near future, erection of a modern middle size hotel, directly across the street from the station building at either the northwest or the southeast corners of South Temple and West Temple streets.

Many Stations Studied. -- The temporary station now being razed in sections was erected in 1917 and has served both the Bamberger and Orem lines ever since, construction of the permanent station having been delayed by the war and subsequent business conditions. In making plans for the new depot many interurban stations throughout the country were studied for ideas. Plans of all of these were before the engineers and architects of the new structure when its specifications were drawn.

R. K. Brown is representing the Salt Lake & Utah company interests and Simon Bamberger the Bameberger company interests in the building operations. An indication of the importance of the building is seen when estimates show that more than a million and a half passengers used the electric roads' station in 1922. A total of sixty-five trains operate in and out of Salt Lake daily over the two roads. (Salt Lake Telegram, February 4, 1923)

June 15, 1923
"Offices Occupied in Interurban Station -- A few of the new offices in the new interurban station of the Bamberger and Orem Electric lines were occupied by the dispatcher's staff of the Bamberger line today. Other offices will be occupied as they are completed." (Salt Lake Telegram, June 15, 1923, "today")

July 7, 1923
"Interurban Station Nearing Completion -- The Bamberger-Orem new passenger station is rapidly nearing completion and will be ready for use in four more weeks, it was announced by Orem officials today. The fence which had blocked a view from the east was removed yesterday, and it revealed a structure with large plate glass windows. The basement is already completed and work la progressing on the upper stories." (Salt Lake Telegram, July 7, 1923)

July 27, 1923
"Interurban Station to Open in September -- The new Orem-Bamberger station at West Temple and South Temple streets will not be completed and ready for opening until the early part of September, former Governor Bamberger stated today, when asked about the progress of construction. The depot was scheduled to have been opened by August 1, but a delay, due to the shortage of plasterers, has caused the postponement of the completion, Mr. Bamberger explained." (Salt Lake Telegram, July 27, 1923)

September 11, 1923
"Bamberger Electric Offices Are Moved -- Several of the Bamberger Electric offices, which were formerly in the Electric building on West Temple street, have been moved to the new station at the corner of West Temple and South Temple streets. The offices changed are the superintendent's office, the claim agent's office, maintenance of way offices and traffic department offices. The Orem line offices remain in the Electric building at present, but it is expected that they will be transferred within the next few weeks, when the building is more nearly completed." (Salt Lake Telegram, September 11, 1923)

September 30, 1923
The new interurban terminal station was to open on October 4th. The traffic office of the Salt Lake & Utah railroad was to move into the building "tomorrow." (Salt Lake Telegram, September 30, 1923)

October 4, 1923
The new interurban terminal station opened to the public. It was an informal opening, without any ceremony except brief remarks by former Governor Bamberger. (Ogden Standard Examiner, October 5, 1923, "yesterday"; Salt Lake Telegram, October 5, 1923, "yesterday")

1946
With the abandonment of the Salt Lake & Utah Railroad in March 1946, Bamberger Railroad became sole owner of the Salt Lake Terminal Company at auction on July 26, 1946, for the price of $1.00.

April 22, 1947
Julian Bamberger purchased the Salt Lake Rail and Bus Terminal, approved by the federal ICC on April 22, 1947. At the same time, he became sole owner of the Bamberger Railroad. (ICC Financial Docket 15643 and 15644, ICC Finance Reports, Volume 267, p.826)

September 30, 1947
The Salt Lake City commission denied Julian Bamberger's request that the 27-foor wide alley along the south side of the Salt Lake Rail and Bus Terminal be designated as a public alley, and be extended to 1st South, and be designated as a one-way street for public use. The present alley was 330 feet long, extending eastward from West Temple Street to the rear of the interurban and bus terminal. Bamberger owned the terminal at that time, and was negotiating for its sale to Interstate Transit Lines. (Salt Lake Telegram, September 30, 1947; October 2, 1947) (see also: Sanborn Fire Insurance Map, 1950, sheet 077)

In late 1947, Bamberger sold the terminal buildings and yards to Interstate Transit Company, a Union Pacific subsidiary.

(Read more about Interstate Transit Lines -- along with Union Pacific Stages, Inc., and Union Pacific Stage Co.)

The following description in 1949 comes from Ira Swett's book:

Overland Greyhound Lines spent more than $400,000 in remodeling the Terminal. The Terminal encompasses a complete shopping center, a Post House restaurant seating 128, barber shop, tailor shop, drug store and news stand. The Terminal is air-conditioned and the interior has been modernized using a blue-stone composite material. Expensive rest rooms finished in tile and equipped with showers are located in the basement. The remodeled Terminal is able to serve a passenger load of more than a million persons annually, with 16 busses and two electric trains able to load simultaneously. About 200 buses daily moved through the Terminal in 1949.

The new bus concourse occupied the site of the two southernmost tracks and was at a much higher level. Two tracks remained for trains and were in use up until abandonment of rail passenger service. The subsequent sale of Bamberger's bus subsidiary removed the last physical evidence of the two Interurban companies from public view. The northern most track has been kept to deliver coal and freight to the building.

January 15, 1949
Overland Greyhound Lines opened its new terminal on January 15, 1949. The bus company had purchased the old interurban terminal from the Bamberger Railroad and was reported as spending $400,000 to completely remodel the interior and exterior of the building. (Deseret News, January 11, 1949)

January 29, 1968
Greyhound announced that it would move its terminal from its current location at West Temple and South Temple streets, to a new location at South Temple and 200 West, occupying a new terminal building designed for the purpose. The terminal is being moved to make way for the new Salt Lake County Civic Auditorium, also known as the Salt Palace. The site for the new terminal came from Zion Securities. (Deseret News, January 29, 1968)

(Ground was broken for the new Salt Palace in March 1967; the Salt Palace name was selected in a contest in March 1965.)

April 16, 1968
Greyhound held a groundbreaking ceremony for its new terminal at the northeast corner of South Temple and 200 West streets, one block west and across the street from the former site. Architects for the new terminal were Ashton, Brazier, Montmorency and Associates. The projected cost was reported as $500,000. (Deseret News, April 13, 1968; April 16, 1968)

January 7, 1969
Greyhound expected the new terminal to be formally opened on either January 6th or 7th. To serve the traveling public, the facility was to be open as early as December 15, 1968, but formal completion was delayed while subcontractors finished some of the final work. The total cost of buildings and land for the new terminal was reported as $1.55 million. (Deseret News, November 4, 1968; November 14, 1968)

Research has not yet found a newspaper news item about the terminal actually opening.

Demolition of the old terminal likely started in February or March 1969, after Greyhound formally opened the new terminal.

The three-day ceremony for the completion of the first portion of Salt Palace, the new sports arena, started on July 12, 1969. (Deseret News, July 9, 1969) (That same sports arena was demolished beginning in December 1993.)

After being demolished in early 1969, the site of the former Salt Lake Rail and Bus Terminal at the southwest corner of South Temple and West Temple streets became a parking lot for use by Salt Palace visitors.

On March 10, 1977, ground was broken for a new Bicentennial Arts Center, to include a new concert hall and a new gallery for the Salt Lake Arts Center. The new concert hall was named Maurice Abravanel Hall and became the new home of the Utah Symphony.

The Salt Lake Arts Center opened on May 11, 1979, and Abravanel Hall held its opening ceremony on September 14, 1979.

More Information

Salt Lake Terminal Company -- An excerpt from Ira Swett's "Interurbans of Utah".

Salt Lake Terminal Company Corporate information -- Information from the files of the Utah State Public Utilities Commission.

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