John W. Young’s Utah Railroads, Chapter 3

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By Marlowe C. Adkins, Jr.

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Chapter 3

Politics and Railroad Ambitions

The three railroads discussed in this thesis were in the unenviable position of having to obtain either city or federal permission to build across lands under the control of the respective governments. The Salt Lake and Fort Douglas line and the Utah Western both required franchises granted by Salt Lake City. The Salt Lake and Fort Douglas, as well as the Salt Lake and Eastern, crossed lands within federal reservations, necessitating an Act of Congress to obtain the needed clearances. The result was political machinations, conflict, frustration and successes that reached from City Hall in Salt Lake City to the halls of the United States Congress.

With the initial construction of railroads in Utah, the Salt Lake City Council had passed an ordinance for the control of such lines as might pass through the city. The council was granted the authority to regulate and control railroad franchises. Carefully spelling out the various railroad construction requirements within the city, the ordinance concluded by emphasizing that the council "expressly retained and reserved" the rights to approve or reject railroad development.[1] This control was laden with potential problems for railroad builders.

Where railroad matters were concerned, a conflict of interest was present within the Salt Lake City Council. Although the makeup of the council membership varied during the period of 1883-1890, there was always at least one member who was directly associated with Union Pacific controlled railroads. Council member John Sharp was on the board of directors of the Utah Central and was vice president and general superintendent of that railroad. Another councilman, James Sharp, was the assistant general superintendent of the Utah Central and a member of the board of directors of the Utah and Nevada Railroad. A third railroader and council member, W. W. Riter, was a member of the board of directors, vice president, and general superintendent of the Utah and Nevada.[2] Each of these men placed the concerns of their railroads first and sought to place obstacles in the way of franchise requests from John W. Young. However, conflict of interest was not the only problem when the City Council heard requests for railroad expansion in Salt Lake City.

The council, as an elected body, was sensitive to the wishes of the electorate. If public opinion formed concerning an issue, the councilman doing his duty reacted to popular feelings. Mass meetings, petitions, and newspaper editorials were sources of input to the council, pro or con. Sensitivity to public opinion resulted in a number of petitions to the council from the Salt Lake and Fort Douglas during the first year of the latter’s corporate existence.

The Salt Lake and Fort Douglas Railroad submitted five separate route proposals to the Salt Lake City Council before approval and a franchise was finally granted. In chronological order they were: 1) a route from the Utah Central depot around the north edge of the city to Fort Douglas, 2) a route from the Denver and Rio Grande Western depot east along Second South to Fort Douglas, 3) a modified route going north of the city to Fort Douglas, 4) a modified route along Second South using horse-drawn cars to the outskirts of the city, and 5) a route leaving the Denver and Rio Grande Western tracks, proceeding east then north along the southern and eastern edge of the city. Each proposal resulted in considerable comment from the populace and deliberation by the council.

The first proposal from the original incorporators of the Salt Lake and Fort Douglas Railroad occurred in September 1883, and was prior to John W. Young’s involvement. As illustrated in Figure 2, this route proceeded from the Utah Central depot, at Third West and North Temple, east along North Temple. Using the walls of City Creek Canyon to gain altitude, it emerged on the north bench and followed Fourth Avenue towards the destination of Fort Douglas and Red Butte Canyon.[3] The criticism that this route received has a familiar ring today--urban density and water pollution.

Less than a century ago, North Temple street was lined with with residences instead of the present commercial establishments. A unique feature of this thoroughfare was the stream of water flowing down its center. City Creek, the creek from the canyon of the same name, was diverted from near the mouth of the canyon to flow west in the middle of the street until the water emptied into the Jordan River. The stream was more than a curiosity in its divergence, for it provided both irrigation and culinary water to the residents in the immediate vicinity. In an effort to avoid street congestion along North Temple, the Salt Lake and Fort Douglas proposed to place its tracks on a trestle straddling the stream from Third West to the mouth of City Creek Canyon, a distance of about one mile.[4] Water coursed near the rails at another point.

After emerging on the north bench, the proposed line was to run parallel with Fourth Avenue, alongside what was called the Twentieth Ward ditch. The ditch provided, as did City Creek, the culinary and irrigation water for the residents along portions of the north bench.[5] Rapidly the lines of conflict were drawn between railroad entrepreneurs and residential water users.

The ensuing debate was extensively covered by the local press. In editorials and reports of meetings and petitions, the pros and cons of the argument were aired. Some residents of the north bench area supported the enterprise. They saw in the railroad opportunities to establish various businesses and the enhancement of property values.[6] For other residents, the railroad threatened misery. "It is not pleasant to have a locomotive snorting, blowing, whistling and dashing up and down in front of one’s house ..." commented the Herald.[7] Many of the residents were concerned about the possible pollution of their water. The locomotives and cars directly over the waters of City Creek posed one threat. Those drawing culinary water from the Twentieth Ward ditch had a big enough problem with animals contaminating the supply, and did not want dirt and cinders from the trains compounding the problem.[8]

At the council meeting on December 26, 1883, a petition against the Salt Lake and Fort Douglas route was accepted by the City Council. P. L. Williams moved to adopt the petition and W. W. Riter voted in favor of the Williams motion. [9]Of significance, both Williams and Riter were among the original investors in the S. L. & F. D.[10] Their action was indicative of the council’s feelings. On January 2, 1884, the Committee on Streets and Alleys recommended disapproval of the requested franchise. The council concurred.[11] The Salt Lake and Fort Douglas Railroad had been sidetracked in the City Council, and remained so until the arrival of John W. Young.

On May 13, 1884, the new president of the Salt Lake and Fort Douglas Railroad requested a franchise. The proposed route of the railroad was common with the previous year’s request only in its destination. Leaving the Denver and Rio Grande Western depot, the tracks were to travel east along Second South. This route, as shown in Figure 3, cut through the central business section of the city, then proceeded on to the boundaries of Fort Douglas.[12] In less than a month the petition was denied, but this had been anticipated.[13]

A second route under the new leadership, and the third request submitted, was proposed on May 25, 1884. As illustrated in Figure 4, this route departed the Utah Central depot and went north along Third West. At Eighth North it turned in a generally eastward direction until it reached Red Butte Canyon. This proposal did take the railroad along a higher north bench location than did the 1883 request.[14] The council undertook discussion of this proposal.

With two qualifications this petition met with the council’s approval. First, the Salt Lake and Fort Douglas Railroad had to abandon the requested right of way up Third West. Instead, the tracks were to begin with the existing Utah Central tracks at Eighth North.[15] Second, part of the proposed route, because of its high location on the north bench, passed through land set aside for the city cemetery. The railroad had to relocate above or below these lands.[16] This time Young chose to move slowly, making no reply for just over a month.

On July 27, 1884, it was announced that a new route for the Salt Lake and Fort Douglas had been adopted which avoided going through the cemetery.[17] The details were presented to the City Council on August 5, much to the surprise of all present.

Except for one modification, this fourth proposal was identical to the previously rejected Second South route. To eliminate the noise and smoke of locomotives passing through the city center, the railroad cars were to be drawn by horses between the Denver and Rio Grande Western depot and Eleventh East.[18] This was an obvious bid to obtain the rail traffic of the businesses in the center of the city, an area untouched by the other railroads. Local businessmen reacted in a prompt manner.

Entrepreneurs along the route were opposed. A petition, just one of many, containing the signatures of one hundred twenty-six businessmen against the railroad was submitted in early September.[19] While opposing the Salt Lake and Fort Douglas Railroad, many of the same citizens favored the establishment of a passenger tramway along the same route.[20] The City Council considered the matter and rendered its decision.

The council meeting of September 2 contained two items of business concerning the Salt Lake and Fort Douglas. The first was the refusal of the council to grant the Second South request.[21] The second was an unscheduled statement to the council by John W. Young just as the meeting was about to close.

His fourth route petition, the fifth in the series on behalf of the Salt Lake and Fort Douglas Railroad, was presented in person. This request asked that a franchise be granted for a route along Second South (almost identical to the one just denied), but then included an important addition. The council was asked to grant a franchise for "a steam railway from the D. & R. G. Railway on Eighth South street, along said street to Third East; thence south to Ninth South; thence east to the city canal, and thence by the most feasible location to make a grade to connect with the Second South street steam tine."[22] In one statement, Young had presented the council with two alternatives.

Without overt public reaction or editorial comment, the City Council rapidly made a decision. Consulting with Young during the ensuing week, a compromise was agreed upon. The railroad along Second South was denied; however, the proposal to build along the southern, more lightly populated portion of the city was acceptable. Minor modifications were made, such as extending the route along Eighth South to Seventh East before turning south for one block instead of going south at Third East as originally proposed. On September 9, 1884, the franchise was granted.[23] Nearly a year had passed since the original franchise request, but finally the railroad had gained a potentially profitable route, illustrated in Figure 5.

As stated in Chapter II, the Salt Lake and Fort Douglas Railroad came to serve more business concerns than just Fort Douglas and the rock quarries. Many of these additional sources of revenue were located along Eighth and Ninth South streets. Two major businesses, the Salt Lake Brewery and Fuller’s Pleasure Gardens, were located along the most feasible grade climbing the east bench. At long last, construction of the railroad was expected to commence.

Without a spade of dirt being turned, the railroad sought to expand. On November 11, 1884, a petition was presented to the Salt Lake City Council requesting a franchise to extend the tracks of the Salt Lake and Fort Douglas Railroad.[24] With one franchise now in his pocket allowing the railroad to build east and north of the city, John W. Young now desired to expand to the south.

Specifically, he desired to extend the line from Ninth South and Tenth East, where the northward climb along the east bench began, south to the mouth of Big Cottonwood Canyon. Within the city limits, he desired a franchise to use the banks of the Jordan and Salt Lake canal.[25] From the tone of the petition, approval of this request was in the best interests of the city. Not only would the canal banks be compressed and regularly patrolled (preventing bank washout, a constant problem with dirt banked canals), the extension of the railroad made possible the suburbanization of the Cottonwood area in relation to Salt Lake City. It would "render it available as a healthful and convenient locality for the establishment of pleasant and cheap homes for persons having employment or business in the City."[26] The petition sounded good, but it stirred up the proverbial hornets' nest of public reaction.

A flood of petitions, letters, newspaper editorials, and public meetings followed the announcement of the request to use the Jordan and Salt Lake canal bank. Those in favor extolled the economic and transportation benefits of linking the city and outlying communities to the southeast. Those opposed fell into two major groups. One segment expressed a fear that the Salt Lake and Fort Douglas was just a front for the Union Pacific or Denver and Rio Grande Western railroads. The other major point of opposition centered on the moral aspects of a private enterprise to take advantage of a ready-made grade constructed with public funds.[27] Damage to buildings and property along the route were also factors, but in at least one locality these fears were pacified.

Concerned about the possible construction of the Salt Lake and Fort Douglas Railroad, the citizens of Millcreek called an open meeting. Attended by interested citizens, including many farmers with fields along the proposed right of way, representatives of the railroad were also present, including John W. Young. Of primary concern to the residents was whether or not the railroad would honor claims for any damage caused to buildings or other property. Young responded with assurances that the S. L. & F. D. intended to treat the citizens in a fair and honest manner. When the meeting concluded, the bulk of nearly one thousand citizens present were in favor of the S. L. & F. D. extending to the south.[28] Young’s personal appearance and ability to convince the Millcreek citizens of the benefits of rail service was, in this instance, successful. Now his talents were needed to convince the City Council.

He failed. On December 9, 1884, the council denied the request to use the banks of the canal. The canal right of way, it was noted, had been acquired for a specific purpose. Further, to obtain some of the land used by the canal, it was necessary to resort to court action and condemnation proceedings. In the opinion of the Committee on Canals "the granting of a right of way for a railway track upon the canal embankment is fraught with many dangers to the canal and its utility."[29] Expansion to the south of the city was stymied while other alternatives were investigated.

On November 3, 1887, nearly three years after being denied a right of way along the Jordan and Salt Lake canal bank, John W. Young approached the council on the same matter. In the interval since his last request attempts at purchasing a right of way were unsuccessful. In one case, he reported to the council, a farmer had asked $5,000 for passage through forty acres of land. He now requested approval to use the canal bank for a distance of about two miles.[30] The council took the matter under advisement.

In this instance, "under advisement" required five days. On November 8, permission was granted to the Salt Lake and Fort Douglas Railroad to use the canal bank for a distance of about two miles, "ending at a point about 1,000 feet south of the Penitentiary road.[31] The permission was not free, the railroad being charged a one-time fee of $6,000. It was also responsible for repairing any damage caused to the canal during the construction of the railroad, maintenance of the west bank of the canal upon which the tracks were laid, and free haulage of any debris removed when the canal was cleaned.[32] One more franchise was needed before the requirements of the S. L. & F. D. were satisfied.

In July 1888, Young requested permission of the City Council to extend the tracks of the Salt Lake and Fort Douglas from Eighth South north along Fourth West, to connect with the Utah and Nevada Railroad near First South. Once again the council took the request under advisement, although many businesses along the route expressed their approval.[33] The question was held in abeyance until November 13, when permission was granted.[34] This action concluded eight separate franchise requests in behalf of the Salt Lake and Fort Douglas Railroad, yielding three franchises which enabled the railroad to be constructed within the city limits. Yet as the year ended, Young did not know that another railroad and another franchise battle waited in the wings.

Following the organization of the Utah Western Railroad, on June 24, 1889, as noted in Chapter II, it was once again necessary for Young to approach the City Council. He sought to begin the U. W. where the Salt Lake and Fort Douglas joined with the Utah and Nevada tracks. The intended route was to extend north on Fourth West to Ninth North. Then it was to extend west to the city limits and on to the shores of the Great Salt Lake.[35] This request, involving approximately two and one-half miles of track within the city, set off a raging debate between members of the council.

As already noted, a conflict of interest was present in the City Council, and it came into sharp focus at this time. Both W. W. Riter, of the Utah and Nevada Railroad, and James Sharp, of the Utah Central Railroad, were members of the council. To date, Young’s enterprises had not run in direct competition with either of these railroads. In fact, the tie-in of the Salt Lake and Fort Douglas with the Utah and Nevada was of benefit to the latter. But now, with a planned railroad building west from the city, he had come into direct competition with the U. & N. If the Utah Western was unable to move within the Salt Lake City limits, the entire justification for construction was nullified. Using a variety of tactics, Riter and Sharp tried to influence the rest of the council to deny the U. W. franchise request.

One proposal which originated within the council was to put a third rail within the existing standard gauge Utah Central tracks going north out of the city towards Ogden. This allowed the narrow gauge Utah Western to move out of the city without the need to establish a new roadbed.[36] Such a plan, however, required cooperation between rival railroads. As unlikely as such cooperation might be, it offered more of a chance for the franchise than did some other council suggestions.

Some councilmen were totally opposed to any additional franchises. Their opinions were based upon the excessive number of tracks already within the western portion of the city. While the council argued over the matter, Young was seeking public support.

Citizens living in the northwest portion of Salt Lake City were opposed to the idea of another railroad in their area. In an effort to gain their support, Young called a meeting of these people at the Sixteenth Ward schoolhouse. Although he offered to build them a new schoolhouse in return for their support, this overt bribery failed.[37] The franchise was finally granted, but without the backing of at least one group of citizens.

Once the Utah Western Railroad franchise was obtained, it became the sole railroad then under John W. Young’s control that had a right of way that did not cross through a federal reserve. To reach Red Butte and Emigration canyons, the Salt Lake and Fort Douglas Railroad first had to cross the Fort Douglas reservation. To reach Parleys Canyon the Salt Lake and Eastern Railroad had to cross lands of the territorial penitentiary. Because both areas were presently under federal control, permission to cross those lands had to come from Washington, D. C.

The workings of Congress can be frustrating. Action to obtain approval to build across the Fort Douglas reservation was initiated in 1885. In June 1886, John W. Young was informed that only the objections of General Philip H. Sheridan prevented approval.[38] At last the bill. for the right of way was placed on the Senate calendar in February 1887. The report from the House of Representatives was ordered printed in the same month, and final approval came on March 3, 1887.[39] After two years of effort, the Salt Lake and Fort Douglas Railroad was now assured of the right to cross the Fort Douglas reservation.

The process followed in obtaining permission to cross the penitentiary lands offers an interesting contrast. The initial request was made to Frank E. Dyer, the territorial marshal, in May 1888, and the railroad was across the penitentiary lands by November.[40] The delay in obtaining permission to cross the Fort Douglas lands, in contrast to the relative speed in the approval to cross the penitentiary reserve, may be accounted for by examining Young’s involvement in politics.

John W. Young, although primarily a businessman and not a politician, per se, was involved in national political efforts. He was active in the Democratic party, and published the pro-Democratic Saturday Evening Globe.[41] He was also, during the years 1886-1887, lobbying for the defeat of the Edmunds-Tucker bill.[42] He was able to obtain a short, private interview with President Grover Cleveland concerning the Edmunds-Tucker bill, and felt that the President was favorably impressed with Young’s presentation.[43] All of this activity associated with a cause of which the general body of Americans disapproved, may have had a negative influence on his application to Congress for the Salt Lake and Fort Douglas Railroad to cross through the fort’s reservation.

Both the city franchises and the federal right of way bill to cross Fort Douglas contained restrictive provisions. For the city, it was required that all of the railroad’s roadbed be laid upon and conform to the established grade of existing streets. Where no street existed, the railroad was to grade and maintain a roadbed of twenty feet from the outside of the outer rail on both sides, which in effect created a new public street. The grade and streets were then to be graveled. Culverts and bridges were to be constructed and maintained wherever needed.[44] Without doubt, however, the most expensive provision was one which was for the sole benefit of the city and its citizens.

Under the 1884 franchise, the Salt Lake and Fort Douglas Railroad was obligated to transport, free of charge, not more than two hundred tons of gravel per day, Sundays excepted.[45] This gravel, to be used in the surfacing of the city’s streets, came from the city gravel pit in the block bounded by Twelfth and Thirteenth East and First and Second South streets. Although it took nearly three years before the Salt Lake and Fort Douglas tracks reached the gravel bed, the city considered the wait worthwhile. Even a threat to revoke the franchise because of a delay in carrying out the gravel-hauling provisions was quietly tabled rather than lose all chance for this service to be performed.[46] The expense to the railroad was considerable, considering only the use of locomotives, cars, and crews. In November 1888, the requirement was substantially reduced to fifty tons of gravel per day, an amount that was handled by the daily, scheduled trains.[47] Compared to coping successfully with city requirements, the federal restrictions must have seemed deceptively simple.

The Salt Lake and Fort Douglas Railroad was prohibited from polluting the water in Red Butte Canyon. This stipulation to the federal permission to cross the Fort Douglas reservation was reasonable since the Red Butte stream was the sole source of culinary water for the fort.[48] While not as ponderous a provision as was hauling large quantities of gravel, this restriction was to result in lawsuits and injunctions against the Salt Lake and Fort Douglas in the future.

John W. Young had to work hard for the necessary governmental permission to construct his railroads. The process was spread over a period of six years, both in Salt Lake City and in Washington, D. C. As has been described, these actions required give and take, a need to justify the effort financially, and to demonstrate a proven benefit to the citizens of the area. Young’s religious affiliation, political energy, and personality were all factors, as were the ambitions of other men who opposed him. What problems he may have had in crossing lands under the control of the Territory of Utah is unknown, but the fight for the Salt Lake City franchise and the Fort Douglas right of way was enough to discourage lesser men.[48] Nonetheless, in spite of the politics and energies involved, only the actual construction of the railroads proved or disproved his expectations.


[1] The Revised Ordinances of Salt Lake City (Salt Lake City, Utah: The Star Printing Company, 1888), 262-263.

[2] Poor, Manual of Railroads (1883 through 1890), under the respective railroad names.

[3] Herald, September 22, 1883

[4] Herald, September 22, 1883. Also Map of Salt Lake City and Vicinity dated February 20, 1888 (original held by the Utah State Historical Society; reproduction in the possession of the author).

[5] Herald, September 22, 1883. Also Map of Salt Lake City and Vicinity dated February 20, 1888.

[6] Herald, December 16, 1883.

[7] Herald, December 14, 1883.

[8] Most of the debate was aired in the Herald on December 14, 16, 19, 20, 23, and 27, 1883. The Deseret News editorialized on this matter on December 27, 1883.

[9] Deseret News, December 27, 1883.

[10] Other major shareholders were Seymour B. Young, LeGrand Young, Alfales Young, James Sharp, and John Sharp, Jr. They represented, between them, experience in the areas of law, business, railroading, and journalism. State Archives, Corporation File No. 246.

[11] Herald, January 3, 1884.

[12] Salt Lake Tribune, May 14, 1884.

[13] Salt Lake Tribune, June 4, 1884.

[14] Salt Lake Tribune, May 28, 1884.

[15] To join with the Utah Central had two consequences for the S. L. & F. D. First, the track gauge of the latter had to be the standard four feet eight and one-half inches. Second, the former was then in a position to become actively involved in the rock transportation business.

[16] Salt Lake Tribune, June 25, 1884.

[17] Salt Lake Tribune, July 28, 1884.

[18] Salt Lake Tribune, August 6, 1884.

[19] Salt Lake Tribune, September 3, 1884. Opponents included the powerful Walker brothers and Fred Auerbach, whose enterprises are still well known in Utah.

[20] Salt Lake Tribune, August 20, 1884. The Second South Street Cable Tramway was incorporated late in 1883. The City Council granted this company a franchise in November 1883 to run along Second South. The franchise was extended, following failure of the company to build under the initial franchise, until March 1, 1884. No work was accomplished and the franchise had expired when the S. L. & F. D. submitted its petitions. Herald, November 27, 1883; January 3, 1884.

[21] Salt Lake Tribune, September 3, 1884.

[22] Salt Lake Tribune, September 3, 1884. The "Second South street steam line" was the extension of the horse-drawn line proposed by the S. L. & F. D. from Eleventh East to Fort Douglas and Red Butte Canyon.

[23] Salt Lake Tribune, September 10, 1884 The formal franchise was executed on September 23, 1884. Joseph Lippman, comp., The Revised Ordinances of Salt Lake City (Salt Lake City, Utah: Tribune Job Printing Company, 1893), 332.

[24] Herald, November 12, 1884.

[25] The Jordan and Salt Lake canal starts about twenty-five miles south of Salt Lake City, at the southern entrance of the valley. It then flows north along the east side of the valley, emptying into City Creek near the present North Temple and State streets. Authorized in February, 1880, it was completed in 1881 at a cost of $200,000. Bancroft, History of Utah, 696

[26] Herald, November 13, 1884.

[27] Herald, November 15, 19, 23, and 26, 1884 and December 3, 7, 1884. To counter fears that the S. L. & F. D. was a "front" for either the Union Pacific or the Denver and Rio Grande Western railroads, Young had a letter published by the city’s papers disclaiming any non-local involvement in his railroad. Herald, Salt Lake Tribune, and Deseret News, November 26, 1884.

[28] Herald, December 6, 1884.

[29] Herald, December 10, 1884.

[30] Herald, November 4, 1887.

[31] Herald, November 9, 1887. The "Penitentiary road" referred to was also called Twelfth South and is now known as Twenty-first South.

[32] Lippman, Revised Ordinances, 338-342.

[33] Herald, July 4, 1888.

[34] Lippman, Revised Ordinances, 343-347.

[35] Salt Lake Tribune, August 28, September 4, 1889.

[36] Salt Lake Tribune, August 28, 1889.

[37] Salt Lake Tribune, July 14, 1889.

[38] William M. Barnum to John W. Young, June 5, 1886. JWY papers. Unfortunately Barnum did not state what General Sheridan’s objections were, only "foolish in the extreme."

[39] U. S., Congress, Senate, Committee on Military Affairs, Report 1840, 49th Cong., 2d sess., February 1, 1887; U. S., Congress, House, Committee on Military Affairs, Report 3973, 49th Cong., 2d sess., February 8, 1887; Compiled Laws of Utah (Salt Lake City, Utah: Herbert Pembroke, U88, 88.

[40] Salt Lake Tribune, November 3, 1888.

[41] Jessee, Letters of Brigham Young, 93.

[42] Jessee, Letters of Brigham Young, 93. Also Larson, "Americanization of Utah", 220-221.

[43] John W. Young to John Taylor, undated but ca. February 1887. JWY papers. At this time the leadership of the Mormon church was seeking support of the Republican party. Young, with his Democratic party allegiance, was thereby in a better position to influence the Democratic President Cleveland. See Jessee, Letters of Brigham Young, 93. It was the Republican party that supported passage of the Edmunds-Tucker bill. See Larson, "Americanization" of Utah, 210n.

[44] Lippman, Revised Ordinances, 332-338.

[45] Lippman, Revised Ordinances, 332-338.

[46] Salt Lake Tribune, March 13, 1886.

[47] Lippman, Revised Ordinances, 343-47. 48 Compiled Laws of Utah (1888), 88-89.

[48] In the preparation of this thesis, one of the most frustrating aspects has been the lack of certain records. The Territorial Legislature passed a railroad bill in 1869 which set forth the provisions for incorporating railroads and the requirements for obtaining disputed land. [See The Compiled Laws of Utah Territory (Salt Lake City, Utah: Deseret News Steam Printing, 1876), 95ff. Within the personal papers of Young are references to maps, documents, and photographs being submitted to various agencies in compliance with the law. Even with such positive indications of the existence of those records, I have been completely unable to locate any extant references to lands obtained between Salt Lake City and Park City or Kamas. Neither Summit nor Salt Lake County has been able to locate any files concerning John W. Young’s railroads. Salt Lake City records are in even worse shape with no apparent filing system As a result, the questions of right of way through county and territorial lands, exact grade locations, and the use of a former railroad grade by the Salt Lake and Eastern (mentioned briefly in one newspaper account) remain in limbo.