Ogden City Railway (1883-1891)
Ogden City Street Railway (1891-1900)

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This page was last updated on January 3, 2018.

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Street railroads started in Ogden in 1883 with the formation of the Ogden City Railway on August 23, 1883, to build a mule-powered rail line in Fourth and Fifth streets (today's Twenty-fourth and Twenty-fifth streets) from Wall Street east to the city limits. Another line was to intersect the first two at Main Street (later Washington Avenue, then Washington Boulevard) and extend from the south limits to the north limits of the city, which were then at the Ogden River - for a total of five miles of street railway. (Ogden City Railway incorporation records, State of Utah, index 176 and 4332)

By late 1888, this company had completed only two miles of track and owned only a few cars and mules. In late 1888 it was purchased by investors, led by Will R. Swan, who also owned the Swan Land & Livestock Co. The new owners expanded the system within a year to 10 miles, operating it with steam-powered "motors" (also known as "dummies"), and "a great number of cars, horses, and mules." The line also included operations to the Hot Springs health resort, northwest of Ogden, over the line of the newly organized Ogden & Hot Springs Railroad and Health Resort Co., both the resort and the railroad being owned by the same Swan interests. This line ran along Washington Avenue to North Ogden, then west to Hot Springs.

In addition to the steam dummies, Ogden City Railway, in July 1890, purchased a small Shay locomotive, an unusual design of steam locomotive with a geared drive train that allowed it to travel over uneven streets and turn the sharp corners found on typical street railways. The Shay was sold in January 1891 to the Oregon Lumber Co. (owned by David Eccles), likely to raise needed cash since the company was in bankruptcy. The locomotive was later sold to the Salt Lake & Mercur Railroad in October 1894. The SL&M used it as its number 1, operating a mountain mining railroad that crossed the backbone of the Oquirrh Mountains in western Utah County. After SL&M shut down in 1918, the little locomotive was sold, and ended its career working for the Mowry Lumber Co. in Glenwood, Oregon. (Koch, The Shay Locomotive - Titan of the Timber, World Press, Chicago, 1971)


Ogden City Railway

The following summary comes from "A History of Ogden" published by Ogden City Commission, October 1940:

The fifth utility, the street railway system, has a colorful story dating from the eighties. The Ogden City Railway Company on May 29, 1883 was granted a franchise to construct and operate a single and double track railway on Fourth, Fifth, and Main Streets, passenger fares to be ten cents a person. (Ogden City Council Ordinance Book, vol. B, pp. 15, 16.)

Originally the cars were mule-drawn, a change of teams being made every four hours. In 1889 the lines were extended and small steam engines known as "dummies" were installed, these "dummies" pulling several of the small horse-cars. In the spring of 1891 tracks were re-laid and preparations made for electrification. The system passed during these years through the hands of several companies and in 1900 was reorganized as the Ogden Rapid Transit Company, by David Eccles and associates. In 1913 the line was extended up Ogden Canyon to Huntsville, and for many years this picturesque railway distinguished the Ogden scene. Since December 25, 1935, however, gasoline buses have replaced the railway. (John Crosley, History of Ogden's Streetcar System, in possession of Frederick H. Stone)

December 2, 1881
An early street railway company for Ogden was organized. No name given. (Ogden Standard, December 3, 1881, "yesterday")

May 29, 1883
Ogden City Railway was organized, "To construct, maintain and operate a single or double track street railway in Ogden beginning at Union Depot then running east to west on 4th and 5th Streets, and from the north end to the south end of Main Street using 'T' rails." (Ogden Standard, June, 2, 1883)

August 7, 1883
A resolution and franchise of the city council was published, giving all of the details of the planned street railway. Work was to start no later than eight months after the resolution was passed on and was to be completed no later than June 1, 1884. (Ogden Standard, August 7, 1883)

August 21, 1883
Ogden City Railway was organized, "To construct, maintain and operate a single or double track street railway in Ogden beginning at Union Depot then running east on 4th and 5th Streets to points at or near the eastern limits of Ogden City, also commencing at and intersecting with said line at rain and 5th Streets, then running north and south on Main Street to or near points of Ogden City limits, a total length of about five miles." (Utah corporation, Index Number 4332)

(Reeder, page 410, which shows an organization date of May 29, 1883.)

March 15, 1884
The Ogden City Railway purchased property for its "barns, stables and depots", to be located along Fifth Street, between Young and Franklin. The work of laying tracks was to commence "next week." (Ogden Standard, March 15, 1884)

May 13, 1884
"The Ogden Street railway begins operating tomorrow, when the first car will be placed on the track. The road is about fully completed." (Salt Lake Daily Tribune, May 13, 1884, "City and Neighborhood")

March 1, 1889
The first "steam motor" for the street railway arrived on March 1, 1889. "Mr. Swan and his associates are delighted with it." The new locomotive was to carry two cars on each trip between Five Points and the Broom Hotel. (Ogden Standard, March 2, 1889)

March 15, 1889
"The new steam motor "Little Kate," for the street railway, carried her first passengers to and from Five Points yesterday. She ran smoothly along, pulling two coaches." (Ogden Standard, March 16, 1889, "The Motor Patronized")

May 1889
The Ogden City Railway issued bonds in the amount of $80,000 and a trust deed to Jarvis-Conklin Mortgage Trust Company of New York. (Ogden Standard, July 12, 1893) (This financial arrangement would later cause problems.)

At the time that the mortgage was issued on May 1, 1889, and recorded in Weber County on June 29, 1889, in Book L, page 530-536, the property consisted of a single line railway along Twenty-Fifth Street between Union Station and Washington Avenue, then north and south along Washington Avenue "to each end." Additional tracks were laid along Twenty-Second Street, from Washington Avenue east to Jefferson Avenue, then south along Jefferson to Twenty-Fifth Street, then east along Twenty-Fifth Street to Taylor Avenue in the Nob Hill Addition, then south along Taylor Avenue to University Place. Also included in the mortgage were 26 lots on Block 8, known as the Nob Hill Addition. (Ogden Standard, November 21, 1890, page 6, "Notice of Sale")

June 1, 1889
The "Ogden Street Railway" was to be built from the Broom Hotel, south along Washington Avenue to Twenty-sixth Street, then east to Polk and Taylor avenues, around the Methodist University grounds to Twenty-fifth Street in Nob Hill, then west to a junction at the Broom Hotel. (Ogden Standard, June 1, 1889, "The Belt Motor Line") (A distance of 3.5 miles)

The Broom Hotel was located on the northwest corner of 25th Street and Washington Boulevard (Avenue). The hotel was built by John Broom; construction started in April 1883, and the hotel remained in place until 1959.

June 1, 1889
"Yesterday Mr. W. R. Swan, assisted by Mr. Theodore Champion, were engaged in fitting up the new motor which arrived here a few days ago, and they will have the pretty machine ready for work tomorrow. When the track is finished the two motors will be put on the circuit and make it complete from Five Points to the south end of the city, the University grounds, Nob Hill, the Broom Hotel and back to Five Points, a distance of over ten miles."

August 7, 1889
Ogden City Railway increased its capital stock to expand service, "when present stockholders took possession about ten months ago, the property consisted of two miles of trackage and a few cars and mules. Said stockholders have now built 10 mile of track and purchased steam motors and a great number of cars, horses and mules." (Utah corporation, Index Number 4332)

The same corporate officers also held similar positions with the Ogden & Hot Springs Railroad, incorporated September 16, 1889.

September 18, 1889
A meeting was held in North Ogden, asking that the street railway being built to Hot Springs, to go through North Ogden instead of the lower road through Harrisville. The railway company was reported as favoring the North Ogden route. (Ogden Standard, September 18, 1889)

September 28, 1889
The route of the extension of the street railway to Hot Springs had been completed, "It will be but a few days before the line will be completed..." (Ogden Standard, September 28, 1889)

October 19, 1889
Construction on the line from Ogden to North Ogden, then to Hot Springs, was to start on "Wednesday," with full completion expected by January of 1890, according to A. H. Swan, who had just returned from a trip to Cheyenne, Denver, Chicago and New York. (Ogden Standard, October 19, 1889)

March 6, 1890
Colonel Swan announced that the Ogden Street Railway had leased ten acres along the east side of Washington Avenue, south of the Ogden River, and north of the RGW freight house. Work was to begin soon for an extension, six miles, to Hot Springs. (Ogden Standard, March 7, 1890, "yesterday")

July 11, 1890
The new roundhouse and stables for the Ogden City Railway on Washington Avenue were about completed. The roundhouse was 138 feet in diameter and 87 feet high. In the center was a turntable, and the capacity of the house was fifteen engines. "Two new motors arrived yesterday." (Ogden Standard, July 11, 1890)

Ogden City Railway purchased a new Shay locomotive (serial number 295, built July 26, 1890) then sold it on January 5, 1891.

On the subject of the Shay locomotive, the following comes from a news item in the Deseret News, November 26, 1892:

The case of the Lima Machine Works vs. E. H. Parson, et al. was called for trial in Judge Miner's court and a jury empanelled. After hearing the opening statement and allowing some papers to be flied in evidence Judge Miner continued the case until this afternoon. This action grew out of the street railway war two years ago when the Ogden City Railway company and the Henderson-Brinker Electric Street Railway company [Ogden Electric Railway] were endeavoring to construct and operate tracks over the same roadbed. A new steam motor purchased by the Lima Machine Works, with the understanding that until fully paid for it should remain the property of the latter, was attached and sold under execution by the United States Marshal. The Lima people now want $3,000 damages, the alleged price of the engine. (Deseret News, November 26, 1892)

The case was transferred from the First District Court to the Third District Court, with the hearing set for December 12. (Ogden Standard, December 6, 1891)

August 16, 1890
Ogden City Railway and its supporters (including landowners along Twenty-fourth Street) petitioned the Ogden City council to reconsider its franchise to Samuel W. Small and his associates to build a street railway along Twenty-fourth Street, reminding the council that it had granted a franchise to the petitioner in 1883 to build a double track railroad on the same street. (Ogden Standard, August 16, 1890)

September 9, 1890
Work began on railway in Twenty-fourth Street between Washington Avenue and Wall Avenue. Colonel Swan announced that his company had a franchise for a railroad on Wall Avenue between Twenty-fourth Street and Twenty-fifth Street "and does not intend that any company shall get ahead of him on that street." (Ogden Standard, September 10, 1890, "yesterday")

September 16, 1890
A hearing was held in the court of Judge Miner in which Ogden City Railway asked for an injunction preventing the Ogden City Council from giving a franchise for a railroad along certain streets in Ogden to the "H. H. Henderson Street Railway [Ogden Electric Railway]." The Ogden City Railway "has been running its roads day after day without a dollar made, struggling to make an existence." (Ogden Standard, September 17, 1890, "yesterday")

September 19, 1890
The Ogden City Council granted a franchise to "the Henderson company" [Ogden Electric Railway] for a right of way over a large number of city streets. (Ogden Standard, September 20, 1890, "yesterday")

September 23, 1890
A second injunction was filed to prevent the progress of the Henderson railroad [Ogden Electric Railway]. Hearing before Judge Miner was set for October 1st. (Ogden Standard, September 24, 1890, "yesterday")

(The hearing was held on October 4, and was adjourned for further arguments; further arguments heard on October 11, and matter was taken under advisement; injunction was denied on October 13. see Ogden Standard, October 5, 1890; October 12, 1890, October 14, 1890)

October 21, 1890
The management and ownership of Ogden City Railway was voluntarily turned over by President Swan to its bondholders, as trustee, Jarvis-Conklin Mortgage Trust Company of New York City. The action was needed following the successful franchise obtained by the competing "Henderson company [Ogden Electric Railway]." Swan saw that without improvement as an electric railroad, his road would be worthless. The Jarvis-Conklin company was reported as being the largest institution of its kind in the world, having vast influence with men of capital. (Ogden Standard, October 22, 1890, "yesterday")

H. C. Gilbert, vice president of the Jarvis-Conklin company, stated "the Jarvis-Conklin company is the virtual owner or trustee at present. The road will be sold in a short time. Bids will be advertised for and the line closed out. You can put me on record as saying that within the next few months, Ogden will have one of the best electric railway systems in the United States. I am not at liberty to state the name of the company that will build the new line, but it will be built and that at once. There will be no delay with this project." (Ogden Standard, October 22, 1890, "yesterday")

November 2, 1890
At 9 p.m. on the night of Sunday November 4, 1890, tracklayers of the Ogden City Railway began laying a second track at the corner of Washington Avenue and Twenty-fifth Street. Immediately upon hearing the commotion, tracklayers hired by the Henderson company began, but the work was halted by an injunction to stop work on the Sabbath. On hand were Colonel and William Swan, and their attorney for the Ogden City Railway, Henderson and Brinker for the competing company, and the Mayor, the City Attorney, several councilmen, U. S. Marshals, the entire police force, and about 2000 spectators. Work resumed at Midnight, but was halted again when a note for $5,000 held by First National Bank was served against the Ogden City Railway. United States Marshal Bowman served the note and attached the property of the Ogden company, including "two motors and cars, tools, supplies, and railway materials" which was removed from the scene, allowing work by the Henderson-Brinker company to resume. The crossing was completed and work continued along Twenty-fifth Street for four blocks. At Noon on Monday November 3, the bank stated it had no malice against the Ogden company and withdrew its "writ," allowing the company to reposition its equipment and materials. But it was too late and the equipment remained unmoved. Once again, later in the day on Monday November 3, Judge Miner refused to issue an injunction against the Henderson-Brinker company. (Ogden Standard, November 4, 1890, "Whoop It Up"; November 5, 1890)

(Read more about this night in November 1890)

November 7, 1890
"That Electric War" "The Restraining Order Set Aside Until Further Hearing" (Ogden Standard, November 7, 1890)

"That a portion of said railway track so possessed by plaintiff is located on Washington Avenue of said Ogden City, to the extent of five and one-half (5-1/2) miles, and another portion thereof is located on Twenty-fifth Street of said Ogden City, and is about two and one-half (2-1/2) miles in length; also a number of engines and cars used in operating said road." (Ogden Standard, November 7, 1890)

November 8, 1890
Ogden City Railway commenced construction of a railway line along Twenty-fourth Street, while the Henderson-Brinker company continued the construction of its line along Twenty-fifth Street. The rails for the Henderson-Brinker line, also shown as the Henderson Electric Railway, were new and came from lighter rail that Rio Grande Western had on hand, but which was surplus due to the standard-gauging of its line with heavier rail. (Ogden Standard, November 9, 1890)

November 12, 1890
Tracklaying and grade preparation for the Henderson Company had progressed north along Wall Avenue, crossing the Ogden River, and south along Washington Avenue to Twenty-eighth Street. (Ogden Standard, November 12, 1890)

November 13, 1890
Ogden City Railway had progressed in the installation of poles to support wires for the electrification of its line for two blocks along Washington Avenue and for one block along Twenty-fifth Street. A contract had been let for the construction of 15 miles of new line. There were enough cars, wire, and poles on hand to put the line in running order. (Ogden Standard, November 13, 1890)

November 15, 1890
Two injunctions were granted by Judge Miner of the First District Court to prevent the Ogden City Railway and Henderson Electric Street Railway, from interfering with each other's work. The Henderson company was ordered to remove a small piece of track along Washington Avenue near its crossing of Ogden River, that interfered with the Ogden company's access to its enginehouse. (Ogden Standard, November 16, 1890)

November 20, 1890
Ogden City Railway signed a contract with the Edison Electric Light Compnay to furnish the equipment needed to build an electric railway in Ogden. (Ogden Standard, November 20, 1890, "The Ogden City Railway")

November 30, 1890
Ogden City Railway was busying stringing overhead wire for the operation of electric cars along its railroad. Ten cars were expected by January 1st, and all lines being operated by mule and steam power "will have the new cars running over them inside of a month." (Ogden Standard, November 30, 1890, "Brief Mention Section")

December 3, 1890
Ogden City Railway had put in a switch on Twenty-second Street, just east of Washington Avenue. (Ogden Standard, December 3, 1890, "Random References")

December 6, 1890
Ogden City Railway was to own three-eighths of the new stone bridge being built by Ogden City over Ogden River. Construction had been delayed due to the lack of stone, the shipment of which had been delayed for some time in the Denver yards. (Ogden Standard, December 6, 1890)

December 10, 1890
A creditor of the Ogden City Railway, by the name of Thomas Cahoon, who was awarded an judgment in the amount of $8,800.67, sued to have a receiver appointed for the company. The railway was reported as having daily receipts of $165. (Ogden Standard, December 10, 1890)

December 19, 1890
D. H. Peery, Jr., was appointed as receiver for the Ogden City Railway. (Ogden Standard, December 19, 1890) Debts included $8,000 to Ogden City for a portion of the Washington Avenue bridge over Ogden River. The railway company was losing about $30 to $40 per day. The rolling stock was in need of repair, at a projected cost of $25,000. Changing its motive power from its current method to electric power was projected to be $75,000. (Ogden Standard, January 8, 1890)

December 23, 1890
Property of Ogden Railway to be sold at auction due to the company being in default in the payment of its mortgage. (Ogden Standard, November 21, 1890, page 6, "Notice of Sale")

December 23, 1890
H. M. Beardsley purchased at public auction, the entire road and equipments of Ogden City Railway, for the reported cost of $80,000. (Ogden Standard, January 10, 1890)

January 9, 1891
A court order dated January 9, 1891 showed the company name as Ogden City Railway Company as the defendant. The railway was to pay Ogden City the amount of $50 per month for the use of the Washington Avenue bridge crossing the Ogden River. The receiver had incurred $2,000 in expenses for the operation of the railway, and would "cease operating said road until further notice from the court" unless by 10 a.m. on January 10, 1891 the same amount was not received "from parties interested in the operation of said railroad." (Ogden Standard, January 10, 1890)

January 10, 1891
The receiver for the Ogden City Railway was released and the road was placed back under the control of Jarvis-Conklin Mortgage and Trust Company. All employees were re-hired and back wages were paid. (Ogden Standard, January 11, 1890)

January 14, 1891
Ogden City Railway began stringing wire and installing poles for the electric operation of its line. The work was begun along south Washington Avenue. Ten electric motors had been purchased and were at Kansas City ready to be shipped. Arrangements for an electric power plant had not yet been made. (Ogden Standard, January 15, 1890)

February 4, 1891
Four new electric street cars had been received for the Ogden City Railway, and were standing on a side track in the Rio Grande Western freight yard. (Ogden Standard, February 4, 1890, "Random References")

March 3, 1891
Jarvis-Conklin Mortgage Trust Company sold Ogden City Railway, and Block 8 in Ogden (known as the Nob Hill Addition) to H. M. Beardsley, for the amount of $85,000. (Ogden Standard, March 3, 1891, "Real Estate Sales")

March 6, 1891
Ogden City Street Railway was organized, "To own and operate a line or lines of street railway in the City of Ogden." (Utah corporation, Index Number 879)

March 6, 1891
"Ogden Department." "The Street Railway Sold," being the Ogden City Railway, sold yesterday for $85,000. (Salt Lake Daily Herald, March 6, 1891)

March 23, 1891
Ogden City Street Railway was incorporated and on that same day H. M. Beardsley transferred the original Ogden City Railway property to the new company for the reported purchase price of $249,600. (Ogden Standard, July 12, 1893)

Ogden City Street Railway

This company was organized and controlled by the same interests that controlled the Ogden & Hot Springs Railroad and the Ogden & Hot Springs Health Resort Company. This line was built between Ogden and Hot Springs and was operated with small steam locomotives known as "dummies."

The Ogden & Northwestern Railroad was organized in October 1903 to purchase the interests of the Ogden & Hot Springs Railroad and Health Resort Company, which was a November 1889 consolidation of the two previous companies. It is not known if the Ogden City Street Railway was actually constructed or operated as such.

(Read more about the Ogden & Hot Springs Railroad -- which became the Ogden & Northwestern Railroad in 1903, the Ogden Rapid Transit Company in 1911, the Ogden, Logan & Idaho Railway in 1914, and the Utah Idaho Central Railroad in 1918.)

March 23, 1891
Ogden City Street Railway was incorporated and on that same day H. M. Beardsley transferred the original Ogden City Railway property to the new company for the reported purchase price of $249,600. (Ogden Standard, July 12, 1893)

August 20, 1891
The improvements to the track had been completed, and all poles and wires installed, for the start of electric operations on the Ogden City Street Railway, but the power house was not yet complete and ready for operations. The walls were up, and the Corliss engine installed, but the boilers were not yet in place, having been shipped from Chicago "last Saturday." "Everything indicates that the road will be in operation by the first of September, or at least within a few days thereafter." (Ogden Standard, August 20, 1891)

September 25, 1891
"First Car Has Run" "The first car was run over the line yesterday afternoon for the trial trip." "On Monday next the first car for public service will be started." There were a total of 12 cars available. The decision to build an electric railway was made on May 25, 1891 by Jarvis and Conklin. The consulting engineer and electrician, a Mr. A. V. Abbot, was also in charge of their other electric railway properties from Georgia to Wisconsin, and from New York to Utah. "Four months from its inception to its completion." (Ogden Standard, September 26, 1891, "Electric Road" which includes an excellent description of the company's equipment and design.)

Jarvis & Conklin were shown as Samuel M. Jarvis and Rowland R. Conklin.

September 28, 1891
"First Public Electric Street Car Has Started" Rides were given to public officials and speeches were given after a tour of the power house. A Judge Shurtliff stated that he rode the first mule car, the first steam car, and now he had ridden the first electric car. The first three cars to enter service were cars Nos.10, 12, and 14, with an additional car to be added each day. (September 29, 1891, "Yesterday")

October 3, 1891
"The road was opened last Monday with three cars. One car was put on Thursday, and another yesterday, making now five cars on the road." Seven cars were to be in operation by the following week. (Ogden Standard, October 3, 1891, "That Subtle Power")

October 23, 1891
By the end of September 1891, the Ogden City Street Railway had been electrified, and the steam motors retired. The Ogden & Hot Springs Railway was to be sold at a receiver's sale on October 23, 1891.

June 20, 1893
The report of a serious wreck between a horse-drawn wagon and one of the electric cars of the Ogden City Street Railway, included a description of the electric car that was involved: "one of the regular eight-wheel Washington Avenue cars." Ten passengers were on board, two of whom stood on the front platform. The car stopped within 20 feet, but the front platform was torn from the car and the wagon was demolished. (Ogden Standard, June 21, 1893)

June 23, 1893
"By Midnight Friday [June 23] all of the three blocks of the Henderson-Brinker company's track along Twenty-fifth Street between Wall and Lincoln avenues had been pulled and the rails and ties cast aside." In addition, the attorney for the competing company, Ogden City Street Railway, did not think that the ordinance granted for his company's tracks (also three blocks along Twenty-fifth Street) did not include a similar requirement, and that an agreement could be made with the city concerning the paving along its tracks. (Ogden Standard, June 25, 1893)

In later news items, the Ogden City Street Railway was reported as already rebuilding its tracks along the west end of Twenty-fifth Street, installing new ties and rails as needed, as well as lowering its tracks to match the level of the newly paved street. The contest between the railway company and the city council concerned the specification that paving stones be used between the rails, which were to be "flat" rails. The railway company refused due to the high cost. The paving contractor admitted that the combination of 'T' rails and asphalt between the rails would be satisfactory. The city council decided to use the more expensive materials and bill the railway company for later reimbursement, with the final decision likely to be made by a court. the paving of Twenty-fifth Street between Washington and Wall avenues was to commence immediately. On November 27, 1893, the city council voted to accept a resolution that the railway be required to install flat rails along Twenty-fifth Street between washington and Wall avenues, and the work was to be completed within 60 days. (Ogden Standard, September 13, 1893; September 15, 1893; November 28, 1893)

July 11, 1893
The original Ogden City Railway filed a suit against the Jarvis-Conklin Mortgage Trust Company, claiming fraud in the sale of the railroad to the reorganized company, Ogden City Street Railway. In May 1889, the Ogden City Railway issued bonds in the amount of $80,000 and a deed of trust to Jarvis-Conklin Mortgage Trust Company of New York. On October 8, 1890, Jarvis-Conklin Mortgage Trust Company of New York took possession of the railroad and on March 1, 1891 "sold it to themselves" in the name of H. M. Beardsley, their attorney. On March 23, 1891 the Ogden City Street Railway was incorporated and on that same day Beardsley transferred the original property to the new company for the reported purchase price of $249,600. (Ogden Standard, July 12, 1893)

Valued at $61,900 in July 1893. (Deseret News, July 8, 1893, "Valuation of Railroads") (Affiliated company, "Ogden, Utah & Hot Springs Company" was valued at $16,800)

Valued at $48,675 in 1895, and $43,700 in 1896. (Deseret News, August 29, 1896) (Affiliated company, "Ogden, Utah & Hot Springs Company" was valued at $16,152 and $17,150, respectively)

December 13, 1895
The assets of Jarvis-Conklin Trust Company were sold at court order in New York to the North American Trust Company, a company owned by Samuel M. Jarvis, formerly of Jarvis-Conklin. Purchase price was reported as $702,000, on a reported debt of $7,025,121. A receiver had been appointed on September 28, 1891. The collapse of the company's assets was blamed on investments in the global silver market. (Ogden Standard, September 29, 1891; December 13, 1891)

March 20, 1898
Jarvis-Conklin Mortgage Trust Company was shown as controlling the following companies: Bear River Irrigation Company; Ogden Water Works Company; Bear River Valley Orchard Company; and Ogden City Street Railway. (Ogden Standard, March 20, 1898)

April 20, 1900
The newspaper ran an editorial piece laying out the substandard methods Jarvis-Conklin were attempting to use to obtain a 30-year franchise for their street railway. The current franchise still had 11 years to run. The investment company stated that a 30-year franchise would allow capital to be obtained to complete much needed expansion and repairs. The present street cars were said to be a disgrace. The street car company did not pay property taxes like every other property owner, owing $7000 in taxes and interests to the city and the county, and still had not paid its share of the paving of Twenty-fifth Street, said to be $8,000. When $2,500 was found to be on deposit at a local bank, the street car company was asked if the amount might be applied to back taxes. The amount was immediately withdrawn and deposited in a New York bank. (Ogden Standard, October 20, 1900)

April 30, 1900
Ogden City granted a franchise to Hiram H. Spencer and Joseph P. Smith to build and operate a street railway in Ogden, except on Wall Avenue south of Twenty-fifth Street. (Ogden Standard, April 12, 1904)

June 5, 1901
The last two of four new street cars for Ogden City Street Railway arrived in Ogden. They were eight-wheel cars and were eight inches wider. The old cars were to be converted for use as trailers. (Ogden Standard, June 5, 1901)

March 28, 1904
The original franchise to Hiram H. Spencer and Joseph P. Smith for a street railway in Ogden was amended to accept that they had sold and transferred their interests to the Ogden Rapid Transit Company. The franchise was extended to 21 years from March 28, 1904, and to allow a new railway line to be completed along Wall Avenue between Twenty-fifth and Twenty-eighth streets, providing that said new line was completed within one year. (Ogden Standard, April 12, 1904)

November 1, 1907
Ogden Rapid Transit took over the operation of Ogden & Northwestern Railroad on November 1, 1907. (Ogden Standard, November 1, 1907)

Ogden Electric Railway

This company was organized to build a competing system of street railroads in Ogden.

September 19, 1890
Ogden City Council granted a franschise to Henderson and Brinker for a street railway on Ogden City Streets: "An ordinance granting permission to H. H. Henderson, A. S. Garretson and Joseph Brinker to construct an electric railway over the streets of Ogden City. Passed September 19, 1890." (Ogden Standard, June 24, 1893)

Construction began in late October 1890, and on the night of November 2, 1890, their construction crews were blocked by a crew from the existing Ogden City Railway, which used mule and horses to pull its cars, from crossing its tracks.

(Read more about this night in November 1890)

November 28, 1890
Ogden Electric Railway was organized, "To build, construct, equip, maintain and operate a street railway along, upon and through the street and public thoroughfares of Ogden City and along, over and upon the public highways of Weber County." (Utah corporation, Index Number 830)

Within less than six months, the Ogden City Railway was reorganized as the Ogden City Street Railway to finance the conversion of its lines to electric power. The first electric car ran on the Ogden City Street Railway in September 1891.

What happened to the Henderson-Brinker company, later known as Ogden Electric Railway? Apparently, not much. After the dramatic first days, the company seems to have had difficulty finding financial backers to build its power plant, and to continue with the construction of its car lines. In June 1893, as Ogden City progressed with the paving of Twenty-Fifth Street, the tracks of the Ogden Electric Railway were torn out because the company could not pay to have the space between its tracks paved.

June 23, 1893
Apparently, the Ogden Electric Railway was not being operated during mid 1893, due to a lack of electric power to power the trains. The paving contractor for Ogden City paving Twenty-fifth Street, began tearing up the tracks because the railway company had been unable (or refused) to pave its tracks at the same time as the street itself was being paved. On May 18, 1893 the Ogden City Council passed an amendment to the original ordinance from September 1890, with the amendment stating that the railway must be ready for operation within 90 days of the power plant in Ogden Canyon being put into operation, with the date of operation not to be after November 30, 1894. The amendment also included a provision that the railway was required to lay at least five miles of track, and to pave between its rails and at least two feet on each side. The original completion date was set as June 1, 1892; extended to May 31, 1893; extended to November 30, 1894. The original ordinance was quoted: "An ordinance granting permission to H. H. Henderson, A. S. Garretson and Joseph Brinker to construct an electric railway over the streets of Ogden City. Passed September 19, 1890." (Ogden Standard, June 24, 1893)

June 23, 1893
"By Midnight Friday [June 23] all of the three blocks of the Henderson-Brinker company's track along Twenty-fifth Street between Wall and Lincoln avenues had been pulled and the rails and ties cast aside." In addition, the attorney for the competing company, Ogden City Railway, did not think that the ordinance granted for his company's tracks (also three blocks along Twenty-fifth Street) did not include a similar requirement, and that an agreement could be made with the city concerning the paving along its tracks. (Ogden Standard, June 25, 1893)

July 8, 1893
Valued at $4,000 in July 1893. (Deseret News, July 8, 1893, "Valuation of Railroads") (No value shown for 1895 or 1896)

In June 1896, H. H. Henderson became the Ogden City Attorney. At the same time, the city council voted to remove any and all remaining tracks of the Henderson-Brinker street railway. (Ogden Standard, June 5, 1896; June 8, 1896)


Ogden City Railway Locomotives -- Information about the steam locomotives used on Ogden City Railway, including a Shay (very briefly).

More Information

Ogden City Railway corporate information

Ogden City Street Railway corporate information

Ogden Electric Railway corporate information