History Of Salt Lake City

by Edward W. Tullidge

(Return To Utah Railroads Index Page)

(scanned and edited by Don Strack, September 3, 2003)



Whatever may be said of the opposition of the Mormon leaders regarding the opening of the Utah Mines, it cannot be affirmed that they were opposed to the building of the railroads, uniting the eastern and western halves of the American continent. True, such was the general opinion; and it was created by the often repetition in the American press that the Mormon leaders entertained a savage fear of the approach of the railroads towards their domains, and that they desired an eternal isolation from the civilized world. Indeed, they and the Indians of the West were regarded very much in the same light, touching the projected railroads across the continent; and that familiar caricature of the terrified but enraged chief, standing on the new laid railroad track, gesticulating menaces, against the coming train, whose resistless force a moment hence would crush him into nothingness, was thought to be quite a happy exaggeration of the Mormon of the Rocky Mountains. But the reverse of this is true as applied to the pioneers of Utah.

It is a singular fact, yet one well substantiated in the history of the West, that the pioneers of Utah were the first projectors and first proposers to the American nation of a trans-continental railroad. It is to be read in Historian Woodruff's diary of the journey of the pioneers that Brigham Young, who, bearing the military title of lieutenant general for the occasion, daily with his staff officers went before the pioneer companies, marking out the way, often pointed out to them the track that the coming railroad would pass over in its course across the continent; and this idea of a railroad following them was so strange that many of them esteemed it as a prophecy; but to a Vanderbilt, a Tom Scott, or a Jay Gould, it would be esteemed as Brigham Young's instinct for railroads, so strikingly manifested in him twenty-one years later.

[p. 709] At the first session of the Territorial Legislature, held in 1851-2, in Salt Lake City, memorials to Congress were adopted, praying for the construction of a national central railroad, and also a telegraph line from the Missouri River via Salt Lake City to the. Pacific. In connection with this, we give the following note from George A. Smith's private journal, in which he wrote:

"I was elected a member of the Senate of the Provisional State of Deseret, and reported a bill for the organization of the judiciary, which was the first bill printed for the consideration of members. I also reported a bill in relation to the construction of a national railroad across the continent, which some of the members considered a joke, though I was never more in earnest."

It will be perceived, by reference that this bill was dated nearly three years prior to the memorials to Congress upon the same subject ; and it may be further observed that George A. Smith, Heber C. Kimball and Wilford Woodruff were always three of the staff that accompanied "General" Brigham Young in marking out the pioneer path; so it can be readily seen that George A. Smith was very familiar with this projected national railroad across the continent, that there was "no joke" in his bill, and that he "never was more in earnest."

The memorial to Congress was given in an early chapter of this history, as among the first doings of our Territorial Legislature; but its points are so needful here before the eye of the reader that the memorial must be repeated. It was approved and signed by Governor Young, March 3d, 1852.

"To the Honorable the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States in Congress assembled:

"Your memorialists, the Governor and Legislative Assembly of the Territory of Utah, respectfully pray your honorable body to provide for the establishment of a national central railroad from some eligible point on the Mississippi or Missouri River, to San Diego, San Francisco, Sacramento or Astoria, or such other point on or near the Pacific coast as the wisdom of your honorable body may dictate.

"Your memorialists respectfully state that the immense emigration to and from the Pacific requires the immediate attention, guardian care, and fostering assistance of the greatest and most liberal government on the earth.

"Your memorialists are of the opinion that not less than five thousand American 'citizens have perished on the different routes within the last three years, for the want of proper means of transportation. That an eligible route can be obtained, your memorialists have no doubt, being extensively acquainted with the country. We know that no obstruction exists between this point and San Diego, and that iron, coal, timber, stone, and other materials exist in various places on the route; and that the settlements of this Territory are so situated as to amply supply the builders of said road with material and provisions for a considerable portion of the route, and to carry on an extensive trade after. the road is completed.

"Your memorialists are of opinion that the mineral resources of California and these mountains can never be fully developed to the benefit of the United States, without the construction of such a road; and upon its completion, the en. tire trade of China and the East Indies will pass through the heart of the Union, [p. 710] thereby giving to our citizens the almost entire control of the Asiatic and Pacific trade; pouring into the lap of the American States the millions that are now diverted through other commercial channels; and last, though not least, the road herein proposed would be a perpetual chain or iron band, which would effectually hold together our glorious Union with an imperishable identity of mutual interest, thereby consolidating our relations with foreign powers in times of peace, and our defense from foreign invasion, by the speedy transmission of troops and supplies in times of war.

"The earnest attention of Congress to this important subject is solicited by your memorialists, who, in duty bound, will ever pray."

On the 31st of January, 1854 there was another movement of the people for a Pacific Railroad. The citizens of Salt Lake and surrounding country, men and women, gathered en masse to make a grand demonstration in its favor.

There are numerous points in the foregoing remarkable document which should attract the notice of American statesmen.

1st. A transcontinental railroad was contemplated by these Mormon pioneers, who had crossed the Plains and had actually, day by day, in the spring and summer of 1847, indicated the very track of the coming railroad; and it is a curious fact that for several hundred miles the grade of the great transcontinental railroad is made upon the old Mormon road.

2d. The pioneers contemplated that their people would be its builders; and a clear bid was made to Congress to draw on Utah for laborers, material (such as ties, rock, station houses, etc.) and provisions, to build the road midway east and west, should Congress undertake this "national central railroad." Such an undertaking of the Nation, in 1852, would have lifted Utah to a pinnacle and enriched her citizens more than would the gold of California had they settled that country. The proposition shows a masterly hit of local political economy.

3d. These memorialists not only suggested to the Nation, her duty towards her citizens who were establishing for her empire in the West, "five thousand" of whom had " perished on the different routes within the last three years, for the want of proper means of transportation;" but they exhibited to the Nation her own paramount interests in the construction of this railroad to be owned by the United States.

4th. With great sagacity of pioneers, they tell Congress that the mineral resources of California and "these mountains can never be fully developed to the benefit of the United States, without the construction of such a road," which point shows that the memorialists did expect Utah to become a mining Territory; while the counter exposition would show that these leaders desired to make their people builders of railroads, agriculturists, manufacturers, iron workers, etc., not miners of gold or silver.

5th. Upon its completion the entire trade to China and the East Indies will pass through the heart of the Union," etc.

6th. And last, though not least, the road herein proposed would be a perpetual chain or iron band, which would effectually hold together our glorious Union with an imperishable identity of mutual interest." Avery palpable warning was this, that unless the East did mind the interests of the great though youthful [p. 711] West, the West would surely growl and perchance in time dissolve partnership; and it may be considered very applicable to the present debated silver question. We do not think there is anything in the national archives, nor in the congressional records, as early as 1852, relative to a projected railroad across the continent, so striking and suggestive as this memorial on such a railroad, which proceeded from the Utah Legislature of that date; and its pertinency to the U. P. and C. P. in 1868-9, when Brigham Young and the Mormons became contractors and builders of the Utah centre of those lines, is as a close connecting link of the history of the railroads which now unite the two halves of this continent in " a perpetual chain or iron band."

On the incorporation of the Union Pacific, Brigham Young was a stockholder in the company; and, as soon as it approached toward our local working distance, Brigham Young became a chief contractor. With himself he associated John Sharp, as his principal sub-contractor on the Union Pacific Railroad, and with them was also associated Joseph A. Young. Under this contract Sharp & Young did the heavy stone work of the bridge abutments, and the cutting of the tunnels of Weber Canyon. In this work they employed from five to six hundred men, and the contract amounted to about a million of dollars. Afterwards, during the strife between the Union Pacific and the Central Pacific, another contract was taken for Sharp & Young on the Union Pacific, on which they employed four or five hundred men, the contract amounting to $100,000. There were also numerous other sub-contractors engaged under President Young in building this line.

During their work on the U. P. R. R., these now fairly trained Utah railroad builders projected the Utah Central, and they urged the policy on capitalists of their own community to secure the routes and built the home railroads, and not leave these enterprises open to either Eastern or Western companies.

After the completion of the U. P. and C. P., there arose a difficulty with the U. P. Company in the payment of their indebtedness to the Utah contractors, which in the sequel greatly facilitated the building of the Utah Central. In these difficulties of the settlement between Brigham Young and the U. P. Co., John Sharp, John Taylor and Joseph A. Young were chosen to go to Boston to bring the business to an issue; and so vigorously, yet prudently, did they press the matter with Durant and others that, in the lack of the Company's funds, Brigham got $600,000 worth of railroad stock, which was used in the construction of the Utah Central.

The Utah Central Railroad Company was organized March 8th, 1869, by the following stockholders:

Brigham Young, Sen., Joseph A. Young, George. Q. Cannon, D. H. Wells, Christopher Layton (Kaysville), Bryant Stringham, D. P. Kimball, Isaac Groo, D. O. Calder, George A. Smith, John Sharp, Sen., Brigham Young, Jr., J. W. Young, William Jennings, Feramorz Little, James T. Little. Brigham Young was elected president. Ground was broken May 17th, 1869.

The next important event in the history of Utah was the laying of the last rail of the Utah Central. The completion of the Union and Central Pacific lines was a national event affecting greatly the destiny of Utah as well as that of the [p. 712] entire Pacific Coast ; but the completion of the Utah Central was the proper local sign of radical changes, affecting the mining and commercial enterprises of our Territory, as well as the every day life of our citizens. That event put the Territory en rapport with the age of railroads, and a world of expansion came to Mormondom with the laying of the last rail in Salt Lake City, and a community, originally formed in a state of isolation, appreciated at once that henceforth the hand of the East and the hand of the West were joined with Utah and fifty millions of people were at her door.

It was January 10th, 1870: the weather was cold; a heavy fog hung over the City of the Great Salt Lake; but the multitude assembled, and by two o'clock P. M. there was gathered around the depot block not less than fifteen thousand people. As the train with the invited guests from Ogden, and other Northern settlements, came dashing toward the end of the track, shouts arose from the assembled city. A large steel mallet had been prepared for the occasion, made at the blacksmith shop of the public works of the Church. The "last spike" was forged of Utah iron, manufactured ten years previously by the late Nathaniel V. Jones. The mallet was elegantly chased, bearing on the top an engraved bee-hive (the emblem of the State of Deseret) surrounded by the inscription, "Holiness to the Lord," and underneath the bee-hive were the letters U. C. R. R.; a similar ornament consecrated the spike. The mallet and spike were made and ornamented by James Lawson. The sun, which had hid himself behind the clouds during the whole day, burst forth as in joy to witness the event of the laying of the last rail almost at the very instant. It was like a glad surprise, and the assembled thousands took it as a happy omen. The honor of driving the last spike in the first railroad built by the Mormon people was assigned to President Young.

On the platform car, during the performance of the ceremonies of consecration of the road, were the following gentlemen:

Of the Utah Central: Brigham Young, president; William Jennings, vice-president; Daniel H. Wells, Christopher Layton and Feramorz Little, directors; Joseph A. Young, general superintendent; John W. Young, secretary; also of the Mormon Presidency and Apostles, Orson Hyde, John Taylor, Orson Pratt, Wilford Woodruff, C. C. Rich, Lorenzo Snow, F. D. Richards, George Q. Cannon, Brigham Young, jun., and Joseph F. Smith.

Of the Union and Central Pacific Roads: J. E. McEwin, Esq., master mechanic C. P. R. R; G. Cornwall, Esq., conductor, Utah Division, C. P. R. R.; James Campbell, Esq., division superintendent, Utah Division, C. P. R. R.; C. C. Quinn, Esq., master mechanic, U. P. R. R.; T. B. Morris, Esq., engineer, Utah Division, U. P. R. R.; Charles Carr, Esq., asst. supt., Utah Division, U. P. R. R.; J. McCormick and S. Edwards, Esqs., agents, U. P. R. R.; G. B. Blackwell, Esq., agent Pullman's palace cars; Walter McKay, Esq., cashier, U. P. R. R.

Col. F. Anderson, special correspondent of the New York Herald occupied a seat at the reporters' table.

From Camp Douglas: Gen. Gibbons, Col. Hancock, Col. Spencer, Capt. Hollister, Major Benham, Lieut. Benson, Lieut. Brandt, Lieut. Jacobs, Lieut. Graffan, Lieut. Wright.

[p. 713] The Camp Douglas, Capt. Croxall's and Ward brass bands; also Capt. Beesley's martial band were in attendance.

After the performance of the ceremonies, which took place about 9 minutes past 2 o'clock, a salute of thirty-one guns-one for each mile of the road, was fired, when Capt. Croxall's brass band burst forth with enlivening strains, after which the following prayer was offered by Elder Wilford Woodruff:

"O God, our Eternal Father, we have assembled on this occasion to celebrate one of the greatest and grandest events of the generation in which we live, and we offer up the gratitude of our hearts, with thanksgiving, for Thy merciful and protecting care that has been over us. When we were led into these valleys, by Thy servant Brigham, twenty-two years ago, we found them a perfect desert, inhabited only by wild beasts, and a few red men who roamed over the plains. To-day, we behold teeming thousands of the Anglo-Saxon race, many of whom have assembled here to celebrate the completion of a line of railroad into this city, which has opened up commerce between us and all the world. Thou hast enabled Thy Saints, who have gathered here from the nations of the earth, to fill these valleys of the mountains with 600 miles of cities, towns, villages, gardens, orchards, and fields, and the desert has been made to blossom as the rose. We should be recreant to our duties did we not acknowledge the hand of Thee, O God, in Thy protecting care over us, which has enabled us to assist in leveling these mountains and in laying an iron band which has bound this continent together from ocean to ocean, and has made all the various States and Territories of this mighty nation neighbors to each other. For all these blessings we feel to render the gratitude of our hearts unto Thee ; and we pray that Thy blessings may rest upon us this day.

"We dedicate this railroad unto Thee, the Lord our God; we pray that Thy blessings may rest upon it, and upon those who have erected and labored upon it. We thank Thee for the peace and quietude that we have enjoyed for many years that we have dwelt in these valleys of the mountains. Continue Thy blessings, O God, we beseech Thee, unto the inhabitants here and throughout the nation.

"These favors and blessings we ask in the name of Jesus Christ, our Redeemer: Amen."

The following speech was made by Hon. George Q. Cannon, on behalf of President Brigham Young:

"Whilst joining in the pleasing ceremonies of this eventful and auspicious day, our minds naturally revert to the circumstances which led this people to undertake their weary, but hopeful journey across the desert plains and rugged mountains to these, then sterile valleys to our condition at the time of our advent here, poor, and destitute of the common necessities of life ; driven from our homes and possessions and bereft of all that makes life comfortable, in consequence of our faith in God and in his son Jesus Christ, and our obedience to his holy gospel, and without a friend in this wide world to whom we could look for help, except God, our heavenly father, alone, on whom we could rely.

" Since the day that we first trod the soil of these valleys, have we received any assistance from our neighbors? No, we have not. We have built our homes, [p. 714] our cities, have made our farms, have dug our canals and water ditches, have subdued this barren country, have fed the stranger, have clothed the naked, have immigrated the poor from foreign lands, have placed them in a condition to make all comfortable and have made some rich. We have fed the Indians to the amount of thousands of dollars yearly, have clothed them in part, and have sustained several Indian wars, and now we have built thirty-seven miles of railroad.

"All this having been done, are not our cities, our counties and the Territory in debt? No, not the first dollar. But the question may be asked, is not the Utah Central Railroad in debt? Yes, but to none but our own people.

"Who has helped us to do all this? I will answer this question. It is the Lord Almighty. What are the causes of our success in all this? Union and oneness of, purpose in the Lord.

"Having by our faith and unaided labors accomplished the work and achieved the triumph, which we today celebrate, we are now asking the parent Government to sanction our labors in this commendable work, and the people of this Territory are also asking to be admitted as a sovereign State into the Union, with all the rights and privileges of a State government, and I move we have one. Let all in favor of it say 'Aye.'" A unanimous "Aye" from the assembled thousands was the response.

"We have felt somewhat to complain of the Union Pacific Railroad Company for not paying us for the work we did, in grading so many miles of their road. But let me say, if they had paid us according to agreement, this road would not have been graded, and this track would not have been laid today. It is all right. "To our friends of the Union and Central Pacific Railroads, we offer our congratulations on their success in their mighty enterprise. Receive our thanks for your kindness to our company; for, so far as I have learned, you have refused us no favor. Let us be one in sustaining every laudable undertaking for the benefit of the human family; and I thank the companies for their kindness to us as companies, as superintendents, as engineers, as conductors, etc.

"I also thank the brethren who have aided to build this, our first railroad. They have acted as elders of Israel, and what higher praise can I accord to them, for they have worked on the road, they have graded the track, they laid the rails, they have finished the line, and have done it cheerfully 'without purse or scrip.'

"Our work is not one for individual benefit, but it is an aid to the development of the whole country, and tends to the benefit and prosperity of the whole nation of which we form a part.

"To all present I would say, let us lay aside our narrow feelings and prejudices, and, as fellow-citizens of this great republic, join in the celebration of this happy day.

"May the blessing of Heaven rest upon us all."

Telegrams expressing regret at their inability to accept the invitation of President Young to be present at the celebration, were read from Governor Stanford, president; A. M. Towne, Esq., general superintendent; and S. S. Montague, chief engineer, of the Central Pacific road. Music from the Camp Douglas Band.

[p. 715] The vice-president of the Utah Central, being called upon for a speech, the following response was made by William Jennings:

"Ladies and gentlemen: I stand before you this day with feelings in my breast which I feel myself inadequate to express. I am proud that I am a citizen of Utah, and that I am participating with you in this celebration of laying the last rail and driving the last spike of the Utah Central, the first line of railroad that has been constructed in this Territory. I am proud to think that the last spike in the last rail of the Utah Central is constructed of our native iron; but more because of the wonderful progress in the development of our Territory that has been made since our arrival here, twenty-two years ago. (Cheers.) The construction of thirty-seven miles of railroad may, in the eyes of some, seem but a trifling affair: but when the inconveniences attending our isolated position are considered, and it is remembered that we have not had the ready facilities of commerce enjoyed by those who live on or near the sea-board of the Atlantic or Pacific, and that the Utah Central is the result of home enterprise, and has been constructed solely by the laboring population of Utah, I think it is justly entitled to be considered a great enterprise. The Union and Central Pacific lines and almost every line of railroad throughout the country, have had to be assisted largely by State or National aid, when in course of construction; but the Utah Central has had neither, but is the result of the enterprise, unity and labor of the people of Utah. I feel proud of the achievement, and on this occasion, I wish to express my joy and pleasure at being one with you.

"To the workmen who have aided in the construction of this road, I tender my thanks. I have been with and traveled amongst them a great deal during the past summer, and I am happy to be able to say that they have labored contentedly and with a spirit becoming Latter-day Saints.

"I hope that we shall soon see the day when the 'iron horse' will not only place us in direct communication, as it does to-day with San Francisco in the west, and Boston and New York and all the principal cities of the east, but that there may soon be a chair of railways extending to every city in Utah and through our neighboring Territories of the Rocky Mountains."

A salute of one gun and music by martial band, were followed by a speech from superintendent of Utah Central Railroad, Jos. A. Young:

"I can say to you who hear me to-day, that speaking is not my forte, the part I have taken in connection with the building of this railroad has been the working part and not the speaking part. But I feel proud to-day that I have lived to witness the consummation of this great event in our history as a people. When we came to these valleys over twenty years ago, barefooted, almost without clothing, without provisions, trusting on the arm of God for aid and protection, we found the country barren and desolate, and we have need to be thankful to our Heavenly Father that we have lived to take part in the laying of the last rail and driving of the last spike of the Utah Central Railroad. I consider it something that we, as a people, may justly proud be of. We have been accused of being exclusive. Where is our exclusiveness now? We invite the East and the West, the North and the South to come up to Zion and learn of bet ways. The more our [p. 716] actions and works, as a people, are investigated, the higher we stand in the estimation of those whose good opinion is worth having. (Cheers.) I hope that the last spike of this road will be but the first of the next, which shall extend from this place to the Cotton Country (Dixie) and I trust to live to see the day when every nook and place in this Territory, that is capable of sustaining human beings, will be settled with good, honest, hard working people, and that the same will be accessible by railroad, that we may travel from one settlement to another and carry our passengers in comfortable cars; and thus show those who want to know, what we are doing."

Salute of one gun and music by the Tenth Ward Brass Band.

Col. B. O. Carr, of the Union Pacific line was then introduced to make a speech. After presenting the regrets of Superintendent Meade, at his inability to be present, the following remarks were made by Mr. Carr:

"This is an occasion of congratulation to all of you, but to us who are strangers, it is more of an occasion of wonderment than anything else. We, who have come recently from the East, never expected to find anything like this in this country. It is something like forty years since the first railroad was laid in the United States, and twenty years ago there were only six thousand miles laid in this vast country; but when the Union and Central Pacific lines were completed there were over forty thousand miles. The Utah Central Railroad, although only thirty-seven or thirty-eight miles long, is perhaps the only railroad west of the Missouri River that has been built entirely without Government subsidies; it has been built solely with money wrung from soil which, a few years ago, we used to consider a desert, by the strong arms of the men and women who stand before me. And almost everything used in its construction, but especially the last spike, is the product of the country.

"Your superintendent, Mr. Young, said that you are not an exclusive people; but I think, ladies and gentlemen, that you are very much so, so far as the western country is concerned, in accomplishing so much as you have with so little means and so few advantages to do it. (Great cheering). All that I have to say further in regard to exclusiveness, is that I cannot imagine how any man, whether 'Mormon,' 'Gentile,' saint or sinner, can do other than feel happy at the completion of this road. I wish it the utmost success on its journey to the far South."

Salute of one gun, and music by Capt. Croxall's Brass Band.

Chief Engineer of the Western Division of the U. P. R. R., T. B. Morris, Esq., was introduced, and addressed the assembly:

"I have but one word to say to the working men of Utah, and that I will say briefly: I have been fifteen years engaged in railroad business; but I have never seen a single road made to which capitalists did not contribute their money, or the responsibility of which did not fall upon the Government or the State in which said road was made. But here, nearly forty miles of railroad have been built, every shovel full of dirt of which has been removed by the working men of Utah, and every bar of the iron of the road has been placed in position by their labor. (Loud cheers.) You can publish to the world that the working men of Utah built and own this road.

"I have said one thing, and I want to say one thing more. Do not stop [p. 717] where you are. When you laid the last two rails to-day, they stuck out a little. That means - "Go on!"

Salute of one gun, and music by Camp Douglas Band, succeeded by the following remarks from John Taylor:

"I am glad to meet with such a large assemblage of people as are present to witness and take part in so important an event as that which has brought us here to-day. Like you all, I have been very much interested in the completion of this railroad. I hope to see the time when this city will be connected with the remotest parts of our Territory by railroads, that we may meet the cars in every settlement. We have but one railroad among us for the time being; but there is a long one east and another west, and we can go east and west; and by and bye we shall be able to go north and south and stretch out in every direction. Our course has been onward and will continue to be so from this time forth and forever. I will conclude by saying, success to the Utah Central Railroad."

Music by the martial band.

Mr. Campbell, superintendent of the. Utah Division of the Central Pacific was next introduced, and made a short, and we are informed a very good speech, but we regret to say that his remarks were inaudible and we were unable to report them.

Speeches were expected from Hons. G. A. Smith, D. H. Wells, and Geo. Q. Cannon; the former requested to be excused on account of indisposition, the two latter were excused because of the length of exercises and the very cold weather.

Benediction was pronounced by Elder H. W. Naisbitt, and the immense concourse of spectators quickly dispersed. The following toasts and sentiments were handed in:

"Utah Central Railroad extends her iron hand of welcome to the East and West."

"Our Railroad-The first fruits of the marriage of the oceans."

"Prest. B. Young-Our Pioneer in Peace, Art and Science, and all that is the true wealth of Utah."

"The U. C. R. R. -- May her last tie soon be bedded on the soil of the State of Deseret."

The Utah Central road was opened for traffic on January 10th, 1870. It continued under the presidency of Brigham Young, Sen., for a short time and then his son, Superintendent Joseph A. Young, succeeded his father as president of the company; but in February (17th), 1871, he resigned the presidency and his original office of general superintendent, when his father resumed the presidency and Feramorz Little was appointed superintendent. John Sharp succeeded Little in 1871, and in 1873 he was elected president of the company, as well as continued in the superintendency of the road.


The Utah Southern was the second local railroad enterprise in which our citizens engaged; for it is worthy of particular remark that the community co-operated with all their faith and means to build these home railroads, under the counsel and management of their leading men.

[p. 718] The Utah Southern Company was organized January 17th, 1871, by the following named stockholders:

Joseph A. Young, William Jennings, John Sharp, John Sharp, Jr., Feramorz Little, James T. Little, LeGrande Young, L. S. Hills, S. J. Jonassen, Thomas W. Jennings, James Sharp, Geo. Swan, Jesse W. Fox, D. H. Wells, C. Layton. William Jennings was elected president of the company, John Sharp, vice-president and Feramorz Little. superintendent. Jennings afterwards resigned the presidency and was succeeded by Brigham Young, who, however, soon gave place to William Jennings again, and under this management the road was run until the re-incorporation of the Utah Southern under the control of the Union Pacific.

On the first of May, 1871, the Utah Southern ground was broken. The road was opened for traffic to Sandy, 13 miles from Salt Lake, in September, 1871; to Lehi, 31 miles from Salt Lake, September, 23d, 1872 ; to Provo City, 48 miles, in December, 1873; to York, 75 miles, April 1st, 1875; to Juab, 105 miles from Salt Lake, June 15th, 1879.

The Utah Southern, running through a rich agricultural country, passing a line of the most flourishing settlements of the Territory, greatly developed the South, created a reciprocal commerce between it and Salt Lake City, and from the onset was a profitable and well managed road.

The Utah Southern Railroad Extension was organized January 11th, 1879, by the following named stockholders:

Sidney Dillon, Jay Gould (New York); S. H. H. Clark (Omaha); A. G. Campbell, Matthew Cullen (Frisco, Utah); John Sharp, W. H. Hooper, William Jennings, L. S. Hills, Feramorz Little, J. T. Little, H. S. Eldredge; with Sidney Dillon president.

The Utah Southern Extension was commenced at Juab and rapidly pushed through to its terminus. The road was opened for traffic to Deseret, 52 miles from Juab, November 1st, 1879; to Milford, 121 miles, May 15th, 1880; to Frisco, 137 miles, June 23d, 1880.

The Horn Silver Mine was the cause of the Utah Southern extension which was built to this mine. Campbell, Cullen, Ryan and Byram built one-quarter of the road and they were also its chief promoters.

The Utah Central Railroad, the Utah Southern Railroad, and the Utah Southern Railroad Extension were consolidated under the name of Utah Central Railway Company, July 1st, 1881, with the following named directors:

Sidney Dillon, Jay Gould, Frank G. Brown (New York); Fred L. Ames (Boston.); John Sharp, Feramorz Little, William Jennings (Salt Lake City); S. H. H. Clark (Omaha); William B. Doddridge (Evanston, Wyoming). Sidney Dillon was elected president; John Sharp, vice-president and general superintendent; James Sharp, assistant general superintendent ; Geo. Swan, secretary; L. S. Hills, treasurer ; Francis Cope was appointed freight and passenger agent, and Jesse W. Fox, chief engineer.

This consolidation of the two parent lines with the Southern Extension gave an aggregate extent of 280 males, running from Ogden to Frisco under one management.

The Union Pacific Company holds the control, but Utah has the distinction [p. 719] of a voice among the directors of the U. P. Co. In the preparation for the building of the Utah Southern, in 1871, John Sharp went east as the purchasing agent for this company; and becoming extensively associated with the Union Pacific directors, he was finally elected one of them. In March (25th), 1885, he was again elected one of the directors of the U. P. R. R., the board of which stands at the present thus:

C. F. Adams, F. L. Ames, Jr., Elisha Atkirs, Ezra S. Baker, F. G. Dexter, Mahlon D. Spaulding, S. R. Callaway, Gen. G. M. Dodge, Henry H. Cook, Sidney Dillon, David Dows, Andrew H. Green, John Sharp, Hugh Riddle, James A. Rumrill.


The Utah Northern, now known at the Utah & Northern Railroad, like the Utah Central and Utah Southern, was eminently a home enterprise. Its builders were the Mormons, and the people certainly expected, when they constructed these roads, becoming stockholders for their labor, etc., that they would permanently own and control them ; and so undoubtedly did the organizers and contractors. But subsequent experience proved to all concerned that in Utah, as elsewhere, these local roads were sure, from their very necessities of extension, to pass out of the hands of the original owners and incorporators, into the control of the great railroad companies of the country that are spreading their gigantic hands over these Western States and Territories, as their fellows bad . before done over the railroads of the Eastern States.

John W. Young, in the spring of 1868, had boldly launched out in taking contracts in the building of the Union Pacific and Union Central Railroads, which netted him from forty-five to fifty thousand dollars. This result, coupled with his natural genius for railroad building, encouraged him to engage in the more comprehensive railroad enterprises which grew out of his projects ; and though his projects and operations for a while fell into disrepute, when his roads passed into the hands of the Union Pacific company, they became numbered with the permanent railroads of the West.

After taking a prominent part with his brother, Joseph A. Young, under their father, in organizing and building the Utah Central, serving for some time as secretary and treasurer of the same, and next taking part in the organization of the Utah Southern, he started for the Eastern States to induce capitalists to take hold of a particular project of his own conception, as applied to the railroad system of Utah. Despite the adoption of the popular gauge by the other roads in Utah, Mr. Young, with genuine sagacity as to the future requirements of the railroad system of the Rocky Mountain region, had the nerve to adopt the narrow-gauge on the Utah Northern and Utah Western. He succeeded in obtaining the potent financial help of Mr. Joseph Richardson, an eastern capitalist, who undertook to purchase the iron and equip the road. Mr. Richardson forthwith came to Salt Lake City to consult with President Young, who heartily endorsed the enterprise and undertook to enlist the co-operation of the people of the North to build the narrow-gauge road projected by his son. This much ensured, Mr. Richardson, with John W. Young and George W. Thatcher, proceeded to Logan, where the project met great popular enthusiasm. The following telegraphic messages (furnished [p. 720] to the author) between Bishop Preston and President Young, relative to the probable ultimate control of the road, will to-day be very suggestive of the Bishop's sagacity:

Copy of telegraphic message from Bishop Preston to President Young and answer in regard to the building of the U. N. R. R.

LOGAN, AUGUST 15th, 1872.

"Prest. B. Young, Salt Lake City:

"Will it be wisdom for us in Cache County to grade and tie a railroad from Ogden to Soda Springs, with a view to Eastern capitalists ironing and stocking it, thereby giving them control of the road? The people feel considerably spirited in taking stock to grade and tie, expecting to have a prominent voice in the control of it; but to let foreign capitalists iron and stock it will, if my judgment is correct, give them control.



"Bishop Preston, Logan

"The foreign capitalists in this enterprise do not seek the control; this is all understood. What they want, and what we want, is to push this road with all possible speed, if you decide to have one, so that it shall run through and benefit your settlements and reach Soda Springs as soon as possible.


In a few days after the receipt of this telegram, Bishop Preston called together the leading citizens and laid before them the railroad project; whereupon they voted that they would go to work and build the railroad, and take stock for grading and tieing the road.

The organization of the company to build this road was effected August 23d, 1871, with John W. Young, president and superintendent, and Bishop Preston, vice-president and assistant superintendent.

In less than a month later, ground was broken at Brigham City, Box Elder County. The first rail was laid at Brigham Junction, March 29th, 1872; and the road was completed to Logan January 31st, 1873, and completed to Franklin, Idaho, in May, 1874, which for a number of years thereafter was its northern terminus. A branch line of four miles, extending the Utah Northern to Corinne was completed on June 9th, 1873, and the road was extended south to Ogden, and opened for traffic February 8th, 1874.

John W. Young was soon succeeded in the superintendence of the road by Moses Thatcher, who conducted its affairs with marked satisfaction to the company and the public until he was succeeded by M. W. Merrill. January, 1877, George W. Thatcher was appointed superintendent. In February, 1879, the Utah Northern went out of the hands of the old company into the hands of the Union Pacific, and the Utah & Northern R. R. (its present name) had then grown into gigantic proportions.

Up to the date of its passage into the hands of the Union Pacific Company, Bishop Wm. B. Preston was vice-president of the Utah Northern, and the people [p. 721] of Cache Valley principally owned the road. It was sold at a great sacrifice; but the new company for awhile paid due respect to the former ownership by retaining George W. Thatcher in the superintendency. And here it seems due to the local management to make note of its efficiency. The Salt Lake Tribune said:

"Under the superintendency of George W. Thatcher, Esq., the Utah & Northern R. R is the best conducted road in the country." A correspondent of the Tribune, of date July, 1881, says, "Superintendent Thatcher is congratulated for his rare executive ability. With a division nearly four hundred miles in length - the longest on the Union Pacific line - he has worked thirty-eight locomotives, pushed the construction, running timber, iron and supplies, avoided all delays in shipment of the enormous freight going to the front, gathered hundreds of car loads of rock from alongside the road by the section hands for the foundations of Eagle Rock, - and all this while experiencing difficulties in changing hands, the constant changing of the nomads experienced in railroading, etc.

Mr. Thatcher - probably the youngest division superintendent of the Union Pacific Company - has more than average chance of becoming one of the leading railway men of the West."

The special correspondent of the Dubuque Herald, in reporting "A trip to the Great West," in company with Assistant Attorney-General Joseph K. McCammon, of the United States, Thomas L. Kimball, assistant manager of the Union Pacific, and other distinguished personages, wrote thus of Superintendent Thatcher, who accompanied them: "But I feel personally under special obligations to Mr. Thatcher, of Logan, Utah, superintendent of the Utah Northern Railway. His courtesy and kindness was not the veneering of ordinary politeness; it was the thoughtfulness and consideration that come from the heart of a man, who, of whatever creed or position in life, is 'a man for a' that,' and who regards every other human being, of whatever color or condition, to be ' a man for a' that.'"

"The party in question was sent out by the government to make a treaty with the Indians. McCammon, in behalf of the government, went out with these railroad chiefs to attend a council of the Indians occupying the Ross Fork Reservation, to learn their feelings in regard to the grant of right of way to the Oregon Short Line Railway.

"One other testimonial from the journalistic mouthpiece of our local papers: The Salt Lake Herald says: 'It is paying a deserved compliment to the superintendent, George W. Thatcher, Esq., to say that the road is well managed. It is seldom that a man in his position can do his duty to the company and retain the genuine esteem of the employees; but Mr. Thatcher possesses the faculty which enables him to do this. The road is carefully managed and most efficiently conducted; accidents rarely, if ever, occur, and every possible emergency is provided for. Mr. Thatcher's knowledge of the community through which the road runs, enables him better than any other to fill his position; while his long connection with the road and his natural aptitude for the business, have given him an experience which is indispensable in a man in his position and renders his service of great value.'"

[p. 722] Under the management of the Union Pacific Company the road was rapidly extended to Butte, Montana, a distance of 416 miles from Ogden. It was next extended to Anaconda and Garrison where it connects with the Northern Pacific.

The general travel on this line is through Cache Valley, Idaho, to the Soda Springs, the mines, and to all parts of Montana, and also to the Yellowstone National Park. It crosses the Oregon Short Line at Pocatello, by which route the passenger is brought within forty hours of Portland, Oregon. This road has done much for the development of northern Utah, and everything for the development of Idaho and Montana. It is accounted the best paying road of the Union Pacific, and is a narrow gauge, which gives plausibility to the "pet idea" of Mr. John W. Young, the projector of the Utah Northern, that the narrow gauge is the railroad system best adapted to these mountain regions. At present W. B. Doddridge is the superintendent of the road, with W. P. P. St. Clair division superintendent.


A Utah corporation was organized July 21st, 1881, by the consolidation of three companies-namely: the Sevier Valley Railway Company, Salt Lake and Park City Railway Company, and the Denver & Rio Grande Western Railway. William Palmer was and is to date, January, 1886, the president of the amalgamated lines; M. T. Burgess was the first engineer, but he was succeeded by George Goss, under whose direction most of the construction was accomplished. Henry Wood was the first superintendent; he was succeeded by W. H. Bancroft. This railway was leased, August 1st, 1882, to the Denver & Rio Grande Railway Company of Colorado, which company in July, 1884, repudiated the lease, since which time the property has been in the hands of the court with W. H. Bancroft as receiver.

The Salt Lake Tribune in its issue of January 1st, 1886, gives the following epitome of the road and its management:

"The Denver & Rio Grande system of railways is very intimately connected with the business of Salt Lake. Starting at Ogden, where it has a connection with the Central Pacific, and thus forms a link in a transcontinental line, it passes , southward along the borders of the Great Lake, past Salt Lake City, skirts that pretty Lake Utah, goes past pretty towns and villages in this great valley, then passes up Spanish Fork Canyon, and climbing Soldier Summit, the rim of this Basin, descends into the valley of Green River. All along it is one panorama after another, of beautiful scenery until the Wasatch Range is passed, and the passenger comes into desert lands. Even there, one finds much of interest, while whirling through the country. The Denver & Rio Grande Western stretches from Ogden to Grand Junction, Colorado, a distance of 346 miles, while its Bingham, Alta and Pleasant Valley branches bring the road up to about 400 miles in length. This road is well equipped in every particular. Built in haste four years ago, it has since been improved from time to time, until brought up to first class standard. Its early history was marked with troubles from which it has emerged with wonderful alacrity, proving that the present management is equal to the situation. When the road passed into the hands of W. H. Bancroft, receiver, he found plenty to do. During the past year he has had erected thirty new Howe truss [p. 723] bridges, and spanned Green River with an iron bridge 1,100 feet long. This four span bridge alone cost over $40,000, while the entire cost of new bridges the past year aggregates $125,000. To the rolling stock two first class passenger engines were added.

"When the road was placed in the hands of Receiver Bancroft he was authorized by the court to make these improvements, and if the earnings of the road were not ample to pay for them, issue certificates for their payment. All the improvements and purchases made so far have been paid for out of the earnings and not a single certificate has been issued by the receiver. Besides the improvements named, there has been much spent in placing the road-bed in good condition. Curves have been lengthened, grades improved, and the track in many places removed to better ground, so that the entire system is of a high standard of excellence. The eating houses have, also been greatly improved. The fact that all has been paid for out of the earnings, and that there remains a large bank account to the credit of Receiver Bancroft, speaks volumes for his management of the affairs of the company.

While the D. & R. G. W. is our local road, its close connection with the Denver & Rio Grande, or Colorado system, seemingly unite the two systems in one, although operated under different managements. The latter system is also in the hands of a receiver, who has been doing equally good work for his company. Besides making improvements in bridges, track, rolling stock, etc., all paid out of the earnings, Receiver W. S. Jackson has also paid the interest on the first mortgage bonds. The earnings were the past year, between 25 and 35 per cent. in excess of the preceding year.

Take the two systems together, and theirs is the grandest scenic route of the world. While the Utah system has in its lakes, valleys, cities, and mountains enough to interest any lover of the beautiful and grand, the Colorado system, with its Black and Grand Canyons, Marshall Pass, and scores of other wonderful objects, offers to the tourist more that is grand and beautiful than is found any where else in the world. And yet this may all be seen while riding through the country at thirty or forty miles per hour in palace coaches, and with such ease and luxury as to not weary. Nearly all the wonderful and noted pleasure resorts of Colorado may be reached by the Denver & Rio Grande, either on the main line, or by some of its numerous branches, which climb mountains or run into canyons a few years ago thought to be inaccessible to steam railways. Besides being a great scenic route the road offers good and safe passage between the east and west, with close connections at Pueblo with the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe, and at Denver with the Union Pacific and Chicago, Burlington & Quincy. The officers of the D. & R. G. W., with headquarters in this city, are W. H. Bancroft, receiver; A. L. Horner, assistant superintendent, and S. W. Eccles, general freight and passenger agent.


The road was commenced in 1872; work was suspended in 1873, when some 20 miles had been completed, but was resumed and the road extended to Stockton, its present terminus. Though but a short line, it is a very important one to the interests and prospects of our city. Indeed in some respects it may be considered more [p. 724] than any other line the Salt Lake local railroad; for though there is prospect of its extension, it has become most famous as the summer excursion line to the chief bathing places of the Salt Lake. Running due west it strikes the Great Salt Lake at a point twenty miles distant, where is located the bathing resorts of Black Rock, Garfield and Lake Point, then swinging round southwest the road continues on to near Stockton, tapping that prominent ore producing district.

We may here note in connection with this line some reminiscences of the Lake.

On the third day after their arrival in the Valley, a company of the pioneers, namely-Brigham -Young, Heber C. Kimball, Willard Richards, Orson Pratt. Erastus Snow, Wilford Woodruff, George A. Smith, and six others, including Samuel Brannan of San Francisco, visited the Great Salt Lake at the identical bathing point of to-day. The Historian Woodruff, noting the incidents of their journey to the lake, wrote:

"We took our dinner at the fresh water pool, and then rode six miles to a large rock on the shore of the Salt Lake, which we named Black Rock, where we all halted and bathed in the salt water. No person could sink in it, but would roll and float on the surface like a dry log. We concluded that the Salt Lake was one of the wonders of the world."

Years later, when the Colfax party visited the same point, with the Salt Lake City Council, and with Mr. J. R. Walker and other prominent citizens, Mr. Bowles noted the visit very nearly in Woodruff's words: "We have been taken on an excursion to the Great Salt Lake, bathed in its wonderful waters, on which you float like a cork, sailed on its surface, and picnicked by its shores."

The bathing places of the Salt Lake undoubtedly are destined to become the most famous bathing places in the world, in which event our city in the summer season will be crowded with visitors from the States and Europe, and this Salt Lake excursion train to the lake will become as one of the great "institutions" of our city. It has for years carried from forty to fifty thousand people to bathe in the lake, during the summer season. Tourists universally pronounce a bath in the lake as being finer than that of any other waters they have ever bathed in, and year by year the lake has become more popular with our citizens. In the bathing season, our city is ever and anon awakened to an excursion enthusiasm by the joyous bands marching through the city to the train, calling the excursionists to hurry to the pleasures of the day at Black Rock, Garfield and Lake Point.

During the past year the company spent over $10,000 in improving grounds at Garfield and Lake Point, with the intention of making these places great bathing resorts; and the company proposes extensive improvements the coming season, such as better hotels, and they have in contemplation the introduction of warm baths in the winter, that the afflicted may have the benefit of those healing and invigorating waters.

W. W. Riter is the superintendent of the now famous excursion line, and S. F. Fenton is general passenger agent.