Utah Southern Railroad (1870-1881)
Utah Southern Railroad Extension (1879-1881)

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Utah Southern Railroad (1871-1881)

Construction of the Utah Southern started in May 1871, amid speculation that in addition to serving the southern farming communities, it was also headed for the Tintic Mining District. Construction progressed throughout 1871 and 1872, until September 1872 when the road reached Lehi, a community at the north end of Utah Valley, 25 miles south of Salt Lake City.

Utah Southern Railroad was incorporated on January 17, 1871; completed from Salt Lake City south to Juab, a distance of 102.35 miles.

Dates of first operation for Utah Southern:

Corporate amendments were dated January 10, 1877 and February 24, 1879.


May 1, 1871
The ground breaking ceremony for Utah Southern took place at 10:50 a.m., at the northwest corner of the Old Fort Block (today known as Pioneer Park, at the corner of Third South and Fourth West), in the Sixth Ward. ("The Year Of 1871", Our Pioneer Heritage, Volume 15, 1972, pp. 5, 55)

May 2, 1871
Construction of the Utah Southern Railroad began at Salt Lake City. (Reeder, p. 113; Athearn, p. 271) The road was organized on January 17, 1871. (Reeder, p. 109) The corporation was filed with the Utah Territorial Auditor of Public Accounts on February 5, 1871. (Utah corporation number 4305) Union Pacific bought the road's construction bonds, paying for them with rolling stock and enough track materials to complete 20 miles of road. (Reeder, p. 112)

(OSL corporate history shows May 1 as the date that construction "commenced".)

May 13, 1871
In an item on the Utah Southern, it is indicated that it was originally thought to make that road a three-foot narrow gauge road; and when it was decided to build it to match the Utah Central, some changes had to be made in the Utah Southern's location. (Deseret Evening News, May 13, 1871)

June 5, 1871
Yesterday afternoon Brigham Young drove the first spike on the Utah Southern Railroad; John Sharp, the second; Wm. Jennings, the third; and Feramorz Little, the fourth. Afterwards, tracklaying began. (Deseret Evening News, June 6, 1871, "yesterday afternoon")

June 20, 1871
An engine was put on the Utah Southern yesterday. (Salt Lake Herald, June 20, 1871)

July 13, 1871
The Utah Southern is completed for 7-1/2 miles, to Little Cottonwood. (Deseret Evening News, July 13, 1871)

("Little Cottonwood" was the location of what today is Murray, at about 50th South, where the UP line (today's UTA TRAX line) crosses Little Cottonwood Creek.)

July 15, 1871
Utah Southern completed to "Cottonwood". (Reeder, p. 115)

September 4, 1871
"Utah Southern. -- Track laying on this line has been temporarily suspended for a few days on account of the non-arrival of iron. The work of grading between a point six miles south of Dry Creek Bridge and the point of the mountain is being pushed vigorously forward, and, it is expected, will be completed within about three weeks." A timetable-advertisement appears, showing that on and after Wednesday, September 6, 1871, the Utah Southern will run to Sandy station. (Deseret Evening News, September 4, 1871)

September 6, 1871
Utah Southern reached Sandy. (Reeder, p. 116)

Two smelters were built at Sandy, near the railroad tracks; one of them is the Saturn Silver Smelter, the largest in the territory, with a capacity of 50 tons per day. (Reeder, p. 117)

On August 3, ground was broken for a new Gerrish-patent smelting furnace located on Silver Fork of Big Cottonwood Canyon. The new smelter was owned by the Chicago Mining Bureau and was the first furnace in Big Cottonwood Canyon. ("The Year Of 1871", Our Pioneer Heritage, Volume 15, 1972, p. 56)

(Read more about how Sandy got its name.)

Quoting Andrew Jenson in Encyclopedic History of the Church, p.769

SANDY, East Jordan Stake, Salt Lake Co., Utah, is a town and business center on the Los Angeles and Salt Lake Railroad, about 12 miles south of the Temple Block, Salt Lake City. The origin of the name is uncertain, some claiming that it was given because of the sandy nature of the soil in this region of country, and others that it was named in honor of Alexander Kinghorn, commonly known as "Sandy", the engineer who ran the first locomotive into the station.

The site of Sandy, on account of its altitude, was chosen in 1871 by the location of a station from which a branch line could be built to the mouth of Little Cottonwood Canyon, mining operations in that canyon at the time being quite active, and for several years Sandy was the shipping point also for the mines at Bingham and Tintic in Utah, and Pioche in Nevada. After the advent of the railroad in 1871, several smelters were located in the vicinity of Sandy, among which may be mentioned the "Saturn", the "Flagstaff" and the "Mountain Chief" (also called Mingo). These mining operations drew into the district a somewhat rough element and several shooting frays are noted in the early history of Sandy. Smelting is still continued in the district.

September 9, 1871
Utah Central and Utah Southern have entered into contract to haul ore on a through rate of $35.00 per car load between Sandy station and Ogden, northbound. (Deseret Evening News, September 9, 1871)

September 23, 1871
Utah Southern completed to Sandy. ("The Year Of 1871", Our Pioneer Heritage, Volume 15, 1972, p. 6)

(On September 12, 1871-??) Brigham Young and a party of gentlemen and ladies left Salt Lake City at 4:30 in the afternoon. They proceeded to the end of track, at Little Cottonwood, to inspect the work there, where a 625-foot-long bridge was nearing completion, with trains expected to cross it that day, or the next "at farthest". "From Little Cottonwood to Dry Creek the distance is six miles." The track was being laid at the rate of one mile per day. "At Dry Creek, which will be crossed above Bro. Milo Andrus' place", there was to be a "very heavy job of trestle work". After leaving the city and entering the Five Acre Lots (assuming the area south of Ninth South) the road traveled along the route of West Temple, with little or no grading required. ("The Year Of 1871", Our Pioneer Heritage, Volume 15, 1972, p. 13)

("Dry Creek" is today known as Dimple Dell, and was the reason for the delay in construction during that fall of 1871, while a trestle was completed to get the trains across. Located at approximately 10100 South, the creek bed has largely been filled in where the railroad crossing was made.)

November 4, 1871
The Utah Southern railroad has been opened for service to Draper, which is five miles south of Sandy; one way fare is $1.25. (Salt Lake Daily Herald, November 4, 1871)

end 1871
Utah Southern tracks were completed to Draper, which became the terminal for the winter of 1871/1872. (Reeder, p. 118)

March 30, 1872
The Utah Southern is now grading, making cuts and fills and so forth, around and through the Point of the Mountain south. (Deseret Evening News, March 30, 1872)

early August 1872
Utah Southern tracks were completed to the summit of Point of the Mountain. (Reeder, p. 120)

(The SPLA&SL corporate history shows the date of completion to Point of the Mountain as August 9. The OSL corporate history states that on August 9, operations began between Salt Lake City and Draper.)

August 4, 1872
Although the Utah Southern had not yet reached American Fork, track of the American Fork Railroad had been laid from the future connection point with the Utah Southern in American Fork, to the mouth of the canyon. (Salt Lake Herald, August 4, 1872)

August 6, 1872
Item on the Utah Southern says the standard gauge road is laid to a point about 3,000 feet shy of the summit, on the north side, and the road hopes to be past the Point in 10 days. (Salt Lake Herald, August 6, 1872)

August 9, 1872
The Utah Southern started this morning running regular trains to Point of the Mountain; paper of 10th says end of the track is about 3,000 feet short of the actual summit, on the north side. (Deseret Evening News, August 9, 1872)

August 13, 1872
"Railway Progress in Utah." "The Union Pacific railroad appears to be thoroughly aroused to the value and necessity of building feeders to the main line,... It is largely interested in the Utah Central and Southern roads, and will undoubtedly sooner or later own them entirely." (Utah Mining Journal, August 13, 1872)

August 20, 1872
In item on U.S.R.R., several officials, including T. E. Sickles, have been over the U.S., and "...at the U.C. depot they inspected the model of a recent patent for running trains up a heavy incline, which is in the Utah Central machine shops." (Salt Lake Herald, August 20, 1872)

September 1872
Union Pacific bought an additional $400,000 in Utah Southern construction bonds. Union Pacific paid for the bonds with track materials needed to complete the road over the 20 miles between Sandy and Lehi. (Reeder, p. 119; Arrington: Great Basin, p. 280)

September 18, 1872
"The Utah Southern railroad will reach Lehi in a day or two, and the terminus of the road, for passengers and traffic, is expected to be moved from Point of Mountain to Lehi on Monday next." (Salt Lake Herald, September 18, 1872)

September 22, 1872
The freight forwarding outfits moving to Lehi tomorrow. (Salt Lake Herald, September 22, 1872)

September 23, 1872
Gordon & Murray, a freighting firm, advertised for mule teams and ox teams, and teamsters to haul freight between the Utah Southern terminus at Lehi and Pioche. (Utah Mining Journal, September 23, 1872)

"The completion of the Utah Southern Railroad as far as Lehi marked an important epoch in the town's growth. The first train on 23 September 1872 was greeted with delight. Its gala arrival, however, was as far as it could go. The company had run out of construction funds for southern Utah. For a year, Lehi was the end of the road. Thomas, in partnership with Ira D. Wines of Nevada, freighted supplies from Lehi to places as far south as St. George and Pioche, Nevada." (Jesse R. Smith, Thomas Robinson Cutler: Pioneer, Sugarman, Churchman, 1985, page 25)

September 23, 1872
The Utah Southern began running passenger trains to Lehi. (Salt Lake Herald, September 24, 1872, "yesterday")

(The OSL corporate history states that on September 23 the tracks were completed to Lehi Junction, which was later renamed Cutler.)

(Reeder, p. 120, states that the tracks were completed to Lehi "during 1872". Lehi Junction (now called Cutler) is located about three miles north of Lehi and was to be the junction with the proposed Lehi & Tintic Railroad, incorporated in November 1872 to build from the Utah Southern to the mines in the Tintic District. Because of hard times in the financial markets during 1872 and 1873, the Lehi & Tintic failed to gather enough support to allow construction to begin, and interest in the line faded.)

September 24, 1872
"Local Brevities." "The Utah Southern railroad is now carrying passengers to Lehi, seven miles beyond the point of the mountain. On Wednesday freight will be delivered there." (Utah Mining Journal, September 24, 1872)

September 25, 1872
Freight trains on Utah Southern will run to Lehi today and after. (Salt Lake Herald, September 25, 1872)

September 27, 1872
"There was rejoicing in Lehi yesterday, the occasion of which was the completion of the railroad switch at the edge of town the day previous (September 26), and the running of the first train upon it. From Monday (September 23) till that time the trains had stopped a short distance out of town." (Deseret News Weekly, October 2, 1872, "from Saturday's Daily, Sep. 28" "yesterday" would have been September 27)

September 28, 1872
"Local Brevities." "We learn that the Utah Southern will not be built any further than Lehi this winter. The company propose erecting a large warehouse at that point for the storing of goods." (Utah Mining Journal, September 28, 1872)

October 13, 1872
"A Connection Made -- The connection between the Utah Southern and American Fork railroads is made at Lehi, and trains will be running on the latter to Deer Creek, in American Fork canyon, early in the week." (Salt Lake Daily Herald, October 13, 1872)

October 15, 1872
A special excursion was run from Salt Lake City to Lehi on Utah Southern, where the party changed to the narrow gauge American Fork Railroad for a trip from Lehi to the Sultana Smelter Works in American Fork Canyon. Among the excursionists were Brigham Young and several other dignitaries, and for the trip in the canyon itself, they rode on a specially-equipped flat car ahead of the locomotive. The trip was sponsored by Major Wilkes of the American Fork Railroad. (Deseret News Weekly, October 23, 1872, "from Wednesday's Daily, October 16" "yesterday")

Early 1873
The following comes from Our Pioneer Heritage, Volume 17, 1974, page 1, "The Year of 1873".

The following letter written by President Brigham Young to Albert Carrington, president of the European Mission gives an excellent account of conditions in the Territory at the beginning of the year 1873:

"Work has been suspended on the Utah Southern Railroad for some time, through lack of iron. The southern depot is at Lehi, and there is a narrow-gauge track temporarily laid upon our ties between the point and American Fork. The amount of traffic over the two roads between Ogden and Lehi is astonishing, and it is steadily increasing. The Utah Northern is being pushed ahead with vigor, and it is expected the trains will be running to Logan in about two weeks. Other railroads are in contemplation, branching east and west from the Utah Southern; the one up Little Cottonwood will facilitate the building of the Temple by through-railroad communication between the granite quarry and the Temple Block; another will run to Tintic; another to Spanish Fork Kanyon; and still another, beginning at Nephi, through Salt Creek Kanyon, and thence south through Sanpete and Sevier Counties, facilitating the supply of Sanpete coal for smelting and other purposes. Business in general is steady, although there are indications that speculation in silver mines is rather on the wane."

July 1873
To speed the construction of the Utah Southern, Brigham Young called on members of the wards of the LDS Church in Utah County to build the Utah Southern south of Lehi. As an incentive the Utah Southern transferred over 3,700 shares to the bishops of these same wards for distribution to the members. (Reeder, p. 125)

September 12, 1873
Utah Southern R.R. locomotive No. 2 has had a thorough overhauling at the U. C. R. R. shops, which included the turning of the tires. It made its first run out this morning. (Deseret Evening News, September 12, 1873)

September 23, 1873
"The Utah Southern Railway was opened for traffic to American Fork." (Our Pioneer Heritage, Volume 17, 1974, page 5, "The Year of 1873")

September 24, 1873
The Utah Southern Railroad is now running to American Fork city. (Salt Lake Herald, September 24, 1873)

(The SPLA&SL corporate history shows the completion date as September 23)

(The OSL corporate history states that operations began to American Fork on September 23.)

October 3, 1873
"Work on the U. S. Railroad still progresses, although somewhat slowly. We have all, or nearly all the iron on hand necessary to carry us to Provo, and we expect to reach there about the end of this month, or early in November." (Brigham Young letter to Albert Carrington, October 3, 1873)

November 1, 1873
"The Utah Southern railroad is nearly completed to Provo." "The Utah Southern depot has been located at Provo. It is to be on the south side of town, at the foot of Main Street." (Utah Mining Gazette, November 1, 1873)

The Utah County court granted a right-of-way to the Utah Southern "without expense, except where said road passes through the townsites as entered by corporate entities." In many places, the railroad paralleled the "State Road," a public highway, eight rods wide (44 yards, or 132 feet) built between Ogden and Provo, by way of passing the Temple Block in Salt Lake City. The act creating the State Road had been passed by the territorial legislature on January 28, 1850. (Memories That Live: Utah County Centennial History, Daughters of Utah Pioneers, 1947, page 21, 27)

November 11, 1873
"During the year 1872, work on the Utah Southern Railroad continued and was completed as far as American Fork by November 11, 1873. By December it was approaching Provo, hence a celebration was planned at which Brigham Young was to be the speaker. The celebration was widely advertised and all preparations were made." (Our Pioneer Heritage, Volume 17, 1974, page 43, "A Great Celebration")

November 16, 1873
"City Jottings." "The Utah Southern will be completed to Provo one week from Monday. The delay has been occasioned by scarcity of iron, but enough has been procured from the American Fork road to finish it to Provo, which will be the winter terminus of the Southern." (Salt Lake Daily Tribune, November 16, 1873)

November 24, 1873
Provo will celebrate the arrival of the Utah Southern tomorrow; the new timetable, showing service to Provo "on & after Nov. 24th, 1873,..." is published in this issue of the paper. (Deseret Evening News, November 24, 1873)

November 25, 1873
Utah Southern tracks were completed to Provo. (Reeder, p. 127) (also: Memories That Live: Utah County Centennial History, Daughters of Utah Pioneers, 1947, page 27)

The end-of-track remained at Provo until early November 1874, when additional bonds were sold and construction resumed. (Reeder, p. 131)

November 29, 1873
"The opening of the Utah Southern Railroad, to Provo, occurred on Tuesday last, and was celebrated in the usual manner." (Utah Mining Gazette, November 29, 1873)

January 6, 1874
A celebration was held at Provo, commemorating Utah Southern's completion to that city. Brigham Young was at his winter home in St. George, but a statement prepared by him was read. The following is a small part of that statement, taken from Our Pioneer Heritage, Volume 17, page 47, "A Great Celebration", published in 1974 by the Daughters of Utah Pioneers:

Soon after the completion of the Union Pacific Railroad, the people of Utah, unaided by Government grants, began the construction of the Utah Central, and speedily completed it between Ogden and Salt Lake cities; the Utah Southern, designed to connect with the Texas Pacific, was then commenced at the earliest practicable date, and has been prosecuted as rapidly as means and other facilities would permit, and we are now assembled to celebrate the result of this labor.

We are on the point of connection with Franklin, in the extreme north of the Territory, by our own railroads, a distance of some 170 miles nearly due north and south, with branches to Little Cottonwood and Bingham Canyons in Salt Lake County, and American Fork in Utah County, and the road from Echo to the coal beds in Summit County, to lend their powerful aid in facilitating travel and transportation so necessary to the rapid advancement of our agricultural, manufacturing, mining and all other material interests. And we hope to continue, until the inhabitants of this beautiful and thriving city are in railroad communication with that extensive network of roads ramifying our great country from the Atlantic to the Pacific, and extending into Canada and Mexico.

January 24, 1874
A Utah Southern baggage car, loaded with (its says) charcoal, tipped over yesterday afternoon, "in crossing the narrow gauge track of the Wasatch & Jordan Valley Railroad." (Deseret Evening News, January 24, 1874)

March 21, 1874
During February, 1874, Utah Southern received 78,430 pounds railroad material (locomotives, cars, rail, etc.). (Utah Mining Gazette, March 21, 1874)

April 11, 1874
During March, 1874, Utah Southern received no railroad material, but forwarded 191,700 pounds railroad material. (Utah Mining Gazette, April 11, 1874)

May 16, 1874
During April 1874, Utah Southern forwarded 44,900 pounds railroad material. (Utah Mining Gazette, May 16, 1874)

June 20, 1874
During May 1874, Utah Southern forwarded 64,600 pounds railroad material. (Utah Mining Gazette, June 20, 1874)

July 18, 1874
During June, 1874, Utah Southern forwarded 112,850 pounds railroad material. (Utah Mining Gazette, July 18, 1874)

October 21, 1874
"Stage lines from the terminus of the Utah Southern Railroad through Southern Utah and Southeastern Nevada to the following places: Springville, Payson, Salt Creek, Fillmore, Beaver, Star District, San Francisco District, Pioche, and all intermediate points, connect at Payson tri-weekly for all points in Tintic. Connect tri-weekly at Salt Creek for the coal fields and all parts in Sanpete. Connect tri-weekly at Beaver for Parowan, Cedar and St. George. Time to Pioche, fifty-five hours. -- Principal office, Wells, Fargo & Co's building, Salt Lake City. -- Hugh White, Proprietor. -- Deseret News Oct. 21st." ("Our Pioneer Heritage, Volume 18, 1975, page 11, "1874, An Eventful Year")

November 11, 1874
" Mr. Jesse W. Fox has two corps of surveyors on the extension of the Utah Southern Railroad, from Provo to Santaquin, and as the line is being surveyed, grading contracts are being let, and the work of grading has been commenced. The time of the completion of this additional piece of road cannot be accurately predicted, as the progress of the work will depend to a considerable extent on the state of the weather. Anyhow the work will be prosecuted as rapidly as weather and other contingencies will admit. -- Deseret News Nov. 11th." ("Our Pioneer Heritage, Volume 18, 1975, page 11, "1874, An Eventful Year")

December 23, 1874
Utah Southern tracks completed to Spanish Fork. In early November construction had resumed at Provo with members of the local Mormon wards again doing the work, this time in return for cash instead of stock shares in the company. (Reeder, p. 131)

January 23, 1875
Utah Southern was completed to Payson. Work was continued beyond Payson for another six miles, until the supply of rails was exhausted at York. (Reeder, p. 131)

(A survey map of Utah Southern from 1875, filed with the federal General Land Office (now Bureau of Land Management), shows the village of York close to the end of track, a bit south of the center of Section 33, Township 9 South, Range 1 East, about half way between Santaquin and Mona.)

January 29, 1875
On and after February 1, 1875, the Utah Southern will run regular trains to Payson. (Salt Lake Herald, January 29, 1875)

February 7, 1875
The Utah Southern is not yet to Nephi, but they are purchasing ties for that extension. (Salt Lake Herald, February 7, 1875)

February 16, 1875
Utah Southern was completed to York. (Athearn, p. 276; SPLA&SL corporate history)

February 17, 1875
Last evening, the last rail was laid on the Utah Southern to get it into York, which will be the terminus for a while. (Salt Lake Herald, February 17, 1875)

The end of track remained at York for another four years. (Reeder, p. 131)

February 23, 1875
On and after 25th, regular trains will be run to York, end of Utah Southern. (Salt Lake Herald, February 23, 1875)

April 1, 1875
The following comes from the book Our Pioneer Heritage, Volume 19, page 46, published in 1976 by Daughters of Utah Pioneers.

Utah Southern—During 1874 the Union Pacific, with whom President Young had made an agreement to buy some of the bonds and stock of the Utah Southern, financed the construction of the road from Provo to York, Juab County, twenty-seven miles. People living along the line aided in the building and some contracts were taken by church organizations. It reached York, April 1, 1875; thus greatly furthering the development of the rich Tintic mines.

From History of Juab County, we quote: Until the year 1877 all the transporting and exporting of commodities from Nephi was done by freighting with oxen, and then teams of horses, and heavy wagons, going as far north as Salt Lake City, and south to Frisco, Leeds, Pioche and other points. The Utah Southern Railroad reached York, located about fifteen miles north of Nephi and just south of Santaquin Hill, April 1, 1875, which remained the terminus of the railroad for two years. During this time hundreds of loads of produce were hauled to and from Nephi. From one of the bills of lading of that date we copy the following: Utah Forwarding Co., George Y. Wallace, Supt. Deseret Bank Building. Received of Peter Sutton, fifty cents (50 cents) in payment of storage on one baby carriage for E. Southworth, Nephi. Dated Terminus U.S. Rail Road, November 7, 1878. H. B. Prout, Agent.

The trains arrived daily at York, carrying freight, passengers and mail. Henry Goldsbrough, Sr., met the train daily with his hack to take to and carry from the train the mail and also to bring passengers to Nephi. At times there were more passengers than his vehicle could carry. York was in the north end of Juab Valley which had been unsettled, but after it became the terminus a number of homes were built, some railroad employees living there, as well as others. While that point was the terminal of the railroad, it was a lively, western frontier with something always happening.

June 1875
Union Pacific officers purchased controlling interest of Utah Southern. (Reeder, p. 135)

(Union Pacific already owned several of Utah Southern's construction bonds which UP had received in exchange for furnishing the Utah Southern with rail and hardware.)

November 7, 1875
An R.P.O. has been put on the Utah Southern, the car having been built in the Utah Central shops in Salt Lake; J. A. Hiess is mail agent thereon. (Salt Lake Herald, November 7, 1875)

January 20, 1878
"The Utah Central [Utah Southern] has ordered from McQueen, Schenectady, New York, a new thirty-two ton freight engine, 16 x 24, with five-foot wheels." (Salt Lake Daily Tribune, January 20, 1878)

Utah Southern Railroad Extension (1879-1881)

December 29, 1874
The same Mormon leaders that controlled the Utah Southern organized the first Utah Southern Railroad Extension. No work was completed by this company except to survey a three foot gauge route from Nephi to the San Pete coal fields, along with another narrow-gauge route from Nephi to the Tintic mining district. (Reeder, p. 124)

(A later, second company controlled by Union Pacific was organized in January 1879, see below)

Union Pacific officers saw a richer prize in the Horn Silver mine at Frisco, near Milford. Construction toward Frisco included a new UP-controlled company known as the Utah Southern Railroad Extension in 1879. The Horn Silver mine was finally reached in June 1880, but went bust in 1885, after producing 14,000 tons of silver ore per year, all of which was hauled north over the Utah Southern. In the meantime, UP consolidated its interests in the standard gauge roads in Utah as a new Utah Central Railway in 1881 that included the old Utah Central Railroad, the Utah Southern Railroad, and the Utah Southern Railroad Extension.

(Read more about the Horn Silver mine at Frisco, Utah.)

In 1880, the original owners of the Horn Silver mine, Allen G. Campbell, A. G. Byram, and Matt Cullen, sold the mine "to the Cunnard steamship folks for $5,000,000." (Salt Lake Evening Democrat, February 1, 1887, "seven years ago")

Dates for Utah Southern Railroad Extension:


January 11, 1879
The second Utah Southern Railroad Extension was organized to build south of York, to the Horn Silver mine at Frisco. (Reeder, p. 139; Athearn, p. 280)

The organization was by the Gould-controlled Union Pacific. Jay Gould, Sidney Dillon, John Sharp, and other Union Pacific directors had bought large interests in the Horn Silver mine in 1878. (Reeder, p. 137)

(The newly organized company, backed by Union Pacific interests, and using Union Pacific contractors, began the extension of the Utah Southern from York immediately. Actual operating arrangements of the Extension company were delayed due to difficulties in the financial arrangements, i.e., stock shares and bonds, being made available and sold on the New York financial markets.)

March 1, 1879
Work resumed on the Utah Southern at York. The tracks were completed to Nephi on May 9. (Territorial Enquirer, May 10, 1879)

The contractors who built the Utah Southern from York to Chicken Creek (later known as Juab), and the Extension from Juab to Frisco were based in Springville. There were three: Sumison & Mason, Martin Crandall and Son, and George McKenzie. (Memories That Live: Utah County Centennial History, Daughters of Utah Pioneers, 1947, page 355)

(These and other contractors based in Springville also built railroads all over the west, especially for Rio Grande in Colorado and New Mexico, and UP in Idaho, as well as double tracking UP's line across Wyoming. The WP line in Feather River canyon was built by Straw & Storrs (Nephi Straw and George Storrs) of Springville, who also built the Uintah Railway from Mack, Colorado, to Watson, Utah.)

March 19, 1879
"Superintendent Sharp, of the Utah Southern Railroad, has purchased four locomotives, 100 box and fifty flat cars for the new extension and forty flats for the old road. The last of this week will see ten miles of the extension graded and one mile of track laid." (Salt Lake Daily Tribune, March 19, 1879)

March 21, 1879
"Several car loads of rails pass through Provo daily for the extension of the Utah Southern." (Ogden Junction, March 21, 1879)

April-May 1879
Union Pacific sold five 4-4-0 locomotives to Utah Southern.

May 3, 1879
A first-person account of Utah Southern's arrival at Nephi. Thomas Parkes of Nephi wrote: "On Saturday, May 3rd, 1879, the whistle of the first steam engine was heard in Nephi at 6:30 a. m. and on Monday, May 21st, the first train was run up to the depot. School children, men and women got on and rode down to Brother Charles Sperry's and back. The band was there, also." (History of Juab County, 1947, page 111)

May 9, 1879
Track on the Utah Southern reached Nephi, yesterday. (The Territorial Enquirer, Provo, May 10, 1879)

May 10, 1879
The track of the Utah Southern is now complete beyond Nephi. (Salt Lake Daily Tribune, May 10, 1879)

May 15, 1879
The Utah Southern received ten flat cars yesterday, and two engines 'a few days ago'. (Salt Lake Herald, May 15, 1879)

May 31, 1879
"Several new cars passed over the Utah Southern yesterday for the Utah and Pleasant Valley narrow-gauge railroad." (The Territorial Enquirer, Provo, May 31, 1879)

June 5, 1879
Utah Southern was completed to Juab (across the valley, east, from the community of Chicken Creek, now known as Levan), 27 miles south of York. Juab was where the connection was made with the Utah Southern Railroad Extension. Work on the "Extension" from Juab began immediately. (Reeder, pp. 140, 141)

June 13, 1879
Utah Southern was completed to Chicken Creek, later known as Juab. (SPLA&SL corporate history)

June 19, 1879
"The town at the terminus of the Utah Southern, heretofore known as Chicken Creek, has been re-christened, and will hereafter be called Juab." (Deseret News, June 19, 1879, "Local and Other Matters")

June 21, 1879
New flat cars and box cars for the Utah Southern and for the Extension company are continually being received. (Salt Lake Herald, June 21, 1879)

June 24, 1879
"A new locomotive purchased of the Union Pacific arrived last evening, for use on the Utah Southern." (Ogden Junction, June 24, 1879, citing the Salt Lake Herald of June 22, 1879)

July 8, 1879
The Utah Southern is now completed about 13 miles beyond Juab, or 105 miles south from Salt Lake City. (Salt Lake Daily Tribune, July 8, 1879)

August 1879
Warnock & Company was the freight forwarder located at Utah Southern's end of track, or terminus. Although the exact location is not shown (likely in Sevier River canyon), on August 13, 1879, the Salt Lake Tribune reported that Warnock & Co. had received 20,700 pounds of bullion, and had shipped three cars. These numbers indicate that wagons were being used to ship ore from the Horn Silver mine north to the Utah Southern end of track, and the ore was transferred to rail cars for further movement.

August 21, 1879
"A New Car," built at the Utah Central shops, is an officer's car for the Utah Southern and the Extension line. Length over the end sills is 32 feet; in half a column descriptive of the car's appointments, not a hint as to its number! The car is presently being finished up. (Salt Lake Herald, August 21, 1879)

August 22, 1879
Item taken from Salt Lake Herald, on an officers car built by the Utah Central, body being 32 feet, without platforms. (Ogden Junction, August 22, 1879)

August 23, 1879
The Utah Central shops in Salt Lake are building a car for the Utah Southern Extension company, which from an item in paper of 17 September, appears to have been a special officers car. (The Territorial Enquirer, Provo, August 23, 1879)

Late October 1879
Utah Southern Railroad Extension tracks were completed to Deseret. (Reeder, p. 143)

January 7, 1880
"Our Railroads," The Utah Southern has four engines, as does the Utah Southern Extension company. Another engine, for the Utah Southern, has been ordered in the East, and is supposed to reach here in mid-February. The U.S. also has six passenger cars, two baggage, mail & express cars, and 92 freight cars. (Salt Lake Daily Tribune, January 7, 1880)

March 14, 1880
"The new engine received here for the Utah Southern, a short time ago, manufactured at Schenectady, New York, came up from the south, the other evening, bringing fifty-two cars. This is believed to be the largest train ever brought into Salt Lake by one engine." (Salt Lake Herald, March 14, 1880)

May 1880
Union Pacific sold a single 2-6-0 locomotive to Utah Southern.

May 2, 1880
Wreck on the Utah Southern last Friday evening, the 30th of April, in which an engine hit the construction train, south of American Fork; one car was destroyed and the engine damaged. (Salt Lake Daily Tribune, May 2, 1880)

May 9, 1880
The terminus of the Utah Southern Extension is now at Milford, and regular passenger trains are expected to start tomorrow. "The Utah Southern will soon have a six-driver on the road. It has been christened the 'Mogul,' and will be supplied with Westinghouse air brakes." (Salt Lake Daily Tribune, May 9, 1880)

May 15, 1880
Utah Southern Railroad Extension tracks completed to Milford. (SPLA&SL corporate history)

June 23, 1880
Utah Southern Railroad Extension tracks completed to Frisco, 137.24 miles from the Utah Southern connection at Juab. The next day the railroad began shipping ore from the Horn Silver Mine. (Salt Lake Herald, June 25, 1880; Reeder, p. 143; Athearn, p. 280)

June 24, 1880
"Through to Frisco." "The last rail on the Utah Southern Extension was laid last evening, connecting Frisco with Salt Lake City, and the train which leaves this morning will land passengers and mails in the Bonanza City." (Salt Lake Daily Tribune, June 24, 1880)

June 25, 1880
The Utah Southern Extension track was completed into Frisco at a few minutes past 4:00pm, Wednesday the 23rd. (Salt Lake Herald, June 25, 1880)

June 26, 1880
The Utah Southern Extension reached Frisco last Wednesday, the 23rd, and the first passenger train was on Thursday. (The Territorial Enquirer, Provo, June 26, 1880)

(View a Google Map of the completed line from York to Frisco)

May 19, 1881
Letter from 'Railroader,' dated the 16th, in regard to unsafe condition of several engines; Utah Southern No. 3 had a flue plugged, which plug blew out on the 8th inst., severely scalding fireman Kimball - this engine has 28 or 30 such plugged flues! Similar conditions prevail on Utah Southern No. 2 and on Utah Southern Ext. No. 123; some engineers have refused to run such engines, and have been fired as a result. (Salt Lake Daily Tribune, May 19, 1881)Also mentioned in the May 22nd issue: Utah Southern 12.

May 21, 1881
From the Salt Lake Herald, in reply to the letter in the Tribune of the 19th.: Letter from W. B. Armstrong, Master Mechanic, dated the 20th: he claims his character has been assailed through the Tribune by persons discharged for incompetence and misdemeanor; says the comments regarding the engines are 'entirely untrue,' and that the engine whose flue burst and scalded the fireman was coming in for work at the end of that trip anyhow; and that "flues of locomotives frequently burst ... with no more serious consequence than the delay"!!! He further says that Utah Southern No. 2 was in the shops in April of 1881 for boiler work, but admits that five defective flues were just found, after the incident in question. Says that engine 123 was in the shop from April to November of 1880, the boiler being 'entirely dissected' at that time, installing a new firebox, front flue sheet, throat sheet, new strap around firebox, new smokebox, and so forth. He claims that there are no safer engines running. (Salt Lake Daily Tribune, May 21, 1881)

May 22, 1881
Letter from 'Railroader,' dated the 21st, in reply to the letter in the Herald of 'this morning,' (see above entry) over the signature of the master mechanic; reference is made here to Utah Southern engine 12, which came into the shops three months ago, had some $300 in work done, and came out worse than when it went in, and is now in the shops again! (Salt Lake Daily Tribune, May 22, 1881)

May 24, 1881
Another letter from 'Railroader,' dated the 23rd, commenting upon the No. 123, and Armstrong's remarks about it; here engine is noted as having come in from the south 'this evening' leaking so badly that it would not hold even 10 pounds of steam pressure. (Salt Lake Daily Tribune, May 24, 1881)

June 6, 1881
The Acting Commissioner of the General Land Office in Washington D.C. approved the application of Utah Southern Railroad to build its railroad from Juab in Section 9, Township 15 South, Range 1 West, to Frisco in Section 23, Township 27 South, Range 13 West, a distance of 137-1/2 miles. The application had been filed under the provisions of the Act of Congress approved March 3, 1875, entitled "An Act granting to railroads the right of way through the public lands of the United States." (Letter, Department of Interior, General Land Office, dated June 6, 1881)

June 8, 1881
One of two new engines for the Utah Southern came through Ogden this date; a 'ten-wheeler', of 40 tons engine weight; built in 'the East'; made first run out of SLC in morning of 11th. (Ogden Herald, June 8, 1881)

June 9, 1881
Engine No. 6 has just arrived for the Utah Southern, and the Utah Central has nearly completed building a new baggage car at the shops. (Salt Lake Herald, June 9, 1881)

June 11, 1881
Utah Southern locomotive number 6 made its first trip. It arrived on June 9. (Salt Lake Herald, June 9, 1881)

June 12, 1881
New engine No. 6 on USRR made a successful trial trip yesterday, Saturday. (Salt Lake Herald, June 12, 1881)

July 31, 1881
Utah Southern Railroad, Utah Southern Railroad Extension, and Utah Central Railroad were consolidated to form the new Union Pacific controlled Utah Central Railway, incorporated on July 1, 1881 for the purpose. (Reeder, p. 98; Athearn, p. 280; OSL corporate history)

Transportation of Granite

The construction of the Utah Southern between Salt Lake City and Sandy was financed in part by the Mormon church from tithing resources because the completion of that portion of the road would provide better transportation access to the granite quarries in Little Cottonwood canyon; access that the church needed for granite to complete its Salt Lake City temple. (Arrington: Great Basin, p. 277)

With the completion of the Utah Southern to Sandy, that station became the shipment point for granite blocks used in construction of the Salt Lake Temple and allowed for the faster construction of that sacred structure. (Reeder, p. 118)

The previous method of transportation for the granite blocks had been through the use of large, heavy carts pulled by oxen; a journey that took about three days to complete. The availability of railroad transportation shortened the journey to just a half day. To allow the shipment of the huge granite blocks, a spur was built from the Utah Central depot in Salt Lake City east along South Temple Street direct to the temple block, construction site of the temple. (Arrington: Great Basin, p. 278)

One story has it that this was the first use of a point switch in the United States. Due to the extreme weight of the granite blocks (some as heavy as 10-12 tons), the design of the then-standard railroad stub switch simply spread the rails, allowing the loaded flat cars to settle onto the ties. The addition of the tapered "point" strengthened the turnout and kept the heavy cars on the track as they were pushed into the temple block. (Interview with Robert W. Edwards, circa 1979)

During the summer of 1872 the Utah Southern began construction of a standard-gauge line east from Sandy to the granite quarries in Little Cottonwood Canyon. On October 24, 1872 the Wasatch & Jordan Valley Railroad was incorporated to build a narrow-gauge line from Sandy to the mines further up Little Cottonwood Canyon. In November the Wasatch & Jordan Valley took over the Utah Southern grade and two months later they began laying track. On April 28, the line was completed to the quarries, at a new station appropriately called Granite. There was now an all-rail route from the granite quarries direct to Temple Square. (Reeder, pp. 170, 176, 180, 181)

(Read more about the transportation of granite.)


Roster listing of locomotives used by the Utah Southern Railroad and the Utah Southern Railroad Extension.

More Information

Corporate Information, Utah Southern -- Information about the Utah Southern Railroad corporate organization

Corporate Information, Utah Southern Railroad Extension -- Information about the Utah Southern Railroad Extension corporate organization

Clarence Reeder -- Information about Utah Southern Railroad from Reeder's manuscript

Mail & Express in 1876 -- John Sharp testimony concerning Utah Southern's mail & express business in 1876.