Utah & Northern Railroad Historical Marker
This historical marker indicates where the route of the Utah & Northern Railroad was located. The site, which is situated near the building that houses Idaho Public Television, consists of the historical marker and a short segment of train tracks. The Utah & Northern Railroad was Idaho's first railroad. It was established in 1871 by the Mormons, who wanted a railroad to reach their communities in the Cache Valley (a valley that stretches from southeast Idaho to northern Utah) and further into Idaho to Soda Springs, which is southeast of Pocatello. The railroad was eventually built from Ogden, Utah to Butte, Montana, bypassing Soda Springs altogether.
Backstory and Context
A railroad line from Salt Lake City had reached Ogden, Utah in 1870, and the Mormons wanted it to continue northward. Construction of this northern route began in August 1871. As noted above, its purpose was to reach the Mormon communities in Idaho to provide them with a means to grow economically, which included trading with mining camps in Montana. Constructing the line was a challenge. The laborers who built it were mostly Mormon volunteers, some of whom had recently converted. Paying for it was a challenge as well. Despite these problems, the line reached the town of Franklin, which is just over the Idaho border, in early 1874.
Unfortunately, financial difficulties prevented the Mormons from building the line further. In 1878, the Utah Northern Railroad, as it was originally called, became bankrupt and fell into foreclosure. The Union Pacific Railroad bought it and formed the Utah & Northern Railway. During the next several years, the new company extended the railroad line all the way up to Butte, Montana.
"The Era of Railroad Construction in Utah." Utah State University Libraries. Accessed April 8, 2020. http://exhibits.usu.edu/exhibits/show/transcontinentalrailroad/eraofrailroadconstruction.
"Utah Northern." UtahRails.net. Excerpt from the book Ogden Rails, A History of Railroading At The Crossroads Of The West. Union Pacific Historical Society, 2005. Accessed April 8, 2020. Last Updated August 25, 2015. https://utahrails.net/ogden/ogden-utah-northern.php.
"Utah & Northern Railroad." The Historical Marker Database. Accessed April 8, 2020. https://www.hmdb.org/m.asp?m=125573.
The Historical Marker Database