Salt Lake City Union Pacific Depot
Salt Lake City Union Pacific Depot just after completion in 1910
Grand Hall at the Union Pacific Depot
Aerial view of the Salt Lake City Union Pacific Depot
Salt Lake City Union Pacific Depot in 2011
Backstory and Context
Originally called the Union Station, it was jointly constructed by the San Pedro, Los Angeles and Salt Lake Railroad and the Oregon Short Line, both later wholly owned by the Union Pacific, at an estimated cost of $450,000 ($12,760,000 in today's dollars). The platforms behind the station ran north-to-south, parallel to the first main line built in the Salt Lake Valley, which predated the station building. South of 1300 South this is the route used by the UTA TRAX Blue Line and Salt Lake City Southern, while north of North Temple (100 North) it is used by the FrontRunner line and Union Pacific. Trains from the west used a line south of 900 South in Glendale to approach the north-to-south platforms. The Salt Lake and Ogden (Bamberger) Interurban line also stopped nearby. When Amtrak was formed in 1971, it took over the remaining passenger services at the station, but after Rio Grande joined Amtrak all trains were moved to its station three blocks south.
From 1977 to 1986 the depot served as Salt Lake City's Amtrak station, but was then replaced by the Denver and Rio Grande Western Depot. It was served by the California Zephyr, Desert Wind, and Pioneer trains, with the latter two having been discontinued in 1997. The California Zephyr runs once daily between Chicago, Illinois and Emeryville, California (in the San Francisco Bay Area). The former Desert Wind ran daily from Chicago to Los Angeles) and the former Pioneer ran daily Chicago to Seattle. In 1999 Amtrak moved to the Salt Lake City Intermodal Hub.
According to The Railway Gazette (1907) the structure's plans came from the office of J.H. Wallace, Assistant Chief Engineer of the Southern Pacific, under the direction of D.J. Patterson, Architect for that company. It served the San Pedro, Los Angeles and Salt Lake and the Oregon Short Line when it was completed in 1909 and became wholly owned by Union Pacific in the 1920s. Initially, both railroads' initials were prominently displayed on the front of the building, but the "Union Pacific" shield or related logo has graced the depot for most of its history.
Several side rooms were originally used for separate male and female waiting areas. The depot once housed an emergency hospital, lunch room, baggage rooms, and offices for both of the original railroads. Most of these features are gone now, but the building was extensively renovated in the 1970s to repair damage. Additionally, the original slate roof was replaced by copper plates due to leaking problems.
The main lobby, no longer used by Amtrak (which has relocated the Salt Lake City Intermodal Hub), serves as an entrance to the Gateway District development. Most of the building is not used for its original purpose, but Union Pacific uses some of the space for offices and training areas.
In January 2006, three floors opened as a restaurant and music venue, fittingly called The Depot. The Depot brings a wide variety of musical talent to Salt Lake City.