Denver and Rio Grande
(Currently the home of Utah State Historical Society)
Denver and Rio Grande Railroad Depot
building, which now is the home of the Utah State Historical Society,
is one block north of West 4th and one block west of Pioneer Park, near
the corner of West 3rd Street on South Rio Grand Street.
Street Address: Utah State Historical
Society/300 S Rio Grande Street, Salt Lake City, Utah 84101.
Phone: 801-533-3500 * Web-Site
One can describe this old train depot
building as a beautifully renovated, restored Salt Lake City gem from
the city's past, now appropriately the home of The Utah State Historical
Society, the organization responsible for buying the rundown building
for a dollar and spearheading its return to its former glory.
While I can't find a detailed description
of it's specific description, one can gather it was built to give the
people an eyeful of beauty and grandeur; A solidly built, yet artistically
stone /brick structure sporting the architecture popular in 1910. It looks
like it has stained glass, lovely masonry work, and probably has more
lovely wood and stone craftsmanship inside as well.
There is a basement/cellar area,
and two floors, with some balconies on the second floor. The building
now houses the offices of The Utah State Historical Society, their large
library, resource center, various exhibits, and a restaurant.
Utah History Research Center hours:
Mon.-Fri., 9 AM-4:30 PM //Sat, 9 AM-1 PM //Free Admission.
In 1910, this grand building was constructed
by The Rio Grande Western Railroad, reflecting not only the prosperity
and growth of Salt Lake City during this time, but also of the competitive
spirit which existed between the established Union Pacific Railroad and
this up and coming competitor, The Rio Grande Western Railroad. The man
behind this railroad line, George Gould spent $750,000 of his own money
to build this impressive depot, which was quite a chunk of change in 1910!
From this Salt Lake City depot, George built rail lines to the coast,
and managed to break the monopoly of the established Union Pacific, but
lost his railroad empire as the end result.
Over the years (1910-1947) that this
building operated as a railroad depot, many outsiders came to Salt Lake
City, a bustling city of economic opportunity for both Mormons and Gentiles,
except during the 1920s and Depression years, which hit Salt Lake City
very hard. The WW2 years brought a new industry to Salt Lake City; the
industries needed for of war and defense, which found a home there after
the end of WW2 as well.
From 1948, The Rio Grande Western
Railroad building continued to house various businesses, but by the 1970s
the building was badly in need of renovation and repair. Though solidly
built to last, 60+ years had taken their toll. Luckily, in 1977, The Utah
State Historical Society stepped up to the plate, bought this immense
building for a dollar, and did a fantastic job restoring this building
to its former glory. George Gould would be pleased!!
Many Ghosts have called
this building home. The hauntings were first noticed by the living in
1) Evidence of a tragedy which
resulted from an engaged couple's heated breakup.
* An apparition of a very beautiful,
black-haired woman, wearing an old-fashioned purple dress haunts the
ladies room and the Rio Grande Cafe. Long ago, this woman was struck
by a train as she frantically went to pick up the engagement ring her
fiancee had thrown on the tracks in a fit of anger after they had quarreled;
a fight which ended their engagement.
2) Could this be the ghost of:George
Gould, pondering his business woes, as well as keeping an eye on the living?
Or perhaps this entity is a manager
of this depot who truly loved his job, and didn't want to leave it?
Or perhaps it is the ex-fiancee
of the woman mentioned above?
* Security guards have heard and
felt the presence of an unknown restless spirit who walks the balcony
and the lobby area.
* The living have also seen an apparition
of a man walking around the first floor. This spirit is probably the
same one heard and felt in the balcony and lobby area.
3) The Ghosts have parties too!
* One unsuspecting security guard
crashed an unauthorized ghostly celebration going on in the cellar when
he went down to check the area, because he had noticed the lights were
going on and off by themselves. Having been busted, the ghosts quickly
The ghosts continue to
make this building their home, unable or unwilling to go to the other