Salt Lake City Union Pacific Depot

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Salt Lake City Union Pacific Depot
The Salt Lake City Union Pacific Depot is a spacious building on the western edge of downtown Salt Lake City, Utah. Built from 1908 to 1909, it harkens back to a more prosperous era in the history of American railroad travel. As Salt Lake Union Pacific Railroad Station, it is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. 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. Both railroads' initials were prominently displayed on the front of the building. 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 both railroads when it was completed in 1909 but eventually became wholly owned by Union Pacific in the 1920s. The "Union Pacific" shield or related logo has graced the depot for most of its history. The sandstone building is constructed in French Second Empire style, and includes a terazzo floor and stained glass windows. One ceiling mural by San Francisco artist Harry Hopp depicts the driving of the Golden Spike north of Salt Lake City at "Promontory Summit" signifying the completion of the first transcontinental railroad in 1869. Another mural by San Francisco artist John McQuarrie shows the 1847 arrival of Mormon pioneers to what is now Salt Lake City. 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 now serves as an entrance to the Gateway District development. However, most of the building is not used for its original purpose due to the marked decrease in rail travel over the several decades. Union Pacific now uses some of the space for offices and training areas. In January 2006, three floors of the old Union Pacific depot re-opened as a restaurant and music venue, fittingly called The Depot. The Depot brings a wide variety of musical talent to Salt Lake City.