The 101-year-old Layton Depot is poised to survive well into a second century as one of the oldest and most historic structures in town.
Utah has just 30 historic train depots left and the Layton Depot, considered the most endangered of them all in recent years (by the Railroad Station Historical Society), is now off the chopping block and is on track to become renovated and restored by next summer.
Opened in August of 1912, the Layton Depot is the seventh-oldest surviving railroad depot in the State of Utah, according to http://www.rrshs.org/Utah/utrrstruc.htm
It is also only the third of those 30 historic railroad stations that has been utilized as a restaurant.
And, as a bonus, the Layton Depot, located at about 200 South Main Street, remains adjacent to the active passenger UTA’s FrontRunner railroad tracks.
For more than three decades, Layton Depot was a center of life for Layton City. Until the automobile became residents’ means of primary transportation, this train station was one of the only links to the outside world. Residents used the station to depart and re-enter Layton. Mail and some other vital goods also originally came and went from the train station.
Also, during the two World Wars, soldiers and Mormon missionaries said their goodbyes before departing into their respective field of service. Then, when returning, the Depot was a bright spot of warm welcome homes.
“Trains -- and the railroads that carried them -- encouraged westward expansion, stimulated industrial and commercial growth, and spurred technological innovation for much of the 19th and 20th centuries,” according to the National Trust of Historic Preservation. “And often, stations were the most important and prominent buildings in town -- the gateways to their communities.”
“At the height of railroad building during the late 19th century, more than 40,000 depots dotted the country. Now, less than half remain. But with these losses come an opportunity to preserve historically and architecturally significant railroad buildings in creative ways,” concludes the National Trust for Historic Preservation.
The Layton Depot opened in the late summer of 1912, with an original cost of $6,500. It served the Oregon Short Line Railroad, then a Union Pacific subsidiary.
After some 60 years of service, Union Pacific closed the Layton Depot in 1972. The building was then moved to its current location, about 600 yards south along the rail path.
(Today, that original location comprises Veterans Park.)
The key difference for the building at its new location was that it was turned around, 180 degrees. Soon after, the Depot was used for a popular restaurant, the Main Street Station, from 1972-1992.
Then, another eatery, Doug & Emmys, was housed there until 2009. That’s when the Utah Department of Transportation (UDOT) began preparing for the new Layton Parkway interchange project. At the time, demolition was considered necessary. However, Layton City became involved and an agreement was reached to preserve the Layton Depot.
In September of 2013, UDOT transferred ownership of the Layton Depot and associated property to Layton City. UDOT also agreed to install a 49 stall parking lot to service the Depot, which will be completed by the end of 2013.
Bill Wright, Layton City Community and Economic Development Director, describes the renovation of the Depot as a “terrific opportunity to restore an icon building that holds so many treasured memories.” During the Spring and Summer of 2014, Layton City, in cooperation with a private entity, will renovate the Station, have it listed on the National Historic Register of Historic Places, and reoccupy the Depot with a commercial use, likely a restaurant.
After being vacant for about five years, the Depot will be renovated and open again in the Summer of 2014, preserving a slice of Layton history from the early 20th Century.
OTHER SOURCES: Ogden Standard Examiner, October 14, 2011.