Facebook Page
Big Boy & 844 meet in Ogden, Visiting Temple Square, Tabernacle Choir rehearsal

Adventurers in Utah for Spike 150

 Promontory Summit - 150 years later

A Sesquicentennial

Chapter Eight

Big Boy head to head with 844 in Ogden

Visiting Temple Square

Attending Tabernacle Choir rehearsal

 May 9, 2019



Robin Bowers

Text and Photos by Author

The author retains all rights. No reproductions are allowed without the author's consent.

Comments are appreciated


    Chris and I arose from our slumber at 5:45 am then I left our room a few minutes after he did. Leaving the hotel I walked on South Temple to the Arena Station where I met up with Chris to wait for our train to Salt Lake Central Station. We would board a westbound Blue Line train here at Arena Station and ride to the end of the line at Salt Lake Central Station, in the free ride zone. Our trip was only a few minutes long then we arrived at the Salt Lake Central Station. We walked over the the Am shack which was so sorrowful that I was too embarrassed to take a photo of said structure.  


We then walked over to the platform and then were met by several NHRS people going to Ogden this early morning, animated talking about the upcoming meeting event.



Looking north towards Ogden.


Looking south towards Provo.

Our train arrived and we left at 6:55 am arriving in Ogden at 7:54 am.


 Our train at the Ogden platform.



Zephyr Grill where Chris and I had a good breakfast to start off a long day.


After finishing our breakfast at the Zephyr Grill, we went into the Ogden Depot where a Union Pacific event was going on and a very nice young lady offered to take us over to the Union Pacific press tent.


Static display on museum grounds.


Ogden Union Station Museums. Four museums and two art galleries are housed in this former 1924 train station.


Locomotives on display but off limits today while the big event occurs.

    Our escort took us through security and led us the rest of the way to the Union Pacific Press tent. There we were given a press badge with Union Pacific information in it and then told where we could go and not go. We then walked out the tent with our badges and found the press pen.





Nose to Nose means the railroad was done.


VIP seating with the Ogden Museum in back.


  A Frontrunner train into Ogden arriving on the UTA flyover.







Keeping an eye on you.


The crowd behind the press zone with an Union Pacific video on the big screen.



    The Master of Ceremonies started this morning with a welcome then the Union Pacific Color Guard marched in with the Flags of America and the Union Pacific after which a young lady sang a wonderful rendition of the Star Spangled Banner of the United States. After the Union Pacific Color Guard marched off the stage, the Chairman of the Union Pacific Lance M. Fritz spoke: Let's get to what we came in for to celebrate on this morning. To my left Union Pacific 844 the Living Legend brought by the Union Pacific runs out at 100 MPH. On my right, the latest steam locomotive to join the Union Pacific Family 4014 and 1.2 million pounds 7000 horsepower of steel and fire. Let's get started for what we all came for." He then called the Union Pacific Big Boy 4014. Union Pacific 4014 responds "Chairman Lance Fritz over, "I'm in position in front of your locomotive, are you ready to move?" "UP 4014 is ready to proceed?" Fritz answers " UP 4014 take them ahead"


Ready for the cameras.



bigboy a

4014 b


Union Pacific Big Boy 4014 moved into nose to nose position with the Union Pacific


Next we heard from Governor of Utah Gary Herbert who give a brief talk about the history of Utah and its railroads then called up four relatives of people who had played a part in railroading during that period and talked about their history.



After hitting the large golden spike, the ceremony comes to a close.


Just a few weeks ago, this was a scrap yard for the Union Pacific.


As we left the press area Chris said he was going to meet Elizabeth and went on ahead. I took a sightseeing walk back to the platform, wondering if in this crowd I would spot a friendly face.


    Ogden's importance as a rail center dates from 1869, when the golden spike uniting the nation by rail was driven at Promontory, to the northwest; the main rail junction was moved here soon afterward. Brigham Young designed the city's layout, which features broad, straight streets lined with box elder, elm and poplar trees.






    The John M. Browning Firearms Museum displays the well-known handguns, rifles and machine guns created by Ogden's Browning family. The Utah State Railroad Museum interprets the state's railroad history and includes the Wattis-Dumke Model Railroad Museum, featuring model trains representative of the transcontinental line from California to Wyoming. The Eccles Rail Center outdoor exhibit displays vintage engines and cars. The Browning-Kimball Classic Car Museum exhibits a collection of elegant early 20th-century automobiles. Artifacts and old photographs can be seen in the Utah Cowboys and Western Heritage Museum; Archive Hall displays the station's permanent art collection.  If the museums were open today I know I could lose a few hours easily in there.










Ogden Intermodal Transit Center.


Inside the Ogden station.



Greyhound bus bays.


Zephyr Grill between the station and the platform.


Ogden train yard.


Art work on Ogden platform.


The UTA Ride the Train shops at North Yard.

    For our evening feast Chris and I met Elizabeth and Bob at JB's Family Restaurant adjacent Bob and Elizabeth's hotel, the Salt Lake Plaza located across the street and in the next block from our hotel. After several meals here, this eatery was fast becoming the favorite of all four of us. After breaking bread we all went on our separate ways and I went around the corner of Temple Square and walked over to the Information Building to inquire about this evening's rehearsal of the Tabernacle Choir. In the convention information sent out beforehand was a list of points of interest and things to do. That's where I noticed that the choir has their public rehearsal on Thursday evening at 7:30 to 9:30 pm. The lady at the information desk said the doors would open in about 45-50 minutes and there would be no problem getting a seat. That gave me some time to stroll the Temple Square and look at the buildings.

Temple Square

    Temple Square is bounded by North Temple, South Temple, West Temple and Main streets. This 35-acre, three block area contains the principal buildings of The Church of Jesus of Latter Day Saints, the Seagull Monument and several other memorials and statues.




Step into one of the most historical buildings on Temple Square.

    One of the more extraordinary and historic buildings on Temple Square is the Assembly Hall. This building replaced an older tabernacle that was no longer needed after the current Tabernacle was completed in 1875. The Assembly Hall was built so that several congregations in the Salt Lake Stake could worship together, and is still used as a place of worship for congregations in the area.

    The pioneers constructed the building with blocks of irregular shaped granite from the same quarry as the Salt Lake Temple, then filled in the cracks with mortar to make it look like dressed, even stone.

    In addition to its function as a place of worship, the Assembly Hall is also used for lectures, recitals, and weekend concerts. Visit on a Friday or Saturday night for a free show from local or international artists.





    The Seagull Monument located on Temple Square, is a tribute to the history behind the state bird of Utah. After the pioneers arrived in the Salt Lake Valley in the summer of 1847, the next winter was a mild one. The early settlers planted crops early and were looking forward to the harvest. However, after planting approximately 900 acres of wheat, a “great numbers of large, black crickets…came swarming from the foothills literally by millions.”

    Attempts to drown, burn, bury and club the infestation were unsuccessful. The Saints pled to the Lord to deliver them from the plague of crickets, which some likened unto Egypt’s curse of locusts. On June 9th, great flocks of seagulls from the Great Salt Lake descended upon the crickets and fed upon them for over three weeks, saving the crops. George W. Bean wrote: “They would come by thousands and gobble up those great fat crickets that were as large as man’s thumb, until they would get about a pint, seemingly, then they would adjourn to the water ditch, take a drink and throw up all their crickets – rest themselves a little, then back to slaying the black ‘monsters’ again.” To those observing the experience, it appeared that the seagulls were throwing back up the entire crickets. In actuality, they would regurgitate only the crickets’ exo-skeleton which they could not digest.

    The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints commissioned Mahonri M. Young, a well-known LDS sculptor, to create a monument depicting the miracle of the seagulls. The monument contains four relief panels depicting the miracle as well as two bronze seagulls atop a granite column. It was completed, placed on Temple Square and dedicated on September 13, 1913 by Joseph F. Smith, then President of the Church. Seagulls remain protected in Utah to this day.

    After seeing the seagulls monument I then went inside the South Visitor Center which features exhibits and artifacts about the construction of the temple and importance the religion places of family.



Cut away of temple model.


And now the full size.






Southeast side of Temple.



East front side.


View from front door looking east.




  Dome of State Capital looking north.

Another capital city to add to my list of capital cities visited.





The crowd waiting for the Tabernacle doors to open


West side of temple.


Springtime in Utah.


A colorful campus.

Visitors may enjoyed a leisurely stroll or take a guided tour through spring, summer or autumn gardens that are redesigned and replanted every six months. More than 16,500 bedding plants and 250 flower beds surround the plaza, an oval reflecting pool and a fountain. A 4-acre rooftop prairie garden includes hundreds of native flowers, trees and drought-tolerant plants.


The doors are opening, let the gray hairs in.

    Completed in 1867, the tabernacle seats 6,500 under one of the worlds largest domed roofs without center supports. The building has remarkable acoustics, and its 11,623-pipe organ is said to be one of the finest in existence. The tabernacle has been the home of the renowned Mormon Tabernacle Choir since the group's inception in the mid-19th century. The choir's 360 volunteer singers, all members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, practice and perform weekly.


    Being inside the Tabernacle has been on the my bucket list for long time. And being able to listen to the choir live and in person is a double bucket check. I remember when I was young listing to the choir live on the radio and knowing that Salt Lake City was a long way from me.


    Tonight's rehearsal was for Sunday's live show. To celebrate the City's Golden Spike festivities, the choir sang railroad songs. Among the tunes were  Get to the Station on Time, Rock Island Line, Working On The Railroad, She'll Be Coming Round The Mountain, Wabash Cannonball and Casey Jones. It's said that a pin dropped at the front of the cavernous interior can be heard all the way at the back.



Cue cards for the choir.


After our recital, we were asked to exit the venue as the rest of the rehearsal was not for our ears as it contained  proprietary information.

    North of Temple Square massive is the 21,000-seat Conference Center with a waterfall on the south facade and a four-acre garden on the roof. The building, completed in 2000, to host the LDS Church's semi-annual conference and musical performances, is an engineering marvel. The auditorium is large enough to fit two Boeing 747's inside its acoustically perfect performance hall.


West or back side of temple.



Performances of the Utah Symphony are held in Abravanel Hall.

    Leaving Temple Square I met up with Elizabeth at the nearest TRAX station to ride Red Line 703 out to University Medical Center. I've ridden part of the Red Line south of the construction but by taking this last leg, I will have ridden the whole line with a break in the line due to construction. Although Elizabeth had already ridden this leg, she was happy to join me and add to her rail mileage. We caught the next car and rode the short distance to the construction, then walked through the construction site to board the Red Line at its temporary end of line. It's not often that I am able to ride streetcars after dark. The cities look completely different with their night lights on. We had about a ten minute turn around time before heading back. Arriving back at the construction site I had now completed riding all the rail mileage in the Salt Lake City area. From here Elizabeth and I walked backed to our hotels. Then it was on to my room to get ready for tomorrow.

Thanks for reading.
Tomorrow - Big 150 Spike Day.

<< Return to previous day May 8, 2019

Return to Table of Contents

Return to Home Page

Very Fast Return to Top

Text and Photos by Author, Robin Bowers

The author retains all rights. No reproductions are allowed without the author's consent

Comments are appreciated