25th Street: Ogden, Utah
Also known as "Two-bit street" or "Historic 25th," this street serves as a commercial thoroughfare, running east to west through downtown Ogden. The history and architecture add to the street's charm, with the most complete contiguous collection of turn-of-the-century commercial architecture in Utah. The street remains a symbol of the impact of the transcontinental railroad in Ogden as the junction between the Union Pacific and the Central Pacific Railroads. The architecture of late 1800s and early 1900s is significant in its designation as a National Historic District, but the stories behind the buildings are what make the street unique.
A three-block stretch running east from Wall Avenue to Washington Boulevard.
25th Street's development got under way after the construction of the original Union Station on the west end of the street in 1889. Wooden buildings were torn down to make way for brick structures that reflected the Neoclassical architecture of the time. Businesses along 25th Street catered to travelers with hotels, lodging houses, saloons, restaurants, cigar shops, and clothing stores. Because of the constant activity, particularly gambling, opium dens, bootlegging, and brothels, the street became known as "Notorious 25th Street." This created the mystique of the street that lives on today.
The decline of rail service led to the decay of 25th Street in the 1950s and 1960s. Property owners and the Junior League began taking interest in the street and organized a Historic Preservation Committee. Together, these two groups led the city in developing the 25th Street Master Plan in 1977. Physical upgrades were made to the street over the decades, including renovating vacant buildings, infrastructure upgrades to sidewalks, street lighting, and tree planting.
Today, 25th Street draws crowds with its outdoor dining areas, local restaurants, merchant displays, amphitheater, pleasing features, and variety of year-round events.
Defining Characteristics, Features
- Ogden was chosen to be the junction city of the Union Pacific and Central Pacific railroads (1874)
- 25th Street was the first street in the city to receive 25 car loads of gravel pavement (1885); first paved street in the city (1893) when boardwalks were replaced with paved walkways
- Union Station was completed at the west end of 25th Street (1889); rebuilt after being destroyed in a fire (1924)
- Famous figures were known to parade along 25th Street including: Presidents Taft, Hoover, and Theodore Roosevelt, and "Buffalo Bill" Cody
- During World War II troops heading east or west would pass through Ogden for a brief layover, often engaging in rowdy activities along 25th Street
Planning and Preservation Accomplishments
- 25th Street Master Plan was adopted (1977)
- Listed on the National Register of Historic Places (1978)
- 25th Street redevelopment district was created (1979)
- The street was originally designed as part of a typical grid pattern; as part of the 1980 redevelopment, travel lanes were reduced, sidewalks were widened, and angled parking was introduced
- Placed on the local Ogden Register of Historic Places (1981)
- The Historic 25th Street Association was established to maintain the street and enhance activities and amenities; association now represents over 60 locally owned businesses
- New construction guidelines adopted for 25th Street (1996); the city hired Noré Winter, an urban design and planning consultant
- Current construction is under way to create a separate pedestrian and bike link along Grant Avenue to connect 25th Street with the Ogden River
- Recent plans proposed to encourage development of a circulator transit loop that connects the commuter rail station with other retail and housing areas downtown
Features and Events
- Situated at the base of the Wasatch Mountains, the city has become a Rocky Mountain hub for the outdoor industry
- Seven kiosks designed by Infinite Scale Design reflect the railroad history of the street, displaying various stories about 25th Street as well as upcoming events
- "Horses" public art project; dozens of hand-painted, fiberglass horse sculptures are displayed along 25th Street each summer in celebration of Pioneer Days
- Amphitheater and the redesign of the surrounding block incorporating open spaces (2000) completed; facility serves as a community gathering space for events
- Popular annual and weekly events include Xterra USA Championship, USA Cycling Masters Road Championships, Tour of Utah, Ogden Arts Festival, Farmers Market, 1st Friday Arts Stroll, Ogden Horse Parade, Car Show, Harvestmoon Festival, Witchstock, Christmas Village