‘Little Chicago’: Ogden’s Historic 25th Street
HIGHLIGHTS: An eclectic collection of shops, boutiques, restaurants and historic sites in an area rich with history. Museums, art galleries and more await you on Two-bit Street in Ogden.
by Donna M. Brown
A gypsy soul.
Ogden’s historic 25th street is a magical (albeit seedy) place for me. No doubt I’m drawn to whispers of secret tunnels, historic brick buildings bursting with juicy stories and the remnants of a once rebellious district well-known for its colorful characters and off-color history. The district earned the dubious designation of “Little Chicago”and it’s rumored even Al Capone found “Two-bit Street” too wild for him. There are plenty of nicknames for this little piece of paradise like, “Salt Lake City’s devious little sister,” and “Electric Alley.” Once home to famous bars, brothels, distilleries, gambling halls and gang rivalries, many credit the railroad for feeding a steady stream of thirsty connoisseurs to this troublesome neighborhood.
“In 1869, The Golden Spike brought together the first transcontinental railroad, roughly fifty miles to the northwest of Union Station, and created a boom town in Ogden,” according to a website dedicated to the now-popular eclectic tourist destination, www.historic25.com. “With no trouble from the law, a man could gamble, drink bootleg liquor, spend time with an unfamiliar lady, smoke opium, or befall a worse fate.” I’ve always been a bit of a rebel; yet, even I cannot swear I would seek out this street were the same true today.
The years have been kind to 25th Street in Ogden and despite it’s sordid past, the city has turned its history into a novelty and visitors come in droves to hear the stories told. Ogden has turned what was not all that long ago considered a slum district into a shining jewel that looks back on the past with humor and social reflection. Store fronts are refurbished, buildings shored, signs re-painted, streetlights replaced and once again 25th Street is a center of activity with a little different clientele. Today you will find:
- coffee shops
- art galleries
- notable architecture
- professional offices
- a beautiful park
- historic monuments
- frequent celebrations
- and so much more!
A trip to Two-bit Street would not be complete without a visit to Union Station. When I was a child my grandmother bought tickets for my entire family to ride one of the last passenger trains out of Union Station to Rock Springs, Wyo. We at lunch in the dining car and watch scenery clack by. I remember details of that adventure that I was probably too young to have been able to recall; yet, the memory still feeds my love of trains and all things related.
All Aboard! Union Station Offers History, Art, Activities
Located on the West end of Ogden’;s famous 25th Street, Union Station offers:
- Utah State Railroad Museum
- John M. Browning Firearms Museum
- Browning – Kimball Classic Car Museum
- Utah State Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum
- Gallery at the Station
- Myra Powell Gallery featuring works by Utah artists
Learn all about Utah’s railroad history, see beautiful antique cars, check out art exhibits, enjoy the architecture of Union Station. This is a great place to visit!
While Ogden’s historic 25th Street is free to see, there is an entrance fee to Union Station’s museums and exhibits. Click here for Union Station ticket information.