The Utah-Idaho Central Railroad: Northern Utah’s Interurban Experience


Utah-Idaho Central Railroad project graphic

Following the completion of the Transcontinental Railroad at Promontory, Utah, in 1869, railroads became a popular means of transportation and a symbol of progress throughout the United States. Businessmen and companies in the West quickly attempted to connect to what had become the new economic lifeblood of the nation. In northern Utah, one man recognized the need for modernization and had the resources necessary to bring the benefits of railroad technology to Ogden and Cache Valley. David Ecclesa successful businessman, immigrant, and Utah’s first multimillionaire—created a foundation for an interurban system that would eventually reach from Preston, Idaho, to Ogden, Utah, transforming the region’s economy and social life for the extent of its existence (1900–1947). Following his death, his business partner and sons managed and constructed what would come to be known as the Utah-Idaho Central Railroad (U.I.C.). This digital exhibit, prompted by Providence City, will briefly explore the history of the U.I.C., its influence in Cache Valley, and will take a more focused look at its service and stories in Providence, Utah. 

Research and creation of this exhibit was sponsored and supervised by the Digital Initiatives Unit of Utah State University’s Merrill-Cazier Library and Utah State University’s History Department. Most of the exhibit content can be found in collections held by Utah State University’s Special Collections & Archives. Finding aids for company records can be viewed for three U.I.C. stations: Utah-Idaho Central Railroad Company, Wellsville Station Papers, 1920–1936; Utah-Idaho Central Railroad Company, Mendon Station Papers, 1916–1936; and Utah-Idaho Central Railway Providence Station Records, 1918–1919. Additional material was graciously provided by Providence City, the University of Utah Marriott Library, and Charles Smiley Presents® Movies.

Project Credits:

  • Rebecca Andersen (Faculty Exhibit Advisor - USU History Department)
  • Tommy Chau (Student Scanning Technician - Digitization)
  • Howard Christenson (Exhibit Sponsor - Providence City Historic Preservation Commission Chairman)
  • Daniel Davis (Photograph Curator and Exhibit Advisor - USU Special Collections & Archives)
  • Brad Duncan (Exhibit Curator)
  • Kellianne Gammell (Marketing Assistant - Exhibit Review)
  • Alison Gardner (Digital Initiatives Assistant - Quality Control and Exhibit Review)
  • Casey Hoggan (Student Assistant - Video Editing)
  • Shay Larsen (Graphic Design)
  • Malori Menck (Student Scanning Technician - Digitization and Quality Control Review)
  • Darcy Pumphrey (Digital Projects Coordinator - Quality Control and Exhibit Review)
  • Maren Stephens (Student Scanning Technician - Digitization and Quality Control Review)
  • Becky Thoms (Faculty Exhibit Advisor - USU Libraries)
  • Abby Thorne (Student Assistant - Copy Editing)
  • Megan Wilson (Student Scanning Technician - Digitization and Quality Control Review)