Day 12: June 19, 2014
Last Loop Redux

Comment via blog

Previous Day
Next Day
Site Home
Trip Home

Today's tour headed east toward Salt Lake City. Following the Lincoln Highway through the city but there really isn't much of the era remaining and it would have taken only slightly less than forever to accomplish it. So we used expressways to reach the east side of town then picked up the Ogden Loop. The ground covered today would largely be the same that I covered on the way to the conference on Tuesday.

Our first stop was at the Kimball/Bitner ranch near Wanship, Utah. The Lincoln Highway, the railroad, and a stagecoach route all passed near where I stood to take the first picture. The stone house on the right was built in 1862 by William Kimball as a hotel. The house on the left was built by the railroad to house workers. Yes, the trains and cars did pass between the houses. Milton and Hoffman Bitner bought the farm in 1908 though it seems that Milton was the primary builder and caretaker. We were treated to home baked pastries and, from a dispenser barely visible through the kitchen door in the third picture, cold water from the farm's spring. When we left, the last surviving member of Milton and Edith's offspring was among those waving goodbye. The 92 year old, whose name got away from me, had stood inside the stone house where he was born telling stories and answering questions. He wants to live five more years, he said, to equal the final age of a cousin.

Next up was the Summit County courthouse in Coalville. We were told there was a small museum in the basement and I expected a couple of storage rooms packed with unorganized bits of local history. There were more than a couple of rooms and, while they might have been packed, they were not really unorganized. The intricate logging diorama, which extends far to the left of the photo, was definitely impressive.

When the organizers were planning meals for the conference, they were not aware of any restaurant near where we would be at noon today that was capable of holding and feeding the group. When the city office was called, to check into allowing us to eat a box lunch in the city park, they volunteered that Larry's Spring Chicken Inn could handle sizable groups. So a call was made and they went on the schedule. A very good fried chicken buffet was ready right on time. The restaurant is in the 1908 Morgan Opera House though there is no apparent evidence of the building's former life.

In Ogden, we made an extended stop at Union Station. Ogden has always been a major railroad city and the 1924 station is a major landmark.

In an arrangement somewhat similar to Cincinnati's Union Terminal, Ogden's station is now occupied by four museums: The Utah State Railroad Museum, the John M. Browning Firearms Museum, the Browning-Kimball Classic Car Museum, and the Utah Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum. Our group was particularly interested in the Prest-O-Lite fueled head lamps on a 1911 Knox Runabout since Carl Fisher, the man behind the Lincoln Highway, was also the man behind Prest-O-Lite.

There are also things to look at outside. At one end, there are a number of locomotives and, at the other, Utah's "Merci Car". A display inside the railroad museum had reminded me of a story I had essentially forgotten and may never have known in detail. In 1949, France sent forty-nine boxcars to the United States as an expression of gratitude for America's post World War II aid. There was a car for each state and one to be shared by the Territory of Hawaii and the District of Columbia. More information, including the status and location of each car, is here.

Dinner was at the The Historic Benson Grist Mill. Besides the mill, the site contains a blacksmith shop and several relocated log cabins.

[Prev] [Site Home] [Trip Home] [Contact] [Next]