Almost 100 years ago, in August 1912, Oregon Short Line Railroad, a Union Pacific subsidiary, completed its Layton depot building. With a reported cost of $6,567.20, the new depot was part of a larger project to add a second track to OSL’s mainline between Salt Lake City and Ogden. The cost included a second mail crane for use by Railway Post Office to serve the new second track. Electric lights were added in May 1916, at a cost of $39.75.
Union Pacific closed its Layton depot in 1972 and the building was moved about one-third mile south along the railroad’s Salt Lake City to Ogden double-track mainline. The original site of the depot, at UP’s crossing of Gentile Street in Layton, remained partially vacant except for a small loading spur. In 1921, on property at the time owned by the railroad, Layton City had dedicated a small memorial to four veterans of World War I. In November 1991, the site was donated by Union Pacific to Layton City, and the city expanded the memorial from one-fifth acre to one-half acre, and rededicated the site as Veteran’s Park. The park remains in place today Layton’s oldest public park.
At its new location, the former Layton depot building was turned 180 degrees, putting the station agent’s bay window on the east side. The old depot served as the home of a restaurant immediately after it was moved, with the most recent owners operating it since May 1992 as Doug & Emmy’s Restaurant.
Utah Transit Authority started construction of its Frontrunner North commuter rail project in July 2005. The work started in Layton in May 2006, with full service starting April 2008. The new commuter line’s Layton station stop and parking lot was located immediately north of the former Layton depot building. The building remained in place and continued in business as Doug & Emmy’s Restaurant, although there was a six-foot chain link fence between it and the Frontrunner station and parking lot. Access to the restaurant was only from Layton’s Main Street, an inconvenient and unsafe walk for potential customers.
In July 2009, Utah Department of Transportation (UDOT) started construction on the Layton Parkway interchange with Interstate 15, which included a new alignment for the south end of Layton’s Main Street, where Doug & Emmy’s Restaurant was located. The restaurant was in the way and the property and building were purchased by UDOT as part of the property acquisition for the Layton Parkway construction. The old depot was to be demolished, and Doug & Emmy’s closed in December 2009. However, the actual site where the building stood was not needed and the depot building remained in place, with its windows boarded up. In October 2011, UDOT announced that the building would be sold, with the previous owner given first refusal. Several plans and ideas for potential preservation have been presented and discussed, but none are certain. Stay tuned.