Layton hopes to preserve historic depot where soldiers left for war

Published: Monday, Oct. 10 2011 2:36 p.m. MDT

The city of Layton is looking for help to preserve a century-old train depot, built in 1911, where families saw their loved ones off to war during World War I and World War II. Presently, an old, boarded up building sits by the Layton FrontRunner Station, where those old memories remain.

, Heritage Museum of Layton

LAYTON — A piece of Davis County history is now easy for people to miss. But local residents are trying to save it.

The city of Layton is looking for help to preserve a century-old train depot, where families saw their loved ones off to war during World War I and World War II. Presently, an old boarded up building sits by the Layton FrontRunner Station, where those old memories remain.

The old Layton Train Depot was built in 1911. But for people like Ted Ellison, the building is more than just an old train stop.

"It's a very important piece of history," Ellison said. "My grandfather's sister and her husband, Murray and Marianne Cowley, were the first depot agents to reside upstairs."

The local history, however, goes deeper than the Cowleys. For many Layton families, it was where they saw off loved ones who were serving their country.

"Family and friends came and went to war from that depot," Ellison said.

People like William C. Layton, who left for World War I and came back to the Layton depot for a soldier's funeral.

Today, the old train depot isn't exactly what it used to be. The front side used to face the tracks, but the building is now in a different location, a few miles up the road.

"It's an icon here in Layton city," said community and economic development director Bill Wright. He would like to see the building return to its original form.

"We want them the feel connected to this building as a train station," Wright said.

Ellison agreed. He leased the building as a restaurant for 10 years, starting in 1975.

"A lot of good times," Ellison recalled. "It was kind of a hangout, a regular hangout for Layton people."

Ellison said he listened to dozens of stories from regulars about the old depot and about the soldiers who passed through.

"I think Layton's depot is certainly worth preserving," he said. But until the city can find a partner to renovate the building, its future will remain uncertain.

Layton is currently working with architects to figure out how much restoring the depot would cost. They plan to put it on the market by the end of the year in hopes of finding a buyer that would rebuild it and convert it into a local business.

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