Echo City is located at the mouth of Echo Canyon, so named because of the echos that Mormon pioneers heard off of the red cliffs as they journeyed to "Zion" along the Mormon Trail. Echo Canyon intersects with Henefer Valley in a narrow low spot between the mountains, which today is entirely occupied by the interchange of Interstate Highways 80 and 84. Most of the city which once existed here has been displaced, and what remains today is a small corner of the original town north of the original site. Henefer Valley stretches to the northwest, Echo Canyon cuts into the mountains to the northeast, and the Weber River flows out of a narrow, unnamed valley to the southeast, which is now occupied by Echo Reservoir a short distance upstream.
Echo has always been an important point in transportation in the west. Beginning in 1846 with the Donner-Reed party, it has been a route for settlers to Utah and California. The Donner-Reed party blazed the trail on their way to California. The next year the first group of Mormon pioneers followed their route into the Salt Lake Valley, and more than 70,000 soon followed. In 1854, James E Bromley settled at Echo to operate the Weber Stage Station, which operated for a couple years. Then, in 1860, he was the superintendent of the Pony Express in the Salt Lake area which had a station here. In 1868 the first transcontinental railroad was built through Echo, which was a major improvement for settlers traveling to the west. Today many travelers and large amounts of freight pass through Echo on the freeway in a steady stream. It is still an important route for the railroad too.
In 1868, LDS Church President Brigham Young purchased the entire valley around Echo from James E. Bromley for $200 and established a Mormon settlement. In a period of a month, some fifty buildings were built, and a grid of wide city streets had been built. The town boomed during the early years of the railroad and then began to decline. Today the City of Echo is mostly a memory, but a couple of quaint old cafes still operate and a historic church building has been preserved. These, along with a handful of houses sit between the railroad tracks and the rocky slopes of the mountains. At one point in time, the highway here was widened to a four lane divided highway, with a two-lane road next to it to serve the town itself. With the construction of the freeway on the other side of the tracks, this massive main street bears little traffic and seems to dwarf the tiny town.
Echo Canyon Road