Mormons settled in Echo Canyon in 1861 and
marketed produce to a steady stream of
travelers. In 1868, thousands of Mormon men
were employed by the railroad to bore tunnels
and build grades. Irish workers set the ties and
laid the rails. Construction in Echo and Weber
canyons was the most challenging along the
entire Union Pacific route.
On October 15, 1868, Brigham Young Jr.
purchased this entire valley from James E.
Bromley for $200 and designated it Echo City.
Deseret Evening News reporter Edward Stone
wrote of seeing fewer than half-a-dozen
buildings here before Christmas 1868 but over
50, four weeks later. The first locomotive
reached Echo City January 16, 1869, and was
met with joyful celebration. Completion of the
transcontinental railroad essentially ended an
era in America, the westward migration of
settlers by wagon train.
Echo City's original plan had 80-foot-wide avenues,
crossing the valley east and west, which were named for Brigham
Young Jr.'s wives. The streets, running north and south, were
named in honor of Union Pacific dignitaries.
The railroad's construction and completion stimulated the development
of Echo City. "Surely the advent of the Union Pacific Railroad into our
isolated and peaceful valleys of the mountains brought radical changes
to our people for both good and evil."