Rio Grande Plaza

270 South Rio Grande Street, Salt Lake City, UT

(801) 245-7272

Status: Former Train Station; Government Building; Closed To The Public 2020+


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This depot was opened in 1910 as the jewel in the crown of the Denver and Rio Grande Western Railroad. It was designed in the Renaissance Revival by Henry Schlacks who was known for designing churches in Chicago.

It cost $750,000 at the time (24.3 million in 2023 dollars) and was built explicitly to overshadow the nearby Union Pacific Depot built the year before for less money.

It included a men’s smoking room, a women’s lounge, a barber shop, a restaurant, a souvenir shop and even a telegraph office. It was the major the central point for the city’s soldiers being shipped off to war in both World Wars.

In 1986 all Amtrack trains moved to this depot from Union Pacific. It served such famous trains as the California Zephyr – to Emeryville; the Desert Wind – to Los Angeles and the Pioneer – to Seattle.

All train service ended in 1999 when Amtrack moved to the Salt Lake City Hub and the tracks around the depot were torn up.

The depot was damaged in the 2020 earthquake and has been closed to the public ever since. Although the State still keeps offices in the building.

While the building is being repaired no one really knows what it will be used for when it is done. Some plans include: a farmer’s market, a State history museum and some people want to bring back Amtrack as well as light rail and buses.


Paranormal Activity

The famous ghost is known as “The Purple Lady”

The story says she was having a fight with her fiancé and at some point, her engagement ring was thrown and bounced down onto the train tracks. Cooling her temper, and realizing her mistake, the lady crawled down onto the tracks and was hit by a train.

She now – in her purple dress – haunts the depot. She is seen only very rarely seen but she is said to be responsible for turning lights on and off including in a locked room no one has access to. She also likes to slam doors when no one is near, pushing on paintings until they hang crooked, has locked staff out of the building repeatedly and likes to sing in the women’s washroom. There are also stories of her turning on the taps in the same women’s washroom.

Those that have had the luck to run into her actual apparition say she either looks angry or terribly upset.

What most people miss out on, is that the “Purple Lady” is not the only ghost haunting the depot.

In fact, in one investigation the ghosts said there were 7 of them in the building.

An old Station Master is said to haunt the lobby.

On the upper level there have been sightings of apparitions at the south end as well as disembodied voices and singing. Sometimes the alarms go off up there for apparent reason.

Paranormal Activity in the basement includes: cold spots, communication through a Spirit Box, strong feelings of unease bordering on fear, light anomalies and feelings of being watched.