Mt. Pleasant to create railroad resort to preserve community’s rail history
MT. PLEASANT—It has been 35 years since a train horn last sounded in Mt. Pleasant, when the Denver and Rio Grande abandoned the rail line through Sanpete County, following the 1983 Thistle mudslide. Now an effort underway between the city and developers will help to keep the history of the railroad in the community alive, for years to come.
“In one sense, this is how this community was connected to the rest of the state,” said Cindy Shogren, a resident of Mt. Pleasant.
And in the late 1800s, the railroad was king in Sanpete County, delivering supplies and providing passenger service to the area. The depot was where families would say farewell or greet loved ones returning home.
Now a public-private partnership in cooperation with the Mormon Pioneer National Heritage Area will allow the restored depot, located along Highway 89 at the south end of Mt. Pleasant, to be part of a railroad resort, known as Track 89 North.
“Our plan is to work with the new developers and have a coffee house here where people can have great coffee and some food, but basically it is a great place for the community to gather again,” Shogren said.
“Personally I love trains,” said Laurie Hansen, the library director in Mt. Pleasant. She says the library has many books and old newspapers describing the important role the railroad played in Mt. Pleasant’s early years and believes this restoration effort will bring that history to life.
“It is very, very thrilling for me to see the history of something I love so much,” she added.
Other longtime residents believe the railroad resort will help with tourism, while preserving the past.
“There’s so many people who don’t know what we had, what it was like,” said David Blackham, a former mayor.
He says he is excited that developers plan to restore seven old freight cars that were recently brought to the site. They will be turned into lodging suites, a hotel on the rails if you will, similar to what the developers started at Big Rock Candy Mountain.
“We don’t want to lose it, we want to remember the past and experience it in the modern world and have the best I guess of both worlds, is what we are hoping,” he added.
The coffee depot hopes to be open sometime in the summer.
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