LOCAL NEWS

Ogden’s historic 25th Street 1 of 20 US corridors up for ‘Best Main Street’ honors

Mar 16, 2024, 7:10 PM

Historic architecture and diverse local businesses line 25th Street in Ogden. (Laura Steitz, Desere...

Historic architecture and diverse local businesses line 25th Street in Ogden. (Laura Steitz, Deseret News)

(Laura Steitz, Deseret News)

OGDEN — To local boosters and residents, it’s a no-brainer Ogden’s historic 25th Street is a valuable asset.

Now the commercial and dining corridor has made it onto the national radar screen as one of 20 main street strips across the United States up for “Best Main Street” in the country honors.

“In my opinion, it’s time for us to get recognized for how awesome we are,” said Taylor Hartman, who handles communications for Visit Ogden, tasked with promoting tourism in Weber County.

USA Today’s 10 “Best Reader’s Choice” initiative is the sponsor of the main street contest and so far, historic 25th Street tops the leader board in preliminary balloting. Voting goes until April 8 with the winner to be announced April 17.

Selection to the list of 20 “is a truly deserved honor,” Hartman said. “For me, this is a massive win for the area.”

Historic 25th Street, the corridor between Wall Avenue and Washington Boulevard in Ogden, is the city’s highest-profile commercial, restaurant and nightlife corridor, home to stores, restaurants and bars. At its western terminus sits Union Station, home to a railroad museum, with the Ogden Amphitheater, home to the Ogden Twilight music series each summer, on its eastern end. It’s frequently closed to autos for street festivals and Farmers Market Ogden, held each Saturday morning through the summer.

“Today the stretch of road welcomes more than a million visitors each year, who come for the art galleries, restaurants, shopping and historic attractions,” reads the USA Today blurb about the Ogden street. The 20 Best Main Street contenders were picked by a panel of travel writers and others involved in the travel industry.

The 25th Street section wasn’t always regarded a family-friendly draw. Back when Ogden was a key junction for rail travelers cross-crossing the nation, the street was home to hotels, saloons, cigar shops and more.

“Because of the constant activity, particularly gambling, opium dens, bootlegging and brothels, the street became known as ‘Notorious 25th Street,'” reads a 2014 review of the street by the American Planning Association.

However, city leaders launched efforts to rebrand and redevelop the street back in the 1970s, according to the planning association, and it has undergone a dramatic transformation. The change led the planning organization to deem 25th Street one of the “great places in America” in 2014.

The redevelopment of the area has been an ongoing thing and now city leaders have turned their focus to overhauling Union Station and the grounds around it. A 5.9-acre expanse adjacent to 25th Street, dubbed WonderBlock, is to be redeveloped into apartments, office space and retail space. What’s more, city planners are mulling change to the 25th Street corridor, in part to make it more pedestrian friendly.

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Ogden’s historic 25th Street 1 of 20 US corridors up for ‘Best Main Street’ honors