NGS 2020 Tour of Research Center at Utah State Archives

February 11th, 2020 by Valerie Elkins

Utah State Archives Tour

The Utah Genealogical Association (UGA), is pleased to be the National Genealogical Society’s  2020 Family History Conference in Salt Lake City host committee. UGA has organized several great pre-conference tours. The NGS conference will be held May 20-23 at the Salt Palace Conventions Center. Register for this tour early, as this will fill quickly. Transportation provided, $25 for the tour.

Tour 1 – Research Center of the Utah State Archives and the Rio Grande

The Family History Library will be open for extended hours during the conference, but just a short distance away is another treasured location for researchers. The Utah State Archives facility, located in the newly renovated Rio Grande Depot, is the first fully automated archive collection in the United States and houses Utah’s oldest and most valuable documents, photos, pictographs, and glass negatives as well as the original Utah state constitution.

Open to the public, the Archives provide access to these rare state holdings and other collections from private, public, and government sources. This informative tour will include a look at some of the interesting artifacts and records housed in the archive’s massive storage area and a behind-the-scenes peek at the state-of-the-art automated storage and retrieval system. There will be time to visit and research in the Research Room, browse through the Rio Gallery Museum, and enjoy the spectacular architecture of the depot building, which was built in 1910 by the Denver and Rio Grande Western Railroad to be superior to the nearby Union Pacific Depot built the year before.

After the tour, you dine on your own and enjoy a delicious lunch at the historic Rio Grande Café built as part of the depot, one of the oldest cafés in the city. Many of the fixtures are original, including the wood paneling, antique chairs, and circular oak counter at the center of the restaurant. The vintage surroundings will take you back to the golden age of rail travel, when passengers would stop in for a “blue plate special” before hopping on the cross-country California Zephyr. During World War II, the restaurant stayed open twenty-four hours a day to accommodate the many troop trains that passed through the depot. The café was always packed and when service got slow, soldiers would pitch in to bus tables and wash dishes so that everyone had a chance to eat before setting off again.

Online access to the Utah State Archives is worldwide, giving patrons the ability to search anytime, anywhere for free.