Nostalgic “Desert Empire” film shows Utah 1948

The Rio Grande Railroad produced this black and white documentary in 1948 to promote the state’s wonders, and of course, encourage train travel. The film is a half-hour long but split into three parts. It only sometimes visits LH locations but is nonetheless an entertaining and nostalgic look at the state, tourism, and travel by steam engine almost 60 years ago.


1: Intro, Arches National Monument, horseback ride and spectacular rocks, Wasatch Mountains, Soldier Summit, Provo and Escalante Trail marker, Utah Lake, sugar beets, cherry blossoms. 10:18 min.


2: Copperton, Bingham (with horse-delivered mail), Utah Copper Company, worlds largest open cut mine, copper to electricity climax. 9:03 min.


3: Black Rock on Salt Lake, Saltair Pavilion and its Putt Putt railway, salt beds, highways to Ogden, cattle, sheep, train to SLC, D&RGW [Denver & Rio Grande Western]-WP station, streets, capitol, statues, Emigration Canyon monument, tabernacle, temple, cactus beehive (!), organ recital, ride home. 10:23 min.

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