Honoring the Past & Embracing the Future

Original Photo of the Union Pacific National Parks Garage around the 1930’s

Original Photo of the Union Pacific National Parks Garage around the 1930’s

In the 1920’s, the Union Pacific Railroad created an infrastructure to connect rail passengers with tour buses that would deliver tourists to the National Parks in Southern Utah. The bus garage was constructed around 1923 as part of that infrastructure for Union Pacific. The Utah Parks Company, a subsidiary of the Union Pacific Railroad, focused on promoting tourism to Southern Utah and the National Parks.  Cedar City quickly became known as the gateway to the National Parks. The purpose of the bus garage was to house and maintain the fleet of buses. 

The Bus Garage structure is basically a one story rectangular building, with 2 rooms built in the trusses at the North end to create a small second story.  The building is constructed of unpainted brick, two layers thick in a rectangular shape. The exterior brick contains step

detailing near the roof line.  The edifice features nine large and three small windows on the Main street side (west) and a mirror image on the west side. The building has mainly been vacant except for a travel company for a period of time. The Union Pacific Railroad was the only owner until it was purchased by a local Cedar City gentleman. He anticipated restoring the building, but due to poor health the building remained out of commission and mainly untouched during his ownership, except for a roof repair. 

Historical Photo of Union Pacific National Parks Garage, Utah

The main floor of the Bus Garage consists of a thick cement that slopes slightly to the North to accommodate the cleaning, washing and repairing of the buses. The bus stall stripes remain painted on the floor. The main floor consists of one main space and two small rooms at the North End on the main floor. The large support trusses run east to west throughout the entire building and are in original condition. The trusses are a main feature of the building and show the historical importance of the building. The structural engineers have commented that the historical building is structurally sound and in excellent condition considering its age. The two rooms located on second floor are accessed through a stairway located at the north end and were used as an apartment and shower area for the train engineers. The interior brick remains exposed and shows no signs of cracking or deterioration.  The brick walls will remain unaltered during the remodel.

It is unclear what the South end of the building originally looked like. We cannot find any original photos documenting the south side. It appears that the travel company removed the exterior wall and installed offices. The added offices have been removed to reveal a completely open floor plan. The north wall is constructed of a wood board that has been

painted white. There is little detail within the interior of the bus garage since its primary purpose was a functional garage. The west upper room has a wood floor with a built-in closet. Half of the original windows were removed when the travel company added offices. The windows were removed and replaced with a 70’s style window and retrofitted with disproportionate windows.  

Overall the building is in great condition. The site itself has been a blight in the Cedar City community.  We have received a tremendous amount of support from the city and the residents. Many people have commented that they believed that the structure would be torn down and replaced with a modern building due to its prominent location on Main Street. The residents are excited that we are willing to take the historical structure and restore it to its original beauty. Since the building is located on Main Street, it will become a main feature of historical pride for the city.

Rainbow Sign and Design + Decorworx is excited to break ground on our new building. We are renovating a historic building in downtown Cedar City, Utah which was originally used as the bus garage for the Utah Parks Company. Cars would take tourists to all the grand locations and national parks in the Utah/Arizona area.