This month Mystery Monday led the 367th Training Support Squadron to take a look into the history of innovation right next door at the Ogden Union Pacific Railroad Station. Located just north of Hill Air Force Base off 25th Street, the station once known for giving Ogden the title Junction City of the West, is now home of the Utah State Railroad Museum. Standing in the heart of Ogden, it was built in 1924 and served as a western railroad hub until 1988 when the state designated it a museum. Along with fragments of the state railroad, the station is home to two other exhibits, the John M. Browning Firearms Museum and the Browning-Kimball Classic Car Museum. Each exhibit gave us insight on innovation brought to this city, this state and the world.
The Union Pacific Company planned and built its railroad from Omaha to Promontory Summit. Four cities competed to be the home for the railroad station which would join the intermountain west, Ogden being one of them. Brigham Young's persuasive land offer to the railroad brought the project to Ogden. The original station was built in 1869, however the locals found it inadequate and it was later replaced by a grander building in 1889. The station, with its memorable clock tower at its center, was provided with all the conveniences a railroad traveler would need, until it burned down in a 1923 fire, which started in one of the hotel rooms. This disaster left the station with nothing but a crumbling tower and its brick walls. Unable to fully restore it to its original state, a new design was proposed and the current Union Station was built. In its glory, Union Station serviced thousands of travelers making their way to and from the west. Many famous figures, such as Elvis Presley and Theodore Roosevelt, came through Ogden in their time. During our tour, we learned how innovation and the progress of railroad affected growth in the local economy, and built the foundation of Ogden City's success.
Next, the group toured the Firearms exhibit. We started with a brief history of John M. Browning's life and his work as gunsmith. John Browning, born and raised in Ogden, designed his first firearm at age 10. Little did he know, his passion for creating firearms would change the weapons of the modern world. He is credited for patenting 128 gun designs including the semi-automatic pistol and the .50 caliber machine gun. His genius continued until literally his last day of life. In 1926, Browning died from heart failure while working on a self-loading pistol. Even today his legacy lives on. Browning's designs are some of the most copied guns in the world. He was truly a genius.
We ended with a short tour of the Browning-Kimball Classic Car Museum. We learned of innovation in its prime in the automobile industry. It was interesting to see a 1930's Cadillac with 16 cylinders and gas headlights. Another fascinating vehicle was the 1901 uncovered Oldsmobile, which sold for $650 and only had a top speed of 20 mph. There was also a 1926 seven passenger Lincoln, which sold for $4,500, a 1911 Knox which could reach 80 mph, and a 1929 Packard with a built-in golf compartment. This exhibit is a must see if you're an automobiles fan.
At Union Station we gathered a better understanding and appreciation for pioneers who came before us. To them, there were no limits to what could be achieved, and their impact altered the lives we lead. The 367th Training Support Squadron is a prime example of forward reaching innovation today. On Aug. 15, the 367th was awarded the innovation award at the 2012 Interactive Technologies Conference sponsored by the Federal Government Distance Learning Association. This shows that each day each one of us can make a difference.