Men on catwalk above the pens in the Ogden Union Stockyards. one wearing a cowboy hat and overalls and the other in a white fedora, slacks and white shirt. Thank you to Don Strack for generously sharing this photo, part of his extensive gallery.

Pablo Sanchez Sr. 

Pablo Sanchez Sr. played a vital role for both the

Ogden Stockyards and Swift Building

A Mexican immigrant teaches his family the value of hard work

1926 pens with cattle at the Ogden Union Stockyards. Sign reads Carload fat Steers owned and grown by Bar R Ranch Bert Rudd Irwin, ID, for sale by Peck Bros. Livestock Com. Co. Special Collections Department, Stewart Library, Weber State University
1926 Pens


Pablo Sanchez Junior around the time when he spend summer days with his dad at the Stockyards caring for the animals.



Who fed and cared for the animals before their sale or slaughter? One man.

Pablo Sanchez, Sr. 

Pablo Sanchez Jr. loves to drive around the old Ogden Stockyards and area around the old Swift Building. Fond memories of his years there come racing into his mind. Not the years of his employment, but of his father’s. His father, Pablo Sanchez Sr., worked just across the river from Swift, feeding the livestock the day before their slaughter. Sanchez Jr. would go to work with his dad around one day per week during the summer months. “I think my mom just liked to get me out of the house,” Sanchez Jr. said with a laugh. But for him it was an adventure.


When Pablo Sanchez Senior immigrated to the United States as a young boy he was determined to make a difference. He did so by hard work and perseverance. His love for the outdoors and animals proved irreplaceable for the Stockyards and Swift.

Pablo Sanchez Sr. during the time he worked at the Stockyards.

A Son Shares His Father’s Stories

His dad was the sole person to feed the hundreds of livestock of sheep, pigs, goats and cattle each day. Most days he would lift 50 to 60 bales of hay for the animals and sometimes twice – once off the trucks to store in the hay house and once to deliver it to the animals. Sanchez Jr. was always amazed and how easily his father would lift the bales of hay, when as a child he couldn’t even move them. His father always laughed at him for that.


Making a Life In America


It seemed like an easy enough transition for Sanchez Sr. to work outdoors day in and day out, caring for the animals and lifting hay. He grew up in a horse ranch in Mexico and loved working outside with the livestock because he understood them. Plus, he enjoyed putting in a hard day of honest work. When his parents died in Mexico there was nothing left for him there and he moved to Ogden, Utah to be near his sister who he loved dearly. Once in the United States, he joined the Army and spent several years serving his country. He served during World War II time and although he never saw combat, he always respected the time he spent there. After returning from the Army he started working at Swift. Sanchez Jr. is unsure if he was employed by Swift, the Stockyards or the railroad or he’s not sure if the railroad contracted with Swift. That’s one of those questions he wishes he could ask now, but he passed several years ago.

Pablos Sanchez Sr. during a trip to his homeland, Mexico.


Waste not, Want not


Sanchez Sr. took his job very seriously, meticulously cleaning out the animal pens each and every day. He had a systematic way of sorting the hay bales and taking the wires off each bale of hay. He saved the wires and bunched up the hay and re-used it at the end of each day. Waste was not something that he allowed in his job. He also utilized the manure by using it for fertilizer on not only his yard, but his sister’s. Sanchez Jr. said his father and his aunt’s yards were some of the most beautiful in the neighborhood because of the way Sanchez Sr. took care of the fertilizer and made the best of it. “He always considered the extra hay and fertilizer to be fringe benefits of the job,” Sanchez Jr. said with a laugh.


Sanchez Sr. said watching the process of the animal slaughter was always interesting to him. He couldn’t say how many animals were slaughtered a day, except that it was in the hundreds it seemed. The sheep would go in cycles – usually 200 at a time. While the animal pens and hay buildings were in close proximity to the Swift Building, it was still a process to get the animals to the building. The animals were on the other side of the river from the Swift building close by the train tracks that the animals were brought in on regularly. Sanchez Sr. was not in charge of releasing the animals for slaughter, there were two other men who did that job, but he would often watch and could step in and assist if needed.

Men on catwalk above the pens in the Ogden Union Stockyards. one wearing a cowboy hat and overalls and the other in a white fedora, slacks and white shirt. Thank you to Don Strack for generously sharing this photo, part of his extensive gallery.
Pablo Sanchez Jr. and his father, Pablo Sanchez Sr. would often walk along the catwalk above the pens to survey the animals.


He always cleared the roadway for the animals before they were released so the animals could pass safely along the road and the bridge to the kill floor of the Swift Building. Sheep were led across the river to Swift and up the ramp by goats that were dubbed “Judas goats.”

“The goats were amazing and we would often give them names,” Sanchez Jr. said. He especially came to love one goat that they named “Billie.” They would put a large bell on the goat and it would parade back and forth with the bell on in front of the pens. The animals would be mesmerized by the goat and the bell and as soon as the pens were open they would follow right behind the goat. The goat would them lead them across the bridge and over the Swift Building. Once to the building, the goat would lead them to the ramp and then the livestock would part ways with the goat. The goats would always return back to the pens. The animals had to walk up almost to the top of the building on the ramps to what was called the kill floor where within moments they would be slaughtered. Sanchez Jr. said it was amazing how they did it each and every time and how the goats knew where to take them…and when to leave.

Helping Dad at Work


Sanchez Jr. got a kick out of walking between the pens and checking out what the animals were doing. “The sheep are kind of greedy,” Sanchez Jr. said. They would get so eager to get their food sometimes they would get their heads stuck in the slats of the pen trying to get their food before anyone else could. On the days Sanchez Jr. was there, it was his job to push their heads through the slats. He loved when he would hear his name called to take on the task.

Some of the bulls were extremely mean. Especially the Brama bulls. Sometimes he would walk between the bull pens and they would charge at him. “It was scary,” Sanchez Jr. said, but he knew he was safe, so he kept doing it. One day his father came in contact with an especially mean and fierce bull. As his father walked by to feed him, the bull charged at him. His father took the gate and pushed it back, forcing the bull back. His father and the bull stared each other down for a moment. His father eyes saying, “Go ahead, come at me.” At that, the bull turned around and walked away. “It was amazing to me. That elevated my dad in my mind,” Sanchez Jr. said with a big smile. He was saying to that bull, “You aren’t going to get the best of me,” Sanchez Jr. said.

Auction Action – Tempting for a Young Boy

On many of the days Sanchez Jr. got to go work with his dad he had other adventures to check out besides just the livestock set for slaughter. There was a live auction. Sanchez Jr. loved to slip into the auction and see what the cowboys were doing. “I couldn’t ever understand anything they were saying. They would say a whole bunch of stuff and then I would hear, ‘Sold!’” Sanchez said with a big chuckle. The livestock were paraded around and cowboys of all different statures would buy the animals. It was at the auction where he saw the sickest of the animals. “You never saw any sick animals on the Swift side,” Sanchez Jr. noted. But he saw plenty at the auctions, which was something he never understood. Sanchez Jr. watched the hundreds of animals on both sides of the stockyards – the Swift side and auction side and felt lucky he got to be a part of the action. He loved that he lived in the place that was the hub of so much excitement every day.

Cattle inside the auction ring at the Ogden Union Stockyards. The gallery bleachers are full. Thank you to Don Strack for generously sharing this photo, part of his extensive gallery.
Pablo Sanchez Jr. loved to sneak away from work in the pens to check out the auction. Exciting for a young boy!

Stockman’s Cafe – Yum!

During his weekday adventures, he would try to pay a visit to Stockman’s, the yummy restaurant just across the street from the Stockyards. Workers would often toss him a quarter or dime during the course of the day and tell him to go get himself a soda. He was happy to oblige. When he would go inside, being the young kid he was, the employees made a big deal of him. They knew his name, knew who he was, and who his father was. At the time, he wasn’t sure why, but now he feels sure it was because people could see what a hard worker his father was and admired him for it.

A Loyal Employee and Hard Worker

His dad went to work at Swift and the Stockyards every day for 26 years. He would get up early in the morning, his wife would make him breakfast, coffee and send him on his way with a pack lunch. The cycle was always the same. Sanchez Jr. thinks his dad only missed work about six times over the years he worked there. He had two or three weeks off straight when he contracted a terrible eye infection. He let it go too long (because he didn’t want to miss work) and had to go to the Dee Hospital. Upon arrival, doctors found that he would lose his eye. He had to take some time off to heal and he wore an eye patch for some time and eventually got a glass eye. Sanchez Jr. said his dad accepted it, even though it was a difficult trial. The hardest thing for him to accept was the terrible state of the animal pens when he went back to work! He was frustrated with the careless way they had treated the pens and most likely the animals. It took him weeks to get the pens back into the shape they needed to be in. “To many it was considered a crappy, nasty job, but to him, he took pride in his work,” Sanchez Jr. said of his father. His dad taught him much by example, but also taught him how to work at home. One day he made him mow the lawn three times because he failed to do it the right way the other times. That day, Sanchez Jr. came to understand why his dad spent so much time perfecting his job at Swift – he did it right the first time. On the rare day he had off, they brought in two people to cover his shift.

Pablo Sanchez Sr. was always a hard worker. His son has vivid memories of his snow shoveling and lawn mowing at their home. He was always busy.


Literacy, Language and Religious Barriers Lead to Tragedy

That’s why it was such a mystery when things went south so quickly for his father at Swift. After 26 years of hard work and service, Sanchez Sr. was RIF’d (Reduction in force). Sanchez Sr. was angry and hurt. The problem was that a noticed was posted explaining that a RIF was going to be happening, but Sanchez Sr. was unable to read, leaving him clueless as to the upcoming change. But the part that really stuck with Sanchez Sr. is that those who knew of Sanchez’s Sr.’s difficulty with reading never let him know what was coming. He and six other employees were cut loose, even though Sanchez Sr. was fourth in line seniority-wise. Sanchez Sr. always felt that it was because he didn’t belong to the predominant LDS religion that seemed prevalent at Swift, especially those that worked closely with Sanchez Sr. He always felt they looked down on him and treated him poorly because he was Roman Catholic.  Sanchez Jr. said he took his religion very seriously and was proud of it. He felt bitter about the fact that he didn’t feel respected for his religion.

His difficulty with reading was also a struggle his whole life. When he came to Ogden as a young boy, his sister put him in grade school. He was unable to speak or read English and would get whipped with a switch each time he didn’t understand the words the teachers uttered to him. He soon quit school because he just couldn’t take the beating anymore. The language and reading barrier just kept on because he didn’t have the tools to learn to read and speak. He knew quite a bit of English and could respond in English when spoken to, but the reading part was a sticking point for him. But he never blamed his job loss at Swift on his inability to read, he blamed it on those of the LDS faith who he felt didn’t have his back.

Pablo Sanchez Sr. wanted to serve America and joined the military.

Because of the language and reading barrier, Sanchez Sr. made sure his children spoke and read in English, always. They were not allowed to speak or read Spanish, only English. Sanchez Jr. said he knows little Spanish now because of that.

His father found work at a local poultry house, which is also now closed. Sanchez Sr. always loved the work at Swift, though. He loved caring for the animals, even if they were going to die. He loved being outdoors, even though Sanchez Jr. never understood how his dad handled the cold. Sanchez Jr. felt his years at Swift taught him to be a hard worker in all aspects of his life – perfectly groomed yard, shoveled walks, meticulous in all that he did.

Pablo Sanchez Jr. followed his father’s example and joined the service to protect his country, something important to the Sanchez family.

His father was struck with Alzheimer’s as he got older, which was tough for the family, but Sanchez Jr. spent his father’s last years with him. When he realized how bad things were getting for his father he moved back to Utah with his wife and family from Houston, Texas to help his mother and father cope with his debilitating illness. Those were not easy times for their family. But now Sanchez Jr. has the memories of his father to hold on to and all those years watching his father work. Sanchez Jr. joined the Army like his father did and it was while he was serving that his father was RIF’d.

Sanchez Jr. still drives around that area, remembering and savoring of his memories of times gone by in the hopping down he grew up in, Ogden, Utah.

Rachel J. trotter


Rachel J. Trotter is a senior writer/editor at Evalogue.Life – Tell Your Story. She tells people’s stories and shares hers to encourage others. She loves family storytelling. A graduate of Weber State University, she has had articles featured on and She and her husband Mat have six children and live on the East Bench in Ogden, Utah.

tell your story

Evalogue.Life was hired to capture the history of the Ogden Union Stockyards and the old Swift meat packing plant, including oral history and other research. These vignettes were written by Evalogue.Life team members. 

Lee Witten

From Boy at the Stockyards and Train Station

to Long-Time Volunteer

Lover of Ogden returns to his roots  

Lee Witten, age 4 or 5, when he would frequent the Stockyards with his parents.


Lee Witten today, sitting in a train car at Union Station.


Lee  Witten has always loved trains. The Union Station and Ogden Stockyards are are in his blood.

Lee Witten

Mention the word trains to Lee Witten and a great big smile steals across his face. Witten has been volunteering at the Union Station train museum in Ogden, Utah since 1997. His black Union Station vest is covered with placards of service and badges showing the many things he knows about the history of trains in the museum. But the retired school teacher’s love and fascination with all things train began long before 1994. It started just about when he was born.



It only made sense to Lee Witten to volunteer at Ogden’s Union Station after retiring as a beloved school teacher. After all, that space is where he grew up. 

A Family Tradition

“My dad worked for the railroad. He was a conductor for the Union Pacific Railroad up here,” he said of Ogden. He ran the train between Ogden and Green River. Witten spent his childhood roaming the rail and stockyards in Ogden. “I loved trains,” Witten said with a laugh and a smile. He showed a picture of his mom holding him over a rail looking down at the train tracks in stockyards. Witten was born in 1941 when Ogden was at its boon – not only with the huge train crossroads, but also with the Ogden Stockyards with hundreds of heads of livestock coming in and out on those trains, but also with the American Packing and Provision Company (which later changed to Swift in 1949.) About the time Swift took over Witten and his family moved to Roy where he stayed until after he graduated from Weber College. After that, he moved to Hawaii where he taught school for 30 years until his retirement when he returned to his roots and started volunteering at the Union Station soon after. “I saw where they needed someone and I always had a fasciation and love for trains, so I thought I would like it, and obviously I did,” he said from behind a desk filled with research papers and a working computer where he is working on a current project.

A Rich History

Lee Witten’s mother holds him over the railing to look at the various animals in their pens at the Ogden Stockyards.


For Witten the history of the downtown area runs deep. Not only was his dad a train a conductor, but his great-great-uncle helped design the stockyards. Lester Whitlock was his name. Witten never knew his great-great uncle, but only heard the stories of his tireless work. “My family were all cattlemen. Some in the Uintah Basin of Utah and I think they had a natural bend toward it,” Witten said. He thinks that his uncle’s talents are what drove his grandmother’s family to Ogden – that and their love of cattle. His maternal family settled in the area with the Mormon pioneers, but then scattered as cattlemen do, but they had a central focus of the Ogden area.

A Love for Animals

Witten loved looking at the animals. “I don’t recall a lot, but I do remember being taken around (in the stockyards) and looking at the cows,” he said with a grin.


Witten knows from his own life and from the research he has done that Ogden in the 1940s was a very bustling place. “Everyone shopped downtown and the downtown area was lovely and bustling,” he said. When he left in 1964 he noticed things were dwindling a bit. “I don’t know when the stockyards died down, but I suspect it was in the early 1960s when the trucking industry started taking over,” he said.

The Railroad – The Secret to Ogden’s Success


Witten credits the transcontinental railroad to Ogden’s success during those years though. “Ogden was just a sleepy little town of about 2500 people,” he said. “It brought in people from all over the world – all walks of life. A different flavor. It gave Ogden the culture that even Salt Lake didn’t have,” Witten said of the history. He noted that originally the city of Corinne wanted the train station to be in their town and it probably would have happened if Brigham Young wouldn’t have stifled it, he said. Brigham Young had some interest with a project called Utah Northern that tied in with Montana’s traffic, so he wanted the trains to meet in Ogden, so that is what happened and from there, a lot of history has been made.


Being that junction gave Ogden the chance to be a haven for the livestock because livestock could be brought in – not only from all parts of Utah – but Idaho as well. With that opportunity, it seemed only natural to have meat packing right there plus it was easy enough to haul refrigerated freight cars in, so the refrigeration industry had a great place to work and work well. “It was just a huge mecca for business,” Witten said.


Witten loves to talk trains and their worth then and now – he sees it and he loves the transition Ogden is making even today. “We have still kept our Junction City and have that same flavor and diversity,” he said as he looked out onto the bustling 25th Street from his office window, still smiling.



Rachel J. trotter


Rachel J. Trotter is a senior writer/editor at Evalogue.Life – Tell Your Story. She tells people’s stories and shares hers to encourage others. She loves family storytelling. A graduate of Weber State University, she has had articles featured on and She and her husband Mat have six children and live on the East Bench in Ogden, Utah.

tell your story

Evalogue.Life was hired to capture the history of the Ogden Union Stockyards and the old Swift meat packing plant, including oral history and other research. These vignettes were written by Evalogue.Life team members. 

Ogden Union Exchange Building. Thank you to Don Strack for generously sharing this photo, part of his extensive gallery.

C. Brent Wallis

The Ogden Exchange Building: From Cattle to


A young college professor made something from nothing. 

Coliseum at the Ogden Union Stockyards - thank you to Don Strack for sharing his extensive photo collection with us


C. Brent Wallis before his retirement from the Ogden-Weber Technical College



The Exchange Building was the beginning of a legacy of a new kind of education in Ogden

C. Brent Wallis

Brent Wallis may have dreaded Monday mornings a little more than most in the early 1970s. That’s because his Monday morning started about 2:30 a.m. He went to bed early on Sunday night, set his alarm and hopped out of bed – not to get ready for the day – but with hammer in hand to start the old boiler at the old Ogden Exchange building just over the old 24th Street viaduct.


It didn’t take long for Brent Wallis to see that there was a real need for what the tech college could offer many in the Ogden area. 

The old building, which had been used as the great Exchange building during the days of the Ogden Stockyards, was now used as a place of education for the Ogden-Weber Tech college. But, if Wallis didn’t go down during the night and bang the boiler, it would be a long, cold week for the hundreds of students and instructors that would fill the place at 7 a.m. Monday morning and each day of the week.

“I didn’t really know what I was doing. I knew nothing about boilers. I just took my hammer and banged around until the old thing turned on,” Wallis said with a laugh, remembering the early morning memory.

Once he got it revved up, he hopped in his car, went home and went back to bed until his day officially started a few hours later.

Making Something Out of Nothing

This proved to be a bit of a symbol for the beginnings of the tech college at the Exchange Building. At the time he was asked to get things started for the college, it was 1971 and Wallis was a young man of about 30. He had been teaching at then Weber State College in their computer department. 

“They called me in and told me they had some grant money from the federal government,” Wallis explained. That grant money was to be used to help disadvantaged and diverse students in the Ogden area to learn some sort of trade. Wallis freely admits he didn’t know what he was doing, but he was willing to give it a go.

A young Brent Wallis at the helm of the newly created tech college.

“That decrepit old building was in really bad shape,” he said of the old Exchange Building, but the college figured it would serve the purpose and they could have access to the funds and help more people in Ogden. And the building was available, even if was in terrible shape.

Things started as a conglomeration of agencies for “poor people” as Wallis described it. There were options for English as a Second Language, GED, upholstery, sewing and then soon welding classes were added. The classes started out all being taught in the downstairs portion of the Exchange Building. Other classes were taught in the dance hall. “That place was dark and dreary,” Wallis said with a sigh. “But we made the best of it,” he explained. He remembers one Halloween party where he brought his wife. “We scared the hee-bee-gee-zees out of her!” Wallis exclaimed, but he wasn’t referring to the costumes or the Halloween night but the location and ambiance of the old building. “It was a scary place in a scary part of town,” he mused.

The Ogden Exchange Building when it was home to the Ogden/Weber Tech College.

Extra Visitors

In addition to the crack-of-dawn Monday boiler room visits, it wasn’t unusual for Wallis to get a middle-of-the-night phone call from the Ogden police. “They would call me up and tell me a vagrant had broken in and were sleeping downstairs (at the Exchange),” Wallis said. He would haul himself out of bed, drive down to the old place. At the time he lived at the top of 23rd Street in Ogden. He would often find that someone had thrown a brick or rock into the basement window, broke the window, crawled inside and tried to find a warm spot to sleep. “I’d go down and poke the old buddy and roust him about,” Wallis said. He then would have the window fixed until it happened the next time. “I never did understand why the police called me. I guess they just thought it was my job,” he wondered. That happened numerous times – Wallis figures at least a dozen.

Security was a real issue when things were getting rolling with the school though. It concerned Wallis quite a bit, especially when more valuable teaching equipment was being housed there. He mentioned things to the college about it, but finally just approached a member of the Weber County Commission, Commissioner Storey. “You’ve got a lock on your door, you’re fine,” the commissioner told Wallis.

At that, Wallis figured it was time for the two of them to take a little field trip. He pulled out a credit card, slid it in the lock, and whalla – he was inside. “You see, that’s how secure we are here,” he told the commissioner. After that, new locks were installed and Wallis felt much better about the security – even though the vagrants were a regular occurrence, at least he felt confident that his employees and supplies were more safe – even if a homeless man caught a nap in there every once in a while.

Bursting at the Seams

As it turns out, the need for the skills taught was even bigger than imagined. Wallis was also able to staff the place with many skilled workers who had their finger on the pulse of the needs of the community. Wallis laughs at the memory. “Here I was the only white person in this whole organization. It was really something,” he said. “They asked me to head up this organization and thought they would give me this money and after one year it would fail. Well, 37 years later and I retired,” he said with a great big grin.

He greatly admires all those that put their heads down and went to work, even though it was some of the hardest work that could be imagined. “I didn’t know what I was doing, but I figured it out, slowly over time.” He could see how the students learning process could meet the needs of the industry. He saw it firsthand at the Exchange Building, but getting the talking heads at Weber State College to understand was another matter in and of itself.

As things progressed at the fledgling project at the Exchange Building, Wallis and other members of the team came to realize it would be most efficient if they started using an open entry and exit model along with open enrollment. In this model students could come in and out of classes based on hiring needs and when they completed their classes.

When Wallis approached the leadership at Weber State College about it, it was a bit of a foreign concept to them. “If you offer a welding class you need to have 30 kids in at the start and the finish, you see,” Wallis explained. So, in order to add the welding class, he recruited the 25 kids, but knew there was a better way. But, according to Weber State College professors, it didn’t make sense to have students come and go at their own pace or when they were needed in the workforce, but to Wallis, who was working with the hiring pool in the industry, it made perfect sense. Over time, everyone was able to see the big picture and it’s one of the concepts that has made the tech college the successful place it is today. “It wasn’t the typical college system, but it was what worked,” he said. “We were working on the constant learning variable and college is on the constant time variable,” Wallis said with a laugh.

Growth Brings Change

Once the idea percolated, the college decided to let Wallis take the lead with the open enrollment plan – plus it worked out better space wise at the Exchange Building because things were booming. The school districts also had a piece of the puzzle too. They were helping to pay for the kids to go to school and it became a bit of the problem because the districts could see the tech college getting money for their students and they wanted that money back. It was an interesting conundrum. The students were benefitting, but many parties wanted the money that would be educating those students. 

The Exchange Building was loaded to the gills and Wallis was having to outsource classes to different areas in Ogden. The school districts weren’t super happy either. Wallis remembers one time when the superintendent of Weber School District came to one of their meetings at the Exchange Building and was a bit condescending to one of the members of the committee – someone who Wallis held in high regard. He was irritated with the tone of this superintendent, but apparently she was as well. When he got done she told him, “You just go back to your school and you let us do what we know how to do here. We have this covered,” she said as shook her finger at him. Wallis laughed at the memory. “I didn’t need to stand up for her. She stood up for herself. He didn’t have much more to say after that,” Wallis grinned.

The year was 1975 and they had spent four years in what Wallis describes as the “old decrepit Exchange Building.” Wallis remembers one hot summer day when he left the windows down in the building over the weekend. There was no air conditioning and the place was like a fireplace on hot summer days. When they returned from the weekend the building was full of flies. “I was so damn mad at myself,” Wallis said with a hearty chuckle. “It took us days to rid ourselves of those flies,” he added.

Groundbreaking of a new campus on the north end of Ogden City. Exciting times.

Not long after that, the school districts decided to pull their funding which left Wallis pretty devastated. “I had to lay off 2/3 of my teaching staff,” he said, anger still rising in his voice at the thought. But, in exchange for the funding being pulled the Weber School District donated the old Weber High School to the tech college on 12th and Washington. That resolved the space issue, but Wallis was severely cut in teachers. But, because the programs were so successful, it didn’t take long to find other funding sources and in less than two years things were built back up. It wasn’t long after the old Weber High School days that land was bought in the current site of the Ogden/Weber Tech College at 200 North Washington Boulevard. Wallis was thrilled to break ground at the new site in 1984 where the campus has grown by leaps and bounds over the past 30 + years. 

Exchange Building: A Great Start for Ogden Tech

Although the physical facility of the Exchange Building left very much to be desired, Wallis looks back on those starting years with fondness, because something of great value was created there – something that has positively affected the lives of thousands in the Ogden area. “That old place had soul,” he said. “It was a place where we could direct the programs and really create something. It wasn’t so much about the place, but what happened there,” he added. He feels the soul of the Exchange Building and the history that had happened there are directly related to the history of that area as a whole. There were hard things there, for sure. But great things came from the hard things.

    Wallis started with only 93 students in those first days. Now the Ogden/Weber Tech College has more than             6,000 students and 68 percent of jobs in Utah stem from subjects of classes taught at the Ogden/Weber Tech College. There are over 300 technical-skills courses in 32 employment categories, a far cry from its beginnings when Wallis was trying to convince Weber State College to offer open-ended enrollment. 

Wallis’ vision for the college was unmatched and started in less-than-perfect conditions, but in a great place of great history – the Ogden Exchange Building. 



Rachel J. trotter


Rachel J. Trotter is a senior writer/editor at Evalogue.Life – Tell Your Story. She tells people’s stories and shares hers to encourage others. She loves family storytelling. A graduate of Weber State University, she has had articles featured on and She and her husband Mat have six children and live on the East Bench in Ogden, Utah.

tell your story

Evalogue.Life was hired to capture the history of the Ogden Union Stockyards and the old Swift meat packing plant, including oral history and other research. These vignettes were written by Evalogue.Life team members.