The Horses of Ogden, Part 1

Horses of Ogden-6663I had an opportunity recently to visit Ogden, Utah where I spent most of my time in the old downtown area known as Historic 25th Street. Today Ogden is known for its ski resorts and proximity to Hill Air Force Base, and so most people don’t know that the Golden Spike completed the first transcontinental railroad in 1869 just fifty miles northwest of Ogden. The resulting railroad boom put Ogden on the map but it also brought with it the typical problems associated with boom towns; its history is filled stories born of the numerous bars and brothels that used to line 25th street.

So notorious was its reputation that a historian once described Ogden as Salt Lake City’s “devious little sister,” in comparison to the much more conservative capital of Utah. Today, Ogden is a popular destination for outdoor enthusiasts and art collectors from all over the country, and one of my favorite features were the painted horses of Ogden, which are life size, fiberglass horses located throughout the historic downtown.

The horses are purchased by the town’s businesses, then hand painted by local artists, and put on display during the summer months. The quality of art work exhibited in most of the horses is pretty amazing considering all the artists are local–everything from freelance artists to gallery owners, housewives to local college art teachers, and there are even a couple of horses that were painted by high school students.

Each fall, the fiberglass horses–which apparently don’t fare well in extreme cold–are taken down and stored over the long winter, and then pulled out again the following spring to be put back out on display throughout the historic square. I snapped these photos while there and I wanted to share them with you. Even though not in Texas, the painted horses are beautifully painted pieces of art that seem to embody the spirit of the west…and that’s good enough for me.

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