Ogden, also known by locals as "O-Town," claims to be the oldest white settlement in our fair state because of a little mountain-man encampment called Fort Buenaventura. That first group of structures was erected, staked-out and owned by a trapper named Miles Goodyear. He sold his humble digs to some Mormons, and soon more people were heading north from Salt Lake City to a green valley with a good water source—the Weber River. The name "Ogden" comes from another mountain-man by the name of Peter Skene Ogden, who was rooting around the area even before Goodyear set up camp.
As the years passed and people staked out claims along the hillsides and river bottoms from Provo to Ogden, another phenomenon came to be: the railroad. If you know your Utah history, you'll know that lines from the West Coast to the East Coast were finally joined just outside of O-Town in 1869, and the boom then began. Weber Stake Academy opened in 1889 (named after another trapper, Henry Weber), later becoming a junior college, and now known as Weber State University. The humble little city became a shipping capital that at times was busier than downtown Salt Lake City, with sugar and produce from farms and orchards boxed, crated and sent to the big cities served by the railroads. Then came the world wars, the soldiers, the manufacturing companies, the Native Americans sent to school in Brigham City, and Hill Air Force Base—all bolstering the population and businesses in Ogden and surrounding suburbs.
In the last century, the Homart Development Co. built the Newgate Mall at 3651 Wall Ave. It wasn't a huge success at first, with anchor stores like Sears and Mervyn's, and Utah's first Chick-fil-A. They had a high vacancy rate until their competitor, the Ogden City Mall (also called The Junction) closed. Now Newgate has just been sold for $69.5 million to the private-equity firm Time Equities, Inc. They aren't new to the retail leasing game. Although it is their first venture in Utah, they own 52 other malls and outlets in the United States and Canada, and 4,000 multifamily residential units across the country.
Ogden has gone through the ups and downs of local economy quirks, as well as national depressions and recessions. But it's a really affordable place to live, and surrounding farmers haven't stopped using the rail lines to ship Utah's famous peaches and cherries to other cities.