On 3 May 1879
the railroad came to Nephi, and in 1880 the Sanpete Valley Railroad
was built from Wales to Nephi for the purpose of hauling coal from the
mines. This helped make Nephi a business center and greatly improved
the local economy.
district on Main Street grew rapidly, and during the late nineteenth
century there were restaurants, mercantile stores, hotels, clothing
stores, a tailor, a furniture store, two millinery stores, two barber
shops, and several other establishments. At this time, because of the
number of businesses, Nephi was frequently referred to as "Little Chicago."