To the Happy Successors of the People of the Twentieth Century, Greeting:
In the upbuilding of an empire, certain essentials are so necessary, success would be impossible without them. Among these essentials, transportation facilities stand first. The people of Colorado, during the years 1867 and 1868 when the plans of the Union Pacific Company were developing, knew this and they watched the progress of events closely. When it was decided to construct the Great Trans-Continental Line by way of Cheyenne leaving Colorado to the south without connection with the outside world, despair took possession of all classes. In time, however, the bolder spirits recovered their courage and an earnest effort was made to protect the interests of the people of the Territory.
The organization of the Denver Pacific Railway and Telegraph Company followed a period of earnest agitation and discussion. The officers of this Company were John Evans, President; John Pierce, Vice President; R.R. McCormic, Sect'y.; D.H. Moffit, Jr., Treasurer; and Col. L.H. Eicholtz, Chief Engineer. These gentlemen promptly undertook the construction of a line from Denver to Cheyenne to connect with the Union Pacific and from Denver east to meet the Kansas Pacific line that was being extended westward.
As a result of their efforts the Denver Pacific was completed between Cheyenne and Denver June 24th, 1870.
The Kansas Pacific was completed on August 15th, 1870 by laying ten and a quarter miles of track in ten hours; five and an eighth miles being laid by each of two forces, one working eastward and one westward.
The Colorado Central was completed between Denver and Golden in the fall of 1870. The people of Denver and of the Territory of Colorado thus secured a direct line of communication by way of the Kansas Pacific to Kansas City and St. Louis and a somewhat less direct connection with Omaha by way of the Denver Pacific and Union Pacific, and the people of Denver and Golden rapid transit between those points.
But, the people realized that much remained to be done and in October 1870 the Denver & Boulder Valley Railroad Company was organized with J.B. Chaffee, President; W.S. Cheesman, Vice Pres.; R.R. McCormic, Secretary and D.H. Moffit, Jr., Treasurer, and the road constructed to Erie. During the same month the Denver & Rio Grande Railway Company was organized in Denver with W.J. Palmer, President; R.H. Lamborn, Vice President; Howard Schuyler, Secretary and Treas.; General Sam'l. E. Browne, Solicitor; W.H. Greenwood, Manager of Construction and J.P. Mersereau, Chief Engineer. The work of construction began in March 1871 and track laying commenced at the foot of Fifteenth Street in Denver July 27th of the same year. The road reached Colorado Springs on the 21st of the following October, and this town of Colorado Springs called into existence by the ceremony of driving the first stake in the townsite on the 31st of July previous, had its future assured by the advent of this pioneer railroad on the south side of the Platte Arkansas Divide.
The railroad was laid to a three feet gauge with iron rails weighing thirty pounds to the yard. The engines, three in number, as light in proportion as the rails on which they were expected to run, were named Tabeguache, Showano and Montezuma. The passenger coaches first employed on the line were 35 feet long, 7 feet wide and 10 feet high and weighed about 15,000 pounds. The extension of the railroad from Colorado Springs to Pueblo was commenced in March 1872 and completed the 29th of June of the same year.
On the following November 1st the Arkansas Branch extending thirty-eight miles up the Arkansas River to the coal mines was completed and put in operation. The road was extended south in sections, reaching Alamosa July 6th, 1878. The extension from Alamosa to Espaņola, New Mexico, was completed December 31st, 1880. The line through the Grand Caņon of the Arkansas to Leadville, July 20, 1880, the branch to Robinson December 27th; to Rock Creek near Redcliff in March 1882; to Dillon in November and the line over Marshall Pass to Grand Junction December 19th of the same year, and the line from Alamosa up the Rio Grande to Del Norte and Wagon Wheel Gap July 6th, 1883. The branch from Colorado Springs to Manitou was constructed in 1881 or 1882.
The extension of the Denver & Boulder Valley Road from Erie to Boulder was begun on the 21st of March 1871 and completed September 2nd, 1873.
During the years of remarkable developments to which reference has been made, the Denver extension of the Burlington Railroad was completed, adding one more line of communication between Colorado and the east.
During the years 1884 and 1885 but little was accomplished in Colorado in the way of railroad development and up to that time all the railroad lines that had penetrated into the mountain districts had been constructed narrow gauge; but after the completion of the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Railroad to Pueblo, a third rail was laid on the Denver & Rio Grande track between Pueblo and Denver, converting that portion of the road to standard gauge, thus permitting broad gauge equipment of the A.T.& S.F. Ry.Co. to be moved from Pueblo to Denver.
During the year 1885 a bolder scheme of railroad development in the mountains was undertaken by the organization of the Colorado Midland Railway for the purpose of constructing a broad gauge railway from Colorado Springs to Leadville, Aspen and New Castle. Conservative people viewed this undertaking with anxiety or contempt, depending upon the temperament of the individual; but the organizers and promoters of the undertaking, Messrs. J.J. Hagerman, H.D. Fisher, J.F. Humphrey and Thos. H. Wigglesworth, proceeded energetically to carry out their plans and the enterprise was brought to a successful termination, by the completion of the road to New Castle in December 1887 and to Aspen in February 1888. This enterprise compelled the Denver & Rio Grande Railway Company to widen the gauge of its road from Pueblo to Leadville and Red Cliff, and extend its line from Red Cliff to New Castle and Aspen. The Colorado Midland Railway Co. located an extension of its line across the divide between Grand River and White River to White River and through to Salt Lake City and Ogden; but in 1890 an agreement was entered into between the Colorado Midland and Denver & Rio Grande Companies, by the terms of which the Rio Grande Junction Railway Company was organized to construct a standard gauge line from Rifle to New Castle; one-half the securities of this Company being held by the Denver & Rio Grande and the other half by the Colorado Midland. The D.& R.G. leased its road between New Castle and Rifle to the Rio Grande Junction Railway Company. The gauge of the Rio Grande Western Railroad extending from Grand Junction to Salt Lake and Ogden, was widened to the standard, 4 feet 8-1/2 inches, and a new and important standard gauge link in the Trans-Continental Lines was brought into active competition with those already in existence, and Central Colorado was provided with first class railway facilities.
As a result of the construction of the Colorado Midland Railway, the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Railroad extended its line from Pueblo to Denver during the year 1887, and about the same time the western extension of the Chicago, Rock Island & Pacific Railroad was brought into Colorado Springs.
During that period of marvellous railroad development in our State, the earlier half of the decade between 1880 and 1890, Ex-Governor John Evans, who was the guiding and controlling spirit in the Denver & South Park Railway, conceived the idea of connecting the cities of Colorado with the Coast cities on the Gulf of Mexico, and proceeded with the undertaking by the organization of the Denver and New Orleans Railroad Company, and the construction of a railroad of that name between Denver and Pueblo. The enterprise met with many discouragements and its prosecution was delayed for a number years, but the line was finally completed to Texline, at which point connection was made with the Denver, Texas and Fort Worth Railway, and the dream of Ex-Governor Evans was realized.
The Denver & New Orleans Railroad, consolidated with numerous short lines in the northern part of the state and with the Denver & South Park, lately known as the Denver, Leadville & Gunnison, the consolidation now styled the Colorado & Southern Railway Company, is an active corporation and playing a most important part in the development of the country tributary to its line.
The successful completion and operation of the Colorado Midland and Denver & Rio Grande Railways as standard gauge lines, made the inauguration of similar enterprises in the Rocky Mountain region comparatively easy, and when the marvellous Gold District of Cripple Creek was discovered, the Midland Terminal Railway Company was organized by Messrs. W. K. Gillett and H. Colbran, for the purpose of constructing a standard gauge link to connect the Colorado Midland with the towns of Victor and Cripple Creek. This undertaking was carried to a successful termination by the original promoters.
About the same time Messrs. D. H. Moffit, Sylvester T. Smith and other projected and constructed a narrow gauge line, the Florence & Cripple Creek Railway, connecting Florence on the Denver & Rio Grande road with the same towns, Victor and Cripple Creek.
During the years 1900 and 1901 the Colorado Springs & Cripple Creek District Railway was organized and is now being constructed under the leadership of Mr. Irving Howbert, President; A.C. Ridgway, General Manager and T.L. Wagner, Chief Engineer. This line has been in operation to Cripple Creek since March 8th of this year, and in a few weeks will be in operation to Victor. It is a standard gauge line, laid with 75 pound rails and provided with the most modern equipment.
During the years 1888 and 1889 the Manitou & Pike's Peak Cog Road was constructed and put in successful operation, for the purpose of adding to the attractions of that wonderfully interesting section of country, and providing tourists and pleasure seekers with a means of convenient and easy access to the summit of Pike's Peak.
The development of all of the railroads reaching or penetrating the mountain regions of the State have kept pace with the growth of the State itself. Commencing with the miniature equipment used on the Denver & Rio Grande during the earliest period of its development, the rails in use on the various roads have changed from 30 lb. iron rails to steel rails weighing 65, 75, and 85 pounds to the yard; the locomotives in use have increased in size to mammoth machines, weighing 185,000 pounds and capable of handling 650 tons up grades of 75 feet to the mile. The freight cars have grown in capacity from 16,000 pounds to 80,000 pounds per car.
The Denver & South Park Railway, which was constructed from Denver as far west as Buena Vista early in 1880 and afterward extended to Gunnison and Crested Butte and over Breckenridge Pass to Leadville, is still operated as a narrow gauge line, but is an influential factor in the railway situation, and exerts material influence upon the development of the resources of the State.
While this wonderful development of the railroad systems of this portion of the Rocky Mountain region has been in progress, the State of Colorado and the cities of Colorado Springs and Denver have enjoyed a growth equally remarkable. In 1870 when the people of Colorado became seriously interested in providing themselves with railroad facilities, the population of the State was about 50,000. This has increased during the thirty-one years that have passed, to about 550,000. Denver has developed from an unimportant frontier hamlet to a city of 160,000 inhabitants, and Colorado Springs has developed from a desert on which the influence of man had not been felt, to a beautiful and prosperous city of 25,000 people.
While the population of the State has been increasing, the activity of the people has resulted in a corresponding increase of productions. The mineral and agricultural productions of the State, which was practically nothing in 1870, was, during last year, approximately $125,000,000; the mineral production being $65,000,000 and the agricultural, $60,000,000. The enormous agricultural production referred to has resulted from bringing about 2,000,000 acres of land under cultivation by the construction of about 12,000 miles of irrigating ditches.
The State of Colorado is one of the largest states in the Union, its total area being 103,925 square miles, and with its active, intelligent and aggressive population conducting business enterprises established upon the firm foundation I have endeavored to describe, and with enormous natural resources awaiting development at the hands of the people, the future of the people and the State is not problematical, and the representatives of the succeeding generations to which this communication is addressed, will, without doubt, have occasion to feel as proud of the achievements that will be accomplished during the hundred years that will elapse from the date of these few lines until the time they will be read, as the representatives of the generation now passing away feel in those of the stirring period during which they have played their part.
With best wishes for the success and happiness of the fortunate people who will occupy our beautiful state nearly a century after my work is come and I am laid to rest, I sign myself,
B. H. Bryant
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