Land of Contrast: A History of Southeast Colorado
BLM Cultural Resources Series (Colorado: No. 17)
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Chapter IX

Southeastern Colorado, during the 1870's, suffered from a common problem: the lack of inexpensive and reliable transportation. Denver may have been the commercial capital of northern Colorado, but commerce in the southern portion flowed from Pueblo to Santa Fe, New Mexico. Roads over Raton Pass, along the old Santa Fe Trail, across La Veta Pass, and other wagon routes into New Mexico were used for trade and transportation from 1840 well into the 1880's. There were roads north to Denver, but the bulk of Arkansas Valley trade went south and east using older, established routes. Denver, meanwhile, served the mountains by way of canyon outlets. South Park, for example, had a stage coach trail from Denver to Fairplay (and then on to Leadville) by 1877. Spotswood and McClellan's route took two full days and cost $17 fare. A second road into the park was built over Ute Pass, west of the future Colorado Springs, while a third wagon/stage route went up the Arkansas River to Buena Vista and then later into Leadville. [1] Wagon roads also led from the San Luis Valley into the San Juans. Otto Mears of Saguache built toll roads to the Los Pinos Indian Reservation, west of Cochetopa Pass, then on to Lake City, Ouray, and finally into Silverton. In addition, Mears built a road over Poncha Pass to connect the Valley with the Arkansas drainage and other eastern trade routes. Thanks to Mears' roads, Del Norte became a supply base to the San Juans, as did Saguache. Into the 1880's, Mears continued building his toll roads. Finally, late in that decade, most were sold for use as rail grades or public roads. [2]

Perhaps the most important event since the Gold Rush of 1859 occurred in 1871 when the Denver and Rio Grande Railway was chartered at Denver for the express purpose of building a railroad from that city to El Paso, Texas (and hopefully Mexico City.) General William Jackson Palmer, recently of Civil War fame, gathered enough investment capital to build his dream railway. The reason for this interest was the Transcontinental Railroad (Union Pacific) that reached Wyoming in 1868. By building north of Denver, the Transcontinental saved construction costs and time; however, Denver's businessmen were frustrated in their efforts to gain rail connections. To solve this problem, the Denver Pacific was built, with Union Pacific help, to Cheyenne in 1870, and Denver became a rail city. These connections, in turn, assured Denver's place as a trading center. From here, railroads radiated into the mountains and across the plains. Palmer planned a north-south connection for Denver. In order to save construction costs, in expensive mountain terrain, Palmer used narrow-gauge rails that measured three feet across, rather than the standard four-feet-eight and one-half inch gauge. In this way, Palmer's limited capital could go farther. [3] Commencing in 1871, Palmer built a line from Denver to what became Colorado Springs. Regular business began in 1872, and the Rio Grande carried about 484 passengers a week. The Palmer road continued south to Pueblo that same year, and here the line turned up the Arkansas River toward Canon City and its coal fields. Palmer founded Colorado Springs in 1871. By the end of 1872, the place had a population of 1,500. He could boast that Pueblo's size had shot to 3,500 persons since the railroad's arrival. A major problem was a source of cheap fuel. The Labran fields near Canon City provided an answer. The Rio Grande built from Pueblo to that region, intent on developing these resources, but with no real desire to proceed westward, for Palmer had his eyes on Santa Fe and then El Paso. Canon City's citizens were infuriated when the Rio Grande refused to extend the Labran line only a few miles to their city. [4]

The arrival of the Santa Fe Railroad along the Arkansas River in the mid-1870's opened southeastern Colorado to settlement. (Photo by A.J. Senti)

As Palmer's road was being prepared to move south, a threat appeared from Kansas. Not only did the Kansas Pacific propose to build a line along the Arkansas to connect with Pueblo, but the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe was pushing across the plains, following the old Santa Fe Trail; prepared to invade New Mexico. Palmer's plans were suddenly in serious trouble, for the Santa Fe, as it was called, could not only take Raton Pass, but also could end the Rio Grande's monopoly at Pueblo, Colorado Springs, and north to Denver. [5] As the Santa Fe built toward Pueblo, Palmer extended his "baby road" south to near Trinidad, reaching that point in April 1876. The Rio Grande terminated at El Moro, a point five miles north of the earlier Trinidad settlement. Its townspeople were furious when Palmer calmly built a new town at El Moro and decimated Trinidad's commerce. The Rio Grande was equally responsible for founding Cucharas, Colorado. [6] Upon reaching Trinidad, the Rio Grande Railway was suffering from financial difficulties. While Palmer went to Europe to raise funds, construction ceased for several years. The Santa Fe, still building, reached Pueblo in February 1876, having followed the Arkansas River from Dodge City, Kansas. La Junta and Las Animas eventually became Santa Fe railroad towns and farm service centers. While La Junta became the junction of the Santa Fe, with one line running to Pueblo and the other along Timpas Creek to Raton Pass, other towns arose in the next ten years. It took that long for enough settlement to develop along the Arkansas River to support towns and their services. The mid-1880's saw several settlements become important for providing service to farmers and ranchers. Lamar, for instance, grew out of Blackwell's Station, a siding on the Santa Fe. Originally, this place was used to ship cattle from the A.R. Black Ranch. During May of 1886, the Santa Fe, desiring a new location for facilities, moved its station and other structures from the siding to the present-day site of Lamar. May 22, 1886, saw a train roll into Blackwell's Station, load up all railroad property and move it west. Since rancher Black had refused to allow a townsite on his land, the Santa Fe vacated his premises and founded their own town. By May 23, 1886, trains were running from Garden City, Kansas, carrying land speculators, and some $45,000 worth of town lots were sold on that day alone. Lamar, named for Secretary of the Interior L.Q.C. Lamar, became the largest town in far southeast Colorado and still serves as a major rail town for the Santa Fe.

The city of Lamar was literally "created" by the Santa Fe when it moved Blackwell's to this site in 1886. Lamar became the major city in far southeastern Colorado. (Photo by F.J. Athearn)

The Rio Grande reached an agreement with the Santa Fe to provide cooperative service to Denver. In doing so, the Rio Grande assured its monopoly and kept Denver to itself. However, the Santa Fe had eyes to the south and promptly began construction to Trinidad, by way of La Junta, following Timpas Creek with the objective of Raton Pass. As the Santa Fe rushed for Trinidad, the Rio Grande began a line from Cucharas, over La Veta Pass, intending to tap the San Luis Valley and many suddenly mineral rich San Juan mining towns. Palmer made a fatal error at this time, for he chose not to extend his road from Trinidad to Raton Pass. In consequence, the Santa Fe captured the pass, buying out "Uncle Dick" Wootton's toll road, and then it proceeded on into Santa Fe, New Mexico with impunity. [7]

The year 1878 changed all railroad builders thinking; Leadville boomed. Oro City, founded more than a decade earlier in California Gulch, was a gold mining camp that never really went very far. Men like Horace A.W. Tabor, a merchant, were ever hopeful and were willing to grubstake local miners. Tabor, in 1877, provided August Rische and George Hook enough goods for them to prospect Fryer Hill. Here they found a rich silver lode, and the "boom" was on. By 1879, Tabor was a millionaire, just as a number of Colorado luminaries, like David Moffat, John Routt, Jerome Chaffee and John Evans made their fortunes thanks to Leadville's silver. Leadville was formally founded in 1877, and by 1879 it was the third largest city in Colorado, with all the amenities of a growing town. Silver mines produced millions of dollars while smelters worked day and night refining ore and casting ingots. Between just 1878 and 1880, an estimated $36,850,000 in silver was pulled from the hills around Leadville. Eastern investors poured in capital, and mines went even deeper searching for minerals. Individuals rarely developed their finds now, for eastern corporations spent the needed millions in tunnels, shafts, mills and smelters. Laborers were hired for $3.00 per day, and mining in Colorado became a modern industrial enterprise. This, in turn, led to labor unrest. In 1880 Leadville's miners went out on strike demanding $4.00 per day for their work. The Miners, Mechanics and Laborers Protective Association was founded to present management with workers' complaints. [8] Hostility ran high, with businessmen and mine owners facing workers and miners. In typical nineteenth century fashion, Governor Frederick Pitkin called in militiamen, and the strike was broken. There were no further labor problems at Leadville until the late 1890's. [9]

What is more significant about Leadville, and the silver boom, was that eastern capital, invested for the first time in Colorado, was returned to Denver, Colorado Springs and Pueblo, causing new and dramatic growth. The mines of Leadville precipitated silver booms in the San Juans, the Wet Mountain Valley and other such locations. As noted, transportation was a major problem for the mining industry. One reason silver took off during the early 1880's was construction of railroads throughout this state, providing cheap and reliable means to move silver ore to smelters generally located in metropolitan areas. Denver and Colorado Springs had large smelter operations that required quantities of coal and raw ore. Pueblo, a developing steel producer, also needed coal in huge quantities.

Palmer's railroad, along with rivals, offered the solution to silver's problems. It was soon realized that Leadville would produce fantastic rail revenues for the line that got there first. Competition was keen for the rights to Leadville. Palmer, having been cut off at Raton Pass, turned westward up the Arkansas River Canyon in 1878, rapidly building toward Leadville. There were other rivals, too. John Evans and Walter Cheesman, of Denver, incorporated the Denver, South Park and Pacific Railroad (DSP&P) in 1875. In 1876 construction up the Platte River Canyon was underway. By October 1878, the line reached Bailey's Ranch, then Grant and Webster. Kenosha Pass was crossed in May 1879, and during June of that year the DSP&P reached Como. Como was not only a station, but also the site of coal deposits that were soon exploited to fire the DSP&P's locomotives. The Lechner and King Mines provided fuel, and the railroad built an extension from Como to these places for development. Como, by 1879, was a tent city of some 6,000 residents, including miners, railroad workers, and others cashing in on the mini-boom. As the summer of 1879 progressed, the DSP&P graded over Red Hill toward Leadville. The South Park line was prepared to cross Trout Creek Pass and build up the Arkansas River into Leadville when its management ran into unexpected troubles. The DSP&P hoped to have exclusive rights into the "Cloud City" by getting into the valley first. These dreams were dashed by events not of the South Park's making. [10]

As the Rio Grande turned west into the Grand Canyon of the Arkansas, Santa Fe officials decided that Leadville's markets were too rich to ignore. A race was on between the two roads, and when they reached the Canyon of the Arkansas (Royal Gorge), there was no room for two railroads. The rivals locked in battle, beginning the "Royal Gorge War." The Santa Fe went to court while the Rio Grande barricaded itself in the canyon. Judge Moses Hallett of Denver's U.S. District Court did not help matters by ruling, in a preliminary injunction, that both companies had rights to the canyon. Palmer, assuming he had lost the legal battle, prepared for physical confrontation. Assistant Chief Engineer James R. DeReemer, located twenty miles up river from Canon City, created a "deadline" with ties and then built stone "forts" on the canyon walls all the way up to Texas Creek so to defend Rio Grande workers from Santa Fe crews. These works are still visible from U.S. Highway 50. There were no shots fired, and the Royal Gorge War took place in courtrooms, not the Canyon of the Arkansas. [11] The Rio Grande was in serious financial difficulty by late 1878, and Palmer was forced to settle with the Santa Fe. December 1878 saw a formal lease executed between Rio Grande and Santa Fe by which the Palmer road would be leased to the AT&SF. In return, the Santa Fe agreed not to build lines that were competitive or that would lower freight rates on the Rio Grande. Five days later, the AT&SF raised freight tariffs to Colorado Springs and Denver via Pueblo. [12]

This rockwork is one of the so-called DeReemer Forts that were built in the Canyon of the Arkansas during the "Royal Gorge War." They still survive and can be seen from Highway 50. (Photo by F.J. Athearn)

The Rio Grande battled in court during 1879, hoping to regain sole ownership of the road. In April of that year, the U.S. Supreme Court affirmed the Rio Grande's claims to the Royal Gorge, but provided for joint trackage rights where the canyon was too narrow for both railroads. In turn, Palmer got a Costilla County judge to cancel the lease with the Santa Fe. This was promptly overturned by Judge Hallett in Denver. Nevertheless, Hallett, in July, carried out the Supreme Court ruling and granted Palmer rights to the entire Arkansas River Canyon. While a financial settlement was being arranged between the two railroads, the Santa Fe built the famous "Hanging Bridge" in the narrowest part of the Royal Gorge. It was unique because the structure hung from the Canyon's walls along the river rather than crossing the stream. [13] Palmer's road went into receivership in July 1879, a victim of financial mismanagement and the Santa Fe Agreement. The lease was broken by bankruptcy, and the Santa Fe, free again, announced they would build a line to Denver next to the existing Rio Grande main line. Meantime, a desperate Palmer provided Jay Gould, of the Union Pacific/Kansas Pacific combine half of his company's trust certificates which partly revived the Rio Grande's financial health. In December 1879, Judge Hallett ordered that the completed line west of Canon City be transferred to the Rio Grande with the Santa Fe getting $1.8 million for its efforts. The road to Leadville was opened to Palmer by 1880, but his problems were far from over. [14]

While Palmer and the Santa Fe fought it out in the Royal Gorge, the Denver, South Park and Pacific was across Trout Creek Pass and running into Buena Vista. Early 1880 looked bad for Palmer's hopes; for the DSP&P was way ahead in the race to Leadville; the Santa Fe had cut off Palmer at Raton Pass; the La Veta Pass construction was slow and expensive, the San Luis Valley was still elusive, and a new railroad was proposed from Colorado Springs to Leadville by way of Ute Pass. Palmer, with enemies on all sides, took on the DSP&P first. He went to court and got an agreement with the DSP&P to jointly operate D&RG-built trackage between Buena Vista and Leadville. The DSP&P then proposed to build up Chalk Creek to Gunnison, allowing the Rio Grande to use these rails. The DSP&P was therefore deprived of its exclusive right to Leadville and the Rio Grande was given some badly needed breathing room. [15]

The DSP&P, for its part, continued on to Gunnison by building the Alpine Tunnel, hoping to reach that town before Palmer's road could. The Rio Grande, in turn, built over Marshall Pass and entered Gunnison ahead of the South Park. As the DSP&P struggled to drill the Alpine Tunnel, Jay Gould's Union Pacific bought it out. The South Park Line was then reincorporated as the Denver, Leadville and Gunnison (DL&G) in 1882. Having been beaten to Gunnison, the DSP&P turned its attention to Leadville. Palmer was still a long way from that city, so the South Park Line built toward Breckenridge by way of Boreas Pass. On August 2, 1882, the DSP&P was at Breckenridge, and by the end of that year the line reached the Montezuma Mining District at Dillon and Keystone. [16] Since the Union Pacific owned the DSP&P, capital was available for further construction. The Rio Grande successfully choked off traffic between Buena Vista and Leadville, so the DSP&P decided to go in the back way. From Breckenridge, the road built up Ten Mile Canyon over Fremont Pass and into Leadville, arriving at the "Cloud City" on February 5, 1884. The Rio Grande, having reached Leadville in 1883, was forced to lower its freight rates. The South Park's line was also faster, because it was 126 miles shorter than the Rio Grande main line up the Arkansas River Canyon. [17]

As the Rio Grande and South Park battled over Leadville, a new competitor entered the fray. Colorado Springs businessmen like Irving Howbert and J.F. Humphrey got Jerome Wheeler, J.R. Buck, Charles Otis and J.J. Hagerman to capitalize construction of a standard gauge road from that city to Leadville. While the railroad was incorporated in 1884, construction did not actually begin until 1886. Next year saw the Colorado Midland Railroad marching over Ute Pass, across South Park, through Trout Creek Pass and down to Buena Vista where the first train rolled in on July 13, 1887. [18] From that station to Leadville was another matter. Because the Rio Grande already occupied the most practical right-of-way, the Midland was forced to build around, over and under the D&RG. For instance, in the narrowest part of the Upper Arkansas River Canyon, the Midland drilled four tunnels in just four-tenths of a mile, finally arriving at Leadville on August 31, 1887. Now that city had three railroads serving it, and they were all looking to better things. The Colorado Midland eventually raced the Rio Grande over the Continental Divide in an attempt to reach Aspen first. The Midland used Hagerman Pass, west of Leadville, where the 2,000-foot Hagerman Tunnel was bored. The Rio Grande proceeded over Tennessee Pass, down the Eagle River Valley to Glenwood Springs, and then up the Roaring Fork into Aspen, reaching that boom town on November 1, 1887, beating Midland by a year. [19]

Railroad construction's importance to southeastern and south central Colorado cannot be underestimated. This form of transportation not only provided fast and relatively inexpensive freight and passenger service, but it made settlement in remote areas practical. Further, railroads made marginal mining possible and provided a way to get low-quality ores to smelters. In addition, food and durable goods were imported at lower costs and local standards of living rose.

The year 1876 was the culmination of Colorado's fight for statehood, for in August of that year Colorado was admitted to the Union. The long battle for this privilege was over. After several false starts, a Constitutional Convention prepared an acceptable State constitution and the U.S. Congress voted admission. President U.S. Grant signed the entrance papers, and Colorado became a state on August 1, 1876. One of the provisions of the statehood Enabling Act was that the new State of Colorado would relinquish, forever, all claims to public domain within her borders. This was done, and not twenty years later, Coloradans were to regret it. Once statehood was obtained, the question as to Colorado's new capitol arose. Suggestions ranged from Leadville to Silver Cliff (both with large populations), but Denver was chosen. In the 1890's a new capitol building was erected at that city. State facility location became a major fight. Cities throughout Colorado saw location of State facilities beneficial to their economies and were willing to fight for the various plums.

Canon City engaged in battle with Boulder over the location of the State Prison and/or State University. Canon City's boosters saw the location of a prison there as having more "growth potential" and were pleased when the legislature agreed to build the State Prison at Canon City. Boulder, laughed Canon City residents, had "lost." They only got the State University. Likewise Pueblo got the State Mental Asylum, which did not add a great deal to the local economy primarily due to the lack of purchasing power by its inmates. Nonetheless, these cities were typical of what good lobby efforts could do for a town.

The decade of the 1870's also saw considerable growth and development along the Arkansas River corridor. The San Luis Valley and Raton Basin regions were populated, thanks not only to rail connections, but also due to governmental encouragement in the form of surveys. One of the last great survey efforts was that of Ferdinand V. Hayden of the U.S. Geological Survey (GS). The Hayden expeditions were designed to map and record areas of this and other states that, prior to 1870, were not accurately described. Hayden, over a period of four years, explored the western slope, the southwestern corner of Colorado, North and Middle Parks, and in 1873 his men fanned out over the Front Range to map and record geologic and geographic features of this region. Hayden was not unfamiliar with this part of Colorado, for in 1869 he had noted "oil springs" around Canon City and also that there were major coal deposits here. He also described salt deposits in South Park. This referred to Charles L. Hall's Colorado Salt Works Company which began operation in 1864 and continued into the 1870s. [20] Hayden's men dispersed across the southeastern Front Range in 1873; A.C. Peale mapped many of the producing mines of South Park, while Henry Gannett described the topography and climate of the park as ideal for cattle and sheep. In addition, the various survey parties looked over the Wet Mountain Valley and Raton Basin. The annual report of 1873 provided detailed maps of this region, including towns, roads, drainages and elevations. Publication of Hayden's works attracted the attention of land developers and mining investors who used this information to promote settlement. Hayden's survey efforts helped increase a rising interest in the land for development and improvement. [21]

South Park and the Upper Arkansas Valley were not the only areas that boomed during the 1870's. Pueblo became a major supply center, and its beginnings as an industrial city date from this time. Transportation, water, and coal supplies all accounted for the city's predominant situation. Coal fields extending from Florence to Trinidad were opened, and thousands of tons of this mineral were produced in order to fuel locomotives, fire smelters and heat homes. Coal mining became big business. From early small mines, operated by several individuals or a family, corporate mining took over by 1880. With it came imported labor, company towns and labor strife. [22]

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The San Luis Valley saw some new developments during the 1870's, too. Mining was not exclusively the domain of the central Rockies. Of course, the San Juan Mountains were "invaded" in the late 1860's by eager gold seekers. As miners spread across the region, a few explored the streams and creeks of the valley hoping to find enough "pay dirt" to stake claims. The first strike occurred near the San Luis Valley at Summitville District in 1870. The nearest town was Del Norte, which became the camp's supply center. The Summitville area was not overly productive, but camps were established in never-ending hope of wealth. Jasper was staked out along the Alamosa River in 1874. It became part of the Jasper-Cornwall District in 1879. Jasper had a stamp mill and post office, along with a branch of L.L. Fassett's store of Monte Vista. [23] This region also was home for the town of Stunner, located above Jasper along the Alamosa River. Stunner was an outgrowth of Blaineville and dated from around 1882. Four miles from Stunner, the settlement of Platoro was founded. This place produced during the early 1880's, but was abandoned by 1913 as ores played out. These little mining towns west of the San Luis Valley were really part of the San Juan mining boom, but the Valley itself had two major booms. [24]

Kerber Creek was explored during the late 1870's by San Juan prospectors, and in 1880 the Exchequer mine was located. Just below it, the Bonanza Mine also struck rich ores, and the rush was on. The towns of Bonanza and Sedgwick sprang up along Kerber Creek in 1880, as did Exchequer, Bonito, and Spook City during 1882. These places were truly boom towns, complete with hotels, saloons, schools, churches and the famous brewery at Sedgwick. This "city" was so "civilized" that it boasted a bowling alley, a billiard hall and two dance halls. [25] Bonanza kept up with the times through two newspapers, while stage and wagon roads connected the town with the Rio Grande Railway at Villa Grove. From the boom came the Kerber Creek Mining District, founded in 1881. These little places lasted into the 1890's, when silver prices fell. West of Kerber Creek, mining settlements, such as Sky City, Bowenton, and Biedell arose and died within a ten-year period. These places, unlike Kerber Creek, were not as rich or accessible as that mining district; therefore, they were not major mining centers in the valley. [26]

Across the San Luis Valley, the Luis Maria Baca Number Four land grant became a hotbed of activity during the late 1870's. A prime investor in this tract was former Governor William Gilpin who, instead of putting money into the San Juans, invested in the potential of the Sangre de Cristos. These investments included the Baca Number Four which, by the early 1870's, was being taken over by squatters intent on mining. By 1882 Crestone, San Isabel and Rio Alto (Rito Alto?) had post offices. Cottonwood was first settled in 1876, and irrigation ditches were dug. [27] The next year, 1877, Gilpin bought the grant from the D&RG's lessees; he renewed the old lease but retained all mineral rights. In doing so, Gilpin made a wise decision, for during the spring of 1880 gold was found along Burnt Creek, and a rush was on. Cottonwood was formally founded in that year, while a place called Tetons grew up north of Crestone, but it soon died. William Gilpin got lucky in 1886 when George Adams bought the Baca Grant for $350,000. Adams promptly removed the numerous trespassers and the Baca mining boom abruptly ended. Adams and other new owners later began mining operations with limited success.

Of the various "booms," discoveries by Nicholas Creede along Willow Creek were the most significant. The Holy Moses Mine, developed in 1889, set off an invasion that, by 1890, was the site of a growing mining town. Creede was founded at this time and produced considerable wealth in a ten-year period. So good was business that the Rio Grande extended a rail line from Del Norte up the narrow valley, into Creede by 1891. Building materials were hauled in, and a small city erupted. Saloons, hotels, assay offices, general stores and newspapers were soon in business. Cy Warman's Creede Candle was printed here. Warman aptly described Creede: "It's day all day in the daytime, and there is no night in Creede." Investment monies poured in from men like David H. Moffat and Thomas Bowen. Minerals other than gold and silver were also mined. Lead, copper, and zinc helped sustain the camp over a period of years. Creede's mineral industry survives to this day, and both precious and semiprecious minerals are still marketed. Creede is also something of a tourist town; during the summers numerous sightseers come to the truly picturesque main street to gaze at the false fronted buildings, the old Rio Grande depot, and an amazingly narrow canyon at the mouth of which Creede sits. [28]

While the San Luis Valley grew and prospered, settlement along the lower Arkansas River also continued. Arrival of rail service along the Arkansas provided not only transportation for homesteaders, but also a way to move crops east. The Santa Fe built from Dodge City, Kansas to Granada, Colorado, where it stored construction materials, preparing to advance on Pueblo. Jerry O'Loughlin ran a general store at Granada and this town arose at track's end. By September 1875, Las Animas was reached, and in February 1876 the Santa Fe rolled into La Junta where it met the Kansas Pacific head-on. [29] The KP was cut off from its cattle trade (the Goodnight-Loving Trail) by the new Santa Fe route. In retaliation, KP officials built a branch line from Kit Carson, Colorado, to La Junta so as to divert cattle traffic north into Kansas. However, thanks to tariff agreements between the Santa Fe, the Rio Grande and the KP, this line proved worthless and was later torn up. [30]

Santa Fe management built on, into Pueblo, arriving in that city on March 7, 1876, precipitating a two-day celebration at which Pueblo's citizens engaged in "eating, drinking, dancing, and general rejoicing." Not only was the Rio Grande's monopoly broken, but Pueblo was now directly connected with the east. From this point forward, Pueblo grew and soon became a primary trading center for southeastern Colorado. [31] The Santa Fe also opened the lower Arkansas Valley to homesteaders who took trains from Chicago and claimed lands along the river where soils were fertile and water was available. Early, however, there were conflicts with cattlemen previously there. Nevertheless, agriculture gained a foothold, and during the next twenty years, that industry flourished. In 1878 the Santa Fe built its Transcontinental line from La Junta to Trinidad and then over Raton Pass. As at Pueblo, the Rio Grande's monopoly was broken and Trinidad prospered as a local trading center and railroad town. The coal fields around Trinidad provided fuel for railroads. Little places like Model, Tyrone and Timpas popped up along the new Santa Fe line from La Junta. [32]

While the Gold Rush of 1859, and subsequent silver booms, may have been the reason for settlement in southeastern Colorado, nothing was more important to the area than arrival of inexpensive and fast transportation systems. With railroads, not only was this region connected with the "outside world" but goods and services could be imported and exported which, in turn, created an atmosphere of permanent settlement and development. Railroads were the forerunners of modernity in the Victorian West; and when they arrived, prosperity could not be far behind.


1. Ralph Moody, Stagecoach West (New York: Crowell, 1967), pp. 297-299, and McConnell, op. cit., p. 77.

2. Michael D. Kaplan, "Otto Mears: Colorado's Transportation King" (Ph.D. Dissertation, University of Colorado, 1975); LeRoy R. Hafen, "Otto Mears, Pathfinder of the San Juan," Colorado Magazine, 9, (1932), pp. 71-74, Michael D. Kaplan, "The Toll Road Building Career of Otto Mears," Colorado Magazine, 52, (1975), pp. 153-170, Arthur Ridgway, "The Mission of Colorado Toll Roads," Colorado Magazine, 9, (1932), pp. 161-169.

3. Robert G. Athearn, The Denver and Rio Grande Western Railroad (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1977), p. 14, and Brit A. Storey, "William Jackson Palmer: Promoter," Colorado Magazine, 63, (1966), pp. 44-56.

4. Athearn, ibid., pp. 25-26, and Keith L. Bryant, Jr., History of the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway (New York: MacMillan, 1975), p. 46.

5. Bryant, ibid., pp. 43-45.

6. Athearn, Rio Grande, op. cit., p. 43.

7. Bryant, ibid., p. 45, and Athearn, ibid., p. 55.

8. Don and Jean Griswold, The Carbonate Camp Called Leadville (Denver: University of Denver Press, 1951); Caroline Bancroft, Tabor's Matchless Mine and Lusty Leadville (Boulder: Johnson, 1967); George R. and Ruth Gilfillan, Among the Tailings: A Guide to Leadville Mines (Leadville: Herald Democrat, 1964); Duane A. Smith, Horace Tabor: His Life and Legend (Boulder: CAUP, 1973); James Fell, Ores to Metals, The Evolution of Smelting Industry in Colorado, 1864-1921 (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1981); Muriel S. Wolle, Cloud Cities of Colorado (Denver: Smith-Brooks, 1934); Duane A Smith, Colorado Mining (Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 1979); C. Eric Stors, Victorian Bonanza (Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 1973); Jean Griswold, "The History of Leadville, Colorado to 1900" (M.A. Thesis, University of Southern California, 1933); Helen M. Fleming, "Mining in Leadville, Colorado Since 1860" (M.A. Thesis, Colorado State Teacher's College, 1924); Charles W. Henderson, Mining in Colorado, Washington, DC: GPO, 1926; and Paul T. Bechtol, "The 1880 Labor Dispute in Leadville," Colorado Magazine, 67, (1968).

9. Bechtol, ibid., p. 132.

10. Meredith C. Poor, Denver, South Park and Pacific (Denver: Rocky Mountain Railroad Club, 1949), p. 150.

11. Athearn, Rio Grande, op. cit., p. 63, Bryant, op. cit., p. 50.

12. Athearn, ibid., pp. 65-66.

13. Ibid., p. 84, and Bryant, op. cit., p. 51.

14. Athearn, ibid., pp. 87-88, and Robert G. Athearn, "Captivity of the Denver and Rio Grande Railroad," Colorado Magazine, 37, (1960), pp. 39-59.

15. Don and Jean Griswold, "The Denver, South Park and Pacific Builds the High Line," Westerner's Brand Book (Denver: Westerners, Inc., 1969) and Gordon Chappell, "John Evans: Building the South Park," in The South Park Line: A Concise History (Golden, Colorado: Colorado Railroad Museum, 1974.)

16. Dow Helmers, Historic Alpine Tunnel (Chicago: Swallow Press, 1963), pp. 23-29, and Louise Atkinson (Ward), Chalk Creek, Colorado (Denver: J. Van Mole, 1940.)

17. Poor, op. cit., p. 257.

18. Morris Cafky, Colorado Midland (Denver: Rocky Mountain Railroad Club, 1955.)

19. John T. Lipsey, The Lives of James J. Hagerman, Builder of the Colorado Midland (Denver: Golden Bell Press, 1968); Percy Hagerman, "Colorado Midland," in Westerner's Brand Book (Denver: Westerners, Inc., 1946), pp. 219-233; and Lucius Beebe and Charles Clegg, Narrow Gauge in the Rockies (Berkeley: Howell-North, 1958.)

20. Richard A. Bartlett, Great Surveys of the American West (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1962); Ferdinand V. Hayden, Annual Report of the United States Geological and Geographical Survey of the Territories, Embracing Colorado, Being a Report of Progress of the Exploration for the Year 1873 (Washington, DC: GPO, 1874.)

21. Bartlett, op. cit., p. 462, and Murray, op. cit., p. 48.

22. Howard L. Scamehorn, "In the Shadow of Cripple Creek: Florence from 1885 to 1910," Colorado Magazine, 55, (1978), pp. 208-209.

23. Simmons, op. cit., p. 102.

24. Ibid., pp. 101-102, and S.E. Kortright, "Historical Sketch of the Bonanza Mining District," Colorado Magazine, 22, (1945).

25. Kortright, ibid., p. 75.

26. Simmons, op. cit., p. 104.

27. Ibid., p. 105, and Mrs. A.H. Major, "Pioneer Days in Crestone and Creede," Colorado Magazine. 21, (1944).

28. Simmons, op. cit., p. 106, 108-109, and Athearn, Coloradans, op. cit., p. 168.

29. Bryant, op. cit., p. 37.

30. Ibid., p. 39, and Robert E. Riegel, The Story of the Western Railroads (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1926), pp. 114-115.

31. Bryant, op. cit., p. 39.

32. Ibid., p. 46.

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Last Updated: 20-Nov-2008