The Project Gutenberg EBook of Three Little Lines, by Josie Mary Moore Crum

This eBook is for the use of anyone anywhere in the United States and most
other parts of the world at no cost and with almost no restrictions
whatsoever.  You may copy it, give it away or re-use it under the terms of
the Project Gutenberg License included with this eBook or online at  If you are not located in the United States, you'll have
to check the laws of the country where you are located before using this ebook.

Title: Three Little Lines
       Silverton Railroad; Silverton, Gladstone and Northerly;
              Silverton Northern

Author: Josie Mary Moore Crum

Release Date: July 16, 2020 [EBook #62664]

Language: English

Character set encoding: UTF-8


Produced by Stephen Hutcheson and the Online Distributed
Proofreading Team at

Three Little Lines

FRONT COVER—“The covered turntable at Corkscrew Gulch. It served as part of the main line.” (C. W. Gibbs) See discussion and diagram pages 12, 13 and 14.


By Josie Moore Crum


The originals of these articles appeared in Bulletin 74 of the Railway and Locomotive Historical Society in October 1948. A second edition was published by Bert Baker in the fall of 1956. The present volume contains additional information and pictures gathered since the appearance of the earlier publications. J.M.C.

Copyright 1960
by Josie Moore Crum

All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced in any form without written permission of the publishers.

Reprint Rights
L.A. “Johnny” Johnson
Box 348
Ouray, Colorado 81427

Published by
Durango, Colorado



The Southwest has had a most romantic history. It is the oldest portion, both in the way of interior exploration and in the way of settlement, in the United States.

The Coronado Expedition of several hundred Spaniards left Mexico in 1540 and journeyed up into what is now central New Mexico. The convoy consisted of soldier aristocrats on their caparisoned horses and in their picturesque regalia, and of common soldiers, fortune seekers and servants. Accompanying the train were hundreds of horses packed with supplies and hundreds of cattle, sheep and hogs for food purposes.

They established themselves at Tiguex, New Mexico and spent two years, 1540-42, conquering the Indians and searching for treasure. One party went west and discovered the Grand Canon and another went east as far as Kansas. They found no riches but explored, mapped and named the country and took possession of it for Spain.

New Mexico was settled in 1595, permanently, except for a short period when the populace fled because of an Indian uprising. The first capital was San Juan though it was soon moved to nearby Santa Fe. It should be noticed that this settlement preceded colonization on our eastern coast.

No one knows when the Spanish first entered Colorado but the country seemed well-known and named when Juan Rivera made his first trip into it in 1765. He led a party across the southwestern part of the state to the Utah border and back to the Gunnison River near Hotchkiss. Within the next ten years he made three more trips of the same kind.

The Escalante expedition of 1776 wanted to find a northern route from Santa Fe to Los Angeles. They followed the same trail as had Rivera to Hotchkiss but from there went north and then west to Utah Lake. Because of a shortage of food they started home, crossing Utah, the Colorado River and Arizona and arriving at Zuni, New Mexico. This party very thoroughly mapped and named everything in the course of the journey.

The most commonly traveled route across Colorado was the “Old Spanish vi Trail”, used in the 1830’s and 40’s by trade caravans operating between Santa Fe and Los Angeles, woolen goods going to the west and horses and mules to the east. It traversed Colorado, Utah and southern Nevada. All of these caravans, incidentally, crossed the Animas River and Ridges Basin Pass just at the south edge of Durango. This last part was later used by the American pioneers.

Meanwhile, trappers were thoroughly working every stream in southwestern Colorado and selling their furs at Taos or Santa Fe.

After the war with Mexico and due to the treaty of 1848 the United States acquired all of the southwestern part of the country.

Gold was discovered on Cherry Creek, the Denver area, in 1859 and a rush to that place began. The same year Captain Baker led a prospecting group into what was later Silverton and named the spot “Baker’s Park”.

Two years later he, with another party, made his way up the Animas River and established the little town of Animas City, fifteen miles north of present Durango. There the settlers panned the river for gold and built the first bridge in all of southwestern Colorado, “Baker’s Bridge”. The panning Operation was not successful and, on news of the outbreak of the Civil War, the whole citizenry precipitately departed.

After the Civil War a young man by the name of Otto Mears moved into the Saguache country and went into the wheat raising and merchandising businesses. To get his wheat to market he had to start building roads. He ended up with about 450 miles of roads which laced together all of the mountain towns in the extremely rugged San Juan Mountains.

Mears served as Indian Commissioner for a number of years and, as such, negotiated several treaties with the Utes. The first one in 1868 forced them out of central Colorado, the second one in 1873 forced them out of the San Juan Mountains and the third one in 1881 forced them out of Colorado entirely.

The Denver and Rio Grande Railroad arrived in Durango in 1881 and in Silverton the next year. Meanwhile it was building another line from Salida to Grand Junction and arrived there in 1883. Four years later a branch vii was run from Montrose to Ouray.

The same year, 1887, the Silverton Railroad, one of the subjects of this booklet, started out of Silverton and was completed in 1889. The next one, also a Mears creation, was the Rio Grande Southern, built in ’90 and ’91, which ran from Ridgway via Telluride and Rico to Durango.


C. & S.—Colorado and Southern
D. & R. G.—Denver and Rio Grande
R. G. S.—Rio Grande Southern
R. G. W.—Rio Grande Western
S. G. & N.—Silverton, Gladstone and Northerly
S. N.—Silverton Northern
S. R.—Silverton Railroad (Railway)
W. P. & Y. R.—White Pass and Yukon Railway


The Silverton Railroad! The most intriguing piece of narrow gauge in the world! The railroad of the steepest grades, the sharpest curves, the crookedest loops, the highest altitude and the oddest switchbacks, on one of which sat a wye with a depot inside and on the other a housed-over turntable! And the railroad of the famous Otto Mears passes!

Otto Mears and Fred Walsen, after the Opening up of the rich Yankee Girl mine made it feasible, in 1882 and ’83 built a toll road they called the “Rainbow Route” from Ouray to Silverton. This was the most famous and the most difficult piece of road engineering of the day. The line crept along the precipitous mountains of the Uncompahgre River and Red Mountain Creek canons and in places was cut out of sheer granite walls. It was so narrow and crooked in places that only by the expedient of backing up or unhitching a buggy and setting it on a sidehill could another conveyance get by. The grades were so steep, often 19%, that most of the early cars could not climb them. It was the road of the famous Bear Creek toll bridge where a driver stopped and parted with his cash, $2 for a saddle horse or $5 for a buggy and team.

While Mears and Walsen were constructing their road from Ouray to Red Mountain in the summer of 1882, the Denver and Rio Grande was completing its railroad from Durango to Silverton. The next year while Mears and Walsen were extending their road from Red Mountain to Silverton, the D. & R. G., through its construction engineer, Thomas Wigglesworth, was making a survey from Silverton to Red Mountain and Ironton Park. Nothing came of it but one wonders if it did not give Mears the idea of building a railroad himself.

The Silverton Railroad was incorporated on July 5, 1887 and chartered on July 8. Mears was the president of the company and John L. McNeil was the treasurer. Though we have no evidence to the effect, Walsen was, without doubt, an incorporator and official. Since much of the Rainbow Route toll road grade was to be used the railroad adopted the name. Incidentally a new wagon road had to be built.


The first part from Silverton to Chattanooga would not be too difficult but Red Mountain would have to be ascended on a steep grade and by many curves to the summit, Sheridan Pass. Then the line would have to go around a succession of curves to Red Mountain town and over more curves, grades and switchbacks from there down to Ironton. The greatest of engineering skill was necessary to accomplish such an undertaking.

The first necessity, of course, was a locomotive. So the company purchased the D. & R. G.’s No. 42, a Baldwin of 30 tons, called 60 class. It was overhauled and given the number “100” and the name “Ouray”. The number may be seen on the old-fashioned kerosene headlight in a picture herein.

The 5.3 miles of railroad from Silverton to Burro Bridge must have been constructed in the summer of 1887 for it is known to have been in operation by the first of June of the next year. In 1888 Charles W. Gibbs, who had served under Mr. Wigglesworth on a number of projects, became the locating and construction engineer. He started late in May at Burro Bridge and in early November had completed 11.2 miles through Red Mountain and to Ironton. Only 11.2 miles in over five months! But anyone acquainted with the country is not surprised.

Spurs then or later were laid to the Yankee Girl, Vanderbilt, North Star, Silver Bell, Guston and Treasury Tunnel. The map here included was made by Mr. Gibbs and appeared in a September 1890 Bulletin of the American Society of Civil Engineers. Mr. Gibbs built the 1.5 miles from Ironton to Albany in 1889.[1] Albany was the Saratoga mill which stood against the east hill of Ironton Park. His report notes 5% grades, 30° curves, 3-foot gauge and 30-lb. rail. No reliable figures for the cost of construction are available but ordinarily a railroad of that kind at that time ate up about $25,000 to the mile.

In 1888 Mr. Gibbs was writing love letters to Miss Adeline Hammon of Colorado Springs and the next year they were married. She has kept his letters all these years from which these excerpts, dealing with the construction of the railroad from Burro Bridge to Ironton, are taken.

“Chattanooga, June 10, 1888. Arrived here bag and baggage about three 3 weeks ago and have my headquarters 10,200 feet above sea level and my next camp will be still higher, about 11,000 feet. More than 100 Mexican workers camped nearby.”

“Gustine Mine, July 22, 1888. I am occupying the house of a former mine superintendent and have many conveniences not found in a railroad camp. Went to Silverton on the passenger train last night and returned this morning. Regular trains are running to where my first camp was (Chattanooga) and in a month’s time will be here and maybe they will get track laid before that as the grading will be done in two weeks time. About 400 Mexicans working.”

“Gustine Mine, August 11, 1888. Work is getting along splendidly and during this week I will get surveys made to Ironton which is as far as the line will be built this year. By the middle of next week the work will be only two miles from here and in a very short time at my door.”

“Gustine Mine, September 16, 1888. Construction work will be done in about five weeks; then I shall go to Telluride to make a short survey for a three foot gauge road.” (This became the Rio Grande Southern.)

“Ironton, October 3, 1888. Since writing you I have moved from the Gustine Mine to Ironton and we are living in a large vacant hotel, lots of room but not the conveniences we had at the mine.”

“Ironton, October 29, 1888. Since my last letter to you I discharged all my men but one and moved to Silverton but was put in charge of the work train and the track laying outfit so am back in the grader’s camp but will be done here in about a week.”

Wyes were placed at Sheridan Junction, Red Mountain and Ironton in 1888 and at Albany the next year. That of the D. & R. G. was used at Silverton. Very little room was available at Red Mountain and so only the smallest kind of wye could be made—one just big enough to accommodate an engine and a car and the depot had to be set inside of it.

Not counting the wyes there was only one switchback, that at Corkscrew Gulch, the most famous in the world as it contained a housed-over turntable.

Curvature was almost continuous. Four curves were particularly sharp—those at Chattanooga, Red Mountain, Joker Tunnel and Ironton. Steep grades 4 were also almost continuous, some as much as 5%. Some maps have shown the grade at Chattanooga as 7%. This is an error. Mr. Gibbs, the builder, stated it was 5% and a recent survey has substantiated his figure.

Bridges, as compared to those on the Rio Grande Southern Railroad, were very small, there being, outside of water boxes and culverts, only three. Two were on the main line, one where the railroad crossed Mineral Creek at Chattanooga and the other where the railroad crossed Red Mountain Creek at Joker Tunnel. The other one was on the Treasury Tunnel Branch.

The name of Burro Bridge for the station at milepost 5.3 is very misleading since the railroad sported no span at all at that point. The supposition is that the word applied to the wagon-road bridge across Mineral Creek somewhat below and away from the railroad. This road branched off from the main Silverton-Red Mountain highway about five and one-half miles north of Silverton, crossed Mineral Creek and made its way up Middle Fork Gulch and across Ophir Pass to Ophir. This, first a burro trail and later a very rugged wagon road, was in use for perhaps fifteen years before the advent of the rail line. Since the Silverton Railroad unloaded freight for Ophir in the neighborhood of Burro Bridge it is assumed that this was the reason for the adoption of the name for the station.

The town of Chattanooga eventually grew up to the left of the location shown on the map in order to avoid Mineral Creek floods.

No account of the arrival of the first train in Red Mountain has been found but it is known to have occurred on September 17, 1888. A picture herein shows the train with Engine 100 and Mears standing beside the pilot. It can be assumed that it was a gala occasion, especially for the mines, for here was an efficacious way of getting supplies and of shipping ore.

The unloading of freight on the Silverton Railroad was quite informal. Outside of Red Mountain the line maintained no bona fide stations or agents. Therefore, materials were dropped off, especially for the mines, at the most convenient points.

So far the railroad owned only one locomotive, Number 100, and so had to rent from the D. & R. G. The same was true of cars and coaches.


The railroad had been projected to Ouray, 26.6 miles in all. Mears might have used his toll road but that was, in some places, 19 per cent grade, out of the question for a railroad. The steepest ever attempted in Colorado was 7.6%. Construction from Ironton to the foot of Ironton Park would have been easy but there the canon began where the greater part of six miles would have had to be blasted out of solid rock, where slide rock could have been quite bothersome, where snow blockades would have been continuous for a long winter and where snowslides, two in particular, the Riverside and the Mother Cline, that ran every year, would have been almost impossible to conquer. The Riverside slide that came from two sides, filling the canon and burying the wagon road, often had to be tunnelled to accommodate the summer traffic. The writer, with her parents, was through one in the summer of 1903 or ’04.

At the same time surveys were made for another branch of the system, one that was to go up the Animas River from Silverton to Mineral Point, 19 miles, and possibly across the divide to Lake City.

Through operation to Ironton began in June 1889. The claim that two daily passenger trains ran there has generally been disbelieved but the following table for 1889, copied from the Official Railway Guide of May 1891, proves the point.

Otto Mears, President
S. K. Hooper, General Passenger and Ticket Agent, Denver, Colo.
Moses Liverman, General Manager and Ticket Agent, Silverton, Colo.
October 23, 1889

[]Mixed []Pass’r Miles []Pass’r []Mixed

Lv. 7:00 A.M. Lv. 1:10 P.M. .0 Silverton Ar. 11:10 A.M. Ar. 5:20 P.M.
7:34 A.M. 1:44 P.M. 5.0 Burro Bridge 10:36 A.M. 4:46 P.M.
7:49 A.M. 1:59 P.M. 7.5 Chattanooga 10:21 A.M. 4:31 P.M.
8:11 A.M. 2:21 P.M. 12.5 Summit 9:58 A.M. 4:09 P.M.
8:25 A.M. 2:35 P.M. 15.0 Red Mountain 9:50 A.M. 4:00 P.M.
8:26 A.M. 2:36 P.M. 15.5 Vanderbilt 9:44 A.M. 3:54 P.M.
8:27 A.M. 2:37 P.M. 16.0 Yankee Girl 9:43 A.M. 3:53 P.M.
8:45 A.M. 2:55 P.M. 17.0 Paymaster 9:25 A.M. 3:35 P.M.
Ar. 9:00 A.M. Ar. 3:10 P.M. 20.0 Ironton Lv. 9:10 A.M. Lv. 3:20 P.M.

[a]Daily except Sunday.

Everything was finished and working properly. Mr. Gibbs must have had the feeling of “well done” and that he deserved a reward. Mrs. Gibbs tells the following story:

“Late in September of 1889, Mr. Gibbs and I were married at Colorado Springs and started for Silverton, going by the way of Montrose and through Ouray where we stayed overnight at the beautiful Beaumont Hotel. The next morning we rode the stage to Ironton and there transferred to the little Silverton Railroad train. As we climbed the grade toward the summit the conductor came through the coach where I was the only passenger and asked me if I were cold. I couldn’t deny it so he stopped the train, picked up some wood along the track and built a fire in the little pot-bellied stove.

“In November and December Mr. Gibbs made a preliminary survey from the town of Dallas to Telluride, which was to be the route for the Rio Grande Southern Railroad, and finished the day before Christmas. We stayed overnight in Ouray and left the next morning in a snow-storm. When we reached Ironton my husband heard the line was blocked by snow so he left me with the Strayers while he went on to Silverton.

“He made arrangements for me to meet him in Red Mountain on New Year’s day, which I did. Two men besides us were going to Silverton. A shallow trail had been beaten in the deep snow between the rails. The two men held the ends of a ski pole while I hung to the middle of it and we plodded down the track. We came to a sharp hairpin curve and cut it out by sliding downhill from the track above to the one below. A few miles farther on we reached an engine with a snowplow, which was a great relief. When we reached Silverton and got to our room a nice warm dinner was sent up to us by Moses Liverman, superintendent of the S. R.

“A few days latter we left for my husband’s old home in Maine. This is what we had planned for our wedding trip but my daughters have always maintained that the others to Silverton by stage and train with all their difficulties were really the wedding journey.”[2]


The table below was furnished by Mr. Ridgway. Joker Tunnel (water drainage) did not exist at the time the map was made but was projected or started by 1892. The second column of figures was taken from the 1892 survey of the locating engineer, R. L. Kelly.

Station Mears Timetable of 1889 Actual Mileage, 1892
Silverton 0.  0. 
Burro Bridge 5.  5. 
Chattanooga 7.5 7.3
Summit (Sheridan Pass) 12.5 10.7
Red Mountain 15.  11.9
Vanderbilt 15.5 12.5
Yankee Girl 16.  12.7
Paymaster 17.  13.7
Corkscrew Gulch 14.1
Joker Tunnel 15. 
Ironton (Depot) 20.  16.5
Albany 18. 

The exaggerated mileages of the 1889 timetable would have added considerably to the freight charges, in the case of Ironton over 21%. It will be noticed beginning with Red Mountain that each Mears figure is 3 to 3½ miles more than the Kelly figure. Mr. Kelly was one of the ablest engineers of his day and his mileages cannot be questioned.

The table below was copied from an Official Railway Guide of October 1893 but no date is given for the time it was in effect. It is interesting because the mileages are different and because, at the time, only one passenger train was running.


1 M Stations 2
7:30 A. M. 0 Lv. Silverton Ar. 11:50 A. M.
8:00 6 Burro Bridge 11:40
8:10 9 Chattanooga 11:30
8:30 13 Summit 11:10
8:40 14 Red Mountain 10:50
15 Vanderbilt
8:55 15 Yankee Girl 10:45
16 Paymaster coal track
9:10 17 Corkscrew Gulch 10:25
18 Paymaster ore track
9:20 A. M. 20 Ar. Ironton Lv. 10:00

All carrier lines issued paper passes but Mears wanted to do something special for his railroad. Outside of the paper ones his passes fell into four categories—buckskin, plate, medallion and filigree. The first three were for the Silverton Railroad alone while the fourth, though made especially for the Rio Grande Southern Railroad, was usable on the S. R.

There were two designs of the silver plate pass. It is supposed that the first die broke and a substitute had to be made. The medallion passes, ordinarily silver, have the date 1890, the number and the name of the recipient on the back. Two extra-special ones have come to light. Each is made of two gold medallions set back to back and hinged to form a locket and each has a little diamond in the face. An odd silver pass, a spoon with a plate pass hanging from underneath, has been discovered. The filigrees, silver and gold, have been extensively treated in the book, Rio Grande Southern Story.

According to an item in a Rico Sun of November 28, 1891, copied from a Denver Sun, a company called “Ouray and Ironton Electric Railway, Light and Power,” consisting of Mears, Walsen, Charles Munn, James H. Cassanova and William H. Wallace, with capital of $800,000, filed articles of incorporation with the Secretary of State on November 20. Its purpose was to build a cog road from Ouray to Ironton, with a branch up Poughkeepsie 9 Gulch (Uncompahgre River) to the head of Cement Creek.

The following quotation is from Mr. Arthur Ridgway:

“The assumption that Mr. Mears contemplated extending the S. R. from Ironton to Ouray is correct but he was deterred because of its being so formidable an undertaking. He may have considered Albany as the possible point for the origin of the extension at first but later Ironton proved the more feasible. Anyway, he had a preliminary location for an electric railway, Ouray to Ironton, made in 1892 by the then noted locating engineer, R. L. Kelly. No doubt the impracticability if not the utter impossibility, of operating steam locomotives over the heavy grades and severe curvature known to be necessary dissuaded him from the purpose until the recognized practicability of electric railway operation became apparent in 1892. Whatever the delay (a long one for Mr. Mears) it was not until 1892 that a survey was made and even then, as stated before, for electric operation. The map I have of the completed location shows a line starting from a connection with the Denver & Rio Grande at the Ouray depot, eight miles in length, to a connection near the Ironton depot, incorporating 7% maximum gradients and 35° maximum rate of curvature. With even these severe physical characteristics considerable tunnelling was necessary. I do not have the estimated cost of the project but it must have been staggering. It is small wonder that with the difficulty of financing so costly a scheme and the great financial panic a year later in 1893, together with the contemporary decadence of silver mining, the project was permanently shelved by even the visionary Mr. Mears.”

D. & R. G. track already lay between Ouray and Ridgway and between Silverton and Durango. Mr. Mears, by the end of 1891, had completed the Rio Grande Southern from Ridgway to Durango. Only eight miles from Ironton to Ouray were needed to make a complete 243 mile circle. If only that eight miles could have been constructed! Then a sightseer could have started at Ridgway, taken a side trip to Telluride (14.6 miles), proceeded to Durango, to Silverton and back to starting point. He should not have attempted it in the winter or spring because of snow blockades or snowslides but in the summer or fall he could have had the thrill of a lifetime.


He would have looked upon or wended his way among snowcapped peaks, hundreds over 12,000 or 13,000 feet high and some over 14,000 feet, many so sharp as to be termed “needles”; would have crossed several passes, one over 10,000 feet and another over 11,000 feet in altitude; would have gone up one canyon and down another, often beside rushing, tumbling rivers. He would have passed over breathtakingly high bridges, over trestles set against bare cliffs, around U-curves innumerable, over switchbacks, over a turntable, through rock tunnels and even through snow tunnels.

But the thrills and scenery would have been tempered with trouble, that trouble-trouble-boil-and-bubble kind, such as delays because of engines having to blow up, hot boxes, trees across the track, boulders and lots of them on the track, mudslides, washouts, a derailed engine or car or a couple of each and a missing bridge or two.

If his luck were still holding he would have ridden the last lap on the electric railway, down the awesome Red Mountain Creek and Uncompahgre River canyons where sheer rock walls would have risen hundreds of feet above him and dropped hundreds of feet below him and, as he turned a last curve, he would have beheld the never-to-be-forgotten sight of the little town of Ouray, the gem of all mountain towns, nestled in a deep pocket surrounded by towering peaks.


Denver, Colorado March 28th, 1892.

Dear Sir:

I beg to hand you herewith a report from the auditor of the earnings of the Silverton Railroad for the years 1889, 1890 and 1891, showing also the mileage and bonded debt.

I may add for your information that this road is built through the famous Red Mountain district of the San Juan Country, in which are located the well-known Yankee Girl and Guston mines, besides many other producing properties.


This is the only road that can be built through this district because of lack of room. The mines mentioned are large producers, and there are many more which are being developed rapidly. This is one of the best known mining districts in Colorado. From Ironton to the town of Ouray, which is reached by another branch of the Denver & Rio Grande, the distance is seven miles over very precipitous country.

The reason the road has not been extended to Ouray is because of the excessive cost, but capitalists are now engaged in making estimates and plans for an electric road to cover this distance to follow the line of the Mears toll road as indicated on the map. (No map accompanies this material.) A line of this kind can be built to operate much more cheaply than a railway line, and we have good reason to expect that this gap may be so filled during this year. At the present time stages make daily trips each way over the toll road, and the trip from Silverton to Ouray is a favorite one with the tourists on account of the beauty and grandeur of the scenery on the toll road.

There is every reason to expect that the earnings for the year 1892 will increase in the same proportion as in the past, and will continue for a great many years. The Silverton Railroad is also authorized to build up the Animas River. We would like very much this year to extend the road in that direction some 12 or 15 miles in order to reach a very rich and valuable mining district. There are a great many very extensive mines of low grade material lying between Silverton and the summit of the range towards the northeast, and our object in offering to you the bonds of the present line of the railroad is to obtain funds to extend the line up the Animas River.

We can offer you at the present time $400,000 out of a total of $425,000. These bonds are issued in denominations of $1,000 each. The interest is payable semi-annually on the first of April and the first of October at the rate of six per cent per annum in U. S. gold coin.

Yours very truly, John L. McNeil,[3] Treasurer.



NOTE.—This Society is not responsible, as a body, for the facts and opinions advanced in any of its publications.

Vol. XXIII.—September, 1890.


By C. W. Gibbs, M. Am. Soc. C. E.


The Silverton Railroad is a short line but 17.5 miles long, and has the reputation of being the steepest (5 per cent. grade), the crookedest (30 degree curves) and the best paying road in Colorado; and is owned by one man, Otto Mears. It also has a turn-table on its main track, and it is the purpose of this paper to describe it and explain why it was so placed.

This road leaves the Denver and Rio Grande at Silverton, and runs over a divide 11 113 feet above sea level, then down into the rich mining country beyond. The country is very rough and rugged, and in order to reach the town of Red Mountain it was necessary to run up on a switchback, as no room for a loop could be found. A wye was, therefore, built, and the engine could be turned while the train stood on the main track. The engine was thus placed ahead of the train, only the train is pulled out of the station rear end ahead. It runs thus till the turn-table is reached. The train is stopped at a point marked A, Plate XXII; the engine uncoupled, run on to the table, is turned and pulled up to a point near B, where it is stopped. The train is then allowed to drop down to the turn-table and the engine backed on to it. In coming up from Albany the train is stopped on the down grade between the summit at B and the table; the engine is taken off, turned on the table and run up to about A; the train is then allowed to drop to the table as before and the engine backed up and coupled on, taking not over five minutes in going either way.

The reason of putting the table in was that there were no mines to the east of Ironton as shown on Plate XXI, but between the turn-table and the loop there were 13 several that it was very desireable to reach, and the side hill is so steep that it is impossible to make a loop on it.

This table is the source of a great deal of comment from tourists, of whom there are many during the summer months, as it is on the line known as the “circle,” so extensively advertised by the Denver and Rio Grande Railroad.

The road is used both for a freight and passenger road, and as before mentioned, is the best paying road in Colorado, two engines being kept busy hauling ore to Silverton from the Red Mountain district.

The object of writing this paper was to describe what the author thinks is quite a novelty, being the only turn-table that he has ever heard of which is used upon a switchback in this manner, and where the grades are adjusted as they are to let the train run by gravity on the table from both ways.

Plate XXI is a print from a photograph of the map filed in Washington, and is about 9 000 feet to the inch.

Plate XXII is an enlarged sketch of the line near the turn-table.


J. Foster Cromwell, M. Am. Soc. C. E.—It occurs to me that the use of this turn-table being simply to turn the engine during transit, while the train waits, and, moreover, as the service is a special one on a spur line, it would have been better to obtain an engine capable of running in either direction and not requiring to be turned, rather than resort to a turn-table in the main track which contains an element of danger as well as of delay to the traffic. The device, however, is an ingenious one to meet the peculiar conditions of line; and if experience with it proves satisfactory, there are other problems on a larger scale relating to change of direction in mountain location that it may help to solve.

C. W. Gibbs, M. Am. Soc. C. E.—If a special engine had been procured, as Mr. Crowell suggests, it would have been at an extra expense, owing to the limited number wanted; and even with a special design, it might have been difficult for any engine to have backed its load over so steep a grade and such sharp curves without more danger than was suggested there might be at the turn-table. The delay to traffic amounts to nothing, for there are no competing lines, nor do I expect there ever will be. The turn-table has now been in actual operation every day since June, 1889, and no accident has ever occurred.


VOL. XXIII. No. 450.

C.W. GIBBS, Chief Engineer.


YEARS 1889, 1890 AND 1891

Gross earnings from Frt. Psngr. Exp. Etc. $ 80,881.66
Operating and all other expenses 34,285.04
Interest on first mortgage bonds 1 year 25,500.00
Gross earnings from Frt. Psngr. Exp. Etc. $105,673.39
Operating and all other expenses 51,127.22
Interest on first mortgage bonds 1 year 25,500.00
Gross earnings from Frt. Psngr. Exp. Etc. $121,611.38
Operating and all other expenses 57,548.37
Interest on first mortgage bonds 1 year 25,500.00
Length of line 17 miles
Length of side tracks 8 miles
25 miles
Floating debt Nil
Bonded debt $425,000.00

Alex Anderson, Auditor

At the time the foregoing statement was made, the Company owned the following equipment:

3 locomotives

2 coaches

1 baggage and express car

In addition to the above, the company now owns 50 freight cars, which it has since purchased, and it also has a floating debt of $32,502.76.

Alex Anderson, Auditor


As has already been noted Engine 100 was purchased and put into service as soon as the railroad started operating.

The Rio Grande Southern Railroad bought a number of engines in both 1890 and ’91 and, as it was not yet in operation and did not need so many, it kept its sister railroad in supply. A record of those it loaned to the S. R. in 1892 is as follows:

No. 8—January 1 to April 12

No. 5—July 7 to November 19

No. 7—August 14 to September 2

No. 6—September 2 to October 10

No. 34—November 27 to December 31

A picture of No. 5 with a train at Summit may be found herein.

It has always been supposed that the Shay engine belonged originally to the Silverton Railroad but the Lima Locomotive Works’ records reveal that Mears bought it under his own name in the spring of 1890. It, as No. 269, was used on construction of the Rio Grande Southern throughout that year and the next.

It isn’t known how or when it got into the possession of the S. R. but it was with that company in the summer of 1892 and a picture of it on the lower leg of the turntable track exists. It seems to have been called both “Ironton” and “Guston” during this period. It was traded to the R. G. S. for the latter’s Engine 34 on November 27, 1892. (Note that the table above shows the 34 merely on loan. The trade date, however, is correct.)

Locomotive 34 was a Baldwin of the 56 class which had, before going to the R. G. S., belonged to both the D. & R. G. and the R. G. W. The S. R. numbered it “101” but several years later changed it to a mere “1”.

Red Mountain and Ironton became two flourishing towns with plenty of stores and all the appurtenances of civilization. In the eighties and early nineties Red Mountain had three newspapers. In 1890 it had a population of 598 while Ironton had 322. Even Chattanooga had a mill, some stores and 51 people. The locality was a beehive of activity as mines and mills were working 17 every place. The hills were liberally sprinkled with houses, stores, mills, boarding houses, barns and mine buildings. An incendiary fire at Red Mountain on August 20, 1892 destroyed practically the whole town causing property damage estimated at $259,000. But nothing daunted these optimists. They immediately went about rebuilding it.

The transportation of supplies to the district—machinery, timbers for mines, lumber, living necessities, coal and feed for animals—must have been terrific for such little trains to handle. Return trains carried ore bound for the smelters at Silverton and Durango. A company in which Mears was interested built a smelter, the Standard, at Durango in 1889, to handle copper ore from the Red Mountain area but it did not prove a success. Eventually, in 1897, the property was sold and rased. The slag pile may still be seen just south of town.

Operation, not counting sharp curves and steep grades, was complicated. Turning facilities were numerous for such a short piece of railroad—Silverton, Sheridan Junction, Red Mountain, Corkscrew Gulch, Ironton and Albany. The Operation of the turntable has already been exhibited. It, very soon after completion, began having trouble with snow, and a long entrance shed was built to alleviate the condition. Each leg of the wye at Red Mountain would accommodate only two cars, and so the engine and baggage car went around it and hooked onto the other end of the coaches.

Four regular freights and probably an extra one or two operated. The company did not have enough engines or anything else for such traffic and so must have borrowed from the R. G. S. and the D. & R. G. Passenger business was only a sideline but Mears maintained the dignity of his little railroad by running daily, each way, two passenger trains, each with two or three coaches and baggage car. He charged 20c per mile straight and had all the riders he could handle.

Business had been very good, so good, in fact, that the Silverton Railroad had the reputation of being the best-paying for its size in the state. Mears even used profit from it to assist the R. G. S. which was not doing as well as had been expected.


An extension of the Silverton Railroad up the Animas River Valley had been considered for several years. It became a reality in 1893 when the two miles from Silverton to the Silver Lake mill at Waldheim were built. It was considered a part of the S. R. system, not a separate line.

The San Juan’s most common precious metal was silver. Others were gold, lead, zinc and copper. Trouble had been brewing for some time but when the government repealed the Sherman Silver Purchasing Act in 1893 a panic descended not only on the San Juan but on all of the United States.

All mining towns had, of course, boomed and were replete with hordes of promoters, prospectors, miners and hangers-on. Saloons, gambling joints and brothels flourished. Now, mines closed by the dozens and the populace departed. Many towns, especially the small ones, were practically deserted. Train operation came down to a mixed freight and passenger.

As some of Mears’ letters indicate, he was, after the panic, having a most difficult time in making ends meet. He gave up the Rio Grande Southern almost immediately and allowed it to go into receivership on the 2nd of August, 1893. He tried, however, to hang on to the Silverton Railroad but, as some of the letters reveal, he had to do a good deal of juggling with bonds, stocks and notes to stave off creditors.

In 1896 the company claimed 18.25 miles of track from Silverton to Albany, 3.75 miles of branches and .48 miles of spurs. In the same year it listed two locomotives, three combination cars, 36 box cars, one caboose and one “other”.

Even with the hard times Mears managed by borrowing to extend the railroad in 1896 from Waldheim to the Sunnyside mine at Eureka, another 6½ miles. This entire piece, Silverton to Eureka, he incorporated as the Silverton Northern. This railroad was justified as both the Silver Lake and Sunnyside mines carried a good deal of gold.

At the turn of the century the most talked of and anticipated event in the mining country was the Meldrum Tunnel which was to bore through the range west of Red Mountain town and connect with mines at Pandora near Telluride on the other side.


The tunnel was to be large enough to contain a railroad which was to connect the Silverton Railroad with the Rio Grande Southern at Pandora. This would have saved much mileage and would, except at the ends, have been free from snow.

Andrew Meldrum, a Scotchman, the originator of the project, raised money and started work in 1898. He left a point on the west side one and a half miles south of Pandora and drilled eastward until he had reached a depth of 1400 feet. Except for one joggle it was quite straight. At the same time he ran another tunnel westward from a point about one-half of a mile north of Joker Tunnel to a depth of 600 feet or more. Altogether he drilled about 1.6 miles on the west side and .6 mile on the east side. Finally, in 1900, with 3.4 miles yet to go, he ran out of money and had to abandon the project.

However, Meldrum’s dream did materialize in 1946 during World War II when the government loaned the Idarado Mining Company, which had bought the old Treasury Tunnel workings at Red Mountain, the money to complete a tunnel through the mountain to the Pandora side. It takes several drops and rises and goes in various directions in order to contact the ore veins, so that the total length is 7½ miles. This amount does not include some tail tunnels.

The Idarado property is now considered one of the richest in the world for hardrock ores—silver, gold, lead, zinc, copper and manganese.

Meldrum lived out his life in Ouray and died in a cabin there all alone, a few years too soon to see his dream come true.

Everybody hoped and expected that mining would soon revive but the time dragged on and it did not. William Jennings Bryan ran for president of the United States in 1896 on a “free coinage of silver” platform and the “Silver San Juan”, Mears especially, ardently campaigned for him. When Bryan was defeated, Mears gave up on a mining revival and early in 1897 moved to the East. There he took up several business enterprises and stayed for ten years. However, he retained a general supervision over his railroads and made numberless trips back to the San Juan.

Revenues had decreased so greatly that the railroad was finally, in 1898, 20 forced into receivership. Alex Anderson, a Scotchman and a former auditor, was made the receiver.

The Crawford interests who were promoting the Joker Tunnel (a drainage operation) got control of the railroad in a foreclosure sale in 1904. On November 3 of that year it was incorporated by Otto Mears, Alex Anderson, John Ewing, George Crawford and Harry Riddell as the Silverton Railway, with Mears as president. The new company replaced the old 30-lb. steel with 45-lb. Mr. Ridgway, as superintendent at this time, 1904 and 1905, had to keep three sets of books—one for the S. R., one for the S. Ry. and one for the S.N.

Just before and after the reorganization, business revived until it was nearly as good as in the beginning though only one passenger train ever ran again and then only as far as Joker Tunnel. The train consisted of two coaches and a baggage car to Red Mountain where one coach was set out and the rest went on to Joker. In 1912 a daily passenger was running only as far as Red Mountain. In 1919 and ’20 a passenger was still going to the same destination. During this period about two freights operated though the number depended on the amount of business. A little engine could haul three loads up to Red Mountain and a big one could haul five. Both handled ten loads down. In the winter operation was suspended either for short periods or for the season because of snow blockades.

The turntable was still standing in early 1906 for John Crum who that spring drove a logging team from Albany Gulch to the Gold Lion mine, at night turned his horses loose on a flat nearby and in the morning had to play tag with them around the table to catch them.

Mears, who was expecting great things of the Cold Prince mine and mill at Animas Forks on the Silverton Northern, decided he needed a turntable worse there than at Corkscrew. So, in the summer of 1906, Edward Meyer, an engineer, took a train to the gulch to retrieve all essential and removable parts along with other appurtenances. These were then transported to and installed at Animas Forks.

Joe Dresbach, the general manager of the time, has also stated that essential and removable parts of the turntable at Corkscrew were retrieved 21 and installed at Animas Forks.

Charles Decker, an engineer, says that the housing and operating parts of the turntable at Corkscrew were gone when he went there for the first time in 1907. The train merely ran over the stationary table onto a switchback that had been extended to hold several cars, and then backed out.

After the turntable was abandoned a train leaving Red Mountain headed into Corkscrew Gulch, backed down to Joker Tunnel, headed into Corkscrew again and finally backed to Red Mountain. Or the operation was reversed by backing out of Red Mountain to begin with. As trains will not back through much snow downhill and practically none uphill this railroad got into trouble in the winter no matter how it started out or what it did.

Mears was employed by the D. & R. G. to reconstruct the railroad in the Animas canyon after the disastrous flood of October 5, 1911. He used S. Ry., S. G. & N. and S. N. engines and crews to work from the north end. Trains went to Joker Tunnel to pick up rails that had been brought that far by freight teams from Ouray. Silverton ran out of coal, and some that had already been hauled to the Treasury Tunnel at Red Mountain was brought back to town. In about 60 days the line was open and the first two freight cars to arrive in Silverton were one of caskets and one of beer.

Many derailments and minor accidents occurred but in its 39 years of operation only one fatality. In 1902 or ’03 an engine ran off a short rail at Sheridan Junction causing it to overturn. The engineer, Bally Thompson, was caught and crushed under the boiler. The whole top of his head and jaw were torn off and his skin was cooked like that of a roasted turkey.

The year ending June 30, 1911 showed a cash balance of $9 while the year ending December 31, 1917 turned up with a deficit of $25,241. Regular operation ceased in 1921 and abandonment proceedings were held in the early fall of 1922. All rolling stock, including Engines 100 and 101 (1) were turned over to the S. N.


Below is the last station list ever published:

.00 Silverton 9,300
5.30 Burro Bridge 10,236
7.23 Chattanooga 10,400
10.64 Summit 11,235
11.97 Red Mountain 11,025
12.66 Vanderbilt
12.85 Yankee Girl
13.26 Robinson
13.46 Guston
13.93 Paymaster Coal Track
14.38 Corkscrew Gulch
14.81 Paymaster Ore Track
15.03 Silver Belle
16.06 Joker

As the track was not immediately removed an occasional train was run to Red Mountain or even to the mines beyond. With the salvaging of the rails in 1926 the Silverton Railroad made its last run.

The original Red Mountain Town was on the east side of the small hill called the Knob. The place began declining about 1907 and the time came when it was deserted and all structures were in a state of near or complete collapse. The Idarado, the old Treasury Tunnel, to the north side of the Knob, with all its prosperous looking mine and mill buildings and its nice dwellings, most of which were moved there from Eureka, now constitutes the town of Red Mountain. This Tunnel is a World War II development and is famous because it bores through the mountain to the mines on the Telluride side.


The new highway has almost obliterated the old railroad grade. It may be seen crawling along on the sidehill up to Burro Bridge, and again at Chattanooga Loop and overhead as it climbs to the summit. It also may be seen curving around the Knob to old Red Mountain town, crawling along the mountain to Corkscrew Gulch and dropping down to Joker Tunnel. Then all traces of it are gone except some old grade at Albany. First a road, then a railroad and again a road!



The Gold King Mining Company, under President W. Z. Kinney, promoted a railroad for the purpose of hauling concentrates from mills along Cement Creek to the smelters at Silverton. According to the Manual the railroad was chartered April 6, 1899 and completed in July. James Dyson located the route and the Rocky Mountain Construction Co., incorporated in Maine, constructed the 7.5 miles of line and the one-half mile of sidings from Silverton to Gladstone. Forty-five-pound rail was used. Track left the main line of the D. & R. G. at the north end of Silverton and there a roundhouse was built. San Juan County records show that the property was conveyed from the construction company to the railroad company July 21, 1899. Two figures, $247,838 and $252,979, have been given as the cost of the job. The difference may have covered equipment.

The S. G. & N. bought Engine 32 from the Rio Grande Southern through the D. & R. G. purchasing agent, C. M. Hobbs, for $3252. Mr. Hobbs instructed Mr. Lee, general superintendent of the R. G. S., to letter it properly, deliver it to W. Z. Kinney at Silverton on August 1, 1899 and collect the money. Two very nice made-to-order coaches, that had seats for passengers in one end and baggage compartments in the other, were obtained. Two trains ran daily consisting, generally, of an engine, two loads and a passenger coach. The first year of operation showed a surplus of $35,366.21.

The company, evidently, did not have enough power and in October 1900 it was asking the R. G. S. for another locomotive like the one it already had, but none was available. Meanwhile, a company in Palestine, Texas had bought R. C. S. 33 (exactly like 32) but on finding it unsatisfactory, had shipped it back. The R. G. S. placed it in the Burnham Shops at Denver where, in 1902, it underwent extensive repairs. Then it was sold to the S. G. & N.

The two locomotives mentioned above were sisters to the Silverton Railroad’s No. 101 (1), formerly R. G. S. 34. All three were of the same make 26 and the same class and had the same owners at the same time and in the same order—the D. & R. G., the R. G. W. and the R. G. S. All of these engines ended up with the S. N. (So did S. R. No. 100.) All had five owners. The 33 had six owners if one would count the company in Texas but, as far as is known, no money changed hands.

A new locomotive, No. 34, a Baldwin of the 100 class, was purchased in 1904. The Manual of 1905 lists three engines, two coaches, and twenty freight cars; the one of 1909 says two locomotives, two coaches, ten box cars and twenty-one gondolas. Engine 32 was the one out of service at this time. Eventually its boiler went to a sawmill at Cascade. No. 33 lasted a few years longer.

Except for Mr. Kinney of Silverton, the board of ten directors elected in 1904 were all from Maine, Massachusetts or New Brunswick and the trustee under the mortgage was the Newtonville Trust Co. of Newtonville, Mass. In 1905 the funded debt was $100,000 and the outstanding stock, $121,000. In the year ending June 30, 1909, the railroad had carried 16,667 tons of freight and 3,916 passengers.

It was not uncommon for service to be discontinued for short or long periods in any winter on account of snow blockades but the suspension in the fall of 1911 was due to the extensive washouts on the D. & R. G. in the Animas Canon. S. G. & N. men and equipment were sent to assist in the reconstruction.

Excursions were often run to Gladstone for picnics or to gather columbines either to send out of town for some special doings or for any kind of local celebration.

According to the Official Guides of 1913, 1914 and 1915 mixed trains ran thrice weekly—Monday, Wednesday and Friday. In 1913 trains left Silverton at 1:00 P.M. and arrived at Gladstone at 1:45 P.M.; left Gladstone at 2:15 P.M. and arrived at Silverton at 3:00 P.M. This was a considerable decline from the original two trains per day.

About the first of January 1910, Mears, Slattery and Pitcher leased the Gold King mine. On January 15 of the same year the Silverton Northern Railroad leased the S. G. & N. and five years later, on June 10, 1915, bought 27 it at auction. San Juan County records show that the deed was made July 23. Mears then owned all three railroads. Only one S. G. & N. engine, the 34, was in service. The partners gave up the lease on the mine in 1917 and Mears, then 77 years old, left for California, never to return.

Mrs. Percy Airy has a little story to tell of this period. In 1911 her husband was working at the Gold King mill at Gladstone and they were living in a little cabin with almost no furniture and conveniences. One morning while she was washing, Percy came rushing in, saying he was bringing his uncle Jack Slattery, Otto Mears, James Pitcher and Louis Quarnstrom in for dinner. Flustered and dismayed were no words for it! At such a camp no fresh stuff was available but she managed a dinner of ham, scalloped potatoes, a canned vegetable, biscuits with butter and jam, fresh canned mountain raspberries, cake and coffee. She had only two stool chairs and one of them was occupied by the washtub which Mears urged her not to move. She put one man on the other stool chair, two on the bed and two in rockers. Being very young, only nineteen, she was so embarrassed she wouldn’t sit down at the table. Everybody praised her dinner and she felt better. When Mears left he presented her with a very rich piece of gold ore, about the size of a large orange, and told here if she’d always keep that she’d never be poor. Later she engaged a jeweler to make a watch charm from it for her husband. A small cracked charm and two small pieces of ore were all that was returned to her. The fellow claimed he had had to break the big chunk all to pieces to get the charm and had thrown the scraps away. Of course every small grain of that ore was valuable.

Business kept dwindling until only an occasional train was run. The following table indicates that the track was still lying in 1923.


Official Roster 1923
0 Silverton 9,300
3.2 Yukon Mills
5.0 Porcupine Gulch
7.0 Fishers Mill
7.5 Gladstone 10,600

No exact date can be found for the tearing up of the rails but it probably was in 1926, the same year the S. R. was dismantled. All equipment went to the S. N. as it already belonged to it anyway.

The government, during our war with Japan, established military posts in Alaska. The railroad up there, the White Pass and Yukon, needed more locomotives and in 1942 it purchased all that were left on the S.N.—the 3, 4 and 34. (The S. N. had ceased operation three years previously.) The 34, as should be remembered, had belonged to the S. G. & N. When the Alaskan railroad received the 34 it numbered it “24”. After Diesel power was obtained there the 24 (nee 34), then about forty years old, was retired to the boneyard.

One of the original S. G. & N. coaches was bought from the S. N., moved to Durango and set up on Main Avenue as the “Pioneer Diner”. Later, after changes and additions, it became the “Chief Diner”. It is still operating and may be seen in Durango.



Mears hoped to run a railroad from Silverton to Mineral Point and possibly on to Lake City, following practically the same route as the wagon road he had built twelve years previously. C. W. Gibbs, chief engineer, made surveys from Silverton to Eureka in both 1889 and ’90 but nothing was immediately attempted, probably because of all effort and money going toward the construction of the Rio Grande Southern. However, two miles from Silverton to Waldheim were built in 1893 as an extension of the Silverton Railroad.

According to San Juan County records the Silverton Northern was incorporated on September 20, 1895. Fred Walsen was the president, Otto Mears the vice-president and Alex Anderson the secretary-treasurer.

Construction began at the North Star bridge, the end of the first piece of railroad, in late April of 1896 and the 6½ miles were completed to Eureka in late June. The transfer of the property from the construction company to the railroad company was made on July 1st. Silverton Northern books gave the cost of construction as $272,400. Meanwhile the first two miles had been transferred from the Silverton Railroad to the Silverton Northern. A big celebration took place at Eureka on the completion of the line and Mrs. Edward G. Stoiber drove the golden spike. A picture is extant which shows the crowd there.

S. R. Engine 101 was transferred to the S. N. but henceforth was to go by the number of 1. Of course, the company could borrow a locomotive or other equipment from the S. R. or the D. & R. G. as needed.

Ever since the panic of 1893 with its demonetization of silver, mining in the San Juan had been seriously crippled but, since the Sunnyside mine near Eureka and the Silver Lake mine near Waldheim produced good values in gold, the S. N. could make a profit.

Mining men, Mears among them, had great hopes that mining would revive as of old if William Jennings Bryan could be elected as president. 30 Bryan, it should be remembered, was running in 1896 on a platform of silver coinage at 16 to 1 with gold. When he was defeated Mears lost hope for any improvement in mining and moved to the East where he took up several projects. One was the building of the Chesapeake Beach railroad from Washington to the beach. Another was the promotion of the Mack Truck Co. with himself as the first president. He, at that early date, saw the possibilities of automobile transportation.

Though Mears stayed in the east until 1907 he exercised a strong supervision over his San Juan railroads and made a number of trips back to the country to oversee them.

In 1901 the company owned one locomotive, one passenger coach, ten box cars and one service car. For the year ending June 30, 1901 it had operated 3376 miles of mixed and 1310 miles of passenger service. In 1902 it paid a dividend of 10%.

The Gold Prince mine, four miles up the Animas River canon from Eureka, was then flourishing so Mears decided to build a railroad to the place. He hired Thomas Wigglesworth as surveyor and constructor. Construction from Silverton to Eureka had been easy—no hard grading and only two small bridges—but from Eureka to Animas Forks, the little town near the Gold Prince, it was to be very difficult—up a rough canon and over 7% to 7½% grade, the very maximum for a steam railroad.

Mr. Vest Day gives an account of its building:

“Mr. Thomas Wigglesworth, for whom I had worked several times before, hired me to get stuff together and go up to Animas Forks to establish a camp. Late in May of 1904 I loaded on the train at Durango about a carload of surveyor’s equipment and camp supplies, among which was a 350-lb. cook stove, all to be taken by rail to Eureka. There the two Peck brothers packed it on burros and, since the snow was deep and soft, they often had to spread gunny sacks out for the burros to step on, especially for the one with the stove, to keep them from sinking in too deeply. Everything arrived at Animas Forks in good order.

“The snow was six feet deep around the cabins we were to occupy so I 31 had to shovel paths and dig down to get the doors open. Then I had to gather wood out of the tree tops but had the stove up and a good supper ready when Mr. Wigglesworth arrived with three other young fellows.

“We first did some preliminary surveying, running a line from Animas Forks to the divide in case Mr. Mears should decide on a railroad to Lake City. The snow was so deep we could not drive the stakes so we cut turning points in the hard crust with a hatchet.

“Then we started to work in the canon which was a hard problem and had labored a month trying to get a line up the east side when Mr. Wigglesworth remarked to Mr. Mears that he’d like to build the railroad on the other side where the road was. Mears told him to go ahead and take it as it was his road anyway. Even though we used the road grade, still a lot of work had to be done and R. T. F. Simpson, who was to run the commissary, brought with him from New Mexico, 100 Navajo Indians to do the rough labor. About 25 whites were employed but they acted as powder men, clerks or other such things. We were all finished in the fall.

“While we were there Mr. Wigglesworth procured for Roy Goodman and me a railroad bicycle that Mears had had made for Mrs. Stoiber. She was not at that time using it. This contraption had a framework to which was fastened four light-weight flanged wheels with rubber on them, that ran on the track. Above was a platform on which were two stationary bicycles side by side. The riders treadled the bicycles and the two chains that pulled the two rear wheels and were connected with two small wheels on the axle of the car, drove the car, so it ran nicely on the track. We had a grand time going back and forth to Silverton on it.”

Marion A. Speer, a lad from Texas, went to work in the spring of 1904 as a nipper on the railroad which was building from Eureka to Animas Forks. His job was to carry heavy tools such as drills and picks from the blacksmith shop to the drilling and blasting crews, and the dull ones back. The work was very hard but he had to have the money if he expected to go to the Colorado School of Mines, which was his intention. One day Wigglesworth, his boss, came to him and told him he’d have to let him go as the work was 32 too heavy for him. Marion, then, proceeded to “bawl his eyes out”. When Wigglesworth found out the reason he not only took him back but hired a Mexican boy to help him.

The construction outfit used Engine 3 which was brand new that year, was very powerful and a beauty and was called “Gold Prince” after the mine at Animas Forks. That piece of railroad was completed in the fall except for sidings which were laid the next year.

Young Speer worked at the Silver Lake mill for several summers and often got to ride in Engine 100; he also went to Gladstone in the 34 and was on the S. N. coach, the Animas Forks, when it turned over the first time. The track still lay to Albany in 1907 for a train took a bunch of picnickers, of which he was one, down that way and let them off.

The railroad workers, among whom was Speer, ate at the Silver Wing (Condit) boarding house, and they were lolling around outside one evening in June of 1904 when a terrific explosion took place at the Toltec blacksmith shop, directly across the river, about 200 feet away. Debris of all descriptions peppered the boarding house.

The Silverton Standard reported the event thus:

An Awful Explosion—“Three men, Percy Kemper, Edward Crane and L. W. Lofgren, were killed last Sunday night about ten o’clock by a powder explosion at the Toltec Tunnel of the Sioux Mining Company, located above Eureka near the mouth of Picayune Gulch.

“Kemper and Crane were literally blown to pieces, parts of their bodies being found in different places, 300 and 400 yards from the scene of the explosion. The blacksmith shop was, of course, demolished. When the sound of the explosion brought others to the scene, Lofgren was still alive, but he died on the way to Silverton. The remains of the other two unfortunate men were brought to this city Monday afternoon.

“Lofgren, it seems, had been working behind a metal mine car which absorbed much of the force of the explosion. This accounts for the fact that Lofgren was not killed outright.

“At the coroner’s inquest held Monday a verdict was returned that the 33 three men came to their deaths by and through carelessness in heating powder.

“The largely attended triple funeral was held Wednesday afternoon under the auspices of the Miner’s Union of which all three of the deceased were members in good standing, the local Odd Fellows, however, turning out in honor of their deceased brother, Lofgren. Reverend Shindler preached the funeral sermon.”

Vest Day reports that his survey crew helped pick up the pieces of the bodies the next morning and put them into nail kegs.

Mr. Meyer, the locomotive engineer on the construction crew, claimed the Indians would stop work on almost any pretext but especially to chase ground hogs. Mears decided to put a stop to such foolishness and hired 25 white kids and supplied them with rifles to kill the animals. It didn’t help much because when they were out of the way the Indians could find plenty of other excuses to dawdle.

Mr. Arthur Ridgway stated that when he came to the S. N. in October of 1904 work was still going on under the supervision of Marshall B. Smith, Mears’s son-in-law, with Navajo labor. Operation of the line began the next Spring after the snow went off.

In 1905 Mr. Ridgway surveyed and built a branch from Howardsville up Cunningham Gulch to the Green Mountain and Old Hundred mines, which added 1.3 miles of railroad to the system. The S. N. must have been in financial straits at this time for Mears had to raise money in New York to pay interest on the bonds.

This railroad went north from Silverton as did the other two. The termini of the S. R. and S. N. were not much more than six air miles apart with the S. G. & N. in between. Animas Forks is at the foot of Mineral Point. One may ride out on the top of Mineral Point, as this writer has done and see the waters divide, the Uncompahgre going to the north and the Animas to the south. Mears never got the courage to build a railroad up there as first projected nor on to Lake City.

During the year ending June 30, 1905 the railroad carried 31,433 passengers and 43,349 tons of freight. The Manual or Guide lists for 1905, 34 two engines, for 1909, three and for 1911, two. One or two passenger cars, one or two baggage and several freight cars were claimed. It should be remembered that equipment was interchanged between these little lines and was also borrowed from the D. & R. G.

The S. N. used or acquired S. R. Engines 100 and 1. Then it bought an old one from the D. & R. G, which it numbered 2, but it was of such little good it was soon scrapped. Mears bought the 3 new in 1904 and the 4 new in 1906, both Baldwins of the 76 class. In 1910 the S. N. leased and in 1915 bought the S. G. & N. and got its engines, the 32, 33 and 34. Numbers 100, 32 and 33 were scrapped between 1909 and 1912 but 1 was still in use in 1916 for it is shown in the picture of the zinc train that was running at that time. All four of those just noted sat for a number of years in the boneyard at Silverton. Numbers 3 and 4 were used on the snow bucking because 34 was too large for the plow.

Mears could always think up something novel and smart. He had already put out the silver and gold passes and had devised the railroad bicycle but now he wanted to do something special in the way of a passenger coach for this run. He bought an old narrow gauge sleeper from the D. & R. G., that had been used on the run from Pueblo via Salida to Alamosa after 1890 and is thought to have been one of those that came to Durango and Silverton From ’81 to ’83. He had it painted a bright green, put the words in gold, “Silverton Northern Railroad” over the windows and named it the “Animas Forks”. It had four upper and four lower berths on each side, half as many as a modern sleeper has. It was different also in that the berths had wooden slat bottoms instead of solid metal as we know them. Ten feet or less at one end was walled off for a kitchen while 20 feet or more was equipped with seats and tables. There was a menu card, lengthy and beautifully printed, and a liquor list to delight a connoisseur. Of course a porter was present to administer the drinks.


The engine pushed the cars from Eureka to Animas Forks. It would not have done to have had them behind for, if a coupling had broken, the brakes would not have been able to hold them on such a steep grade and a runaway and wreck would have resulted. As, at first, there was no way of turning at Animas Forks the engine had to back down pulling the cars, a decidedly risky business. A turntable was desperately needed and so, in 1906 or ’07, Mears used certain parts of the one at Corkscrew Gulch to complete the one he was building at Animas Forks. Then the engine could turn and, by setting the cars on a spur, could get ahead and keep them from running away. Before starting they tested the brakes most thoroughly; then the brakeman stayed on top of the cars clubbing them all the way down. Everybody breathed a sigh of relief when they got stopped at Eureka.

They generally hauled a car of coal and an empty or a coach up and three cars of ore down. The biggest load ever taken up was a car of coal and a car of cement. Speed from Silverton to Eureka was ten miles per hour but from Eureka to Animas Forks, four miles, and the same on the return trips.

The Stoiber brothers had developed the Silver Lake mine in Arastra Gulch and built the mill at the mouth of the gulch; later Ed took over the mine and Gus the mill. Mr. and Mrs. Ed built a home they called Waldheim which, because of its size—ball room, game rooms, etc.—and its fine construction and expensive furnishings, became known as the “Mansion”. There they entertained most lavishly, often passing out expensive party or dinner favors. (The author acquired one of them—a beautifully engraved solid silver dinner spoon.)

The madam undertook a good part of the management of the mine herself, sometimes all of it, and was capable of subduing the most obstreperous miner who ever landed there. She was the lady who, to spite her neighbors, built the tall fence around her place in Silverton.

They left Silverton about 1904 and, after Stoiber died, the madam erected a fine home in Denver, surrounding it with a fence. She had one husband before Stoiber and two others afterwards but no one knows for sure what 36 became of them. Her last home was a villa in Italy where she died. A large fortune was left behind which is still being handed down to heirs of heirs.

Mears signed a contract with the Gold Prince mine at Animas Forks, to haul its ore to Silverton over the winter of 1906-07. Therefore, it was necessary to prepare against the vicious snow slides between Eureka and Animas Forks. He decided to build several heavily timbered snow sheds and anchor them in rock in the hillsides. The first, 500 feet long, at a bad place near the Silver Wing boarding house, not far from Eureka, was completed in October. A slide that winter smashed it and dumped it into the Animas River Canon. Mears gave up on snow sheds.

On March 24, 1906 concussion, which is the rush of air at the edges of a slide, did great damage to the Green Mountain mill in Cunningham Gulch and killed the mine foreman. It also destroyed several S. N. cars. At the same time a slide demolished the boarding house at the Shenandoah mine and killed twelve men.

Near Animas Forks two men were asleep in the same bed. One was thrown toward the center of the room and carried away while the other was thrown toward the wall and was saved. In the same season two men were killed at the Robert Bonner mine near Burro Bridge on the S. R.

These are only samples of slides that happened nearly every winter. Often bodies, frozen stiff, were recovered from slides and stood against the handiest wall.

One summer a request came to Silverton for a great quantity of columbines for some national convention that was to be held in Denver. A “Columbine Special” train was run from Silverton to Animas Forks for the purpose of procuring them. Mears donated the use of the train, railroad men donated their services and townspeople donated their time. They gathered what they estimated to be 25,000. A hardware man supplied washtubs in which the flowers were packed and shipped. They went out of Silverton on flat cars but were transferred to box cars at Alamosa. The columbines reached Denver and were displayed in front of the Denver Post building.

The Pullman was in a couple of wrecks, the first in the summer of 1908. 37 New rail was being laid and hadn’t, in one place, been spiked. Meyer was the engineer and was pulling a train of three coaches going south when the accident happened near Silver Lake, two miles out of Silverton. The engine and one coach went over the rail all right but the next coach caught on it, turned over and took the Pullman with it. When Conductor Hudson came along getting people out he found one woman with her head and shoulders completely through a window on the under side. The car had lit on a couple of ties, which held it up, preventing her from being crushed. Only her hat was knocked off. When settlements were made the worst casualty was found to be a box of peaches for which the owner asked and received 75 cents.

Another time, about 1911, a train was going north when, near Waldheim, the Pullman, which had too long a wheelbase for curves, gave a swing and the top part left the trucks, flopping over and taking a coach with it. Booker was the engineer this time, Hudson, the conductor and Ruble, the fireman. When they arrived they found the dust so thick they could scarcely see or breathe. Ruble and Hudson walked along on the sides of the coaches pulling people out of the windows. They came to Mrs. William Terry securely fastened and soon found the trouble—her skirt was caught between a rock and the side of the coach. Ruble used his pocket knife to cut a piece out of the back. The poor fellow, easily embarrassed anyway, never heard the end of cutting off the lady’s skirt.

How Mrs. Terry remembers it:

“It was a Saturday afternoon in the summer time and the train was full of people going home from Silverton. In the Pullman everybody was talking and joking and having a good time. Suddenly the car gave a flop over on one side and everything was confusion. I was thrown against the slats of the berth and got several bumps on the head. I grabbed a handful of willows out the window which pulled through my hand leaving green streaks that lasted for days. My skirt was caught at the back and someone cut a chunk out of it. It had been jerked loose from the waist anyway so it came off. But those were the days when women wore petticoats and I had a nice one of iridescent taffeta, that rustled and had reams of ruffles.


“Broken glass had flown in every direction and many people had cuts. One woman who had on a white dress came up to me and asked me if her hat was on straight. I told her it was but that she had better look at her dress. The whole front of it was covered with other people’s blood. Passengers sat on the hill waiting for a train to come for them. Everybody was very excited and upset. The porter went around offering drinks to help settle our nerves but I didn’t take any. Cuts and bruises were the worst damages. The injured were loaded in a box car and taken to the hospital.

“My garb was a towel around my head, the coat of my just-past beautiful new plaid suit and the rustling ruffled petticoat. The suit, of course, was ruined as a skirt to match could not be obtained. I never got any damages, either, because I was riding on a pass. I lost two combs, too, that had real gold trimming.”

The Pullman had made its last trip. It was pulled into the D. & R. G. yards at Silverton where it sat for a while, was gradually dismantled and finally burned. W. L. Bruce of Durango, about 1920, took some parts of the doors and door casings and some of the slats of the berths—all beautiful cherry wood—and made a porch swing.

A picture of the front part of the zinc or “Zinc Special” train of World War I years is shown herein. A newspaper called the first shipment of ten cars “the largest ever made in Colorado.” Zinc with copper made the brass that was used in shells. A train of ten carloads of rich concentrates was shipped about once a week from the Sunnyside mill at Eureka, was picked up by the D. & R. G. at Silverton and transported to a smelter at Pueblo in 48 hours.

The Terry family, owners of the famous Sunnyside mine, the biggest shipper on the D. & R. G., was dickering with the U. S. Smelting and Refining Company regarding the sale of the mine and chartered a train for the use of those coming to investigate. A group of eastern capitalists—seven of them millionaires—accompanied by mining engineers, clerks, servants etc., made the trip in January or 1917. The train was the D. & R. G. president’s narrow gauge special, thought to be the only one of its kind in existence. The cars 39 were beautifully finished and furnished. It was so outstanding and unique as to have been exhibited at the World’s Fair at San Francisco in 1915.

Snow was pretty deep. Much good stuff was on the train and the crew got slightly befuddled. Just at the north end of Silverton the coupling back of the engine came loose and the engineer went several miles before he noticed he had lost the train. He did some quick thinking and plowed the track on to Eureka. When he came back he told everybody that the snow was so deep he thought it better to go ahead and clear the line and then come back and get the train.

The outfit parked at Eureka for about a week while officials and engineers made a thorough investigation of the Sunnyside which, a few months later, resulted in the sale of the mine. On the way back to Durango the train, called the “Million Dollar Special”, was wrecked about a mile south of Rockwood. The engine and the three coaches turned over. Nobody was seriously hurt but two of the cars caught fire from the cookstove and completely burned.

In February 1906, three passenger trains on week days and two on Sundays ran between Silverton and Eureka. In 1913 a train, running six days per week, left Silverton at 8:30 A.M. and arrived at Eureka at 9:15, left Eureka at 10:15 and arrived in Silverton at 11:00. In 1919 and ’20 a schedule as follows was in operation: leave Silverton at 8:00 A.M. for Eureka, back at 10:00, leave for Joker Tunnel on the S. R. at 10:00, back at 2:00; leave for Eureka at 3:00, back at 5:00;—two trips to Eureka and one to Joker Tunnel seven days per week.

Though there seems to have been no scheduled service in 1923, at least the track was still lying and trains must have been run as needed. This period, it should be remembered, was one of hard times following World War I.


Official Roster, 1923
0.  Silverton 9,300
1.  Power
2.  Waldheim
3.  Robin
3.2 Collins
4.7 Howardsville

0.  Howardsville
1.1 Old Hundred
1.3 Green Mountain

6.2 Hamlet
7.4 Minnie Gulch
8.5 Eureka 10,000

Lion Tunnel

12.5 Animas Forks 11,200

The branch to Green Mountain operated only a short time because the mines up that way turned out to be poor producers. The part from Eureka to Animas Forks is claimed never to have paid expenses and soon quit regular operation though occasional trains ran up there until sometime in the twenties. Mears offered the right-of-way to the county if it would take up the track, which it did, and Mr. Meyer hauled the junk down in 1936.[4] Like the S. R., it was a road to begin with and ended up by being one again.

The section from Silverton to Eureka revived and lasted the longest of any of the three little railroads. Ore was shipped over it from the Sunnyside mine and mill until 1939 when the mine closed down because of a miner’s strike.

In the summer of 1942 the property was advertised for sale for $17,000 41 in delinquent taxes. Mrs. Cora Pitcher, Mears’s daughter, sold it to the Dullen Steel Products Company and paid the taxes. This company shipped the shop equipment, rails and rolling stock out in October.

The United States had, after it became involved in war with Japan, established military bases in Alaska. The railroad there, the White Pass and Yukon, needed more motive power and the government requisitioned the three locomotives, the 3, 4, and 34. There, so R. E. Cooper states, they were re-numbered to 22, 23 and 24, respectively. In 1947 word was received from the War Surplus Board and the W. P. & Y. Ry. that twelve engines—7 D. & R. G., 2 C. & S. and 3 S. N.—had been received by the Alaska Railroad but when Diesel power was obtained there, all except No. 34 (24) were returned to Seattle to M. Block & Co., a junking outfit. The last known of the 34, it was sitting in the railroad yards at Skagway, Alaska, in a state of dismantlement.

In 55 years, 1887 to 1942, the three little Silverton railroads started, prospered, declined and perished and nothing, unless one considers still discernible roadbeds and rotting ties, remains to attest their existence. No equipment except one coach, which is scarcely recognizable as such, has survived. A few little relics such as small amounts of paper material, a goodly number of pictures and S. R. buckskin, silver and gold passes have survived and they are scattered from one end of the United States to the other. Pathetic mementos they are, for agents that played such a large part in the life and prosperity of their community.

Views and Documents of Narrow Gauge Railroading in the San Juan Mountains.


VOL. XXIII. No. 450



The two levels of track at Chattanooga Loop. (Violight Productions)


The first train to Red Mountain with Mears beside the engine pilot. (Denver Public Library)


The Chattanooga Loop. (C. W. Gibbs)


Passengers transferring from the train to the stage at Red Mountain. (R. A. Ronzio)


The two levels of track approaching Corkscrew Gulch. (C. W. Gibbs)


Ironton and the turntable (U. S. Geological Survey)


The Yankee Girl mine buildings. (Colo. State Historical Soc.)

The track to Albany in the foreground. (U. S. Geological Survey)


Red Mountain—The small round hill was called “The Knob.” (Colo. State Historical Soc.)

Red Mountain—Depot at right. National Belle mine on the hillside. Jail over the heads of the men. (Ray Cooper)


A snow-bucking train and the Red Mountain depot. (Denver Public Library)

Rio Grande Southern Engine 5 on lease to the S. R., at Summit. (Denver Public Library)


The Corkscrew turntable.

The dismantled turntable in 1958. (F. S. Cummings)


S. G. & N. bond (David Lavender)

United States of America.
The Silverton, Gladstone and Northerly Railroad Company.


Silver Lake mill at Waldheim (Silverton Variety)


Mogul mill at Gladstone (John B. Marshall)


Old Hundred mill on the S. N. (John B. Marshall)


Eureka and the Sunnyside mill (Silverton Variety)


Pushing cars up to Animas Forks. (Morris W. Abbott)


Gold Prince mill at Animas Forks (Silverton Variety)


The Gold King mill at Gladstone. (Morris W. Abbott)

A passenger train on the S. G. & N.


Silverton Smelter on Cement Creek. (Morris W. Abbott)

Green Mountain mill on the S. N. (John B. Marshall)


Silverton (Colo. State Highway)

Columbine day at Silverton. (Mrs. Louis Puls)


The Silver Lake mill and cables to the Shenandoah mill. (John B. Marshall)

S. G. & N. coach No. 2 (John Keller)


The zinc train. (Mrs. Wm. Terry)

Engine 34 at Silverton. (Lad G. Arend)

Engines 3 and 4 at Silverton. (R. H. Kindig)


Train entering a snow cut in the S. N. (Joe Dresbach)

Bucking snow with Engine 4 on S. N. (Edward Meyer)

Engine 4 turned over into the Animas River. (Edward Meyer)


Silver filigree, 2.7 by 1.5 inches (C. W. Gibbs)

Silver Plate, 3.65 by 2.2 inches. (Morris W. Abbott)

Gold filigree, 2.5 by 1.4 inches (F. C. Krauser)


Buckskin, 4.05 by 2.6 inches. (Morris W. Abbott)

Fob or medallion, silver or gold, for 1890, 1.5 by 1.2 inches (Josie M. Crum)

Commutation coupons on the S. N. These came in booklets and one was torn out for each trip.

Bill of Fare
Bill of Fare
Car: Animas Forks
Dolls. Cts.
◯Chicken 25c ◯Vegetable 25c ◯Oxtail 25c
◯Clam Chowder 25c ◯Clam Juice 25c ◯Tomato 25c
◯Mock Turtle 25c ◯Mulligatawny 25c ◯Chicken Gumbo 25c
◯Julienne 25c ◯Consomme 25c
◯Norway Mackerel 50c ◯Russian Caviar 50c ◯Smoked Sardines 35c
◯Kippered Herring 50c ◯Bismark Herring 50c ◯Boneless Sardines 50c
◯Chili Concarne 50c ◯Roast Beef 50c ◯Vienna Sausage 50c
◯Lunch Tongue 50c ◯Boochout Bacon 25c ◯Yacht Club Beef 50c
◯Boned Chicken 50c ◯Chicken Tamales 50c ◯Liebig Beef 50c
◯2 Boiled Eggs 25c
◯Quaker Oats 25c ◯Egg O’See 25c ◯Shredded Wheat 25c
◯Baked Beans 35c ◯Corn on Cob 25c ◯Peas 25c
◯Asparagus Tips 25c ◯Hominy 25c ◯Banquet Corn 25c
◯Macaroni and Cheese 25c
◯Plum Pudding 25c ◯Stuffed Olives 25c ◯Plain Olives 25c
◯Apricots 25c ◯Peaches 25c ◯Apricot Preserves 25c
◯Marrach. Cherries 25c ◯Currant Jelly 25c ◯Marmalade 25c
◯Pear Preserves 25c ◯Raspberry Preserves 25c
◯Tomatoes 25c ◯Mushrooms 25c
◯McClaren Cheese 25c ◯Roquefort Cheese 25c ◯Chow Chow 15c
◯Shelled Pecans 25c
◯Caviar 25c ◯Sardines 25c ◯Tongue 25c
◯Tea 15c ◯Coffee 15c ◯Milk 15c
◯Cream 25c ◯Biscuits and Butter 10c extra
Bread and Butter supplied with all meals
◯Wines and Cigars
A separate check must be issued to each passenger.
No check issued for less than twenty-five cents to each person.
No. 1982 Total
NOTE: Parties are requested when ordering to make a cross at each individual item ordered, thus Ⓧ
¶Please report any complaints to the office
Wine List
Wine List
Car: Animas Forks
Dolls. Cts.
Private Stock Whiskey per drink $ .20
Greenbrier Bourbon Whiskey per drink .20
Scotch Whiskey per drink .20
Holland Gin per drink .20
Burke’s Ale per pint .40
Burke’s Stout per pint .40
Benedictine per drink .25
Green Chartreuse per drink .25
Manitou Water per quart $ .35
Ginger Ale per quart .50
Red Raven Splits per half-pint .20
Mumm’s Extra Dry per pint $2.50
White Seal Champagne per pint 2.50
Chateau Blanc Wine per pint .75
LaRose Wine per pint 1.25
Grave’s Wine per pint .75
Imported Sherry per quart 2.50
Imported Port per quart 2.50
Saarbuch Steinwein Wine per pint 1.25
Liebfraumilch Wine per pint 1.50
Sparkling Burgundy per pint 1.50
California Port per pint 1.25
Cigars and Cigarettes


The course of the traveler on the Denver & Rio Grande’s great “Around the Circle” tour is indicated by arrows. Start may be made from Denver, Colorado Springs or Manitou, or Pueblo. At Ridgway, on the western turn, the course divides. The traveler may follow the arrows by the outer, “All Rail,” route; or he may take the inner, “Rail and Stage,” denoted by the arrows and dots. When purchasing his ticket he has his choice, the “Circle” round-trip fare being the same in either case. The various side trips marked should not be neglected. For them special low rates are granted; the “Circle” ticket permits stop-overs.



Abbot, Morris W.—Contributor of reports and “Transactions” from the Yale Library
Airy, Mrs. Percy—The story of entertaining Mears
Baker, Bert—Data on the snowshed, the explosion and the snowslides
Beaber, Ross—Publisher of the Silverton Standard—much assistance
Camp, A. M.—A nephew of John L. McNeil who was an incorporator and secretary-treasurer of the S. R. and the R. G. S.—data
Cooper, Ray—Silverton and S. R. history
Cooper, R. E.—Data on engines
Day, Vest—A member of the survey crew on the S. N.—data and stories
Dresbach, Joe—An auditor and general superintendent of the S. N.—data and assistance
Fischer, Robert A—Work on the S. R. map
Ferguson, John—Information on the Meldrum and Treasury Tunnels
Gibbs, Mr. and Mrs. Charles W.—Mr. Gibbs was Chief Engineer and builder of the S. R., part of the S. N. and most of the R. G. S.—data.
Henry, Myron—Data concerning the S. R.
Keenan, John—Information on the Meldrum and Treasury Tunnels
Keller, John—Data on the Shay engine and a S. G. & N. coach
Marshall, John—Data on the mines and history of the region and contributor of reports from the Los Angeles Library
Meyer, Edward—A locomotive engineer on all three railroads and a superintendent of the S. N.—much information
Railway and Locomotive Historical Society—Loan of the copyright of most of the material herein
Ridgway, Arthur—General Superintendent of the Silverton Railway and the S. N. in 1904 and ’05. He was also Engineer and Chief Engineer for the D. & R. G. for about fifty years.
Speer, Marion A.—A member of the construction crew on the S. N.—data
Terry, John—His father and uncle were owners of the Sunnyside mine—data
Terry, Mrs. William—Her husband was half-owner of the Sunnyside—stories
Wampler, Harold—Loan of Mears letters
Wigglesworth, William—Constructor of the Boston Coal and Fuel Co. line—data concerning his father, Thomas Wigglesworth


[1]The mileages used are from the R. L. Kelly survey of 1892.
[2]Mr. Gibbs died at 89½ years of age as a result of a fall. His wife, nearing 94 years old, is still alive.
[3]Mr. McNeil established most of the pioneer banks in Southwestern Colorado.
[4]The little turntable sat for some years in the yards of the county garage in Durango.

Transcriber’s Notes

End of Project Gutenberg's Three Little Lines, by Josie Mary Moore Crum


***** This file should be named 62664-h.htm or *****
This and all associated files of various formats will be found in:

Produced by Stephen Hutcheson and the Online Distributed
Proofreading Team at

Updated editions will replace the previous one--the old editions will
be renamed.

Creating the works from print editions not protected by U.S. copyright
law means that no one owns a United States copyright in these works,
so the Foundation (and you!) can copy and distribute it in the United
States without permission and without paying copyright
royalties. Special rules, set forth in the General Terms of Use part
of this license, apply to copying and distributing Project
Gutenberg-tm electronic works to protect the PROJECT GUTENBERG-tm
concept and trademark. Project Gutenberg is a registered trademark,
and may not be used if you charge for the eBooks, unless you receive
specific permission. If you do not charge anything for copies of this
eBook, complying with the rules is very easy. You may use this eBook
for nearly any purpose such as creation of derivative works, reports,
performances and research. They may be modified and printed and given
away--you may do practically ANYTHING in the United States with eBooks
not protected by U.S. copyright law. Redistribution is subject to the
trademark license, especially commercial redistribution.



To protect the Project Gutenberg-tm mission of promoting the free
distribution of electronic works, by using or distributing this work
(or any other work associated in any way with the phrase "Project
Gutenberg"), you agree to comply with all the terms of the Full
Project Gutenberg-tm License available with this file or online at

Section 1. General Terms of Use and Redistributing Project
Gutenberg-tm electronic works

1.A. By reading or using any part of this Project Gutenberg-tm
electronic work, you indicate that you have read, understand, agree to
and accept all the terms of this license and intellectual property
(trademark/copyright) agreement. If you do not agree to abide by all
the terms of this agreement, you must cease using and return or
destroy all copies of Project Gutenberg-tm electronic works in your
possession. If you paid a fee for obtaining a copy of or access to a
Project Gutenberg-tm electronic work and you do not agree to be bound
by the terms of this agreement, you may obtain a refund from the
person or entity to whom you paid the fee as set forth in paragraph

1.B. "Project Gutenberg" is a registered trademark. It may only be
used on or associated in any way with an electronic work by people who
agree to be bound by the terms of this agreement. There are a few
things that you can do with most Project Gutenberg-tm electronic works
even without complying with the full terms of this agreement. See
paragraph 1.C below. There are a lot of things you can do with Project
Gutenberg-tm electronic works if you follow the terms of this
agreement and help preserve free future access to Project Gutenberg-tm
electronic works. See paragraph 1.E below.

1.C. The Project Gutenberg Literary Archive Foundation ("the
Foundation" or PGLAF), owns a compilation copyright in the collection
of Project Gutenberg-tm electronic works. Nearly all the individual
works in the collection are in the public domain in the United
States. If an individual work is unprotected by copyright law in the
United States and you are located in the United States, we do not
claim a right to prevent you from copying, distributing, performing,
displaying or creating derivative works based on the work as long as
all references to Project Gutenberg are removed. Of course, we hope
that you will support the Project Gutenberg-tm mission of promoting
free access to electronic works by freely sharing Project Gutenberg-tm
works in compliance with the terms of this agreement for keeping the
Project Gutenberg-tm name associated with the work. You can easily
comply with the terms of this agreement by keeping this work in the
same format with its attached full Project Gutenberg-tm License when
you share it without charge with others.

1.D. The copyright laws of the place where you are located also govern
what you can do with this work. Copyright laws in most countries are
in a constant state of change. If you are outside the United States,
check the laws of your country in addition to the terms of this
agreement before downloading, copying, displaying, performing,
distributing or creating derivative works based on this work or any
other Project Gutenberg-tm work. The Foundation makes no
representations concerning the copyright status of any work in any
country outside the United States.

1.E. Unless you have removed all references to Project Gutenberg:

1.E.1. The following sentence, with active links to, or other
immediate access to, the full Project Gutenberg-tm License must appear
prominently whenever any copy of a Project Gutenberg-tm work (any work
on which the phrase "Project Gutenberg" appears, or with which the
phrase "Project Gutenberg" is associated) is accessed, displayed,
performed, viewed, copied or distributed:

  This eBook is for the use of anyone anywhere in the United States and
  most other parts of the world at no cost and with almost no
  restrictions whatsoever. You may copy it, give it away or re-use it
  under the terms of the Project Gutenberg License included with this
  eBook or online at If you are not located in the
  United States, you'll have to check the laws of the country where you
  are located before using this ebook.

1.E.2. If an individual Project Gutenberg-tm electronic work is
derived from texts not protected by U.S. copyright law (does not
contain a notice indicating that it is posted with permission of the
copyright holder), the work can be copied and distributed to anyone in
the United States without paying any fees or charges. If you are
redistributing or providing access to a work with the phrase "Project
Gutenberg" associated with or appearing on the work, you must comply
either with the requirements of paragraphs 1.E.1 through 1.E.7 or
obtain permission for the use of the work and the Project Gutenberg-tm
trademark as set forth in paragraphs 1.E.8 or 1.E.9.

1.E.3. If an individual Project Gutenberg-tm electronic work is posted
with the permission of the copyright holder, your use and distribution
must comply with both paragraphs 1.E.1 through 1.E.7 and any
additional terms imposed by the copyright holder. Additional terms
will be linked to the Project Gutenberg-tm License for all works
posted with the permission of the copyright holder found at the
beginning of this work.

1.E.4. Do not unlink or detach or remove the full Project Gutenberg-tm
License terms from this work, or any files containing a part of this
work or any other work associated with Project Gutenberg-tm.

1.E.5. Do not copy, display, perform, distribute or redistribute this
electronic work, or any part of this electronic work, without
prominently displaying the sentence set forth in paragraph 1.E.1 with
active links or immediate access to the full terms of the Project
Gutenberg-tm License.

1.E.6. You may convert to and distribute this work in any binary,
compressed, marked up, nonproprietary or proprietary form, including
any word processing or hypertext form. However, if you provide access
to or distribute copies of a Project Gutenberg-tm work in a format
other than "Plain Vanilla ASCII" or other format used in the official
version posted on the official Project Gutenberg-tm web site
(, you must, at no additional cost, fee or expense
to the user, provide a copy, a means of exporting a copy, or a means
of obtaining a copy upon request, of the work in its original "Plain
Vanilla ASCII" or other form. Any alternate format must include the
full Project Gutenberg-tm License as specified in paragraph 1.E.1.

1.E.7. Do not charge a fee for access to, viewing, displaying,
performing, copying or distributing any Project Gutenberg-tm works
unless you comply with paragraph 1.E.8 or 1.E.9.

1.E.8. You may charge a reasonable fee for copies of or providing
access to or distributing Project Gutenberg-tm electronic works
provided that

* You pay a royalty fee of 20% of the gross profits you derive from
  the use of Project Gutenberg-tm works calculated using the method
  you already use to calculate your applicable taxes. The fee is owed
  to the owner of the Project Gutenberg-tm trademark, but he has
  agreed to donate royalties under this paragraph to the Project
  Gutenberg Literary Archive Foundation. Royalty payments must be paid
  within 60 days following each date on which you prepare (or are
  legally required to prepare) your periodic tax returns. Royalty
  payments should be clearly marked as such and sent to the Project
  Gutenberg Literary Archive Foundation at the address specified in
  Section 4, "Information about donations to the Project Gutenberg
  Literary Archive Foundation."

* You provide a full refund of any money paid by a user who notifies
  you in writing (or by e-mail) within 30 days of receipt that s/he
  does not agree to the terms of the full Project Gutenberg-tm
  License. You must require such a user to return or destroy all
  copies of the works possessed in a physical medium and discontinue
  all use of and all access to other copies of Project Gutenberg-tm

* You provide, in accordance with paragraph 1.F.3, a full refund of
  any money paid for a work or a replacement copy, if a defect in the
  electronic work is discovered and reported to you within 90 days of
  receipt of the work.

* You comply with all other terms of this agreement for free
  distribution of Project Gutenberg-tm works.

1.E.9. If you wish to charge a fee or distribute a Project
Gutenberg-tm electronic work or group of works on different terms than
are set forth in this agreement, you must obtain permission in writing
from both the Project Gutenberg Literary Archive Foundation and The
Project Gutenberg Trademark LLC, the owner of the Project Gutenberg-tm
trademark. Contact the Foundation as set forth in Section 3 below.


1.F.1. Project Gutenberg volunteers and employees expend considerable
effort to identify, do copyright research on, transcribe and proofread
works not protected by U.S. copyright law in creating the Project
Gutenberg-tm collection. Despite these efforts, Project Gutenberg-tm
electronic works, and the medium on which they may be stored, may
contain "Defects," such as, but not limited to, incomplete, inaccurate
or corrupt data, transcription errors, a copyright or other
intellectual property infringement, a defective or damaged disk or
other medium, a computer virus, or computer codes that damage or
cannot be read by your equipment.

of Replacement or Refund" described in paragraph 1.F.3, the Project
Gutenberg Literary Archive Foundation, the owner of the Project
Gutenberg-tm trademark, and any other party distributing a Project
Gutenberg-tm electronic work under this agreement, disclaim all
liability to you for damages, costs and expenses, including legal

defect in this electronic work within 90 days of receiving it, you can
receive a refund of the money (if any) you paid for it by sending a
written explanation to the person you received the work from. If you
received the work on a physical medium, you must return the medium
with your written explanation. The person or entity that provided you
with the defective work may elect to provide a replacement copy in
lieu of a refund. If you received the work electronically, the person
or entity providing it to you may choose to give you a second
opportunity to receive the work electronically in lieu of a refund. If
the second copy is also defective, you may demand a refund in writing
without further opportunities to fix the problem.

1.F.4. Except for the limited right of replacement or refund set forth
in paragraph 1.F.3, this work is provided to you 'AS-IS', WITH NO

1.F.5. Some states do not allow disclaimers of certain implied
warranties or the exclusion or limitation of certain types of
damages. If any disclaimer or limitation set forth in this agreement
violates the law of the state applicable to this agreement, the
agreement shall be interpreted to make the maximum disclaimer or
limitation permitted by the applicable state law. The invalidity or
unenforceability of any provision of this agreement shall not void the
remaining provisions.

1.F.6. INDEMNITY - You agree to indemnify and hold the Foundation, the
trademark owner, any agent or employee of the Foundation, anyone
providing copies of Project Gutenberg-tm electronic works in
accordance with this agreement, and any volunteers associated with the
production, promotion and distribution of Project Gutenberg-tm
electronic works, harmless from all liability, costs and expenses,
including legal fees, that arise directly or indirectly from any of
the following which you do or cause to occur: (a) distribution of this
or any Project Gutenberg-tm work, (b) alteration, modification, or
additions or deletions to any Project Gutenberg-tm work, and (c) any
Defect you cause.

Section 2. Information about the Mission of Project Gutenberg-tm

Project Gutenberg-tm is synonymous with the free distribution of
electronic works in formats readable by the widest variety of
computers including obsolete, old, middle-aged and new computers. It
exists because of the efforts of hundreds of volunteers and donations
from people in all walks of life.

Volunteers and financial support to provide volunteers with the
assistance they need are critical to reaching Project Gutenberg-tm's
goals and ensuring that the Project Gutenberg-tm collection will
remain freely available for generations to come. In 2001, the Project
Gutenberg Literary Archive Foundation was created to provide a secure
and permanent future for Project Gutenberg-tm and future
generations. To learn more about the Project Gutenberg Literary
Archive Foundation and how your efforts and donations can help, see
Sections 3 and 4 and the Foundation information page at

Section 3. Information about the Project Gutenberg Literary Archive Foundation

The Project Gutenberg Literary Archive Foundation is a non profit
501(c)(3) educational corporation organized under the laws of the
state of Mississippi and granted tax exempt status by the Internal
Revenue Service. The Foundation's EIN or federal tax identification
number is 64-6221541. Contributions to the Project Gutenberg Literary
Archive Foundation are tax deductible to the full extent permitted by
U.S. federal laws and your state's laws.

The Foundation's principal office is in Fairbanks, Alaska, with the
mailing address: PO Box 750175, Fairbanks, AK 99775, but its
volunteers and employees are scattered throughout numerous
locations. Its business office is located at 809 North 1500 West, Salt
Lake City, UT 84116, (801) 596-1887. Email contact links and up to
date contact information can be found at the Foundation's web site and
official page at

For additional contact information:

    Dr. Gregory B. Newby
    Chief Executive and Director

Section 4. Information about Donations to the Project Gutenberg
Literary Archive Foundation

Project Gutenberg-tm depends upon and cannot survive without wide
spread public support and donations to carry out its mission of
increasing the number of public domain and licensed works that can be
freely distributed in machine readable form accessible by the widest
array of equipment including outdated equipment. Many small donations
($1 to $5,000) are particularly important to maintaining tax exempt
status with the IRS.

The Foundation is committed to complying with the laws regulating
charities and charitable donations in all 50 states of the United
States. Compliance requirements are not uniform and it takes a
considerable effort, much paperwork and many fees to meet and keep up
with these requirements. We do not solicit donations in locations
where we have not received written confirmation of compliance. To SEND
DONATIONS or determine the status of compliance for any particular
state visit

While we cannot and do not solicit contributions from states where we
have not met the solicitation requirements, we know of no prohibition
against accepting unsolicited donations from donors in such states who
approach us with offers to donate.

International donations are gratefully accepted, but we cannot make
any statements concerning tax treatment of donations received from
outside the United States. U.S. laws alone swamp our small staff.

Please check the Project Gutenberg Web pages for current donation
methods and addresses. Donations are accepted in a number of other
ways including checks, online payments and credit card donations. To
donate, please visit:

Section 5. General Information About Project Gutenberg-tm electronic works.

Professor Michael S. Hart was the originator of the Project
Gutenberg-tm concept of a library of electronic works that could be
freely shared with anyone. For forty years, he produced and
distributed Project Gutenberg-tm eBooks with only a loose network of
volunteer support.

Project Gutenberg-tm eBooks are often created from several printed
editions, all of which are confirmed as not protected by copyright in
the U.S. unless a copyright notice is included. Thus, we do not
necessarily keep eBooks in compliance with any particular paper

Most people start at our Web site which has the main PG search

This Web site includes information about Project Gutenberg-tm,
including how to make donations to the Project Gutenberg Literary
Archive Foundation, how to help produce our new eBooks, and how to
subscribe to our email newsletter to hear about new eBooks.