On September 15th Lisa and I will take off for a nine (9) day outing that will contain a mixture of allot of the areas we enjoy and enjoy sharing with others such as yourself…
Our first stop is at as anytime we take this route out-of-town in makes for a good stopping point to stretch a bit. This is also a place where many come to Hike/Bike the Colorado Trail and during this time of year it is also a very nice place to take in the Aspen that were turning into the spectacular colors. Here is just one of many photos we would take to give you just a small hint as what the trail was like…
Our next stop will be in Como, Colorado to mainly get photographs of the hotel. A little history might be in order as to how this has a railroad twist and hopefully I have the dates right; if not, I will correct. The Denver, South Park and Pacific reach here in June 1879 and the Roundhouse built in 1881. The Depot was built in 1879 and was later altered into a “L” shape and the depot today is under renovation. The Original hotel (Gilman Depot Hotel) was built here and opened for business January 1, 1881, extended in March 1882, and taken over by Union Pacific in 1885. Sadly in November 1896 that hotel was lost in a fire. Here is an old photo of that hotel that is online at the The Narrow Gauge Circle website (http://www.narrowgauge.org/)
The new “South Park Hotel by the Railroad” (or also known as the “Eating House”) was built in 1897 and still stand today. The DSP&P operated their last train here in April 1937 and the tracks removed a year later. Here is one of the photos we took of this hotel on this day along with the Roundhouse and Depot…
From here we head down the highway a bit father to Red Hill Pass where some of the old DSP&P route can still be seen. The Aspen colors from here are also wonderful. From here you can also see the “” where the old Denver, South Park and Hilltop Railway once operated that you can read more about in this blog from an earlier entry.
From here we will travel to the Fourmile Travel Management Area into an area known as Castle Gulch to view a rock formation know as The Castles. This will be a Geology (Rock Shot) stop for mainly for Lisa but I do enjoy the geological stops as well; just don’t tell her that…
From here we head into Buena Vista for several stops which will lead us to another place not on our original plans as we didn’t know it was there! Our first planned stop is at the Buena Vista Heritage Museum where the Buena Vista Model Railroad Society was founded in February, 1984 until 2004. Today the model is lightly maintained by the museum and the model is based on the “Denver, South Park and Pacific Railroad,” “Denver, and Rio Grande Railroad” and “Colorado Midland Railroad” during the period of 1900 to 1920.
We head down the street a few blocks to the last remaining depot in Chaffee County. We have taken photos of this depot before but every-time we were here it was closed. This time we setup our schedule to be here when it was open and it was well worth it. One artifact inside was the old D&RGW Depot’s desk that somehow survived and I also look a photo of a display that showed this depot being saved / moved to the location it is in today.
Now that we made it into the old DSP&P Depot we turn back to our search of the Colorado Midland Ticket office to get a photo for our records.
A building that was not on list (since it wasn’t RR related) that I spotted I stopped to get a photo since it was also a nice old historic building from times long since gone by and it is a Depot; just a Stage Depot.
Our next structure we locate is the Denver and Rio Grande Western Hospital. This is the second of the D&RGW Hospitals we have now tracked down that the railroad build to take care of their employees healthcare needs.
Our final two planned stops took a bit of research to find as you would not know these were railroad related. Both of these homes today were originally part of the Colorado Midland and were later moved and became private homes. The first is the old Telegraph Office that is also known as the Key Hole house and the other is the Section House. Both were moved to the same neighborhood in Buena Vista and today would just pass as homes and not historic railroad structures.
Now back to the “unplanned” stop; while at the old DSP&P Depot I ask where the old Colorado Midland Depot would have been located since the CM route was on the outside of town well above the town itself and then they would have a stage-coach that passengers from there. This was not as good of a setup as the DSP&P nor the D&RGW but to get the train into town would have been costly for the CM. Well, I got not only the location but told how to drive the old ROW to get to the original site as well as to remnants of a trestle. Time to set up the Video camera to record that section of the grade and take photos!!!! Here is a sample of some of the photos we took…
Well from here we are off to the Christmas 1806 site where Zebulon Pike stopped while surveying the Louisiana Purchase. Not much to see put it’s still nice to stop to overlook where history occurred. The sign itself was placed in 1964 and is still in good shape…
As we head back towards our hotel in Gunnison, we stop for more Aspen GOLD shots as the trees are changing very nicely this year!