It is the time where we are quickly approaching the end of the current year. The day I write this, November 18, leaves only 43 days left in the year and only 36 says until Christmas day. While it was decided and announced that the Christmas party is canceled this year I want to remind all again of that cancellation.
Also occurring during the month of December the RORA board will vote on the proposed budget, that budget can be viewed on the RORA website at https://rotr.org/wp-content/uploads/RORA-2021-FINANCIAL-STATEMENT.pdf
Now going from some of the current events on the ranch, we can travel a bit back into history and look at past events on the Ranch.
As many ranch residents may know, or surmised, from the old railroad bed, a railroad ran through what is now the ranch. It was the Colorado Midland (CM), a standard gauge railroad first arriving in Park County 1887 and running from Colorado Springs to at first Leadville and later extending on to Grand Junction. The CM’s primary stop in Park County was Hartsel 1. The CM line started at the roundhouse in Colorado Springs at Hwy 24 and South 21st street, the building currently houses the Colorado Mountain Brewery at the Roundhouse. The initial objective of the CM railway was revenues from Leadville and Aspen, along with coal from around Redstone and New Castle.2
There was a depot in Hartsel (the building is still there but in bad disrepair) and then the tracks ran west, parallel to today’s Hwy 24 and at many times Hwy 24 was built on top of the old CM grade. Several ranches in the area likely would have benefited from the rail’s provision of transportation. To the north of the railway and west of Hartsel was the Salt Works Ranch which can been seen east of Hwy 285 just south and east of our Buffalo Creek Reservoir. Further east and a bit north was the Guiraud-McDowell Ranch, Guiraud was a French name and the Americanized pronunciation sounds like Garo- from where that town got its name
You can observe the grade at various locations and that grade becomes prominent around 3 miles east of the Ranch Road entrance where small hills had to be brought down to grade and then low swales brought up to grade. After the depot in Hartsel, there were stops in Haver (more on this later), the rail stop of Newett in Chubb Park where there are still some log building ruins or barely-standing log buildings (photo below.) Chubb Park is the open valley with Kaufman ridge on the east, Hwy 24 runs the east side of the valley just below the Trout Creek entrance to the ranch. Newett and Chubb were both named after Robert (Chubb) Newitt (his name was later misspelled.)3 The train then ran into Buena Vista and parts beyond before its terminus in Grand Junction or more accurately its amalgamation with other railways there that then formed the London and Northwest Railway4
Returning to the railway stop of Haver, Colorado- Of three maps I have seen, two maps place that railway stop right at the entrance (Ranch Road) to the Ranch off of Hwy 24. The other map places Haver a bit further east and almost south of Antero Reservoir. The romantic in me likes to think the correct location is right at the Ranch Road entrance to the ranch. About 500 feet into the ranch on Ranch Road is where the grade crosses ranch road after just crossing now existing Hwy 24 going from the north side of now Hwy 24 to the south side. It then wound through the now existing horse pastures before summiting Trout Creek pass right at the Trout Creek entrance. An interesting side note. On the northwest side of 24/285 and just a few feet north of the Trout Creek entrance you can see where CM and Denver, South Park and Pacific Railway (D&SP) crossed with CM overpassing D&SP. 2
Standing close to where the Ranch office is currently located it is easy for me to imagine a train passing through, just leaving a stop at the possible Haver station at the Hwy 24 entrance to the ranch. Its engines stoked with coal to make the power to wind up through the current ranch and then on to summit Trout creek pass. Its cars loaded with provisions being delivered on down the line to families, businesses, and mines and several people from nearby ranches returning to their homes with delivered goods, or receipt for payment for cattle, sheep, or other natural resources just then shipped on the train.
Member at Large