COBWEB CORNERS: The Denver, Texas and Gulf
By Mel McFarland
Colorado Governor John Evans and Denver banker David Moffat were both bitten by the “railroad bug.” They saw the potential of the Denver & New Orleans Railroad as a key link for Denver between the Gulf of Mexico and the Pacific Northwest. The plan was to build a direct route to New Orleans. The D&NO was about to become one of the most ill-conceived railroads in Colorado to actually get built.
The railroad was to build away from the most likely business centers. The finished part of the route followed Cherry Creek and the old Smoky Hill Trail. Along the way, any ranches that supported the railroad could almost demand their own siding, or at least have places named for them on the railroad. East of Colorado Springs, a siding was named to honor Albert Bierstadt, prominent scenery artist. The view of Pike's Peak from the spot was typical of his work.
Service from Denver started when the railroad reached the station called Jimmy Camp, nine miles east of Colorado Springs.
The approach into Colorado Springs was next, but it had to be done cautiously. The D&NO owners were afraid that Palmer and his D&RG would challenge their service to the city, but the connection was necessary. Immediately after the company received an exclusive right of way grant from City Council, a crude track was put in quickly, under dark of night. In October, 1882 the line into Colorado Springs was finished. Jimmy Camp station was renamed Manitou Junction, which also caused confusion about its location.
The D&NO's main line continued south along Jimmy Camp Creek past Fountain and along the east side of Fountain Creek near the D&RG tracks for a few miles to Little Buttes. The D&RG crossed over Fountain Creek south of Little Buttes but the D&NO continued along the eastern bank all the way into Pueblo, reaching there in late 1882. A short time later it became the Denver, Texas and Gulf.