COBWEB CORNERS: The unbuilt Short Line station

By Mel McFarland

       The Colorado Midland had several early stations. Another was planned for the Short Line and the Mid-land.
       The problem was, the Short Line did not go to Colorado City. Its line came up what is now Moreno to Lower Gold Camp Road, with a branch to the Colorado- Philadelphia Mill and the Standard Mill along present-day 31st. The closest the Short Line came to Colorado City was a track to the Golden Cycle Mill from the Glassworks.
       The plan I found dates from the early 1900s when the owners of the Midland Terminal also leased the Short Line. It was to be a single-story building, a bit larger than the Colorado Midland's, with a bit of fancy gingerbread.
       I've found only one brief mention of this in a Colorado City newspaper, stating that the Short Line owners were thinking about building over the Colorado Midland west of Colorado City. I think their idea was to build onto their line that came down to the Colorado-Philadelphia and to go over the Midland about where 31st is now. At that point they could have built an embankment, curving over Fountain Creek and paralleling the Midland, just south of the Rio Grande's Manitou branch. If the Short Line owners had done that, their depot would have been on 26th Street, about a block or so west of the Midland's. It is obvious to anyone who knows the area, they never did it.
       Just why is not in any newspaper story, but I suspect I might have an answer. Before the Midland Terminal owners leased the Short Line there was an intense rate war with the Midland, especially passenger tickets to Cripple Creek. It reached a point where a person could ride almost for free! It lasted long enough that it really hurt the finances of both lines, but the Short Line moreso. A short time later, it was sold to the Colorado and Southern railroad. The C&S was already part-owner in the Colorado Midland. I think this is when the depot idea was dreamed up. A year later the C&S finally settled with the Midland Terminal and gave it a lease on the Short Line that lasted until 1918. The C&S also sold its interest in the Colorado Midland at about the same time.
       Somehow this depot plan survived, to give those of us who study railroad history something to wonder about.