OCCHS publishes McFarland train ‘minibook’
A new publication by historian Mel McFarland provides a summary of the Westside's colorful train history.
The 20-page “minibook” is titled “Railroads of Old Colorado City.” Published by the Old Colorado City Historical Society (OCCHS), it is for sale for $3 a copy at the society's History Center, 1 S. 24th St.
McFarland, who wrote two hardcover books in the 1980s detailing the history of the two Midland rail lines, said he wrote the minibook this summer for people who would just like general knowledge of the Westside's train era that started in the 1880s and continued until the last train in 1949.
Included are several photos and a map of early Old Colorado City, showing train lines and depots, the gold mills and glass works.
McFarland said he is working on a new, full-length railroad book, reflecting additional research since his last was published in 1983. No publication date is scheduled yet; “I've got a ways to go,” McFarland said.
McFarland writes a regular column for several local newspapers, including the Westside Pioneer.
For the OCCHS, the minibook is the third the non-profit group has published, according to its treasurer, Dave Hughes. The OCCHS cuts its costs by xeroxing the minibooks, a few at a time (20 in McFarland's case) instead of having the work done by a commercial printer.
“Now if suddenly a bunch of people come into the center and want more than are on the stand, they just call me, and I can produce 10, 25, 100 in the wink of an eye,” Hughes said.
The first two OCCHS minibooks were reprints of Hughes' 1978 “Old Colorado City” history book, written in 1978; and a reprint (with permission) of John Bock's 1975 “In Red Rock Canyon Land.”
The hope is to reproduce more historical minibooks the same way “By getting a member (of OCCHS) who knows, or learns, a lot about a little slice of Colorado City's History - schools, churches, saloons, characters - to write 4-5,000 words on it, with illustrations, maps or photos, we can assemble over time a lot of Colorado City history in minibooks,” Hughes said.
Westside Pioneer article