COBWEB CORNERS: The Westside railroad stations

By Mel McFarland

       I had a question recently about our railroad stations. Right here in Old Colo-rado City, there were two railroads serving us. The Denver and Rio Grande came in 1881. It ran up until about 1980 to our part of town. It originally went to Manitou Springs, and there were plans to extend it up Ute Pass. The Villa Motel in Manitou was as far west as the railroad built. In fact, for years the motel office was the Manitou station. There also was a station near 33rd Street for a quarry. The Colorado City station was originally on Cucharras Street near 27th Street, but it was moved to a site near 22nd Street.
       In the 1900s, there were six daily trains from Colorado Springs to Manitou, even with the competition from the street car line. The last passenger train to Manitou was in 1930. The line was cut back to 28th Street. You may remember Clark's gas station on Colorado Avenue. Clark's got its gasoline by tank car until the 1960s. Then there was the bulk plant on 21st street. There was another bulk plant on South 10th. These made tank car traffic common until the 1960s. There were other businesses in Colorado City that used the line, but passenger trains to Colorado City also ended in 1930. In 1932, the station burned down one cold night.
       The Colorado Midland arrived in Colorado City in 1886, and the first trains ran in 1887. The line was where the U.S. 24 "Midland Expressway" is now, and the railyards were between 21st and 26th streets. The Midland had a number of early stations that the citizens of Colorado City thought were unsuitable. Finally a good station was built at 25th Street. The Midland ran through passenger trains to Grand Junction until 1918. After that ended, the Midland Terminal ran passenger trains to Cripple Creek every day until 1931. That winter the Midland Terminal station burned down, too. The calamity did not stop the railroad's passengers from getting to Cripple Creek or Ute Pass; the owners bought two retired street cars and put gasoline motors in them. They ran up into the late 1940s. Today about all that is left of the Midland is the old roundhouse (now Van Briggle Pottery) and the machine shop (now Ghost Town), but some other old Midland buildings are scattered around the area, if you know where to look.
       Manitou actually had six railroad stations!