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DSP&P Historical Society 2009 Convention - Buena Vista, CO

The Denver, South Park & Pacific Historical Society’s 11th annual convention in Buena Vista was a record-setter.  More than 70 people attended the get-together, easily the largest crowd we’ve ever had.  Events included layout tours, a visit to the Nathrop depot site and a road trip to Hancock and the beginning of the trail/roadbed to the East Portal of Alpine Tunnel.  For the first time, we were able to use the Denver, Leadville & Gunnison depot, currently being restored in Buena Vista, as our headquarters.  Evening programs were presented on the Chalk Creek area, Kokomo, railroad telegraphy and the ongoing restoration/preservation of the Como depot.  Author Mallory Hope Ferrell was presented with a lifetime membership in the society, in thanks for all of his efforts in preserving railroad history.  We’re already looking forward to next year’s event.

 

 

This year's group shot was taken on the Romley bridge just north of Hancock.  The bridge has been closed for several years to everything except foot traffic.  While it still looks good, it is in need of much restoration.  Undoubtedly a project for the future.

Todd Hackett Photo

 

The Pomeroy Creek bridge at Romley taken from the bypass road cut through the creek valley.  Engineers have deemed it unsafe for use by vehicles of any type.  This is a single span of what was once a double track in this location.  Any guesses where the second span might have gone or how it was done?

 

Tim Dannels Photo

 

 

The Pomeroy Creek bridge structure from underneath looking upgrade. Quite a bit of structure and still in good looking condition although the engineers think otherwise.  It is good that it has been preserved at least this much and not torn down.

 

Todd Hackett Photo

 

The site of the original South Park / Rio Grande depot in Nathrop was visited.  Unfortunately little more than a couple stones are all that is left of this beautiful structure.  And less than 40 yards to the right of this photo is the hole that marks the spot of the Nachtrieb Hotel.  Sites are vanishing with the advance of civilization.

 

Tim Dannels Photo

 

 

While in the Nathrop area, a visit to the unique "Bridge Abutment House" was a must.  While no photos of this particular original South Park bridge exist, the abutments are in reasonably good condition and are being put to good use.  Stones from abutments across the river were used to restore and complete the tall abutment under the north end of the house.

 

Todd Hackett Photo

 

The side of this hill once contained the thriving railroad town of Hancock.  Now nothing remains except a few stones that served as seats for the conventioneers to enjoy their box lunch on Saturday.  There are only a couple logs from the hotel and a sign installed by the forest service telling what was once here.  Being hunting season that weekend a couple of "mountain canaries" are tethered further up the hill.

 

Tim Dannels Photo

Panoramic view of Tunnel Gulch taken from near the east portal downgrade to Hancock.  Grade is still quite clear and makes for a great hike for the enthusiast.  Several made the trek up grade now open only for foot traffic and horses.

Todd Hackett Photo

 

Famous view in Box Canyon coming down Trout Creek opening into the Arkansas Valley south of Buena Vista.  Page 303 of Mac Poor's Denver, South Park & Pacific book shows similar views from 1900 and 1946.  The rails are still there, some 15 to 20 feet down in the sand.

Todd Hackett Photo

Fisheye view of the grade coming out of the new Box Canyon dam and passing the scene above.  Actually a fairly straight route.  The dam covered even more of the original grade though it can still be found in numerous places up stream.

Todd Hackett Photo

 

While amazingly no early photos exist of the top of Trout Creek Pass where the Colorado Midland crossed over the South Park line, we do have some views of how it exists today.  There was actually an amazing amount of track work at this point as both roads had wyes and several service buildings in the area, but this is all that remains.  Still noteworthy and the grades of both lines can be followed for some distance.

Todd Hackett Photo

 

Bob Schoppe points out some of the details and grades at the track scales north of Buena Vista.  Signs of the grades are still visible if you look real hard and the pit from the scales is still there.

Todd Hackett Photo

 

Not all of the activity was out in the field.  Friday night's gathering included Powerpoint presentations by Bob Schoppe and Todd Hacket covering much of the area we would be touring on Saturday and Sunday as well as adventures in Kokomo over the summer.  There was also a presentation by Pat Surrena on Telegraphy and the railroads.  Saturday evening we enjoyed a talk by Ray Perschbacher about his relatives adventures on the South Park.  Then his son Mike told of his adventures in working to save the Como Depot.

Pat Windolph Photo

 

President Dan Abbott presents famed railroad historian and writer Mallory Hope Ferrell a certificate making him a Life Member of our Society.  It was indeed a privilege to have this noted author as part of our convention.

 

Pat Windolph Photo

 


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