Denver South Park and Pacific Historical Society

DSP&P Historical Society 2014 Convention - Gunnison, CO

Three days of beautiful weather welcomed 67 members of the DSPPHS to Gunnison, Colo. for their 16th annual convention, Aug.8-10, 2014.

Friday's tour covered the Baldwin branch of the DSP&P and the never-completed Ohio Creek extension. Locations visited included the Castleton and the Baldwin coalmine sites. We stopped below the famed rock wall on the Ohio Creek branch for our annual group photograph.

We reconvened that evening at the Gunnison Community Center for dinner and presentations by Todd Hackett and Larry Green. Todd presented a PowerPoint review of what we had seen and a preview of the next day's outings. Larry expanded on the information from Castleton/Ohio Creek, with then-and-now photos. Tables for "show and tell" were set up and items displayed for sale. New this year from the society were T-shirts, polo shirts and caps bearing the Como depot logo, designed by Brian Adams.

Saturday, 36 attendees toured the Black Canyon of the Gunnison via the U.S. Forest Service boat tour. Our group filled the boat, so it was virtually a private tour and we unofficially re-named it the "S.S. South Park." Ranger Jeff Muse provided narrative about the geologic features, including the Curecanti Needle. All 36 hardy souls braved the 232 stairs down and 232 stairs back to the top in good order, though the sack lunch waiting at the end was very welcome. Returning to Gunnison, Dave Primus led a car tour along Blue Mesa Reservoir, with information on the history of the lake and the towns and sites now engulfed by it.

Other attendees drove to the Alpine Tunnel, while some toured the Gunnison Pioneer Museum.

Saturday evening's dinner was followed by presentations by Dan Edwards, Duncan and Jan Harvey, Bob Schoppe and Todd Hackett.

Dan discussed how he came to compile his books - "A Documentary History of the South Park Lines: Vol. I and Vol. II," which he also offered for sale. Duncan and Jan presented a fascinating interview with Jan's cousin-by-marriage, June Brown, whose grandfather was an engineer killed on a wreck in Frisco in 1893. The Harveys taped Ms. Brown's description of the incident.

Bob presented the year-in-review, highlighting such achievements as the almost-complete restoration of the Como depot and successful restoration of the Westall monument. He also noted the society's growth - 245 members, and counting.

Bob also announced the induction of John Manley as the newest member of the DSPPHS Hall of Fame. John has donated many artifacts and made significant monetary donations to us. He's also generous in the use of his rare photos in the magazine and calendar. The board felt he was most welcome as our latest hall-of-fame inductee.

Todd closed the presentations with a demonstration on creating 3-D photos from old photographs and stereo cards.

Bob ended the evening with a "thanks to all" who attended and participated and noted, "These conventions are more than an annual meeting - more like a family reunion."

Sunday, Dave provided a walking/driving tour of railroad sites in Gunnison for some members, while others visited the Pioneer Museum. It was a great weekend and we're already looking forward to Fairplay in 2015.

Next year's convention is scheduled for Fairplay, Colo., Aug. 21-22-23. Plans are already in the works for what will certainly be a good weekend of fun, history and good times.



The annual group photo, with the Ohio Pass rock wall above.


Dan and Pat Windolph descending some of the 232 steps down into the Black Canyon for the boat tour.


After decending into the canyon, we walked along the old D&RG grade to the boat dock.


Our boat at the Curecanti Needle.


Chipeta Falls.

An old telegraph cross arm is one of the many small items remaining on the canyon walls.


The group gathered near the site of Sapinero while Dave explains what was here before the reservior.