DSP&P Historical Society 2016 Convention - Buena Vista, CO
The 18th annual DSP&P convention began on a sunny day with registration at the Buena Vista Community Center on East Main Street and featured 87 attendees registered! For many it is a “reunion” and each years also brings new faces as well. Following registration was a “lunch on your own” 2 hour period that gave everyone a chance to enjoy the excellent eateries that Buena Vista offers.
At 1pm 2 school busses transported all up Trout Creek Pass to visit several South Park Line sites. These included Antero Junction, the Colorado Midland overpass atop Trout Creek Pass, Newitt and McGees. Following this was a 2 hour “freshen up/relax” period before dinner at 6pm to begin the evening program at the community center.
The dinner, featuring 4 main course choices, was provided by our society because the Saturday night caterer was unavailable Friday night. Many thanks to society members Tom & Denise Klinger who did the cooking, serving and cleaning. The Friday evening program consisted of PowerPoint presentations by Tom Van Wormer on railroad ice ponds and Suzy Kelley on Buena Vista smelters. Many attendees brought “show and tell” items and numerous products were offered for sale along with several donated items for silent auction with proceeds going to the society's preservation fund. The evening program concluded around 9pm
Saturday morning began sunny, clouded up in late afternoon and began to rain lightly just as our touring was ending. At 9am 2 busses carried attendees to various points of interest in and around Buena Vista and Nathrop, Heywood/Mt. Princeton Hot Springs, the grade up to Cascade, and then all enjoyed a box lunch at the St. Elmo boxcars. After lunch the group continued to Romley, Hancock and back to St. Elmo for tours of the Stark Bros. General Store building.
The Saturday evening program began with another great dinner by Variations Catering of Buena Vista. The evening programs included a PowerPoint presentation by Bob Schoppe on the Denver South Park & Pacific Historical Society “Year in Review.” One highlight of this presentation was that society membership has reached 301 - an all time high!. Todd Hackett then presented stereo views along the South Park line, along with a stereo group photo in front of the BV depot that he took earlier in the day! This presentation, featuring Todd's computer magic, along with stereo glasses, made the pictures seem to jump off the screen in 3D! Next up was Ron Hassell telling us his riveting story of his exploration of Alpine tunnel in the 1970's and Dan Edwards on his continuing series of in-depth books on South Park Line history.
Sunday morning at 9am we met at the restored Colorado & Southern depot on the northwest corner of Main and US highway 24. We toured the depot and caboose on display and then traveled to the site of the west abutment of the bridge across the Arkansas River at Macune (today Wilderness Aware River Rafting Company is on the east bank) and then on to the old site of Schwanders at the mouth of Trout Creek Canyon. Today, just inside the mouth of the canyon is the site of a dam backing up the waters of Moltz reservoir. This was the site of occasional flooding that buried the rails and was eventually abandoned for this reason. Off to the side were some twisted lengths of early rail dug up when the dam was built.
The convention ended here Sunday afternoon with goodbyes all around as we look forward to meeting again at next year's convention in Golden.
All photos by Todd Hackett.
Annual Convention Group Photo at the South Park depot in Buena Vista
After a quick stop at Antero Junction on Friday afternoon, we toured the site of Bath on top of Trout Creek Pass. Here, Clif Mestel pointed out the South Park and Colorado Midland grades.
After Clif's introduction, many of us ventured to the Colorado Midland overpass of the South Park grade.
On Saturday, we headed up Chalk Creek Canyon. Here we are touring the boxcars at St. Elmo, which is where we stopped for lunch.
The next stop was Romley, where we parked at the site of the depot, and hiked down to the steel bridge.
After a visit to Hancock, we came back to St. Elmo for a tour befor returning to Buena Vista.
On Sunday, we toured sites in Buena Vista, inlcuding a trip to the abutments of the bridge over the Arkansas River just South of town.
We finished up at Box Canyon near Schwanders. The dam was built in the early 2000's, and flooded some of the grade upstream of Box Canyon.