Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Dillon Reservoir celebrates half-century of service | 1 Comments - Click Here :

Denver's largest storage reservoir was once home to the town of Dillon

    October 3, 2013 | By: Ann Baker - Dillon was incorporated in 1883 at the site of a trading post and stage stop. It then scooted closer to the railroad, and a second time closer to three rivers: the Blue, the Ten Mile and the Snake, according to the town’s website.
For the third move, Denver Water bought the entire town, moving several structures and town features, including a church and a cemetery, and inundated the area with a reservoir.
Now the town sits on the east shore, and Dillon Reservoir, Denver’s largest, is celebrating 50 years as one of the Front Range’s most important water storage sites.

The old Dillon School was one of the last buildings demolished in the town.

Moving a town for water
Denver’s $77.6 million Blue River Diversion Project was a massive plan to divert water from the West Slope to the East Slope. It included building the Harold D. Roberts Tunnel, which conveys water from Dillon Reservoir through a 23.3-mile aqueduct to the South Platte River, as well as buying land, securing water rights and building Dillon Dam.
Water leaders began tossing around the idea in the early 1900s when it became apparent that Denver could not subsist on South Platte River water alone. After years of geologic studies, engineering reports and legal wrangling, Denver Water began making formal plans to build the project. During the Great Depression, Denver Water bought property near the reservoir at tax sales. By the 1950s, according to the book, Dillon, Denver and the Dam, Denver Water owned three-fourths of the town.
Lawyers worked to buy the rest of the town, offering to help people move structures or rebuild on a site east of the reservoir.
“The old town of Dillon is almost a memory – its former site will eventually lie deep beneath the waters of Dillon Reservoir,” a 1963 customer newsletter announced. “An attractive site, among the fir and evergreen was set aside for the new Dillon when construction started on the dam.”
Working on the project
Dick Prestrud remembers the old town– and its migration to the new site – very well. His father owned the local Conoco station, and his family attended church in the same building that was trailered to the new town. He grew up in the old town and lived in Summit County most of his life. He also worked on the dam and Roberts Tunnel as an equipment oiler and as a heavy equipment operator.
“I started playing with dirt as a three-year-old and never quit,” said Prestrud, who moved to Wyoming a little more than a decade ago.

Water from Dillon Reservoir is diverted through the Harold D. Roberts Tunnel under the Continental Divide into the South Platte River before being sent to one of Denver Water's treatment plants.
Water from Dillon Reservoir is diverted through the Harold D. Roberts Tunnel under the Continental Divide into the South Platte River before being sent to one of Denver Water’s treatment plants.

For four years, Prestrud worked with crews building the Roberts Tunnel. He started by digging gravel for cement, and when that was over, he became one of a handful of crewmembers to work the entire length of the tunnel, pulling cement in and out of the mountain and cleaning the bottom of the muddy tunnel. One time while working in the tunnel, his truck’s motor broke down and the lights went out. He had to turn around and trudge through 18 inches of water for four miles for help.
“I was much younger then, and that thing didn’t bother me,” he said with a laugh.
Later, when construction on the dam began, Prestrud spent five years working 12-hour shifts, often for six days a week, changing oil and air filters on heavy equipment. Even at the time, he knew he was part of something monumental.
“The people on the Denver Water Board had a lot of foresight,” he said. “To grow, they had to have water. I think it’s quite an accomplishment.”
His family remembers watching the town move, their church being towed over the new dam road and other buildings being demolished. His wife, Norma, said they have fond memories of the old town, as well as the reservoir, and said the project brought much-needed prosperity to the small community while delivering an important supply of water to the Front Range.
Looking to the future
Originally, the board of Water Commissioners planned to build a small dam and diversion structures to send water to the tunnel. But the board rethought those plans, opting instead to build what became Denver Water’s largest reservoir.
“That was a really good decision by the board,” said John Bambei, chief of Engineering. “It was an important asset built by forward-thinking folks at Denver Water.”

A sailboat on Dillon Reservoir.
Sailboats are a popular way to enjoy the vast expanse of Dillon Reservoir. If you don’t own a boat, the Dillon and Frisco marinas offer rentals.

Building Dillon Reservoir impacted the federally regulated Green Mountain Reservoir, which meant Dillon required support from the U.S. government. Attorney Mike Walker, who was in high school in Brighton at the time of the dam’s construction, remembers hearing stories about Dwight Eisenhower fishing on the Fraser River with his Denver friend and financial advisor, Aksel Nielsen. During those fishing trips, Nielsen stressed the importance of building Dillon.
“That shows how important the project was,” Walker said. While some residents were angry about their town moving, the reservoir has become as important as “an anchor store to a mall in Summit County,” bringing tourism, employment and recreation to the mountain community.
“Having that water supply has given the board a safety valve that they wouldn’t have had if they were just relying on East Slope water,” Walker said. “They realized the importance of that water. It was the only way the Front Range would have a sustainable future.”
Ann Baker

Saturday, October 28, 2017

Saturday, October 21, 2017

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Saturday, October 7, 2017

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Jefferson General Store | 0 Comments - Click Here :

    Jeff Young - While the original Jefferson general store was lost to fire ca. 1929, a number of photographs exist of the front, including a nicely orthographic one from which to take measurements.

Jefferson store. Late 1800s.  Park County Archives

Jefferson store. Early 1900s.  Park County Archives

Jefferson store. Water tank is in background. 1926  Park County Archives

    Documentary evidence of the remaining sides is harder to obtain.  One long-distance photo exists of the 1929 Denver Water Board Special, which gives some clues to the North side, but the South and rear will have to remain conjectural.

Denver Water Board Special in Jefferson.  January 1929.  Denver Water Board

    We can surmise that the back included a loading dock of some sort, given its proximity to  the siding.  The Fairplay Flume reports on the 27 March, 1908 that “Merchant Lilley is unloading a 40,000-pound car of stock salt,” an operation large enough that we can assume a high volume of railroad shipments.
Further evidence appears on Feb 4, 1905, when the Flume reports on the sale of the store: “A fair estimate of the amount of money changing hands through this transfer is $10,000,” which is quite a sum in the early 20th Century.

    A few changes were made to the trim details in order to ease construction in HO scale.  Also shown in the following drawings are some Grandt Line and Tichy Train Group windows and doors which, with some modifications, can be made to closely match the prototype.

    Doors and window modifications.  Each pairing shows the original on the left (red rectangles indicate areas to be removed; yellow rectangles areas to be modified) and the results on the right.

    In the end I couldn’t make my peace with having a 6-pane transom over the front doors and a 5-pane over the rear, so I scratch-built my rear freight door and transom.

Alternate detail for scratch-building rear transom window.

Work in progress.

    A PDF containing high resolution versions of the elevation drawings can be found in the files section.  Happy modelling!

Jeff Young

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Garos General Store | 0 Comments - Click Here :

    Jeff Young - According to Virginia McConnell in Bayou Salado, the Garos General Store started life in Chubb’s Ranch (later called Newitt), and was moved to Garos in 1885 on two flat cars.  By the turn of the Century it was in the hands of A. S. Turner.

Early 1900s.  Park County Archives

    In the early 1930s, some of the walls were covered in wood shingles.  In the first picture, note the bundle of shingles leaning against the fence, an the tar-paper between the clapboard and shingles.  In the following pictures, note that the lower section of the false front was shingled, but not the side entry vestibule.

At the side of Turner’s store.  Park County Archives

Clara Lilley in Garos.  January 1935.  Park County Archives

Paul and Dorothy Strohmeyer with Turner store in background.  1930s.  Park County Archives

    While the building is currently in a rather forlorn state, I was able to measure it in the summer of 2016.

    A PDF containing high resolution versions of the elevation drawings can be found in the files section.
Happy modelling!
Jeff Young

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

IN ICTU OCULI - A Gilpin Tram Farewell | 1 Comments - Click Here :

Shay #3 at the enginehouse. BLE magazine 1903

    Keith Pashina - And in the blink of an eye, The Gilpin Railroad was gone!

    100 years ago this week, the Colorado & Southern Railroad sent a dispatch to the Gilpin Railroad on January 12, 1917,  and the Register-Call newspaper reported that it was
“ordering all the tram cars, engines, and the other equipment, to be in the roundhouse of the company, by Monday, the 15th… That date ends the control of the line by that company (the C&S), and the transfer of the line to Denver parties, who have bought the road, will be made later. Reports have bee in circulation that the new owners intend to operate the line if then can make it a paying proposition, and if the find to be a white elephant on their hands, the line will be scrapped, and sold as junk.”

    Unfortunately, the tramway could not be run profitably, and the Register-Call reported the $67,000 of company bonds had been sold to Radetsky Brothers of the Colorado Iron and Metal Company of Denver.

    After various legal proceedings, the final sale was made on June 2, 1917, to the Radetsky Brothers.  Thereafter, scrapping of the line proceeded. By October of that year, trackage had been ripped up back to Chase Gulch, and the final removals to the enginehouse completed a few weeks afterward.

    Only a few remnants of the Gilpin Tram survived. The three shays, numbers 3, 4, and 5, were sent to Radetsky’s Denver scrap yard potential sale. There they sat for many years, with no buyers, and were scrapped in 1938.

    Twenty of the Tram’s unique ore cars were purchased by the Iron City Mill, and used to transfer ore from a nearby loading point to the mill. Initially, these cars were hauled by horses, and later an internal combustion engine.

    Everything else – rolling stock, rail, and machinery were scrapped.

    The Gilpin Tram originally had a bright and prosperous start, when, on December 11, 1887, the first ore shipments were made. The Gilpin Tram was a technological marvel in its day, efficiently reaching many of the major producing mines and reducing shipping costs. The tramway allowed lower-grade ores, formerly not economical to mine, to now be extracted for their ore.

    This prosperous little railroad did not go unnoticed. The Colorado & Southern Railroad recognized the traffic that the tramway could feed them outbound ore and concentrates, and inbound coal and other supplies. Also, new railroad construction to the north (the Denver, Northwestern and Pacific) was threateningly close, and there was talk of building feeder lines north from Central City to reach this standard gauge line. This could not be allowed, and so on June 27, 1906, the Gilpin Tramway Company became wholly owned by the Colorado and Southern.

    But, the mining industry did not stand still. As the mines grew deeper, removal of subsurface water became more of a problem. Innovations in drilling appeared, too, and soon, haulage tunnels from Idaho Springs could be built to reach to bottom levels of many Gilpin County mines, draining the troublesome water, and hauling out the ore. Although many tunnels were started, it was the Newhouse Tunnel from Idaho Springs that reached the mines. Ongoing expansion by the Newhouse Tunnel was now taking over more and more ore haulage from the producing mines in the district. Already, the tunnel had tapped former major shippers on the tramway, such as the Frontenac, Aduddell, Saratoga, Old Town, and others, with more mines being reached each year.
As more mine shafts were linked up, less and less ore was hauled by the tramway. By 1914, former operating surpluses turned into losses. 1915 was no better, and 1916 even worse!

    The prospects for any future increase in traffic were none too good, either. By 1916, only the Polar Star Mill in Black Hawk was custom treating ores on a regular basis. What had started out as a European war in 1914 had ominously grown, and now seemingly engulfed the whole world. This impacted mining operations, too, and precious metal mining had dropped off precipitously in 1914.

    The handwriting was on the wall – the outlook was poor, and it was time to end operations. So, with very little notice, the Gilpin Tram faded away into history.

 Keith Pashina

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Form 19 | 0 Comments - Click Here :

No. 5 and No. 6 pulling train #70 from Denver to Leadville, May 1934. Photo courtesy Robert Stears collection.