In 1922, Colorado Midland was history
Registrar, Frontier Historical Society and Museum
There seemed to be no hope of economic revival for the Colorado Midland Railway. Years of financial adversity had left the beleaguered company in disrepair. When the Colorado Midland could not financially reorganize, a court in February 1917 ordered the company into receivership, auction and possible scrapping.
Upon the Colorado City courthouse steps on April 21, 1917, stood a man who did not see the Colorado Midland as junk. That day, Albert E. Carlton, for a sum of $1.425 million, purchased the Colorado Midland Railway. He was intent to build the railroad into a viable business.
For Glenwood Springs and Roaring Fork Valley residents who had been served by the railroad since 1887, the retention of the Midland provided continued economic benefits to the area. Many were employed by the railroad. In addition, the railroad shipped coal from the local mines, brought mail to mountain communities, and transported people and freight in and out of the valley.
Carlton instructed immediate track repair. He scrapped unsound equipment and purchased new cars. By autumn, the Colorado Midland’s future appeared so bright that coal-mine owners in Spring Gulch, Marion, Jerome Park and New Castle considered opening marginally producing mines.
The United States entered World War I in 1917, and on Dec. 26, the government took control of the nation’s railroads. Immediately, freight and troop traffic was diverted from the Midland to other lines. The Colorado Midland declined economically, and again went into receivership in August 1918. The junking of parts of the company was begun, while some lines, including the line from Aspen to Glenwood Springs, were retained.
The company failed to recover economically. In April 1921 Carlton directed the wrecking crews to pull up the remaining track. On April 28, 1922, stockholders dissolved the Colorado Midland.
The railroad was now a part of Colorado history.
“Frontier Diary” is provided to the Post Independent by the Frontier Historical Society and Museum, 1001 Colorado Ave., Glenwood Springs. Winter hours are 1-4 p.m. Monday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday.
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