COBWEB CORNERS: From rails to backyards
By Mel McFarland
There are all sorts of things in the yards on the Westside. Some even have railroad stuff in their yard. I do. I have a caboose, but I put it there. Maybe you have part of an old boxcar in your yard. I know several storage sheds in yards over on Pike's Peak, Kiowa, Cucharras and others, that have boxcar parts in them. There used to be a few garages that had boxcar doors on them where you could still read “CMRy.” I think most of them are gone now, though. At one time there was even an old passenger car here and there. One of them is now up in Nebraska hauling tourists, Another is down in Antonito awaiting restoration.
Every now and then I read about a car being sold off to someone who is going to use it for something. In Woodland Park there is a building with a baggage car inside it. It was purchased back in the 1940s and it was to be used as a plumber's shop. In the old days there was a coal yard that had a caboose in it as an office. In Old Colorado City, there is an old passenger car that has been converted to a cottage. It is hard to tell when you see it, but there were others with this one, and years ago they got so bad they were destroyed.
In Old Colorado City, there is even a house that is built around a streetcar. You can not tell from the outside. At one time I had a friend that lived in it, and you could recognize the car. I do not know who is living there now and if it was changed. There might be one that was once used on the Wild Flower Excursions from a century ago, but I can not get enough information to tell if it really is, or just the right size and shape! There is another streetcar in Green Mountain Falls that was once a diner called the Purple Onion. In Florissant, the Fossil Inn has half of a streetcar in it. You can have dinner in the car and look out the windows. I used to eat there all the time, just to do that.
In Fountain, there is an apartment made from a Denver streetcar and several buildings made from old box cars. A track maintenance man would buy these old cars and in his spare time turn them into nice apartments. Even when you know what they were, it is hard to tell. Other than being old, the wood in them is better than you can even get at some lumber yards!