COBWEB CORNERS: The train station for both RoswellsBy Mel McFarland
The Rock Island story has been in this column a couple times. The Chicago, Pacific and Rock Island Railroad extended its line to this area in the early 1890s. As part of that, the Rock Island started a town, Roswell City, and I have told that confusing story too.
The railroad built a train station to serve Roswell City. It was near where the Rock Island met the Rio Grande's tracks about two miles north of the D&RG station. The Rock Island built along the D&RG south along what is now Monument Valley Park, and its trains used the Rio Grande's tracks even on to Pueblo.
The depot stood just south of what was the Rock Island's westernmost roundhouse, now the Street Car Museum. The depot was between the D&RG and the Rock Island rail lines. In a bad wreck on the Rio Grande in the early 1920s, the depot barely escaped being destroyed. The Rock Island decided it was finally time to move it to a safer spot. There was by then the newer Roswell, and the depot was relocated there (the original Roswell City having become part of Colorado Springs).
The building was easy to move. Most railroad buildings did not have foundations and were often relocated. The new spot was east of Monument Creek, just north of Monument Valley Park, near North Wood Avenue. The depot served Roswell for almost 10 years before it was again almost destroyed, this time in the Memorial Day 1935 flood. It survived, though slightly shifted, but was easily moved back to its proper location.
The depot served the north-end community into the 1940s, when it was no longer used for passenger stops.
A gardener in that area had developed quite a greenhouse business. He needed more storage space and bought the former depot. He moved it next to his garage, where it too was used as a garage. The building soon lost all old railroad appearances. It merely looked like a long garage, with an odd kink in the roof where it met the other garage. The property is no longer a greenhouse, but the garage still stands, hiding its interesting history, like a lot of little buildings all over town.
(Posted 7/21/15; Opinion: Cobweb Corners)
Editor's note: Local historian Mel McFarland has been writing his Cobweb
Corners column in the Westside Pioneer since 2004. To see past columns,
go to the Pioneer's Archives. Either look for desired articles under the
Cobweb Corners category for any year, or search by keywords in the Find box.