COBWEB CORNERS: Tracking down the Westside’s tracks

By Mel McFarland

       There were lots of tracks in the streets of Colorado City. Colorado Avenue's streetcar tracks were a big subject of discussion some years ago. They followed the middle of Colorado Avenue into the heart of Manitou. There were others of note too.
       The Denver and Rio Grande roadbed started down where the trail now crosses Fountain Creek under 1-25 and goes west past a few businesses before crossing Eighth Street near the expressway. That part of the right of way, up to 21st Street, is now the Midland Trail. The D&RG really was not in the street until 22nd Street, where it took Cucharras all the way to 28th. From there to Manitou, it was more or less next to streets. When the line was abandoned in 1931 past Colorado City, this land was quickly bought up and used. The area where the Villa Motel sits in Manitou was a railroad yard!
       I went over to see the house that had sat at 21st and Colorado at its new site on Calvert Street and remembered the tracks over that way. Near 26th, Robinson Street had tracks in it that eventually became the line to the Golden Cycle mill. It curved up to Arch Street. There was a lot of traffic on the railroad up and down Arch until 1949, and the few people who lived along it were happy to see the tracks taken up. A lot of that traffic happened at night!
       Down in Colorado Springs, the area south of Colorado Avenue along Sahwatch Street was a railroad yard with streets running through it. It was near the Denver and Rio Grande yards, which only had Colorado Avenue running through it until the bridge over it was built. The old Santa Fe yards had bridges over the streets.
       I wonder how this side of town might have looked if the railroad had kept running. The area in Skyway would be different if the Gold Camp Road was still a railroad. The expressway would be somewhere else too!
       Speaking of imagining, I read a story about the idea of making a streetcar loop through the Garden of the Gods in the 1920s to cut down on the number of cars driving through it. If they would have only thought of what has happened in the last few years.