COBWEB CORNERS: The end of the Midland
By Mel McFarland
The employees of the Midland Terminal railroad eventually found their way back to the shops in Colorado City after the end of World War II and talks of reopening the railroad. Most of the men suffered from the economy of the post-war period. A few returned from their military service to their old jobs; some had retired or moved on to other professions. Numerous new faces could be found around the railroad yard. A faction of the employees demanded higher salaries. The management, still feeling the pinch of being closed during the war, declined. The shop men felt they had an honest complaint and called for a strike.
After about a month the dispute was settled, but the fate was sealed. The railroad was doomed, and the Golden Cycle would close. A new mill would be built in the Cripple Creek district. The last of the big mills had hung on twice as long as its competition. The closing of the Midland Terminal attracted a lot of attention. The mining activity around Cripple Creek was still down when they were told to get their last shipments to the mill before it closed. The old Midland made a series of last runs, including special passenger excursions.
Sympathies were with the railroad. A Colorado Springs group even tried to save one of the, oldest locomotives, but all were either sold or cut up for scrap iron. The Golden Cycle Corporation was very bitter about the strike. They were adamant in their position and refused any kind of preservation attempt.
The last remnants of the main line of the Colorado Midland was removed a decade later from the Santa Fe yards downtown and the old Colorado City yards. The sight of a steam engine became rare in the 1950s, except for dead engines going for scrap. The area between 21st and 25th was suddenly quiet, It remained so until the 1950's when a new route for US 24 through the Westside was discovered by the state highway department! It would follow the right of way of the old Midland railroad. A few Colorado City businesses fought the idea, but the Midland Expressway was built anyway.
A few old-timers showed up in the Midland yards to retrieve hunks of railroad iron that were uncovered by the road builders. Perhaps some of it is in your yard still!