COBWEB CORNERS: Colorado City’s early depots

By Mel McFarland

       I have talked about the fires in the Denver and Rio Grande and the Colorado Midland railroad depots in the 1930s, but I really have not said much about the depots' early days. Not much is really known about them, but I will share what has turned up so far.
       The Denver and Rio Grande built through Colorado City to Manitou in 1880. A few businesses started using the railroad. Cucharras Street, which had another name at the time, was not much of a street and almost all the way from what is now Eighth Street was wide-open country. There is no mention of a Colorado City depot at first, but a year or so later it sounds as if trains were stopping somewhere near the intersection at 25th Street. This lasted until about 1886 when Colorado City was starting to grow, thanks to the building of the Midland. Cucharras became an area where passengers did not want to get off the train!
       A new depot was located farther east, nearer to 24th. This station seems to have burned in 1891. The town requested a better station, and the railroad agreed to build one similar to the one at Monument, but it would be even further east, near 22nd Street. There were several freight customers in Colorado City by that time, and the passenger business was still good. This was the building that lasted until 1931. The last Rio Grande passenger train to Manitou ran in 1930.
       It was the Colorado Midland that really upset the local townsfolk. When construction put Colorado City on the Midland map, the train station was just a box car. This was typical of the situation at the country stops all along the line. There was a city ticket office on Colorado Avenue, but the next station was little more than a shack with benches. When the papers started talking about the problem, the railroad's reply was to point out the big office building where the trains sometimes stopped. It was a couple more years before a real depot was built, but this too failed to meet with town fathers' ideas of a good station. In about 1904 a really nice depot was built, and it was popular. So much so that the Midland even added on to it a few years later. In 1906, the Midland and the Short Line even considered building a new depot down at the bottom of 29th, but this never happened. When the Midland Terminal took over in 1918 there was not much need for a fine station in Colorado City. It was used for trains to Cripple Creek until it also burned in 1931.