Throughout the numerous Droste Blog Como Depot posts there remains a fixation on there being a TO Board of the Banner "Swift" type on the "Depot" at the corner of 19th and Wykoop Streets in Denver about 1881/1882, that is not visible to me. The notion of the "Semaphore" as John repeatedly calls it, doesn't sit with me in the following....
Looking at the "appearance" of Banner boards in old photographs taken at various angles and under various lighting conditions one cannot always rely on the round and square holes to be visible at all times.
At the time under discussion, Denver was a terminal, the break of gauge (in Australian parlance) where the SG and NG lines met.
Passengers actually had to change trains as there were no through trains to the "West" so therefore I see no need for a train order board to signal trains to stop for orders.
It was my understanding that Orders were delivered by Messengers at Terminals and Division points, only at intermediate stations did the Operator pass along orders.
The Siding in front of the Building at 19th & Wynkoop in the WHJackson pano is SG, there is no 3rd rail visible to even suggest it be a D&RG siding.
Denver in 1881 Jackson Pano annotated "summer of 1882" pic August 11, 2015 note there are no switchstands visible, all groundthrows?? note I can easily make out Street Gaslights, Barber's Pole but still do not see a TO board.
I really have to ask myself "How come there would be a TO Board there while there aren't any anywhere else on the fledgling DSP&P, for instance take the Hortense "Toy" Depot, clearly shown in Mal Ferrell's The South Park Line pg 69 with DSP&PRR "Dillon" alongside, no TOB mounted and yet a later view shows one in Pict. Sup. to DSP&P does. This same book (SPL) also has a picture taken at Alpine Tunnel before the Passing Track was put in showing the stone Sectionhouse and Enginehouse along with the wooden Telegraph Office we all know so well but no Banner.
The Depot at Forks Creek doesn't show a Banner until after the new Steel Truss bridge is in place there.
Earliest Sanborn 1887 Fire map of Denver with orientation to the above picture
Mal Ferrell graciously sent this wonderful picture of the Union Depot with the early control point as shown on the 1887 Sanborn map above. The only picture of the early days to show any signal of such I might add. Please note the above Signals are what I am used to as Starting or Directing Signals: I do not mean these to be thought of as Train Order signals.
I sure appreciate the time that Mal has put into this with me.
from the Collection of Mallory Hope Ferrell.
As this has been rather intiguing as to what was used for TO signals, here is a look at Depots along the DSP&P at or about the same timeframe. The alert reader will soon see a pattern emerging here...
Photo From and Courtesy of Mallory Hope Ferrell collection.
These two picture show a Lamp-post that to me would be used to signal trains, not illuminate the platform, the location is incongrous for that purpose. Wall mounted as at Forks Creek before the Steel Bridge maybe.
My Favourite Place, if you haven't worked this out already
from the Idaho Springs Historical Soc.
Idaho Springs (without) Dating this as 1886 to prior to 1890 based on the Sampling Works present and no Mott Mill,
the I.S. Depot is also in the light paint scheme with no Brick building immediately West of that.
Why a TOboard on an out of service Depot, in an area under control of a Terminal Super. when the purported relocated Depot to Como doesn't show one for a number of years, and that any of the intermediate stations along the line at or after the 1881(2) Jackson Pano do not show any Banner boards? That doesn't make sense!
Was there any damage to the adjacent Como Depot from the Pacific Hotel Fire? There apparently was a Lean-to vestibule visible on the Northwall in the Hotel fire photo pg247 of Mac Poor's DSP&P.
While I find all these building details interesting as regards to poor workmanship and mismatched items, I can't for the life of me figure out just why the Depot wasn't built new on the spot just like all the other Depots.
Is there more to this story than let on?
What has the BV Depot got to do with the Como, it is mentioned a couple of times?
Could it be so far back in time that we will just never know?
All will be revealed on the next episode of Soap
Very well done, Chris. Lots of information in all of the photos presented.
My question , as is yours , is why would the South Park would go to all of the trouble to dismantle a depot , load it onto a train and the proceed to re-assemble it in the Como location ?
The had built depots new in other locations and had just build a new stone roundhouse in Como . Why go cheap and recycle a used depot from another railroad, it just doesn't seem to make much sense. Even with the lower labor costs of the time , to justify the time and energy to do this doesn't seem a major cost benefit to the railway.
Very well thought out and very well presented.
I totally agree.
Mr. Droste has presented the idea that the building in question is D&RG and D&RG semaphore.
I do not agree the building is D&RG depot and strongly suggest there is no semaphore visible. That area consisted of industrial and yard tracks and no semaphore would be necessary. The track arrangement and location of “depot” are not conducive for suggesting that the structure is a depot.
Further, there are cars of coal spotted at the end of the “depot” and do not appear to me to be a platform.
In viewing the Jackson photo I do see areas of 3 rail track. The D&RG connected with the UP at 19th street. There are NG cars next to SG cars west/south(?) of the 19th street crossing. A NG track continues across 19th street and though an intricate crossover, just past 19th street, becomes part of 3 rail track on the left side. The engine is on 3 rail track and 3 rail track can be followed around behind the “depot”.
So far, I have seen no documentation that the building in question was being used as a depot at the time the Jackson view was made, if ever.
Re: Desperately Seeking Signals: The Saga Of The Train Order Board
Photos which can be dated I consider primary data.
In 1883 we have a photo showing the Depot attached to the Gilman Hotel, before the Pacific Hotel took over in 1885. The Gilman had a flat roof on the extensions.
In 1879 when the track reached Como there was a Depot here according to the Fairplay Flume, the town was a tented city. No description of what it looked like but the reporter seems to assume that his readership would know what it was and where it was.
For the next 2 years Como is nothing special.
1881 they decide to build the Roundhouse and I assume then the Tenements, same crew? My assumption is that requires a bigger Depot
The 1886 ICC report refers to the original rectangle and 2 extensions and matches up with the current building dimension, I think the ICC report dated the Depot as 1881 but then the report has other dates that are wrong and was not prepared as a historical record, could be when the Depot was extended?
The early years are a guessing game, there are lots of odd cut lines that suggest changes, windows doors, the internal partitioning has changed in spots, the freight room was either bigger or the foundation assumed it would be bigger.
The Depot as fas as I am aware does not match the other Depots built around that time. Certainly not the standard type building, Dispatchers Office in Como (what happened to that) and Depot in Jefferson.
Short version is I do not know pre 1883.
In 1879 there was nothing here, there was a Ranch a mile or so away, but certainly does not have the style of a local redundant building repurposed, there were sawmills up here, not sure they were producing anything complicated in the way of trim, assume that came up with the Train from Denver.
If it had been moved I do not think from what I have seen it was done in small pieces, nothing I have seen that suggests that, think it would have to be in one piece so that means not that far.
They certainly did move Buildings, King to Como were c 1896, but much smaller than the Depot, not sure when Lower Como became King but post 1883.
Como was head of the track for 4 or 5 months, makes sense they needed a Building, nothing I think in Jefferson so the next nearest would be Webster/Grant, a long way away.
So to recap:
Moved in one piece, well not from Denver, not physically possible.
Broken up and reassembled, no evidence.
Another building that was torn down for its materials, possible, but I would expect to see a lot of nail holes from previous construction.
Built on site, most likely and then extended by local labour using what was to hand. The extensions seem to have been done by unskilled labour.
Still does not answer why so many changes seem to have happened in those first few years.
Finally another question, was the Depot extended to the Hotel or the Hotel extended to the Depot?
Checking the official DSP&P records, I see several entries for a depot
moved from Denver to Como, after being imported from Sidney, Australia.
The depot was received at Pier 21 on Denver's south harbor, tranferred to
railcars at the wharf, and moved to the terminal yards for the next through
freight to Como. All this occurred between 30 February and 31 June 1879.
According to the Sunday special edition of the Flume, order boards were
installed on the opposite sides of the building when in service in Oz, requiring
some modification. The work being done by nubian slaves broght to Como
just to do the work.
June of 1879 from memory, the Flume started early that year and there are some missing. Suddenly they mention Como, there was mention of Lechner and Hamilton which I think they were expecting to be the name, mind you they were expecting next stop Fairplay.
Re: Desperately Seeking Signals: The Saga Of The Train Order Board
Thanks for looking it up.
I know I have said this before but in the last 8 years both Bob and myself have been interviewed by the Flume and I am pretty sure that neither of us despite our best efforts have been reported accurately.
If they get it 75% or more then I take it as a win.
How different was it back then?
These articles raise many questions, there is another one from June covering the arrival of the first train in Como.
Just some comments:
The Town was owned by the railroad, did they rent space, lease properties initially.
Gilman is mentioned with a Eating House, I assume a tented structure, on the Hotel site or somewhere else.
Depot is mentioned a few times and the staff. As I mentioned earlier we can not tell what building it is or for that matter if it is where the current Depot is, but then again why go to the effort of replacing it or moving it.
I know there were two coal mines from other sources, it is not clear from this report but can certainly be read that way. Seems that it remained at about 20 coal miners until they year end when they hit a fault and abandoned the operations.
This is an incredibly researched and well illustrated thread.
I guess I've always taken order boards on depots for granted. Obviously, the DSP&P didn't feel a need for signaling trains to stop for new orders at a given station. As ComoDepot has pointed out, perhaps South Park trains stopped at every station with a telegraph operator to check for orders, by convention.
Since the earliest photo to show an order board on depot (Webster) was in 1887, perhaps train order boards were a UP policy, pushed upon the South Park and Clear Creek lines, as the UP tried to fully integrate all the subsidiaries of the system.
I can understand not having an order board at Leadville ( Gunnison, too?) as they were terminals. I'm surprised, now that I think about it, that Como had a TOB, as it was a division point.
Thinking back to my brief Rock Island career, trains could not leave terminals such as Fort Worth, or division points like Waurika, OK, without the C&E both manually receiving orders and clearance from the Dispatcher by way of the Trainmaster or Agent/Operator, as these were train crew change points, nothing actually running through.
The only time new train orders were picked up at stations along the subdivision, were for changes in locations of meets with opposing trains. These were almost always picked up on the fly. The only time that I recall having a train stop for orders was when my drowsy engineer forgot to stick his arm out to snare the "flimsies" on the string, running the order board. Red faced, he had to stop the train on the main and I, as the head-end brakeman, had to walk a half mile back down the train, in the dark, to retrieve his orders.
So, now I think that I'll start looking for other C&S depot TOBs or the lack there of!
I haven't the time to devote to this at the moment, the above effort did wring it out of me so please continue if you want.
Pinning down the Timeline is difficult, and the reasons behind just which Station "had" vs "had not" ellude me. I can't find pictures to show a TO Board at Gunnison on the D&RG, nor Chama, nor Durango. Morrison, Leadville, and D&RG at Lake City, Ouray and Silverton, being end of the line don't show either but one thing I can say is that at one time or another, the DSP&P Depot at Gunnison did indeed have a Banner out front. I've never seen a picture with it though even though I have or have seen images of the Depot with the Roundhouse in the background, without the RH and later in D&RG days.
Unlike the "Wynkoop and 19TH" example, this I can be sure of, as this close up examination of the following shows evidence of such.
I'm glad to see others finally chiming in on this subject as I have tried and been blasted by this person. He said he knew me and I have never spoken to him nor have I ever had communication with him except maybe a reply once to his diatribes of posts he's made concerning the Depot being moved from Thomas the train engines train yard in London.
FYI, now he's focused on the machine shop at the roundhouse being moved. Next it'll be the roundhouse itself that was moved.
Thanks Rick, I was thinking that I had that one mixed up and was sure someone will correct it. I've changed the offending text.
I also have added a link to the Trains and Technology: The American Railroad in the Nineteenth Century, Volume 4 which is where I read of the 1884> date on pg 179. This important clue for Mr Droste was somewhat buried, I might add.
Can you enlighten us about the TO operation a little as to Terminals, Division points, Branchlines and Intermediate Stations please? I was used to Tablet (token) operations for such.
Do you have anything as to the intro. dates of the Banner type signals, I see Cimarron in 1886 didn't have one yet Webster in '87 did. I'd like to see this issue clarified if we can.
Ok Jeff, that made me smile after dealing with this other guy.
Now I will have to come visit and see the jumping church and your beautiful home.
From: Jeff Young [via C&Sng Discussion Forum] <[hidden email]>
To: savethecomodepot <[hidden email]>
Sent: Mon, Oct 31, 2016 2:00 pm
Subject: Re: Desperately Seeking Signals: The Saga Of The Train Order Board
Moving a roundhouse is nothing. We've got a jumping church in Ireland: