A timely question or two, as I have been searching and scanning all photos from my book collection concerning Dillon and Keystone. Truth is, I'm considering building a small modular Sn3 layout in my shop, based on Dillon, in my chosen modeling period of Summer, 1909.
The photos that follow aren't of great quality, as they were all scanned from books. I've tried to appropriately credit the photographer and the published source as accurately as possible.
To better orient you, I have copied, enlarged and colored a rather busy 1918 C&S valuation map from the Klinger's C&S Highline Meomories . . , page 144:
The C&S had a very simple track arrangement at Dillon. The depot was located on the outside of the mainline curve north of town. There was an odd shaped double ended house track just north of the Ten Mile Creek bridge. A single stub spur came off the house track to the west and crossed the D&RG track at grade. The D&RG track north of the bridge was intended to be the mainline of the Blue River branch continuing down the Blue River Valley, north to Kremling. Some grading was done north of Dillon, but the track ended up just serving the stockyards, to the west of the depot, as in the photos posted above. There was a crossover between the C&S house track and the D&RG stock yard spur, to allow the C&S to access the stock yard. It is not clear to me if this crossover existed prior to the D&RG cessation of operations in February of 1911.
An overview of Dillon in the winter of 1929, showing a C&S special train (for the Denver Water Board survey party):
Colorado & Southern Railway photo, Richard Ronzio Collection, as published in Digerness, The Mineral Belt, volume II, page 186.
Three freight cars (boxcar, reefer, stock car) are spotted on the C&S house track to the right of the passenger train. Three stock cars are spotted on the old D&RG stock yard track at the stockyards, just this side of the locomotive. The C&S depot is in shadow at the left frame of the photo. The C&S bridge over Ten Mile Creek is at the far right center, just over the large barn-like structure. The snow doesn't tell us if the old D&RG track and bridge have been removed; evidently they were still there in 1918, per the map above, though the D&RG didn't offically operate trains after February, 1911, perhaps throwing in the towel earlier.
This late 1930s photo of the C&S depot shows the north switch of the house track, with the switch stand just to the right of the baggage cart:
David S. Digerness collection, as published in Digerness, The Mineral Belt, volume II, page 187.
You are correct, the eastbound (Denver) passenger would back from Dickey to Dillon, then run forward to return to Dickey and points East. The afternoon westbound (Leadville) passenger train would diverge from the main at Dickey running forward to Dillon, then back to Dickey, then proceed to points West. I don't know what they did about backing the train in the snow, perhaps in the early days a light engine with plow would run ahead of the backing train. Anyway, if I model Dillon I can prototypically run passenger trains into the scene and back them out to staging, two a day! And sound car decoders with the peanut whistles will be a must in the rear coaches.
Just east of the C&S depot the C&S mainline curved toward the east-southeast and crossed the Blue River on an iron through truss bridge; the photo below was take shortly after abandonment.
R. H. Kindig photo, James L. Ehrnberger Collection, as published in the Klingers' C&S Highline Meomories . . . page 152.
After crossing the Blue at 8839 feet elevation, the C&S mainline began the 4.3 mile eastward climb toward Keystone along the north bank of the Snake River, on a steady 3 percent grade. Just east of the crossing of the Blue was a facing spur, variously known as Nichols Spur, Oro Grande (1897) and Stern Spur (1912). The history book Roadside Summit, The Human Landscape describes a shingle mill near this location and lime kilns just a bit further east. It is uncertain if either was served by rail.
About two-thirds the way from Dillon to Keystone, the C&S mainline crossed to the south bank of the Snake River on a long pile trestle:
Colorado Historical Society, Whatley Collection, #5174, as published in the Klingers' C&S Platte Canon Memories . . ., page 286.
The photo is dated to the early 1920s. Note the three D&RG boxcars in the odd consist, just behind the locomotive's tender. Is the train backing downgrade, or being pushed-pulled upgrade? I suspect the train is backing down grade (why would you deliver carloads of mine props to Keystone? See below).
Keystone, at 9,153 feet elevation was the terminus of the branch. The original intent of the Union Pacific was to tunnel under either Loveland or Argentine Pass and connect with the Colorado Central's Georgetown Loop extension, thus creating a new narrow gauge short line from Denver to Leadville. That is why both lines were constructed in c1884, there not being otherwise enough traffic on either extension to justify construction. Alas, never happened! Chris seems very well versed on this failed U.P. endeavor; perhaps he could add a bit more to this particular bit of history.
Keystone served the various mining towns to the east, including Montezuma / Sts. Johns, as well as Chihuahua and Decatur in the Peru Basin. A large amount of hay from nearby ranches and lumber / mine props were shipped from Keystone to Leadville. Per Mac Poor, C&S facilities at Keystone included: "Combination frame depot 20x30 feet. Coal bin. Ore platform. Wye. 1,900 feet of siding."
Some souces state that the U.P. graded a line from Keystone on up the Snake River to Montezuma, but never laid rail. I have driven the road from Keystone to Montezuma many times and hiked the back roads and trails up Peru Creek from its confluence with the Snake. I never saw anything resembling a railroad grade
The only clear photo I have of the C&S depot at Keystone was taken after abandonment in 1938:
I spent many a summer vacation with my kids at the Keystone Resort. The original South Park depot above, survived (as of my last visit in 2001) as the tack room for the stables at the resort. I remember in 1984 leading my then 3-year old son on a pony, around and around the coral, to the left of the building, that was located inside the old C&S wye.
I know of only 2 two photos that show C&S facilities at Keystone:
Colorado Historical Society, Whatley Collection #F15169 as published in the Klingers' C&S Highline Memories . . ., page 153.
This very poorly reproduced photo is dated November 9, 1928. The C&S Depot is at the distant right, inside the wye (tail track went out to the right). There appears to be a retaining wall to the right of the siding at the far right--perhaps this is the "ore platform". The rectangular structure to the right of the depot, that looks like a snow fence, is a "haystacker", a wooden device to facilitate loading hay into freight cars or barn lofts. Note the stacks and stacks of mine props, ready for shipment. Many of the structures to the left have been preserved by the Keystone Resort, and serve as the Keystone Science School.
Colorado Historical Society, Whatley Collection #31561 as published in the Klingers' C&S Platte Canon Memories . . ., page 285.
Photo taken the same day as the first.
So that's it! If I find any more photos of Dillon (or Keystone) I will add them to this (retitled) thread. Feel free to do the same.
I apologize, as the scanned photos above are of pretty poor quality. I will keep trying and if I can produce better images, I will replace them.
I would recommend that any serious C&S fan acquire all three of the Klingers' "C&S Memories" books for your library.
Nice Photo essay Jim,
I'm thinking anything I could add is lost in the dusty back-room of my mind, has been 20+ years since I ceased interest in that part of Colorado, becoming more intrigued with milling and mining back down Cl. Cr.
I guess there comes a time when there is just no more material, we're lucky to have the additional Klinger views and I'm sure that the Keystone segment of the C&S, the most obscure corner should I say, will yield up a couple more.... keep your fingers crossed.
EDIT:, can't find anything in "Summit" or "Mining the Summit" books other than what is written in Poors DSP&P re G,B&L coming out of Georgetown at the same time SP being built out of Como. Mention of some grading East of Keystone towards Montezuma but no more. Looks like the switching puzzel at Dillon to get to the stockyards was simplified from the trackage diagram.
Thanks, Jim, this definitely confirms what I have thought since I've been working on my Dickey diorama, about how the operations of the passenger train were done at Dickey in both directions. While it is possible that the Westbound train #88-89 backed up behind the wye at Dickey, I suspect it to be more likely that it simply went straight past the depot and went up head first. as it would take less time. The timetable only allows 20 minutes for the entire trip back to Dickey. In snow, the train would surely have gone up head first in either direction. I'll stick by my thoughts on this, despite the lack of pictures at Dillon of the train oriented in the opposing direction.
The timetable for trains arriving and departing Dillon from Dickey are as follows:
Westbound #86-87 3:50PM
Eastbound #88-89 10:50AM
So it makes sense that the Eastbound train was much easier to photograph in the morning, and would never have been photographed by a passenger at all in either direction.
Thanks again, Jim. Every bit of information matters somehow!
It's also interesting that after 1931, the passenger train and the freight train ran in opposing directions between Como and Leadville and in the same direction between Denver and Como. Not sure if that accounts for few pictures but it could. In any event, it would have been awkward to find oneself at Dickey at 4PM in the afternoon in the approaching darkness with a long drive back to Denver over poor roads. That could help explain why there may be so few pictures from the area. We are probably lucky to have as much as we do. Thanks again!
So, Chris, you also noticed the oddity of the trackage arrangement at Dillon per the 1918 map: That silly crossover between the C&S house track and the D&RG "stockyard track" runs the wrong direction! If the C&S installed the crossover in 1911, after the D&RG ceased operations (as Cornelius Hauck stated in the South Park CRA), it would make no sense to intall it that way. If reversed, the C&S could have easily switched the stockyard off the main, north of the Ten Mile Creek bridge. It would have been a straight shove via the south house track switch and a crossover running the other direction.
That's why I think the crossover was in place from very early on, perhaps mid-1880s, and served a completely different function. Both the D&RG and the South Park arrived in Dillon in 1882. The D&RG daily mixed from Leadville arrived in Dillon mid-day, turned on the D&RG wye south of its Ten Mile Creek bridge, then returned to Leadville. I believe the D&RG used the crossover to access the C&S main and spot the combine at the Depot platform.
Several sources refer to the South Park / C&S depot as the "Joint Depot", with the D&RG agent working out of the C&S depot, along with his C&S counterpart--or maybe it was just one person, paid by both railroads to handle their respective business here. Once the initial conflict over right of way through Ten Mile Canon was resolved, there was no reason for the two railroads to not cooperate.
Similarly, the needs of the community probably dictated the local operations of the two narrow gauge roads. Dillon was never big enough to warrant two stock yards. I suspect the C&S used the D&RG stockyards early on, perhaps in DSP&P days. I mean, this wasn't the fierce competition between the Pennsy and the NYC, with all facilities duplicated, separate but equal.
Anyways, the track diagram per the 1918 map makes an interesting switching puzzle, as you say. Sort of a prototype for the John Allen "Timesaver" puzzle.
Well, Jim, it's probably been as interesting for you to learn of some of this stuff for your interest in the Keystone Branch and it's operations in later years on the C&S as it has been for Darel and me to learn of those in Dickey. As things come to light, it appears that things as they were really weren't what we might have though they were.
Surely in earlier times things would have been more like what you had imagined them to be, but in the last few years, a passenger train at the depot for one minute six times a week and few freight cars being shuttled up to Keystone by a grousing helper engine crew from Dickey with no caboose maybe twice a week is probably not what you'd had in mind for your layout.
But that's the joy of our hobby. I'm very glad to still have that large enginehouse in my 1935 Dickey, and have come to accept that my little depot is no longer supposed to have a ticket agent. I guess the point of it all is that when I look over my shoulder from my desk I see a compressed glimpse of Dickey, and that's not a bad thing at all. Hopefully, we'll get a chance to see your Keystone Branch here on this site as time goes on.
Regardless, thanks to you and Chris for your photos and comments which help fill in blanks for all of us as we see things from the point of view of our own interests.
I've been able to replace the 2 views of the Keystone rail yard in my earlier post with better quality images, so the Keystone depot and the "haystacker" are at least discernable. Also found these photos in another book:
From Sandra F Pritchard, Roadside Summit, The Human Landscape, Summit Historical Society Publications, 1992, page 134.
A good view of a "Haystacker", used by ranches around Dillon and Keystone. I'm not quite sure how it was used, evidently "wooden plungers pushed the hay up the stacker into the barn."
I can't tell if the one in the Keystone yard view was used to load hay into boxcars directly or merely "stack" hay hauled in to the railhead by wagon into "haystacks" for storage, prior to manually loading into boxcars for shipment.
From Sandra F Pritchard, Roadside Summit, The Human Landscape, Summit Historical Society Publications, 1992, page 89.
An earlier view of an industrial sized "haystacker", stacking hay into a barn loft.
I must confess to have spent a bit of time on ranches in central Texas as a kid, but I have no idea how the stacker in the first photo worked--it seems to be a device to almost "catapult" hay into a stack. In my state and my day, hay was bailed and neatly "stacked" in barns.
Daryl, you seem to be a ranching type of the Colorado species, do you know how these things were really used? If not, could you ask Roper?
The one downside of our favorite narrow gauge railroad was lack of traffic density for operations. If one models the C&S anytime after, say 1910, there just weren't that many trains running. Even on the Platte Canon segment, the "trunk" of the South Park "tree", one would probably be lucky to see the daily passenger trains and maybe, just maybe, a single freight train on any given day. In all likelihood there may have been more light helper engine movements than true train movements.
That is why I choose to model the summer of 1909, before the Colorado mining economy began its slide and before the CB&Q began dismembering the South Park division. There was a lot more traffic then. Anything that wasn't shipped by rail was pulled by horses or mules. Roads were impassable much of the year.
Consider Dillon and Keystone in 1909. Breckenridge was still the largest town in Summit County, population 834. But Dillon was 2nd in size (261) and Montezuma above Keystone was fourth (150). Even Jeff's Kokomo was still well populated in 3rd place at 194 folks.
Dillon saw 2 passenger trains a day, usually 3 car trains, as well as the daily D&RG mixed from Leadville.
Keystone was likely very active as the mines and mills around Montezuma and Sts John were still producing and the Pennsylvania mine and mill, high in Peru Basin, was very busy. All this ore had to go out through Keystone to smelters in Leadville and Denver.
Leadville was still going strong, and a lot of hay was shipped out of Keystone and especially Dillon to that town, to power its local horse-drawn economy. Lumber and mine props were shipped in large quantities to Leadville as well, to prop-up all the underground works, so the town didn't get "shafted."
I suspect there were 2 or 3 freight trains a week (with caboose and full train crew) up the branch from Dickey. The long 3% grade from Dillon to Keystone would likely have required double heading at times or doubling the train from Dillon to Keystone.
This shift backward in time translates into a lot of operation opportunities. Should I end up modeling Dillon in the summer of 1909, a given days operation would include:
1. Two C&S passenger trains from Dickey and return, backing half the time, with 2-6-0s on the point
2. A C&S freight train thru Dillon to Keystone and return, sometimes double headed (think B-4-Cs and B-4-Ds).
3. The daily D&RG mixed with a diamond stacked Class 60 2-8-0, a few D&RG freight cars and the combine.
4. Throw in an occasional D&RG or C&S stock extra, moving cattle to the high pastures for summer grazing, and a lot of operation could occur on a relatively modest layout.
I know Derrell would be aghast at including the "Evil Empire" on a C&S layout, but Dillon was one of the few places that 3 foot gauge trains of both roads competed, side by side, and actually connected, interchanging cars. And in Dillon in 1909, the C&S is winning--the "Evil Empire" would give up and leave within a year or two.
As you say, all depends on your interest and point of view.
Thanks for the youtube links. Having watched the haystacker in action, all horse powered, it seems obvious that this device was likely never used to load hay directly into boxcars.
In restudying the first Keystone yard photo above, there appears to be a large light-colored mound (or mounds) behand the haystacker, perhaps stacks of hay dusted with snow.
Is it reasonable to assume that hay for rail shipment was hauled to the site by wagon and stored in large haystacks (via the haystacker) next to the siding for eventual manual loading into boxcars? Does this make sense? If so, it would make a unique line side industry next to the spur in Dillon.
There is one other explanation that I can think of: The meadow to the right (south) of the C&S depot in Keystone, where the wye was located, was named "Jackstraw Flats". Evidently the mule trains ("jacks") would unload ore and reload supplys here to serve the mines high in the mountain valleys to the east. Perhaps the haystacks, stacked by the haystacker, was a food source for the mules, although for this practice to survive into the late 1920s seems unlikely.
According to the Roadside Summit book, hay (particularly Timothy) was the single largest agricultural commodity produced by the lower Blue River valley north of Dillon. Some was actually trans-shipped as far away as Kentucky.
I don't remember the details or know the page number because I never owned a copy,but there is a picture of a C&S boxcar being loaded with stack hay at Hinkles in Duane Vandenbushe's GUNNISON COUNTRY.There are several good photos of haying in the Park County Archives-both stacking and baled with a stationary baler.There are examples of an Overshot Stacker and an A-frame.
Why is it assumed that the Hay being shipped is loose, the stationary Haybaler or Hay Press as they were better known, were a mid- 1800's invention so why wouldn't the Hay be shipped in bales? Pitchforking into and out of a freightcar must have been the pits.
The Riverview derailment of 1902 shows Baled Hay alongside the tracks. Lots of Teamster Barns in the mining camps to supply, just looking over the Idaho Springs pictures show a number of large Barns after 1890.
I was giving that some thought, because like you, I also imagined the Hay to be in Bales. I lived my first 21yrs on a dairy farm and have never seen those stackers used here in NZ, maybe down in the South Island perhaps, but had a good look at them on several of my trips to the States. I did notice that the Ranchers up the Blue and in the Gunnison country still stuck to the older ways of doing the Haymaking.
Can you really see the Hay being shipped loose by the time of the railroad? I can't see reason to use the device to load a freightcar, possibly Coalcars could be used as opposed to Boxcars at a lesser-sized load unless it was tarped. It would be a better utilization to obtain a carload in/carload out instead of supplying Mtys as I doubt there was much inwards traffic...... or just maybe build a haystack to supply the teamsters to the Peru Cr and Montezuma mining districts.
Thinking along those lines the stacker is one of those really out of place items to me as I thought Keystone was up in rocky treed ground beyond the meadow type area of Dillon and the Blue R. ranches and I do notice that there is a zig-zagging stacked logpole fence between the Railyard and the Stacker, could be on a meadow or ranch property adjacent to the C&S and therefore be for ranch purposes not railroad?
Interesting; looking forward to some more photographic evidence, I am!
I've spent some time on the Soda Creek Ranch just south of Keystone; you're right, the land is broken foothills with variable forest, more suitable for grazing cattle than growing hay. Most of the hay produced in Summit County was along the lower Blue, with its wide flat valleys. Hay fields were often irrigated by ditches coming off the Blue or its tributary streams.
The photos of Keystone shows many piles of mine props stacked next to and between sidings, as well as cut lumber. A history review of "Old Keystone" in my files, provided by the Keystone Resort, indicates that Keystone had a sawmill operation that was active, shipping lumber as far away as Denver into the 1930s. So logs and mine props were likely cut and hauled into the yard area by teams, sometimes using logging sleds in the winter per some existing photos. Most of the structures visible to the left of the photos were bunkhouses, boarding house and cook house for the loggers. Most of the loggers were recent Swedish immigrants.
The document also states that the meadow south (right) of the tracks was "farmed". Add to that the place name of that meadow, "Jackstraw Flats" and I've come to believe that the haystacker, hay stacks (if that's what they are) and fencing were all there to support the horse teams and pack mules that operated out of the Keystone rail head site, both to support the logging operation and the pack trains to the high mountain mines, above Montezuma. They may or may not have been in active use during the last decade of C&S operations--perhaps no one bothered to take them down if equine power had been replaced by trucks.
C&S Livestock trains out of Dillon and other Ten Mile stations:
Ever notice how many photos, even videos there are of RGS stock trains: Sheep from Lizard Head, Rico and Dallas Divide, cattle from Placerville, and Dolores? Or all the livestock movements on the D&RGW in the Gunnison country: Sheep from Cimarron, the "Powerhorn Roundup" from Sapinero, with long stock trains over Marshall Pass with 4 big K class 2-8-2s?
So how come there are no photos of stock trains on the C&S?
According to the book, Roadside Summit, The Human Landscape, Dillon was the most important stock shipping station on the C&S, though every photo we've thus far seen always makes the place look deserted. Evidently, such was not always the case, as the author describes in detail:
"During the fall of 1903 . . . the last week of October, thirty-two cars left (Dillon) for Denver and Omaha and thirteen more cars were needed for the rest of the shipment."
"In 1906 the Lee, Laskey, Knorr and Mumford ranches filled 12 railroad stock cars with 225 head of cattle."
"In 1915, 235 head, filling 13 cars were sent to Kansas City from (a variety of ranches)."
"In 1918, a load of 4,000 sheep which had grazed on the mountains around Montezuma . . . were shipped from Dillon to Denver."
"In the winter of 1919, ranchers shipped 2,200 head of cattle to market because there was little winter feed."
"In the fall of 1922, the Laskey and Lindstrom ranches filled 18 rail cars . . . for shipment to Denver. Sheep ranchers . . .sent a trainload of 25 cars to Denver."
"In 1927 the Lower Blue ranches shipped 34 carloads of cattle and 50 car loads of sheep . . . The Lindstrom Land and Cattle Co. produced 20 of those carloads for the Denver market (in a single train)."
Then this fascinating tidbit: "(In 1928) Mr. Lindstrom shipped 17 car loads of of cattle in a special train, but because of the poor quality of the passenger cars, he followed the train to Denver in an auto to suppervise the unloading." This suggests that the C&S may have included old combines or coaches on the end of the trains as "Drover Cars".
The other local area for shipment of livestock was Wheeler Flats in Ten Mile Canon (todays Copper Mountain Ski Resort). The D&RG station there had a depot and water tank, presumably stock yards. The corresponding C&S station was "Wheeler", later "Solitude", just a siding and water tank; I've never seen a stock yard in any photo:
"In September, 1917, two shipments went to Denver; the first filled 5 double decker cars; the second 13 cars; a final third shipment filled 9 or 10 more cars of the same type . . . a maximum of 80-84 sheep per car." The author specifically states that these were D&RG cars, despite the fact that The D&RG hadn't operated their Blue River branch since February, 1911. Just as D&RG boxcars show up in C&S trains into the mid-1920s, this might suggest that per the joint operating agreement betweeen the two roads, D&RG business in the Ten Mile was handled in D&RG cars but by C&S trains on C&S track. Presumably, the sheep were loaded at the C&S Solitude siding. It is not clear whether the trains were moved east to Denver by the C&S, or south to Leadville and handed over to the D&RG for points east via Salida and the 3-rail track.
"(In 1918) a load of 2,600 sheep, grazing in the mountains near Wheeler, were shipped. Six trains were required to get the sheep over Boreas Pass".
"In 1936, 15 carloads of sheep were shipped from Solitude . . . opposite Wheeler, to Missouri markets after summer grazing."
Although these C&S stock trains may have originated in Dillon or on the Ten Mile, all shipments to Denver had to traverse the entire South Park division (via Daryl and Mike's Dickey dioramas and Derrell's Buffalo layout).
So folks, let us find and post photos of C&S stock trains, bonus points for a train with a "Drover's" coach. (The photos of the last east bound freight train with that long string of empty stock cars don't count).
Jim, I think the principle reasons there are so few pictures from that part of the C&S are due to the remoteness of the area and the fact that the depression was on in the thirties and film was expensive. There was no chance for even railfans on the passenger train to take pictures along the line due to the tight schedule. And those fans who happened to drive up would be hard pressed to find lodging if they got caught up there in the dark. Many of the pictures we do have from that part of the railroad were taken by crewmen. There are a lot of photos taken in Denver and up to Como, but operations on the West End are harder to find.
By the time of the RGS and D&RGW abandonment, there had been much highway improvement, it was a better time for documenting such things.
I'll sure be interested to see what can be found, but it's likely to be slim pickins.