I am working on labeling various very early photos and such as I prepare a possible article on the construction of the DSP&P from Bear Creek Junction (Sheridan) on up through Platte Canon to Bailey's Ranch and beyond.
• Has anyone seen a list of bridges (description, bridge# and such) for this section of the line? The 1919 valuation maps show the various bridges, but none are labeled by #.
• In a related question, does anyone know when the original "American Bridge Company of Chicago" 95' iron "Pratt Through Truss" near Mill Gulch (built May 1877) was replaced with the "Keystone Bridge Company of Pittsburgh" 105' pin-connected Pratt Through Truss?
• Also, I know the original "American Bridge Company of Chicago" 95' iron Pratt Through Truss above Deansbury was built in May 1878, then replaced (or at least re-designed and re-built in February 1882), but when was it replaced by the 3rd and final much shorter, very stout steel Pratt Through Truss? I know the 2nd version of the Deansbury Bridge survived the 1900 flood, but I have not determined when the 3rd and final bridge was put in place.
• Bridges on the Morrison Branch would also be helpful, but it is not my current focus.
Any help or suggestions would be truly appreciated!
Yes, I saw that they "date" the Keystone bridge at Mill Gulch as being from circa 1870 -- a full 7 years before 1st Mill Gulch bridge was even erected in May 1877 I am wondering if perhaps the Keystone bridge actually is an old structure that was simply purchased and re-assigned to Mill Gulch when the original American Bridge Company Pratt Though Truss was replaced. I do not know if that was before or after the 1900 flood -- it was listed as "still standing" after the flood, but which one?
Yes, the 3rd Deansbury bridge being dated as about 1922 would make sense, I just don't know how detailed their research was, considering they dated the Mill Gulch bridge to before the DSP&P was even built. HAER has truly great photos, but some of their historical research can sometimes be somewhat suspect.
Depends on what you think CIRCA means.It could very well mean May 1877-or even December 1879.Consider the guy got the closing date of the line wrong.Remember DPL often gets dates wrong-so could these guys.Flood obviously refers to the one documented in the DSP&P Pictorial.
Yes, the bridge lists are out there. Two that I have seen are the 1886 & 1894 editions of "Bridges, Buildings & Other Structures". Have you contacted the DSP&P Historical Society? They should have copies.
Yes, I should have clarified... I was referring to the truly devastating May 3, 1900 flood following the failure of the Goose Creek Dam.
And yes, I fully agree that the term "circa" is very vague and wide open to interpretation. I tend to think of it as being within 3-4 years of a given date, but I suppose 5-10 years is not entirely out of the question. Regardless, "1870" would be an odd year to cite since "most" Colorado railroads had not even broken ground yet, with the exception of the already-completed Denver Pacific, and 1870 was also a full 7 years before the 1st version of the Mill Gulch bridge was even erected.
When did the DSP&P resume actual track laying after the lull caused by the 1873 depression?May 1877 sounds like the bridge would have been completed a significant period of time before track got there.
As always, "answers to questions" often result in even more questions...
As background, we know for certain that Bridge #1043, the 95' American Bridge Company "Pratt Through Truss" just below Mill Gulch was being assembled and erected on 16 May 1877, based on the eye-witness report of an aspiring young bridge engineer who visited the site while erecting work was actually in progress and the span was being swung over the river. Interestingly, this was a full year before track layers even reached this point, so the very heavy iron girders and beams of the bridge had to be freighted into the site by team & wagon over the newly completed raw grading to that point. Would have made for some truly GREAT photos!
However, in the pages dated 1 Nov 1894 provided by Doug Heikamp, the 1877 American Bridge Company 95' span had already been replaced by a somewhat shorter 85' "Phoenix Iron Works" bridge (Phoenixville, Pennsylvania), and while the final digit of the build date is overwritten, it appears to read "1882," which would be the same year the twin "upper bridge" above Deansbury was also replaced or redesigned after being found to be too narrow and lacking sufficient anti-sway bracing.
Interesting. So this means we can now conclude that the 85' Phoenix (Pratt design?) through truss was replaced sometime after 1894 with the 3rd and final "Keystone Bridge Company of Pittsburgh" 105' pin-connected Pratt Through Truss. So this also raises the question as to whether it was the 85' Phoenix span that survived the catastrophic 3 May 1900 flood, or had it already been replaced with the final 105' Keystone span? Regardless, we are getting farther and farther away from the "circa 1870" date provided by HAER. I still wonder if the Keystone bridge was simply brought in from elsewhere and reassembled at Mill Gulch.
And as a parting thought, the pages also list Bridge #1049, the twin "upper bridge," above Deansbury, as being a 95' Pratt iron truss built in 1878. Since we know the original bridge was completed in May 1878, this tends to confirm the original bridge was simply taken down, re-designed, widened and strengthened in Feb 1882, but still keeping it's original "build" date.
Now, why does all this even matter? First of all, I simply find the details interesting. But secondly (and perhaps much more importantly), it helps "date" early photographs, especially when also compared with locomotive build-dates, or then-current numbering.
Once I fully digest all of this, I will begin to post several early photos from my collection.
Again, Doug, thank you for the truly great information!
Yes, that caught my eye also... Very preliminary work had begun in Platte Canon itself as early as August 1873 (simultaneously with the grading of the line to Morrison), but financial problems resulted in little real work being accomplished. Full-scale grading and rock work did not really get underway until July 1876, and we know the grading was completed to just beyond Stevens Gulch, and also an isolated section at Deane's Station by May 1877 when we have an eye-witness account of the Mill Gulch iron truss bridge actually being erected.
Since track laying did not even reach Mill Gulch and then Deansbury until May 1878, this means the Mill Gulch bridge was erected a full year before arrival of the track layers (see my additional comments elsewhere).
On a final note, the track layers had to pause briefly on about 24 May 1878 so the "upper bridge" just above Deansbury could be completed. By May 27th (three days later), track layers were now one mile beyond the "upper bridge," and South Park Director W. S. Cheeseman took a small party of guests by train to the end of track as the first excursion to this point.
I attempted to send you an email via the forum email feature, but it looks like it may have "bounced." Regardless, Thank You so much! This 1886 edition is so much more sharp, clear, and nicely detailed.
At the risk of driving you nuts with my questions, would it be possible to also get pages 40-41 so as to also cover the line from Bear Creek Junction on south to Littleton (Wynetka). Also, the cover page would be helpful so that I can properly "cite" this resource.
I just noticed a difference between the 1894 and 1886 editions. I had thought the hand-corrected date on the 1894 edition for Bridge #1043, the "Mill Gulch" Phoenix iron truss, was "1882," but now see from the 1886 edition I had misread it and it should be "1886." Strangely, the 85' length is crossed out, but no corrected length is given. And finally, in the remarks section, I cannot quite make out the hand-written notation. It seems to read "from MI.N.P." or something very similar, but I have no idea what that might mean. Can anyone else make it out? (1886 edition, pg 43, Bridge #1043)