Home Table of Contents Sample Chapter Author
Sierra Grande Press, P.O. Box 658, Sandia Park, New Mexico 87047 • silverrails@sierragrandepress.com



Order Reviews Return to all reviews
Silver Rails: The Railroads of Leadville, Colorado A book review by Wes Pfaner—Dorman Collection Volunteer obscure, that give the reader a wider insight into the railroads' expansion into central Colorado at the last half of the19th century. He reprints seven historic maps and has created eighteen detailed maps of various locations that are important to this history. From his own collection and other sources, he includes prints, posters, and specimens of railroad publicity pieces. While most of the older photos are necessarily in either sepia or black & white, there are numerous color illustrations of various artworks and artifacts related to the railroad as well as depictions of more modern times in the Climax molybdenum and tourist operations. While Leadville is some distance from the C&TS country, , the D&RG used the same equipment when it was narrow gauge and operated in a similar fashion, so Leadville is a part of the whole story of Colorado railroading on the Western Slope. The reasons for the South Park and the Rio Grande straining to get to Leadville are the same as those to reach Silverton and the San Juans—gold and silver. ... The book includes a good history of the Rio Grande/Santa Fe dispute over the Royal Gorge which was the 1878 gateway to the Leadville area and had a great impact on the Rio Grande's future. Further chapters cover each of the major roads and their particular problems and successes as well as the transition from silver to molybdenum in the 20th century. A chapter on snowfighting will ring familiar to those of us familiar with Cumbres' and Silverton's winter climates. There are even a couple of photographs from the Dorman Collection. Also (big surprise!) It is now available at the Friends office for $59.95 plus shipping. 40% of the cover price ($24) goes to the Friends as a fund raiser. Friends' member Chris James has authored a great book on the railroads of a Colorado area almost everyone knows something about, but few know the whole story of its railroads. Three major lines built to and through Leadville in the late 19th century: the Denver & Rio Grande (serving Leadville from 1880-1996), the Denver South Park & Pacific-Colorado & Southern-Burlington (1880-1986) and the Colorado Midland (1887-1921). All three railroads are covered along with over forty "paper railroads" that were either someone's dream or another's devilment and were never built. Chris has researched his topic well and he has accumulated over 400 photos from a wide spectrum of sources, both well-known and