National and State Register

Railroads in Colorado, 1858-1948

Railroads played a significant role in the overall development of Colorado.  The document was created as a result of a Colorado State Historical Fund grant awarded to Colorado State Parks for the purpose of preparing a historic context that would assist in evaluation and planning efforts related to railroad abandonments and potential rails-to-trails conversions. 

The document delineates four time periods relative to the development of Colorado’s railroads, beginning in 1858 and ending in 1967.  Specific information tracing the history of the numerous railroads that operated in the state is provided.  The importance of Colorado’s narrow-gauge lines in dealing with the difficult terrain of the Rocky Mountains is highlighted.  Property types identified include: railroad tracks and roadbed, depots, housing and maintenance structures, drainage and separation structures, and miscellaneous right-of-way structures.  (Cover documentation accepted by National Register in 1998, accepted for State Register 6/9/2004.)