One year ago, I received a call from Brad Swartzwelter, the conductor of the Winter Park Express Train, to view the Moffat Loving Cup that was stored in our off-site storage warehouse.
He had an idea to bring the Moffat Loving Cup to Union Station and put it on view. As an avid Rail Fan and member of the Colorado Rail Passenger Association (ColoRail), Swartzwelter understood the important history of David H. Moffat and his legacy of the Denver, Northwestern, & Pacific Railroad and its influence on Denver and Union Station. In partnership with the Union Station Alliance (including the Crawford Hotel), History Colorado agreed to pursue this idea and see the Moffat Loving Cup installed in a place where Moffat could only dream about.
Moffat was a businessman in Denver in the late 19th century and began work on the railroad in his 60s. The railroad would end up bankrupting him, but without the train and its key passage over Rollins Pass, Denver would never become the town it is today. Prior to Moffat’s railroad, Denver was fading into obscurity in the late 1870s with Pueblo and Santa Fe becoming more metropolitan with each passing year. Moffat and other business leaders at the time felt that if Denver had a railroad it would become a better destination for settlers and business alike. Begun in 1872, years later and millions of dollars spent, Moffat’s railroad made it to Denver.
It is hard to underestimate how important it was that Moffat brought the train to Denver. Without it, virtually no goods would have made it through Colorado and up to the newly created mining towns and settlements. Even today, Moffat’s railroad continues to bring food, petroleum, clothing, manufacturing components, even the circus, to Denver and the surrounding area. So, it is appropriate that History Colorado, ColoRail, and the Union Station Alliance should work so hard to make the Moffat Loving Cup display at Union Station a reality.
Part of the reason the display of the Moffat Loving Cup took a year to complete is the amount of coordination required. All elements had to be approved by History Colorado ensure the safety of the cup. Union Station Alliance had to present each new element of the project to its own partners to ensure everyone had a chance to contribute. Moreover, money had to be raised to make this display and was all generously provided by private donors, clubs, and sponsorships from ColoRail and others. Amazingly, no one doubted this could not be done. Everyone agreed that no matter how long it took to make the display happen, it was going to be done right.
I’m pleased and proud of the final result of everyone’s hard work and dedication. The Moffat Loving Cup is displayed in a beautiful and seamless case opposite the ticketing desk of Amtrak. The Cup was installed in Union Station on Friday, September 6, 2019. It will be on display for a year and is visible to visitors 24 hours a day. This idea started as an idea presented to the Stephen H. Hart Research Center staff in 2018 and the Curatorial Services and Collections Access department stewarded this project through to completion. Please stop by our Stephen H. Hart Research Center with your next big idea and let’s see about making it a reality!