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BLACK HAWK HISTORY – TRANSPORTATION

BLACK HAWK HISTORY – TRANSPORTATION

Early miners reached Black Hawk by any means possible—on horseback or on footn tugging pack mules, later via supply-laden wagons and eventually by time-saving train.

“…the road presents one continued stream of travel: wagons, carts, footmen, going, returning; horses, mules, oxen, cows, men, packed to the utmost stretch of capacity; breeching to the body of every animal capable of wearing such harness, even sometimes to the riding saddles;…It is computed that five hundred persons pass over this road daily. And this is the ‘new road,’ the improved road, the older being almost entirely abandoned because of its still greater dificulty.”
A visiting missionary, 1859

“Until the Colorado Central Railroad reached Black Hawk in December 1872, the only transportation into Gilpin County was horseback, stagecoach, or animal-drawn wagon. Travel from Denver to Black Hawk was reduced from several days by wagon to four hours by train.”
Alan Granruth, The Little Kingdom of Gilpin

NARROW GAUGE

“The scenery on the line of the Colorado Central, mountain division, is not excelled by that of any other line of travel. The road is narrow-gauge–3 feet–as indeed it must be, to successfully run the curves foreordained by nature on this line. Like Hudibras’ politician, it ‘wires in and wires out,’ but one is never in doubt whether he is coming in or going out, on a grade of 200 feet to the mile. Neither pen pictures or photographs do justice to the scenery…”
Central City, Black Hawk and Nevadaville, Cushman and Waterman, 1876

HUB OF ACTIVITY

“From the time gold was first discovered at Black Hawk in 1859, the town served as the threshold into the district. For years, the narrow gauge Colorado Central Railroad trains terminated there for the lack of capital to build onward to Central City. Hence, the town served as a service center to buyers throughout the area. And from the mines throughout the district came ore by the wagon load for eventual transshipment to Eastern markets. Here, too, the Gilpin County Tram, after making its daily rounds to the mines of the district, came to rest at day’s end. In a way, it represented the ceaseless activity throughout the whole of the region that marks the integrity of the district it served as a whole.” Central City-Black Hawk National Historic Landmark Boundary
Committee Report, December 7, 1976

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