Chuck Mack: Moffat railroad in 1906: Part 1
Craig — When I found this article while searching through the old newspaper – the May 30, 1906 Steamboat Pilot – I decided it would be a great story for Craig and Moffat County, being as how it had mentioned David Moffat’s private coach, Marcia.
As we all know Marcia sits in Craig City Park, proudly portraying the symbol of the great David Moffat and his railroad dreams. David Moffat’s dreams and plans were to extend the line on into Salt Lake City. But sadly, David Moffat’s dreams ended when the lines reached Craig; so it is right that Marcia, his private coach, sits at the end of the line and the end of his dreams.
Denver, May 27, 1906
Cheered by the vote of confidence, which the people of Denver gave him when they placed such a handsome majority in favor of his franchise for the Denver-Northwestern-Pacific terminals, D. H. Moffat and his associates are going forward with the work of building the great line to Salt Lake. Mr. Moffat yesterday denied a story that has been printed that he has secured terminals on San Francisco Bay. He declares that he has no intention of building west of Salt Lake. With four great trunk lines feeding his road in Utah he sees no necessity of trying to invade a territory that is already well supplied, or will be shortly.
1500 men are now working in Gore Canyon and along the route of the Moffat Road and are tearing up the rock at a rapid rate. The line will certainly be into the great coal regions early next spring. It is hoped to get the rails into Kremmling at the head of the canyon by the end of May, and the people of Grand County have written to inquire when they may set a date for the big celebration of the event. They will have a Western day, with bronco busting and characteristic features. It will probably be about June 1st.
(Well the rails did not reach into the coal region as soon as was hoped. So I will insert right here a paragraph or two from another Steamboat Pilot article of 1908, so we will know just when the rails reached the coalfield.
“Oak Creek, some 15 miles before Steamboat Springs is reached, is the location of one of the largest and most valuable of the coal fields of the country.
There on a September day of 1908, another scene in the drama of “building the Moffat Road” was enacted. “Oak Creek before the snow flies!” That was the slogan handed along the line all through the spring and summer. It had been in the minds of the rock men and drillers working in the tunnels along Rock Creek; it had been shouted to the workmen on the great bridge, which carries the line from the steep wall of Rock Creek to the shelf around the base of the crater. It had been sung out to the graders, freighters and muleskinners all down the valley. The news columns of the Denver papers had told of the thousands of tons of Routt County coal from Oak Creek that would be in the yards in time for winter use; their editorial columns had teemed with comments on the vast importance to Denver of the opening of these mines,. All through the summer a large force had been mining and bringing to the surface the great mounds of coal, which were of now heaped up along the right of way down Oak Creek, ready for shipment. A new town had come into being on the hillside. The steel coming down the valley was about to cross the threshold of the great world of coal, to accomplish that which Mr. Moffat had striven so long and hard and sacrificed so much”).
Just where the line leaves the valley for the coalfields there was, on this beautiful fall day, a scene of regulated confusion. A great track-laying machine was in full operation.
Continued in next story
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