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Timeline: Incline history winds through a century

By: The Gazette
December 5, 2014 Updated: December 5, 2014 at 6:36 pm
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photo - A view of the Manitou Incline with the original summit house in the background. That summit house burned in 1914 but was quickly rebuilt. Photo via manitouincline.net.
A view of the Manitou Incline with the original summit house in the background. That summit house burned in 1914 but was quickly rebuilt. Photo via manitouincline.net. 

1906: Colorado Springs builds a train to haul pipes up the side of Mount Manitou to the Ruxton Hydroelectric Plant.

1908: A local entrepreneur buys the land for a tourist train, with cars hauled by a cable.

May 9, 1912: The train opens, but the public is skeptical of its safety. After the fare is reduced from $1 to 50 cents, people begin riding it. The ride takes 16 minutes.

1914: The summit station burns and quickly is rebuilt.

1923: Spencer Penrose buys the Incline to make it part of his tourist attraction empire.

1958: The summit station is rebuilt.

January 1990: Citing declining ridership and rising costs, owners Oklahoma Publishing Co. and El Pomar Foundation close the train. Its last year saw 45,000 riders.

April 1990: A rockslide causes $100,000 in damage to the tracks, ending hopes for it to be reopened, despite the fact 35,000 people sign a petition for the train to return.

December 1993: Members of the AdAmAn Club train for their annual New Year's Eve hike up Pikes Peak by hiking the Incline.

1997: The Incline Club, formed by legendary runner Matt Carpenter, begins working out on the Incline on Thursday afternoons, helping to spread its popularity. 1999: The Cog Railway, owner of a third of the tracks, puts up the first signs prohibiting trespassing, which quickly are torn down.

2000: Cog managers put up more signs and a rope to try to restrict access, to no avail. The Incline Club puts a halt to its workouts on the trail.

2004: A small band of runners quietly begin talks with the Cog, U.S. Forest Service and local officials in an attempt to legitimize the trail.

2006: "Best Loop Hikes: Colorado" becomes the first guidebook to include a description and directions to the still illegal trail.

2008: A deal is announced for the Cog Railway to get a long-term easementlike agreement to use a small parking lot at the upper end of Ruxton Avenue owned by Colorado Springs Utilities. In exchange, Colorado Springs would get an easement for a trail along the Incline. No money would change hands.

March 2009: The Colorado Springs and Manitou Springs city councils approve working together on a management plan for the Incline, though little progress is made as local officials wrestle with a budget crisis and other distractions.

December 2009: Great Outdoors Colorado announces a $70,500 grant to the city of Colorado Springs, coupled with a $25,000 donation from philanthropist Lyda Hill's foundation, to come up with a management plan for the Incline. June 2010: A host of public meetings are held to draw up a management plan for the Incline.

October 2010: A draft management plan is released, detailing how the Incline, once legally opened, will be managed.

March 2011: The Colorado Springs and Manitou Springs city councils approve the plan.

June 2011: The U.S. Forest Service informs local officials there is no federal railway abandonment document showing the Manitou Incline and Scenic Railway, owned by the Pikes Peak Cog Railway, legally abandoned the Incline right-of-way, putting a halt to the process.

August 2011: An Incline Friends group forms, a cadre of volunteers to help oversee and maintain the Incline.

February 2012: Both cities approve an inter-governmental agreement for managing the trail, with 13 conditions that must be met before it can be legally opened.

Jan. 8, 2013: The Colorado Springs City Council approves legally opening the trail.

Jan. 10, 2013: President Barack Obama signs into a law a bill to resolve the railway abandonment issue.

Jan. 29, 2013: The Manitou Springs City Council, satisfied the 13 conditions have been met, approves legal opening.

Feb. 1, 2013, 7:05 a.m.: It officially becomes legal to hike the Incline.

Aug. 18, 2014: City officials cordon off the Incline as part of a three-month, $1.5 million renovation focusing on a flood-battered section beneath the false summit.

Dec. 5, 2014: The Incline reopens to fanfare - boasting newly stable railroad ties and a new trail from the bailout point, among other improvements.

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