I enjoy reading in the old newspapers tales about extended railroad tours visiting Colorado.

Times were certainly different in the 1890s through the early 20th century. Groups of size still come to Colorado from the Midwest, but they do not have the same impact today as they did when Colorado Springs was just over 20,000 residents. Now tour transportation is generally done by tour buses, and the time spent is usually a week, not a month.

Here's one such tale:

"An elegant train, consisting of four of the Santa Fe’s sleeping cars and a large library and observation car, pulled into the depot at 1 o’clock yesterday afternoon. It was a special from Denver, and contained a little less than one hundred representatives of the Illinois Newsmen’s Association of Chicago, who have been visiting Denver, and are enjoying the delights of mountain scenery and Colorado sunshine. The men came from Chicago, and many other prominent Illinois cities, accompanied by their wives, daughters and sisters.

"They have already had quite a journey, assembling at Chicago last Friday, and leaving there by special train over the Chicago and Northwestern, on the evening of that day. From Omaha they came through to Denver via the Union Pacific, and arrived in Denver Sunday. Monday the visitors were taken on a trip around 'The Loop' at Georgetown. Today they came south for a visit over to Pikes Peak, and tomorrow will travel to see the wondrous camp at Cripple Creek. The group is lodged at the Antlers Hotel.

"The next destination is Leadville followed by Glenwood Springs. As the excursionists made a two day stop in this city, and strolled around the streets, evidently enjoying their extended visit. Many of the company had never been west of the Mississippi River. Owing to the program which had been prepared, this tour will take them to Aspen and Grand Junction before passing into Utah. From the great Salt Lake they will return to Omaha over the Union Pacific. The excursionists will make the return trip trough Wyoming at night. They will visit Cheyenne, Wyoming entertained by a rodeo, then on to Omaha."

Imagine the stories these visitors would tell once back in their hometowns! 

E.M. “Mel” McFarland is an artist, historian and railroad enthusiast. He is a Pikes Peak region native and has written a handful of books and guides highlighting the area’s rich history. Contact Mel at mcmidland@yahoo.com.

Load comments