Ridgway Railroad Museum

Ridgway Railroad Museum (HM2M4G)

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N 38° 9.067', W 107° 44.987'

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The Rio Grande Southern Railroad

Otto Mears was a Russian immigrant known as the "Pathfinder of the San Juans." He developed a network of toll roads and narrow gauge railroads that established the routes of most of this area's highways.
Mears' crowning achievement was the Rio Grande Southern Railroad. Incorporated in 1889, it ran from Ridgway, which Mears founded as the headquarters, through Telluride and Rico to Durango. It was 162 miles long and crossed more than 140 bridges and trestles.
Construction was completed in December, 1891. Wildly successful at first, Mears issued silver and gold passes and planned to extend the line to the west coast. However, the crash of silver prices in 1893 and closing of most of Colorado's mines dramatically affected the states railroads and the R.G.S. slid into receivership. For the next 60 years, the line survived despite snowstorms, rock slides and economic disasters.
During the Great Depression, the R.G.S. depended on a mail contract for steady cash flow. Delivering mail by steam train was expensive, so management decided to build automobile-based rail buses to carry mail, passengers and light freight. Seven of these vehicles, which became known as the "Galloping Geese" were built in the Ridgway roundhouse. They were so successful that the railroad stayed in business through 1951.

Dedicated Sept. 22, 2012, Al

Packer Chapter 100, Colorado, E Clampus Vitus
HM NumberHM2M4G
Year Placed2012
Placed ByE Clampus Vitus Al Packer Chapter 100 Colorado
Marker ConditionNo reports yet
Date Added Wednesday, October 23rd, 2019 at 2:01pm PDT -07:00
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Locationbig map
UTM (WGS84 Datum)13S E 259050 N 4226155
Decimal Degrees38.15111667, -107.74978333
Degrees and Decimal MinutesN 38° 9.067', W 107° 44.987'
Degrees, Minutes and Seconds38° 9' 4.02" N, 107° 44' 59.22" W
Driving DirectionsGoogle Maps
Closest Postal AddressAt or near , ,
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