Most people know that the Denver & Rio Grande Railroad built the line from Durango into Silverton, but many are unaware that three other distinct narrow gauge railroads were built from Silverton into the surrounding mountains to access the communities and mines nearby. These railroads were the Silverton Railroad, built in 1887 linking the town of Red Mountain to Silverton. The Silverton Northern Railroad, built in 1889 to access the town of Animas Forks. Otto Mears built both of these railroads. The third railroad, pictured here, is the Silverton, Gladstone and Northerly Railroad. It was built by the Gold King Mining Co. in 1899 and followed Cement Creek upriver for 7.5 miles to serve the town of Gladstone and the surrounding mines. Because of fluctuations in the prices of the mined metals, this line was eventually absorbed by the Silverton Northern in 1915. It became known as the Gladstone Branch. Between 1938 and 1942, it was dismantled, but remnants of the line are still visible today.
Ed Horvat for Animas Museum, [email protected]