Historic Purgatoire River Bridge Available for Adoption!


The Colorado Department of Transportation is offering for adoption the National Register-eligible Purgatoire River Bridge to any person or organization interested in relocating it.  Constructed in 1937, the structure is a steel, rigid connected Camelback pony truss. It is located at milepost 6.64 on US Highway 350 over the Purgatoire River in Las Animas County. The bridge is significant as one of the state’s longest span examples of a low or camelback pony truss bridge type.

The bridge is being replaced because it does not meet current bridge design standards for roadway width and features structural deterioration, including corrosion to the gusset plates and deterioration of the concrete “doghouse” rail.  Most of the structural steel elements and most of the concrete and reinforcing steel show signs of advanced deterioration.  Given the age of the bridge, its paint does contain lead and possibly other objectionable constituents that require careful removal and containment.  If the paint or coatings will be removed or disturbed in any manner by the disassembly and re-assembly of the bridge, the recipient must adhere to all local, state, and federal laws and regulations that address worker and environmental protection. The cost of adoption varies depending on the structure but includes disassembly, relocation, and containment and disposal of the paint during the dismantling process. However, CDOT may contribute funding up to the amount anticipated for disposal of the bridge. The structure may be a good candidate for re-use as a pedestrian or recreational trail bridge.  A new deck and abutments would need to be constructed for the bridge in its new location.

Preference will be given to plans that agree to maintain the bridge in accordance with the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for Rehabilitation and Guidelines for Rehabilitating Historic Buildings.  Potential recipients must submit a written relocation plan detailing the proposed use and new location of the bridge as well as resources available to assure future maintenance.  Potential recipients should also state their intent to follow all environmental regulations concerning the treatment of lead-based paint on the structural steel components.  If you are interested in adopting this bridge and would like more information about CDOT’s Adopt-a-Bridge program, please contact Lisa Schoch, Senior Staff Historian, Environmental Programs Branch at Colorado Department of Transportation, at (303) 512-4258 or lisa.schoch@dot.state.co.us.

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4 Bar 4 Ranch

Homesteaded in 1895 by Dick McQueary to provide a stop for the Georgetown Stage Line, the 320-acre 4 Bar 4 Ranch has strong ties to Grand County and Colorado's heritage. The Georgetown Stage Line traveled on the road through the 4 Bar 4 Ranch from Idaho Springs to Hot Sulphur Springs over Berthoud Pass. In 1895 a roadhouse and stage stop were constructed on the ranch. The hotel and barn were constructed using trees from the Ranch property, and the hotel remained open for travelers coming over Berthoud Pass by horseback and wagon until 1913. With the coming of the automobile, the roadway over Berthoud Pass and through the 4 Bar 4 Ranch was considered an integral part of the Trans-Continental “Midland Trail” highway. Following the closing of the stage line, the ranch continued to host travelers until 1912 or 1913 when it was purchased and converted into a Ford Motor Company . Ford vehicles were sold here until 1917, when Harry Larkin purchased the ranch site. Today emergency efforts are underway to ensure it survives through the winter. Donations are in need. To learn more, contact Jennifer Orrigo Charles at jorrigocharlges@coloradopreservation.org.

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