Greeley Salt Lake and Pacific Railroad Grade

Year Listed: 2009
County: Larimer County
Construction Date: 1881
Threat When Listed: Development
Status: IN PROGRESS
 

This National Register listed linear landscape is associated with early efforts to connect northern Colorado with the transcontinental railroad. Also significant is this site’s involvement with regional, commercial, and industrial development, as this line transported locally quarried sandstone used on many buildings throughout Northeastern Colorado. The railroad also transported limestone to eastern plains sugar beet factories. With its construction in 1881 and its eventual abandonment in 1988, this section of rail line represents more than 100 years of railroad history. Uniquely, this is one of the few abandoned rail lines in Colorado that retains its historic alignment, railroad bed, ballast, ties and rails. Included are three historic bridges, one of which is a turntable that was manufactured in Chicago in 1892 and originally used in Wyoming until it was installed over the New Mercer Ditch in 1926.

The threat to the site is that the City of Greeley has not increased their water carrying capacity in over 50 years and a pipeline is important for the continued growth of Greeley. The City intends to entrench a 5-foot-diameter water pipeline 10-foot deep along the route of the Greeley Salt Lake and Pacific Railroad line. Construction would effectively destroy this historic resource. While other potential routes exist, they have been deemed too expensive or too disruptive.

The City of Greeley is continuing with plans to install the pipeline in the Grade’s right of way. A recent settlement between the City and landowners will allow limited archaeological and biological surveying of the site, though a coalition of citizens, land owners, and preservation groups – including Colorado Preservation, Inc.– continue to lobby for the use of an alternative route that would preserve the Greeley Salt Lake and Pacific Railroad Grade.

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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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