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Saturday, January 4, 2014

A Hybrid Card

The Front of the Card: This is a beautiful shot of St. Peter's Dome. It is a very obvious formation in the foothills near Pikes Peak. It is a hiking destination today, but it was a very popular site back in the Colorado gold rush days. People traveling between Colorado Springs and the Cripple Creek area via steam trains saw this beautiful outcropping of rock as they passed under it. Today, the railroad tracks are gone, but it is still a hiking destination for those in the know.
Regarding the Steam Train in the picture, it belongs to the Colorado Springs and Cripple Creek District Railway. During 1894 a narrow-gauge line, known as the Florence and Cripple Creek Railroad was built at a cost of $500,000. The Florence and Cripple Creek Railroad extended forty miles and reached the district from the Arkansas River to the south in 1894. This was quickly followed by the standard gauge Midland Terminal Railway coming from a connection with the Colorado Midland Railway to the north. This one was thirty miles long and cost $25,000 per mile to construct. The two railroads, competitive at first, joined forces forming a monopoly. Mine owners with mills in Colorado City adjacent to Colorado Springs organized and built The Colorado Springs and Cripple Creek Railroad or "Short Line" which traversed the south slope of Pikes Peak and went under St. Peter’s Dome. The new railroad was able to force freight rates downward accelerating production. At peak capacity, the Midland Terminal Railway operated ten trains a day. One train carried parlor cars and sleepers and offered champagne dinners on overnight excursions from Denver. Freight cars hauled coal, lumber, explosives, machinery, fruit and other luxuries. Outbound, the same cars carried ore for delivery to reduction mills at the western edge of Colorado Springs. The name was changed to Colorado Springs and Cripple Creek District Railway on November 17, 1899. An extension to Colorado Springs opened in April 1901. The Colorado and Southern Railway directed operations from 1904 to 1911.
Losing money due to competition from the Florence and Cripple Creek Railway and the Midland Terminal Railway, the Colorado and Southern Railway leased the Colorado Springs and Cripple Creek District Railway to the Florence and Cripple Creek in 1911. In 1915 this lease was transferred to the Cripple Creek Central Railway, which also controlled the Midland Terminal Railway.
By 1917 most rail traffic in the area was directed to the Midland Terminal Railway. The loss of the Bear Creek Bridge in May 1918 cut off all direct traffic from Colorado Springs. Bankruptcy was declared in 1919, at which time it went into receivership. All operations ceased in 1920 and the line was sold for scrap.

The post card, at first glance, looks like it came from the pre-March 1, 1907 era. There is lots of space to the right of the picture to write a very short message. We saw a card like this in one of my earlier posts of July 28, 2013. Unfortunately, I do not know who the publisher or the printer of this post card are.

The Back of the Card: The first thing that strikes me when I turn the card over is that it is not from the pre-March 1st era. It is actually a divided back card. Three things tell me this: 1) the postmark is March 2, 1909; 2) there is a line down the middle of the card; and 3) permission has been granted to write on the left side of the card (using a one-cent stamp).

The message is priceless: "I was out to see the balance rock last Sunday. I went out there in an auto. Sure had a fine time. Anna started to school today. ---Lizzie" This was back in 1909, auto's were a rare sight; and Lizzie got to ride in one!! Henry Ford started his company on June 16, 1903 - a mere 6 years earlier. It must have been a thrill to ride in one of those new fangled machines known as "Tin Lizzies".

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If you know anything about the history of the cards, the trains or the locations, please add them.