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Thursday, June 21, 2018

The Georgetown Loop 102 Years Ago

The Georgetown Loop Railroad got its name from this:
In the upper right-hand corner of the map you can see how the train doubles back in the canyon in order to gain height or lower itself, depending on the direction of travel. The front of this post card illustrates the principle perfectly as two trains drop in elevation while they are on The Loop.
The Georgetown Loop is located in Clear Creek County just west of Denver in Colorado. Clear Creek County was one of the original 17 counties created by the Colorado legislature on 1 November 1861, and is one of only two counties (along with Gilpin) to have persisted with its original boundaries unchanged. It was named after Clear Creek, which runs down from the continental divide through the county. Idaho Springs was originally designated the county seat, but the county government was moved to Georgetown in 1867. Clear Creek itself is a tributary of the South Platte River, approximately 66 miles (106 km) long,[2] in north central Colorado in the United States. The creek flows through Clear Creek Canyon in the Rocky Mountains directly west of Denver, descending through a long gorge to emerge on the Colorado Eastern Plains where it joins the South Platte. Clear Creek is unusual in that it is a stream named "creek" fed by a stream named "river". Fall River empties into Clear Creek along I-70 west of Idaho Springs, Colorado.
The words on the back of the post card include this sentence: "From the High Bridge of the Loop six pieces of track can be seen apparently detached, and the tourist realizes something of the marvel of engineering skill over which he has ridden."
The post card was published by the H.H. Tammen Company, a novelty dealer and important publisher of national view-cards and Western themes in continuous tone and halftone lithography. Their logo does not appear on all their cards but other graphic elements often remain the same. H. H. Tammen (1856-1924) Harry Heye Tammen was born in Baltimore, Maryland on March 6, 1856, the son of a German immigrant pharmacist. He attended Knapps Academy in Baltimore, then worked in Philadelphia before moving to Denver in 1880. With his partner Charles A. Stuart he worked as a Denver bartender in 1880, and in 1881 they established the firm of H.H. Tammen & Co. (which in 1896 became the H.H. Tammen Curio Co., with partners Carl Litzenberger and Joseph Cox) in Denver, Colorado. Deeply interested in the study of mineralogy, he published a promotional journal called Western Echoes magazine, "Devoted to Mineralogy, Natural History, Botany, &c. &c." Volume 1 number 1 is copyrighted 1882. In 1895 Tammen formed a partnership with F.G. Bonfils (whom he had met at the Chicago World's Fair) and they became co-owners and co-editors of the Denver Post. Their publishing business flourished, and Tammen's business successes made him a wealthy man. In 1917 Buffalo Bill Cody happened to die while in Denver, and Tammen (one of the city's biggest boosters) offered Cody's widow $10,000 if she would allow Cody to be buried in Denver; she accepted, and the ensuing funeral procession drew 50,000 people. He established the H.H. Tammen Trust in 1924, providing essential health care for children of families who cannot afford to pay. Tammen died July 19, 1924. The H.H. Tammen Curio Co. was in business until 1953, and possibly as late as 1962.

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