February 6, 2019

Boulder Yards Creek Crossing

This is a story of how our history disappears.
Rocky Mountain Joe Sturtevant documented the life of No 30 locomotive.

At the west end of the rail yards in central Boulder, the narrow-gauge train crossed Boulder Creek over a timber-supported bridge, before heading on its journey to the mountains.
Today this area is an elegantly landscaped, essential part of our downtown community.
With the closing of the line in 1919, the entire infrastructure of the railroad was dismantled and sold at auction. Rails, ties, timbers, signage--all were sold, hauled away for reuse on other operating lines.

But they didn't / couldn't move the supporting foundations of the bridgework. Like memorials in cemeteries, that stonework has lasting power.

It's a great place to look for traces of the Switzerland Trail of America in the 21st Century.

So we go looking, and this is what we find.
You might enjoy stopping at the bench to ponder what's before you.
This is the view from the bicycle path along the creek. The bench is an ideal marker for where to look, just west of the Boulder County Courthouse structure and fencing, off Sixth Street a few hundred yards.

A snowy day is the perfect time to see the sandstone foundations of the bridge, at the base of the south side of the Creek. In the warmer seasons there's vegetation hiding it, though it's still visible if you know where to look.
This stonework has been here more than 100 years. It'll be here 100 years after we're gone.
As you move closer, the base takes form more clearly. This is at the north end of properties along West Arapahoe Avenue, homes visible at the top of the bank.
Pristine, finely finished, perfectly fitted blocks.
Boulder Creek Path is regularly walked, biked, visited for lunch and picnics. It's a beautiful retreat to nature in the heart of the city.

How many visitors stop to ponder and appreciate this monument to another time?

How many can imagine the tens of thousands of passengers who crossed over this bridge? Their excitement as they headed up to the true adventure of the gold-mining country of early Colorado?

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