Aspen History: Aspen’s First Train |

Aspen History: Aspen’s First Train

Aspen Historical Society

“Hip! Hip! Hurrah!! The railroad has at last reached Aspen,” announced the Aspen Daily Times on Oct. 28, 1887. “All day yesterday people kept streaming out of town to see the Rio Grande track layers at work on the last stretch of the road. The grade was black with people watching the workers and a feeling of deep satisfaction animated the crowd at seeing the long-promised railroad so near at last. At noon the public schools were dismissed to give the children an opportunity to help celebrate the event. The schools marched to the scene in a body, headed by the teachers, and the railroad officials courteously loaded them all on the train. The teachers were invited to ride with the engineer of the leading engine, and each of the ladies presented him with a bouquet as a memento of the occasion. At 3:40 the screaming whistles and the roar of the giant powder announced that the rails had struck the Roaring Fork bridge. Here the work had to slow up, because the mules had to be detached from the rail cars, but at 4 o’clock sharp the track had been pushed across the long trestle and had reached the depot flat. A wagonload of beer had been provided, and it was carried to the men by the water boys while they worked. The train pushed over into the depot flat, and the railroad in Aspen was an accomplished fact. The first passenger train will pull in possibly to-night, and the first train out will leave the next morning. The grand barbeque will be given Saturday afternoon, at which time the track laying gang will have finished its work.” The image above shows people gathered around the first train to arrive in Aspen, 1887 (History Colorado image).