Rails have historic value | AspenTimes.com

Rails have historic value

(This letter was originally addressed to Georgianna Contiguglia, state historic preservation officer.)Dear Editor:At its recent board meeting, the Roaring Fork Transportation Authority voted to tear up the rails of the former Aspen Branch, Denver & Rio Grande Western Railroad. Since the construction of this railroad before the turn of the 20th century it:• transported miners, their families and visitors to valley towns, including Aspen, Basalt, Carbondale and Glenwood Springs;• helped build these very towns by bringing in building materials;• transported important personages, such as President Theodore Roosevelt;• hauled millions of tons of coal, used in the production of steel throughout the United States;• carried tons of silver ore for use in minting U. S. coins;• provided employment and income for valley families;• hauled out tons of strawberries, potatoes and other agricultural products; and• carried marble blocks for many public edifices throughout our nation, including the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, the Lincoln Memorial, the Colorado State Capitol, Colorado State Museum, and hundreds of other statues and buildings. The output of the Colorado Yule Marble quarry was so important to our state that it has been made the official state rock.If RFTA is allowed to tear up the rails for scrap value, our valley, the state of Colorado and the United States of America will have lost one of the last intact standard gauge branch lines built by the Rio Grande railroad. We ask that you intervene to prevent this loss.Jan GirardotWestern Colo. branch, National Railroad Historical SocietyGlenwood Springs

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