WHISTLES OVER CLEAR CREEK

In the 1880's
it would gain great fame.
The railroad with a world wide attraction,
the high bridge at "Devil's Gate."

Looping over itself in spirals of track
as it climbed the steep valley.
The "Georgetown Loop"
it was properly called.

Twisting back and forth
valley wall to valley wall.
Crossing Clear Creek four times
in the climb to old Silver Plume...

...on the way west
to reach Leadville's rich mines,
beckoning like a magnet
across the high Divide.



Then time ran out,
the great boom was over.
The rails would not be needed,
the Leadville dream too soon was dead.

But for the next half century
thousands enjoyed the thrill
of peering down at Clear Creek
from the heights of the Devilís Gate.

From far and near
they came to ride the trains.
And be able to feel the
Loop's special thrill.

Today this same excitement
is still readily had.
The Loop has been rebuilt, and
Silver Plume again boasts narrow rails.



Trains still climb
through this steep valley,
crossing Clear Creek
time after time...

... as steam engines chuff
through the aspen and pine.
Climbing ever higher
over history's route west.

Yes, whistles still scream
high over Clear Creek,
the sound echoing down
to old Georgetown.

While thousands again
enjoy the thrill
of peering down at Clear Creek
from the heights of the Devilís Gate.



SILVER PLUME













DEVIL's GATE VIADUCT








1800s stereo view. When viewed in a special holder both images combined into one (Jane Monroe collection).


Above: Dick Kindig photo, 1938. Below: 1980s.



CLIMB to SILVER PLUME











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The Modern Narrow Gauge Circle: Its Heritage     Coal Smoke Over the Conejos
Squealing Flanges Along the Animas     The Mystery of Jukes Tree

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