Building Steam

William Austin Hamilton Loveland, the president of the Colorado Central Railroad, constructed line of the railroad extending from Denver to Fort Collins and eventually to Cheyenne, Wyoming. The Colorado Central also provided access from Golden to mountain areas in need of supplies that could be grown and produced along the Front Range. In 1877, David Barnes donated part of his large farm to the railroad for its right-of-way. By December of 1877, the railroad had its depot complete and was ready for service.

By 1901, the Great Western Railway was organized to serve the growing beet sugar industry and towns in northern Colorado. The Railway at one time handled both freight and passengers and hauled mostly beets, sugar, molasses, coal, and lime rock over the 89 miles of track connecting the factories at Loveland, Longmont, Johnstown, Windsor, Eaton, and the beet receiving stations.

Both the Colorado Central Railroad and the Great Western Railway helped establish Loveland as a shipping point for farmers, ranchers, and lumber suppliers. The railroads also opened up the region to tourism and eased travel from town to town. This transportation system contributed to Loveland’s rapid growth and economic success.

This exhibit features historic photographs from the Museum’s collection and from historian Kenneth Jessen’s personal collection.