On a blustery and
overcast day in January 1899 the new Colorado & Southern
Railway Company took over the Union Pacific Denver &
Gulf as well as the Denver Leadville & Gunnison. These
roads were drawn together under the C&S as one system
solely owned by the Colorado based company which was
immediately touted as “the Colorado Road”. At the time
the UPD&G as well as the DL&G leased the repair
facilities at 40th and Williams Street owned by the
Union Pacific. The C&S quickly renewed this lease on 27
April 1899 and again in July that year for a period of
10 year. The cost to the railroad was 21,000.00 a year.
Details of the lease let the C&S use the facility
exclusively and all UP work was moved to the new and
redundant facilities at Cheyenne WY. The C&S was allowed
to modify the shops to suit it’s needs at its own
expense and the UP was obligated to assist the new
company in seeking out out tax breaks as the C&S was
obliged to pay all taxes for the property.
Originally the Denver & New Orleans had built a small
facility at a location between the South Plate and
Cherry Creek west of Wazee Street. To the north was 14th
Street and to the south was the gas works and storage
tanks of the Denver Gas Company.. This location was
low land, swampy, and the location of an old ox-bow in
the river’s course and was prone to flooding especially
in the spring. When the D&NO (then as the Denver Texas &
Gulf) became a part of the UPD&G in 1890 the facilities
for the road were abandoned in favor of using the UP’s
new 40th Street shops. The D&NO facilities included a
roundhouse and machine shop which was boarded up and
eventually razed. The UP moved the turntable to Sidney,
Nebraska, the water tank went to Forbes Junction
Colorado, the blacksmith shop was moved to 40th Street
to become carman’s shop, the oil house went to the coach
yard behind the Denver Union Station as a boiler house
and store facility and the track scales went to Golden.
The carpentry shop was cut in two. Half of this building
was used as the West Denver depot on the narrow gauge
South Park. The other half was taken to the Pueblo
roundhouse and became the blacksmith shop. This 35 acre
tract of land was passed on to the C&S in 1899 and the
railroad began building a freight yard on the southern
portion of the property; it was ideally situated between
the lines leading south and southwest out of the city
and those heading north and northwest. It was also just
a few blocks west of Denver Union Station and the
railroad’s coach yard. Portions of the tract were leased
by the UPD&G to individuals and businesses and as time
went something of a who shantytown grew up on the site.
Initially the C&S continued the leases.
In 1897 and 1898, even before the Colorado Roads
incorporated there were rumors the UP was going to close
the 40th Street facilities after it had moved this work
to Cheyenne. If this was true the C&S lease changed
those plans. Apparently feeling secure in this position
the railroad proceeded to improve some of its freight
yard facilities as the system as a whole was somewhat
disjointed and scattered in west and north Denver.
But all of this changed on November 29, 1899, when the
UP had requested that the C&S vacate the 40th Street
shops. The Denver Times announced the deadline for the
move as July 1900 but in actuality the UP gave the C&S a
generous 13 months to move out. Thus the railroad was
thrown into a scramble to erect its own facilities. The
location of these facilities was to be the low land
tract of land that was once the old D&NO’s facilities.
Notice was given to the leases of the property and with
some litigation cleared of business and residential
This turn of events was taken in stride and in actuality
an advantageous event for the new road. President Frank
Trumble summed it up succinctly in the 1899 – 1900
Annual Report: “The Company has had no general shops of
its own, but thought it was wise to continue the
arrangement previously made by the Receiver for use of
the Denver shops of the Union Pacific Railroad Company.
Under the terms of the lease either company could cancel
the same by giving nine months’ notice. On December
26th, 1899, the Union Pacific Company having arranged a
lease to The Pullman Company of the plant referred to,
served notice upon this Company to vacate not later than
January 1st, 1901. The erection of complete new general
shops by this Company was thus made imperative, and
construction was commenced in the spring of 1900. It is
expected that the new plant will be ready for occupation
by November 15th, 1900, and as it will be admirably
located upon ground previously owned by the Company
adjacent to the Denver freight yards, and not far from
the freight station, Union Depot, and transfers to
connecting lines, considerable economies in repairs and
other operations are confidently expected. The amount
appropriated by the Board of Directors for this work is
$350,000.00, and while the necessity for this
construction came at an inopportune time, so far as
prices of material and machinery were concerned, yet it
is a matter for congratulation that The Pullman Company
is to inaugurate extensive work in Denver, and the
return on this Company’s new investment should prove
very satisfactory on account of the saving in rental, as
well as on account of the economy of modern machinery
and favorably located buildings and tracks.”
Reproduced here are several articles and documents that
describe the construction and elements of the C&S 7th
Street Shop. We are grateful to Hol Wagner, Jr for his
generous sharing of his research on the matter. We also
thank Robert Shoppe, Rick Steele and Doug Heitkamp for
29 January 1900 Denver Times:
NEW SHOPS OF THE COLORADO & SOUTHERN.
Plant Will Be Located West of Cherry Creek, Along the
Banks of the Platte River.
The Colorado & Southern Railway company has decided to
build the new shops on the forty-acre tract in West
Denver, known as the Seventh street yards. President
Trumbull made the announcement this forenoon and Chief
Engineer Cowan at once proceeded to shape matters for
Not until this morning was it fully understood just
what advantage this shop building will be to Denver. It
means the employment of 200 men until the shops are
completed and the employment of 400 men steadily after
the buildings are occupied. The amount of money expended
in the construction will not be less than half a million
of dollars. The amount set aside for the shops is
$450,000, and the yard improvements will cost an
additional sum of $50,000.
The shops will require 3,000,000 brick, it is estimated,
and twenty brick masons will be employed for four
months, and twenty-five stone masons will be required
from four to five months. In addition to this, there
will be a corresponding number of helpers. There will
also be employment for painters, plumbers, electricians,
carpenters, machinists, teamsters and trackmen. Mr.
Cowan estimates that it will take thirty trackmen with
steady employment for seven months to put in the
trackage as planned in the accompanying sketch.
are to be the finest in the United States. The chief
engineer, the master mechanic, the superintendent of
motive power and the general superintendent all have
visited the best and most modern shops in the country
and the plans for the Denver shops may be styled the
essence of the best things that are in operation in the
best equipped shops in the land.
Details of the Buildings.
The machine shop is the one that most interests and that
will be a model in every department, containing over
$100,000 worth of machinery. It will be 125x370 feet on
the ground, including boiler shop and blacksmith shop,
under the same roof, but separated by partitions. The
superstructure will be of brick and steel and the main
part of the building will be forty feet in height. The
shop will be equipped with a fifty-ton traveling derrick
operating the entire length of the machine shop and the
boiler shop; there will be also fifty air hoists with a
capacity of handling from one to seven tons each, and
there will be lathes varying from twelve to eighty-four
inches, of latest model.
house will be built on a larger scale than at first
thought and will have thirty-five stalls. The building
will be constructed of brick with stone trimmings. It
will be equipped with hot air and ventilated according
to modern ideas. The turntable in connection with the
round house will be seventy feet in diameter, with a
capacity of 120 ton engines. The coal chutes will be on
the same scale and will be provided with twenty-four
The car shop and the paint shop are large buildings, the
car shop being two-story and 120x168 feet on the ground,
of brick and steel construction. The paint shop will be
48x210 feet of brick and structural steel also, both
being fitted up to date.
Adjoining the car shops there will be a sawmill 74x240
feet, one story, of brick, which will also be supplied
with the latest improved appliances.
The engine house, Mr. Cowan says, will be 60x60 feet,
with three 200 horse power boilers, 500 horse power
engine and two dynamos, one of 350 horse power capacity
and the other 150 horse power, also dynamos to generate
power for the operations of the plant, including light,
and driving the fans for heating the buildings. The
Sturdevant system of heating will be installed. There
will be a lavatory connected with this building, as well
as drying kilns and other smaller affairs.
The office and store buildings will be on one
foundation 48x150 feet, the office portion being two
stories and the store department one story, and the
entire structure of brick, with necessary platforms and
coverings for storage purposes.
will be provided with two cinder pits, one narrow gauge
and the other standard gauge, 110 feet long. The
transfer table pit will be 70x410 feet and provided with
an electric transfer table. A fire-proof oil house 24x36
feet will be provided with ten tanks.
The plant will require six miles of track, mostly three
rail, and the yard will be the most perfect in the city.
Independent transfer tracks will be lined in for the
Globe and Argo smelters so that train-loads for those
points can be made up by themselves at Seventh street.
The chief engineer states that the entire plant will be
supplied with modern sanitary sewer and water systems,
as well as be protected by fire hydrants throughout the
entire buildings and yard.
is quite low where the shops are to be built, and Mr.
Cowan has already taken steps to set the steam shovel at
work in the cut at Sullivan and filling will be
commenced right away. The filling will be five feet and
he estimated that 125,000 yards of earth will be
required to bring the surface up to the required level.
Then the entire surface will be spread with eight inches
of disintegrated granite from the South Platte canon,
which will probably require about 1,000 carloads.
Electricity Cuts a Figure.
Especial attention will be given the electrical
department. In preparing the plans General Irving Hale
and other up-to-date electricians have been called into
consultation, and that will be the principal power in
use in the shops. The lighting system will also be one
of deep study and the plant will shed light not only in
the shops but throughout the yards, making the latter as
light as day on the darkest night.
While the company will employ a large force of men at
once in preparing the yards for the buildings,
contractors will have plans and specifications to figure
on. It is proposed to let the contracts about the middle
of March and have the shops ready for occupancy during
the month of October.
This movement by the Colorado & Southern is considered
one of the biggest things that has happened in Denver
for many years. It will be a big advantage on account of
the vast amount of work that will be done at the plant.
The machine shop will not only be provided with
machinery to do repairing, but will be supplied with the
necessary equipments to get out new work. It is the
intention of the Colorado & Southern to build its own
cars for the coal and freight business and plan to keep
all of the men employed in the shops at continuous work.
February 2 — “It is quite probable that a neat
settlement will follow the location of the new shops in
West Denver. It is reported at Colorado & Southern
headquarters that a company is planning to put up a
number of small houses on the slope of the North side of
the Platte for the use of the workmen. The Colorado &
Southern officials will, however, keep watch of the
movements and see that the city regulations are complied
with, and the cottages are comfortable and supplied with
the proper sanitary features.”
February 5 — “Two gangs of laborers were put at work in
the bottoms by the Colorado & Southern Railway company
this morning under the direction of W.A. Irwin,
assistant engineer. One of the gangs went along the
river, cutting down the old cottonwood trees and
clearing the land of brush, and about fifty men were
started on laying the permanent tracks for the shop
yards. The railroad bridge across Cherry creek is being
raised to a level with the new grade. All of the
occupants of the land are preparing to move off their
buildings; there is no talk of eviction, as has been
suggested by someone, as none of the occupants have been
paying rent for the past three months, the leases having
February 7 — “Chief Engineer Cowan of the Colorado &
Southern sent out notices to several bridge firms today
for proposals for furnishing the roofs and structural
iron for the new shops. The bids are to be submitted by
the 18th instant.”
February 22 — “Chief Engineer Cowan of the Colorado &
Southern opened bids yesterday received from contractors
desiring to supply the structural iron to be used in the
construction of the new shops. There were eight bids and
the contract was awarded to the Wagner Bridge company of
Milwaukee, Wis. The bid was $28,762. The material is to
be delivered by July 1. The other bidders were: The
Pittsburg Bridge company, $28,919; Gillette & Herzog of
Minneapolis, $29,394; Wisconsin Bridge company of
Milwaukee, $30,012; Kenwood Bridge company, Chicago,
$30,308; Bullen Bridge company of Pueblo, $30,612;
Dauphin Bridge company of Pittsburg, $35,950; Wrought
Iron Bridge company of Canton, Ohio, $34,922 . . .
“The steam shovel is being manned by a large force of
men at Sullivan today and about six trainloads of dirt
will be hauled each day to fill the yards for the new
shops at Seventh street.”
March 15 — “The differences between the terra cotta
manufacturers and the Colorado & Southern in regard to
the occupation of the bottoms on Seventh street will
probably be well aired in Judge Palmer’s court tomorrow.
The terra cotta people were notified several months ago
to vacate the ground, which they occupied by lease, and
which the railroad officials claimed had expired. The
terra cotta people secured an injunction and the
railroad company will tomorrow apply for a dissolvement
of the injunction and will file suit for damages in
addition, and immediate possession of the ground.” The
matter was apparently settled quite quickly in the
railroad’s favor, as no more is heard of it.
April 3 — “Building inspector Roberts compiled a
quarterly report yesterday for the buildings started
during the first quarter of 1900, and, as compared with
the first quarter of 1899 in Denver building circles
there is an increase of over 50 per cent. The building
permits for March amount to $334,215 but the Colorado &
Southern has asked permission to withdraw its permit, as
the plans will have to be materially changed since the
consolidation of the Colorado Midland and will
necessitate shops almost twice as large as was at first
“The permit of the railway company was for buildings
costing $135,000, and the withdrawal of this permit
brings the total for March down to $200,215 . . “ and
“A.L. Humphrey, master mechanic and superintendent of
motive power of the Colorado Midland railway, was in the
city yesterday at Midland headquarters. It is understood
that Mr. Humphrey has been called into consultation in
regard to the Colorado & Southern machine shops just
starting in the Seventh street yard. Mr. Humphrey is
looked upon as one, if not the very best railroad
machinists in Colorado, and has had considerable
experience in the construction of shops, and it was
suggested to the Colorado & Southern officials that he
might make recommendations for conveniences about the
shops that would be valuable to have. Mr. Humphrey has
been with the Colorado Midland company for twelve years,
and passed through the shop construction period a short
time ago at Colorado City. [The Midland shops had
partially burned in early 1899 and had been completely
reconstructed, opening in September 1899.] Mr. Humphrey
is expected to come to Denver next month to remain
4 November 1900, Denver Times:
ACRES OF SHOPS
Magnificent New Plant of the Colorado & Southern.
RAPIDLY NEARING COMPLETION
Employment Will Be Given Five Hundred Men and the
Monthly Wage Roll Will Go to Big Figures.
On a plat of ground comprising thirty-seven acres, in
the Platte bottoms, a wonderful transformation has been
wrought within a few months. Lying between Wewatta
street and the Platte river and Third and Fourth
streets, elliptical shaped, are the shop yards and new
shops of the Colorado & Southern railroad, which will be
ready for occupancy by November 20, which virtually
marks the final separation of all things held in common
between the Union Pacific and the Colorado & Southern
before the latter company became one of the giant
railway systems of the West.
Where in 1890, 200 squatter families had their homes,
and which by action of the turbulent waters of the river
afterward became an unsightly swamp, 100,000 yards of
earth have been deposited, making the topography level
with the grade of the yard tracks, and handsome
buildings are rapidly nearing completion which will
constitute one of the model railway machine shops of the
country, where 500 men will find employment.
To give an idea of the order and form of the various
buildings we will commence with the coal chute at the
south end of the yard and take the reader through the
buildings in their regular order.
The Various Buildings.
The coal chute is of large capacity, having twenty-four
pockets, and the most approved order of dumps for
depositing the contents of the pockets in the locomotive
tender. At the end of the chute are two 16x24 water
tanks, so that water and fuel may be taken at the same
time. These are located near Fifth street.
Next is the pumphouse, 32x65 feet, which will pump water
for use of the shops and to supply engines, the plant
being entirely independent of the city water supply. Two
artesian wells, each about 700 feet in depth, will be
used for water for the boilers of all locomotives, as
well as the power plant of the shops. The artesian wells
have a capacity of 150,000 gallons and the surface wells
will be used to furnish water for washing purposes.
The roundhouse has thirty-five stalls and is 80x770 feet
in size. As in all the other buildings, the foundation
rests on the original river gravel and its walls rest on
more than a mile of stone foundation walls seven feet
high. Improved wooden smoke jacks are provided for each
stall and also both artesian and surface water
connections. In front of the half-circle of stalls is
the sixty-four-foot girder turntable for 150-ton
engines, which may be operated at the option of the
company by either hand or electric power. So perfectly
balanced is this monster creation of iron and steel that
one man can easily turn it when the largest locomotive
stands upon it.
At the rear of the roundhouse, beside the river and
fronting on Seventh street, is that important adjunct of
a great machine shops, the oilhouse, 28x36 feet in size,
with basement and one floor; it is of capacity for
holding a large stock of oils. Eight 3,500-gallon oil
tanks occupy the basement and their contents are emptied
into smaller receptacles as needed by means of pumps
operated from the floor above.
The Office Building.
Immediately across the street from the last described
building is the office building, a large, commodious
structure with rooms for the master mechanic, chief
clerk, general clerks, draughtsmen and storekeeper.
Every room in this building has the best possible light
from high windows and is a model of architectural design
and arrangement for the purposes to which it will be
Adjoining the office building, from which it is only
separated by a dead wall is the store building, from
which will be supplied to the entire Colorado & Southern
system everything needed in operation and maintenance
from a bag of waste to a handcar; 82x101 feet in size,
with a basement under the entire building, it has an
immense area of floor space, to which is added that of a
platform extending along and beyond the building proper,
350 feet in length and forty-eight feet wide.
Huge Machine Shop.
The machine shop building, the natural center about
which all the activity of this busy scene will radiate,
is 125x323 feet in its ground plan, covered by the
largest structural iron roof west of the Missouri river.
At one end is the boiler shop, 56x126 feet, and at the
other end is the blacksmith shop, occupying a
subdivision the same size. Eleven stalls for the repair
of engines occupy the central portion of the shop on the
side of the building next the track entrances. The other
side of the building is occupied by the most modern
machinery designed for the class of work to be done.
Overhead a traveling crane is supported which will move
by electric power and is capable of carrying 150 tons’
weight. In the toolroom and lavatories the same plan is
carried out in the various buildings. These are
connected with the shops with entries between them,
where each workman registers as he comes in or goes out.
The machine shop toolroom is 25x42 feet and the lavatory
24x25, with twelve closets and twenty-four continuous
Great Power Plant.
The power plant is placed in an ell of the machine shop
building, 60x80 feet in size, and is equipped as
follows: One 125-horse power engine belted to an
80-kilowat dynamo for lighting and heating the plants
and operating the transfer table; one 150-horse power
engine, which furnishes power for the machine shop main
shaft; one 250-horse power engine, belted to two
85-kilowat dynamos, furnishing power for the car shop
and sawmill. All these engines are of the E.P. Allis
Corliss type. The blower system of heating is used
whereby the air is carried from outside through 10,000
feet of coils to all the buildings, changing the air in
ventilation of the machine shop every thirty minutes and
the sawmill every fifteen minutes.
Next to the machine shop is the transfer table between
the machine and car shops, operated by trolley, and
which will carry 150 tons, used to transfer engines or
cars from one track to another.
In the Car Shop.
The car shop is 110x180 feet, with eight repair tracks,
and is provided with traveling air hoists the entire
length of the building on each side. The second floor is
occupied by the cabinet, upholstery and tin shops and a
Adjoining the car shop, between it and the machine shop,
is the boiler room, 60x80 feet, with four 150-horse
power boilers. It is also adjoining the sawmill, which
adjoins the end of the car shop and is 80x244 feet, so
arranged that the material coming in from the yard is
delivered finished as desired to cars for distribution
in the shop.
The last building, nearest Fourteenth street, is the
paint shop, 48x101 feet. It is able to take care of six
cars at one time. Beside the paint shop and extending
almost to Fourteenth street is the material yard, where
is deposited lumber, heavy steel, iron and all heavy
material which need not be housed.
In all the buildings the material used in construction
is Golden pressed brick and the best of everything, of
which nearly 1,000 cars have been used up to date. All
main floors are cement on a concrete bed and the
construction is of the most enduring character.
Also reproduced here is an article from the June 1900
the Railroad Gazette.
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Below is a portion of the 1918 Valuation Map showing The
7th Street Shop Facilities
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the summer of 1900 the C&S began its
campaign to rebuild its narrow gauge fleet
of locomotives. The first of these were some
of the Cooke Moguls. Engines 4, 6 and 10
were rebuilt that year at the UP shops at
40th Street. By the following March C&S
number 9 was the first engine known to have
been rebuilt at the new shops. In 1902 the
railroad used the new car facilities to
rebuild the surviving DSP&P Tiffany Reefers.
The 7th Street Shops continued to serve the
railroad for decades. Eventually the
facilities were knocked down and today the
site is occupied by 6 Flags Elitches
Amusement Park. Towering over the site from
across the river and across Interstate 25 is
the stadium Invesco Field.
To the northeast is the Denver Aquarium and to
the southeast is the Pepsi Center.
Rebuilt Cooke Mogul No. 4 40th Street
Yards Summer 1900
the information here was shared with 7th
Street Shops from
like minded historians.
We are very grateful to Hol Wagner Jr. for
his generosity in sharing
notes and text from his research on The
C&S - The First 10 Years.
We also want to express gratitude toward
Rick Steele, Doug Heitkamp
and Robert Schoppe for information
Finally we wish to express gratitude to many
authors, institutions and
publications that make available books and
other material for research purposes.
Rebuilt Cooke Mogul No. 8 7th Street
Yards Summer 1901. Note that No. 9 and
No. 8 were the very first locomotives to