How the West Was Built: Drama and Danger Along General William J. Palmer’s Denver and Rio Grande Railroad

Authors

  • Philip DeHudy

Keywords:

railroads, infrastructure, mining, colorado, mexico

Abstract

General William Jackson Palmer’s railroad empire helped shape the West as we know it. Examining the history of how he developed the Denver and Rio Grande Railroad (D&RG) offers insights into how transportation infrastructure affected settlement in the West. General Palmer routed around existing towns in favor of his own planned and controlled settlements: Colorado City gave way to Colorado Springs, Animas City to Durango, and so on. His railroads were financed by investors on the East Coast and in England, with the rail infrastructure supporting similarly financed industries built on commodity resource extraction. Competition with the Atchison, Topeka, and Santa Fe Railway over access to mining boomtowns like Leadville, CO provoked armed conflict

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Published

2021-12-09

Issue

Section

Humanities