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Archives On The Air 148: The Death Of Poudre Valley Rail—James Ehernberger Papers

Boxes filled with archival collection material in one of the storage rooms at the American Heritage Center. Photo by Rick Walters.

In 1879 the Central Colorado Company built a rail line between Cheyenne and Fort Collins. Cheyenne became Poudre Valley's trading hub. 

Both cities prospered. Until 1882 when the Union Pacific leased the line and shut it down. This ended competition with Union Pacific's Greeley line.

The travel time by train between Cheyenne and Fort Collins doubled. Trade between the cities ended. Denver gained the business they lost.

The people of Fort Collins sued. They hoped to pressure Union Pacific into reopening the line. But the judge rejected their suit. Two more lawsuits also failed.

In 1890 Union Pacific rebuilt the railway on its own. But the damage was done. Cheyenne and Fort Collins had lost out while Denver solidified its place as the dominant city of the Rockies.

For more tales from the railway, check out the James Ehernberger papers at UW's American Heritage Center.