Denver and Rio Grande Railroad
The Denver and Rio Grande Western Railroad , also operating under the names of Denver & Rio Grande (Colorado, 1870-1923), Denver & Rio Grande Western Railway (Utah only, 1881-1889), and Rio Grande Western (Utah only, 1889-1908), operated from 1870 to 1988 and was principally a transcontinental bridge between Denver and Salt Lake City, but also extended into New Mexico. The rail line carried much of the coal and minerals of the region. In 1988 as part of a purchase, it merged with the Southern Pacific. Today, most former D&RGW main lines are owned and operated by the Union Pacific Railroad. 
Route map for the Denver & Rio Grande Railroad
Settlers and Stations[edit | edit source]
The Denver & Rio Grande Western constructed its routes to tap two main industries: agriculture and mining. Settlers were attracted to nearby communities because the railroads provided access to employment and markets. Railroads encouraged settlement along their routes to help increase the need for their service. If an ancestor settled near a railroad, you may be able to trace their place of origin back to another place along the tracks. For the D&RGW, this list also shows communities that had important mines.
Depots and Stations (Partial List) [edit | edit source]
Colorado[edit | edit source]
New Mexico[edit | edit source]
Utah[edit | edit source]
Salt Lake City
Colton (Pleasant Valley Junction)
Dividend (Iron King)
Thompson Springs (Thompsons)
Record Locations[edit | edit source]
Records for the D&RGW are scattered among holding institutions across its route, including but not limited to:
- Brigham Young University Harold B. Lee Library Special Collections (Provo, Utah)
- Colorado Railroad Museum (Golden, Colorado)
- Denver Public Library (Denver, Colorado)
- History Colorado (Denver, Colorado)
- Utah State Historical Society (Salt Lake City, Utah)
- Western Mining & Railway Museum (Helper, Utah)
The principal repositories for the records of the D&RGW are the Colorado Railroad Museum, the History Colorado, formerly called the Colorado Historical Society, and the Denver Public Library. Other repositories that have some records about this rail line are the Utah State Historical Society, the Rio Grande Modeling & Historical Society, the Pikes Peak library, Colorado College, and Fort Lewis College. 
Colorado Historical Records[edit | edit source]
History Colorado’s holdings for the D&RGW include a manuscript collection, a photography collection, artifacts, and maps.
Manuscripts[edit | edit source]
The manuscript collection, MSS 513, is probably the most substantial at about 195 linear feet in size. The finding aid for this collection is available on their website. This finding aid describes the contents of the collection folder by folder. The majority of the collection is financial and legal records, but it also includes some personnel information, promotion, and other types of materials. The personnel records do not include records for each year, and several of the rosters will only list agents, bosses, and supervisors rather than a full roster of all employees. 
Utah State Historical Society
Photographs[edit | edit source]
The inventory for their photography collection is available online. The photographs themselves are available to view in person at the History Colorado library; the photographs have not yet been digitized. 
Maps[edit | edit source]
History Colorado has some plat maps attributed to the railroad, but this is not a comprehensive collection of settlements near D&RGW depots. To find these maps, search the library catalog. To go directly to the D&RG maps, try a Subject search for the term "Denver and Rio Grande Railway Company--Maps." There may also be maps included within the manuscript collection, and those will be noted on the manuscript finding aid. 
Online Sources[edit | edit source]
- UtahRails D&RGW History Index
- drgw.net Dedicated to Presenting and Preserving the History of the Denver & Rio Grande Western Railroad
- UtahRails Scanned D&RGW maps Includes system maps, industry maps, and station maps
References[edit | edit source]
- Wikipedia contributors, "Denver and Rio Grande Western Railroad" in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Denver_and_Rio_Grande_Western_Railroad (accessed 11 February 2014).
- Wikipedia contributors, "List of Denver and Rio Grande Western Railroad lines" in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Denver_and_Rio_Grande_Western_Railroad_lines (accessed 11 February 2014).
- Hansen, Holly T, compiler. The Directory of North American Railroads, Associations, Societies, Archives, Libraries, and Museums, and Their Collections .Croydon, Utah; HT Holly Research Services: 1999.
- email from reference librarian at History Colorado, (received January 30, 2014).