Trains on the West Slope

Attached are a couple of history columns I’ve written recently about the Denver & Rio Grande Railway’s work in the 1880s to cross the Western Slope and eventually connect all the way to Salt Lake City.

Motezuma engine 1871

This photo, from 1871, shows the Montezuma 1, believed to be the first locomotive in the D&RG’s narrow-gauge line.

The first column is about the work of the D&RG to push over Marshall Pass and through the Black Canyon of the Gunnison. The second column concerns the continuing work to reach Grand Junction and connect with the Denver & Rio Grande Western to make it to Salt Lake City.

D&RG I 01-13-20

D&RG in GJ 1-27-19

Fur Trade presentation

I’ll present classes on fur trade history for New Dimensions in Grand Junction, Feb. 12, Feb. 19.


The first class will be more general, looking at the fur trade across the Continent over hundreds of years. It will use a great deal of information from my forthcoming book, The Cadottes: A Fur Trade Family on Lake Superior.

The second class will look at one of the most important fur traders to operate in Colorado and Utah, Antoine Robidoux.

Both classes will be held in the Unitarian Universalist Church in downtown Grand Junction beginning at 10 a.m. and they will last approximately one hour.

More information about New Dimension classes, and registration information for theses and other classes is expected to be available early next week at

Comanche migration

The Comanche Indians are believed to have migrated from northwestern Colorado/southern Wyoming to the Southern Great Plains late in the 17th century. And some likely did so through Western Colorado.

Comanche Horsemen
George Catlin produced this painting in the 1830s, showing the skill of Comanche horsemen

However, archaeologists and historians are still trying to determine exactly how and when the migration occurred.

I discussed some of the most recent research in the history column here.

Comanche move 12-30-19