In a few days, I will turn in my manuscript for Notorious Jefferson County, which is a regional history book about strange and infamous murder cases from the turn of the last century.
One “character” that appeared over and over in these stories was the Denver and Interurban tram (also called the Denver and Intermountain tram). Not only did the bad guys use it for their getaways, but the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office often used the tram system to transport prisoners.
It also created a nice sense of community back then. Citizens of Denver who wanted to get out of the city would take the tram out to Golden and hike up the table mountains for a pleasant picnic. No traffic jams, no parking problems. Just a fun tram ride. The system was fantastic.
Back around the turn of the last century, the Denver – Golden – Boulder region was crawling with trams, trains, and trolleys. There were two tram lines running between Denver and Golden and a tram between Denver and Leyden. A train ran between Denver and Boulder and there was even a line out to Eldorado Springs.
I’d like to know why they shut down these rail lines and yanked up the track. The paranoid side of me figures it was the automobile industry, probably colluding with nefarious oil tycoons. I dunno. I can’t imagine that it was done for the good of the citizens of our region. I’m guessing it was because someone stood to make a lot of profit and the rail lines were interfering in that. Of course, maybe I’m too cynical. I doubt it.
I am aware that the same thing happened in northern California as well and probably in other places. The big irony here is that the new light rail going in between Denver and Golden, and Denver and Boulder will be laying the tracks down along the same route where the knuckleheads pulled them up all those decades ago. Hopefully Big Oil and Big Whoever won’t stop it this time.