Maroon Creek Bridge

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Connects: Highway 82, Maroon Creek Trail, ABC Trail, Chatfield Trail, Old Stage Trail

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Maroon Creek Bridge

Maroon Creek Bridge in Aspen


Maroon Creek Bridge

Nordic tracks on the Maroon Creek Bridge

Aspen, CO – Bridge

The Maroon Creek Bridge, also called the Midland Bridge, is a historic steel trestle bridge along Highway 82 originally built for the Colorado Midland Railroad. This bridge is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

More information about the Maroon Creek Bridge can be found at:
National Register of Historic Places – Maroon Creek Bridge
Wikipedia – Maroon Creek Bridge

A plaque about the bridge along the Chatfield Trail reads: (Click to expand)
The Midland Bridge

Erected in 1888, this iron bridge stands today as a monument to the pluck and perseverance of our early day railroad pioneers who built this 640-foot iron bridge to connect the growing mining city of Aspen, Colorado, into the rail network of a nation.

This bridge was fabricated by the Niagara Iron Works of Buffalo, New York, in the fall of 1887 and erected in Aspen, January 1888. On Saturday, February 4, 1888, the Colorado Midland Railroad arrived in Aspen, three months behind the Denver & Rio Grande Railroad, due to delays in the construction of this bridge.

This bridge served Aspen by railroad until the demise of the Midland in 1918. A.E. Carlton, president of the Colorado Midland, sold the bridge to D.R.C. Brown, Sr. who then contributed this bridge, at no cost, to the people of Pitkin County.

In 1921 this trestle was used to cross Maroon Creek by auto and soon became a State Highway bridge. Now used as a pedestrian walkway, this bridge stands as a tribute to the foresight of our railroad pioneers and the generosity of D.R.C. Brown, Sr. who saved it from demolition.

This Colorado Midland Railway bridge is Aspen’s link with its past. The Midland “ten wheelers” no longer “puff and chug” into Aspen. The beautiful “McQueens” became “yard goats” on some forgotten siding in some forgotten place. But, the Colorado Midland Railroad will never be forgotten, because, as some say, “The Colorado Midland never really went away.”

Dedicated to the memory of D.R.C. Brown, Sr. by resolution of the Pitkin County Board of County Commissioners and the Aspen City Council. AD 2012.

Intrepid Aspen pioneer, D.R.C. Brown Sr. came to Aspen in 1880, via Taylor Pass and Castle Creek, where he made his fortune in the mines of early Aspen. In association with other enterprising men of Aspen, he developed and built water and electric systems for the great mining city of Aspen.

Darcy Brown, Jr. (*son of D.R.C. Brown Sr.) was also a prominent citizen of Aspen, who helped to develop Aspen into an international ski resort.”

The National Register of Historic Places description reads: (Click to expand)
“In 1887 the Colorado Midland Railroad raced with the Denver and Rio Grande to be the first to extend rail lines into the mining town of Aspen. The latter reached the town in mid-October, and the former reached the Maroon Creek crossing just to the west of town in December. There the Midland hit a snag, as steel for the superstructure of the im- mense Maroon Creek trestle was delayed from the fabricator in the east. When it did arrive later that month, the railroad bridge crew began construction, completing it early in February 1888. The bridge remained in use by the railroad until it quit operations in . In 1929, after ten years of improvised use by motorists, the State Highway Department contracted with the Phelps Brothers and the Morrison-Knutsen Company to widen and pave the roadway. The Maroon Creek Bridge has functioned in place as a vehicular bridge since, unaltered and in good condition.

Of the five original steel bridges built by the Midland Railroad, in Manitou Springs and near Buena Vista and Aspen, only the Maroon Creek Bridge remains. The older and longer of the two railroad trestles converted in-place to roadway use (the other: Bridge No. 10 of the Florence and Cripple Creek Railroad, FR48) in the survey, it is a significant resource – one of the last remaining iron/steel multiple-span high trestles erected in the 19th century for Colorado’s narrow gauge mountain railroads.”

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