The first three years of the 1880s were exciting times in Silverton and the Animas River country of southwestern Colorado, and that excitement is captured in the third volume of MANY MORE MOUNTAINS. The D&RG labored to make good on its promise to extend narrow gauge track into the mineral-rich heart of the San Juan Mountains and Mr. Nossaman covers the construction of the San Juan Extension from newly created Antonito over the improbable Cumbres Pass-Toltec Gorge route to the Animas River; where the establishment of the new railroad town of Durango preceded the final push of steam and rails through the scenic and challenging Animas River Canyon to Silverton. What is known of the construction effort, the motive power and rolling stock utilized, the setbacks encountered, the accidents and the intriguing incidents, and the personnel involved in this dramatic railroad-building venture is digested in this newest volume of a series noted for its detail. Included in addition to historical photographs are discussions of the career of the ingenious locating and construction engineer Thomas Hudson Wigglesworth, the naming and development of stations along the San Juan Extension, characteristics of the railroad's Camp One above Rockwood, and the forces that directed the railway company's inconsistent efforts to finish the expensive line.
This new volume also covers developments in the Silverton community as it awaited the long-promised railroad connection with the outside world, and those which occurred once the railroad did arrive--including the start on the business block that ultimately became the Grand Hotel, the erection of the still-used railway station, and the growth of business and civic institutions. As with previous volumes in the series, there is a specific chapter on growth and developments in the high San Juans' tributary mining camps like Eureka, Animas Forks and Mineral Point--with a companion layout map of the latter settlement to compliment those for the first two towns presented in Volume 2. The author has also prepared a series of maps of Silverton's key structures during the year of the railroad's arrival.
The excitement of the period also included a wave of outlaw activity which characteristically preceded the completion of new railroads in the American West, and the first discoveries and early times in the previously unsung Red Mountain District, and special chapters are devoted to each of these topics. The application of new mechanization to the mining industry in the San Juans is also a subject of discussion, including the installation of the first aerial tramway in the region and the systematic development of the mines which were to provide tonnage for the new railroad, and for the concentrators and smelters in the vicinity.