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Town view c1910

 

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Main Street c1940

 

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Glenwood Springs, CO
Elevation 5,758 feet.
Population 2,073 (c1920).
Denver 360 miles.

Glenwood Springs boasts the largest natural hot springs pools in Colorado. The largest of the two pools is 405 by 100 feet, and holds over a million gallons of water. For centuries, the Utes, Comanche, Cheyenne and Arapahoe tribes utilized the healing powers of the pools.  Today, skiers sit in the same waters, soothing tired muscles after a hard say on the slopes.

Some of the best known ski resorts in Colorado are accessed through Glenwood Springs.  It is the last large town on I-70 heading east, before reaching the heart of the Rocky Mountains, where Vail (45 miles east) is located.  Glenwood Springs is also at the junction with US 82, the only route to Aspen (40 miles south) during the winter months.

 

HISTORY

For centuries, the Ute Indians battled with the Cheyenne and Comanche over possession of the sacred waters of the hot springs, but in 1860 the whites made their first appearance in Glenwood Springs.  While exploring the Eagle River Valley, Captain Richard Sopris became ill and the Utes took him to the hot springs. 

Silver was discovered in Leadville in the 1870ís, which started a landslide of mining camp construction in the mountains to the east of Glenwood Springs. Before Glenwood Springs became a town, the first settlement was at Fort Defiance, a few miles upstream at the mouth of Glenwood Canyon, an area occupied by Native Americans.  Originally, the fort was just a blockhouse built by miners. For the first few years, the Indians fought the miners occupying the area, but the miners eventually won. 

In 1880 John Landis claimed Glenwood Springs for himself, and by the mid 1880ís, Leadville settlers had colonized the area, displacing the Indians.  They platted a town site of some 640 acres, and the home sites were free to anyone that would settle there.  In 1885, a miner from Aspen, Walter Devereux, incorporated Glenwood Springs and began to promote tourism. 

The Hotel Colorado was completed in 1893.  Soon afterward the town became a high-class resort, catering to some of the most well to do families, including the Vanderbilts and the Astors, the hotel bath pool being one of the biggest attractions. By the middle of the twentieth century, the tourists began to discover other mountain towns, and the tourism in Glenwood Springs slowed down. But by the 1970ís and 1980ís, the health and fitness boom, coupled with the growing popularity of skiing, brought the tourists back to Glenwood Springs, and itís now famous hot springs.  

 

GLENWOOD SPRINGS TODAY

The close distance of Glenwood Springs to Aspen and other ski areas, makes it an attractive place for skiers to stay.  The lodging is much cheaper than that in Aspen, and the hot springs offer a place for skiers to soak their sore muscles after a day on the slopes.  Three and a half million gallons of water flows from the springs each day, entirely refilling the pools about every 8-10 hours.

The Vapor Caves are three caves that maintain a temperature of about 115 degrees ferinheight and 100% humidity.  Sitting in the caves causes one to sweat out impurities, while they indulge in a massage or a facial. 

Aside from skiing and basking in the amenities the hot springs and Vapor Caves offer, there are hundreds of miles of hiking and backpacking trails in the Glenwood Springs area.  For the fisherman, rainbow and brown trout are plentiful in the Colorado River just west of town, and the small lakes in the mountains. 

One can explore the history of the town by visiting the historic Hotel Colorado, which displays pictures in itís lobby of famous guests, such as Teddy Roosevelt, William Taft, and Molly Brown, who visited Glenwood springs to take advantage of the therapeutic properties of the hot springs. 

 

THE RAILROAD

The Depot at Glenwood Springs was located on the south bank of the Colorado river. Actual freight and maintenance operations were performed in the Funston yard located on the north side of the river and around the bend from the Depot. The yard here was removed with the construction of Interstate 70 in 1967. The yard tracks were moved to the south side of the river and the roadway was on the north. 

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Glenwood Springs rail yard 1919

 

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Yard closeup 1919

 

DEPOT

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Glenwood Springs Depot c1900

 

 

GLENWOOD CANYON

 

 

 

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