Glenwood Springs Depot Museum Closes

The railroad museum located in the former Denver & Rio Grande Western station in Glenwood Springs, Colo., shut down on November 20 when it could not reach an agreement with landlord Union Pacific on rent. The museum had been paying $250 annually to rent space in the station; UP raised the rent to more than $25,000 a year.

The fate of the museum was sealed in early November when voters in Garfield County rejected a ballot measure that would have increased property taxes to fund the local historic district. Seven organizations, including the railroad museum, would have received funding through the tax increase.

The museum has been in existence for 14 years, and staff and volunteers began contacting the original donors and their families to return artifacts. The museum was also attempting to find homes for the rest of the collection in other museums in the county. The Mount Sopris Historical Society in Carbondale, Colo., agreed to take the books from the railroad museum and maintain the collection as a research library.

The museum briefly considered, and then discarded, the possibility of relocation. In the station, it was an attraction to people laying over on Amtrak’s California Zephyr, and museum hours revolved largely around train time.

“It’s just sad that we’re unable to raise the funding necessary to preserve what I think is a very important part of the history, the story of this county and this community,” museum manager Pat Thrasher told the Aspen Times.

The Glenwood Springs station was built in 1904. In addition to serving the California Zephyr since 1983 after the Rio Grande Zephyr was discontinued, it also served Amtrak’s Pioneer from 1977–91 and the Desert Wind from 1979–97. It is the second-busiest station in Colorado.

Railfan & Railroad

This article was posted on: November 22, 2017