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Excerpt from the 1882 Birdseye View Map of Golden – enlarge - Click to enlarge

142 Years Ago
The June 23, 1880 Colorado Transcript reported a little train mishap:

On Sunday morning last, at a little past 9 o’clock, the people of Golden were startled from their propriety by a sudden and ominous sound of crashing timbers mingled with the ominous sound of escaping steam.

A crowd, including a Transcript reporter, rushed toward the source of sound, which was the Golden and South Platte Railroad bridge at East Street. Clear Creek was running high, as it is wont to do in June, and it had apparently weakened the foundations of the bridge.

The narrow gauge train consisted of an engine, one loaded coal car and one empty flat car. According to the crew, they had nearly reached the south side of the bridge when “the bridge and track suddenly commenced sinking, and in an instant the engine went through the bridge with a tremendous crash.”

A 15 year old boy was riding on the engine, and when the bridge began sinking, he jumped off, dropping 20 feet into the rushing creek.

The brakeman hurried to apply the break on the empty flatcar, so it wouldn’t follow the coal car into the abyss.

In the end, the engine fell into the creek, the coal car dangled over the creek, and the flat car remained half-on, half-off the bridge. The crew was unharmed.

Thanks to the Golden History Museum for providing the online cache of historic Transcripts, and to the Golden Transcript for documenting our history since 1866!