From the Archive: Rosalie Kelly Remembers – The Railroad

by Pat Walker, Research Assistant, Fort Collins Local History Archive

The Fort Collins Local History Archive has a large collection of oral histories taken in the early 1970s. Rosalie Kelley Remembers is a series of excerpts taken from an interview with Rosalie Kelly, a descendant of North Park pioneer families the Pinkhams and Allards, May 22, 1975.

Rosalie Allard (later Kelly) in 1923

“I want to tell you a little bit about that early railroad because I have some memories there. My father and mother were great hands to take us to Denver and we’d go on the railroad as far as Laramie and then they’d get a sleeper, and that was a lot of fun. But you never knew when you were going to get to Denver, because the railroad might be stuck… the tracks weren’t good and for a long time they didn’t even have a rotary snow plow and we found ourselves one time in Harrison’s Cut, right out on the Laramie plains, two days and two nights, with a whole train load of people. And everybody that went on the railroad always took a great big lunch (laughter), thinking, “Well, we might get stuck,” and we usually were. But this time I remember, it seemed so long and we got so bored… and I looked out the window and here came my dad and another man (they had borrowed from the train crew… snow shoes and gone down–up–up the hill to a little town called Albany) and… each one had a gunny sack over their shoulder, and I know the first thing dad took out of that gunny sack and gave to us was an orange apiece. And that was a real hey day.”

Colorado & Southern passenger train No. 9, snowbound near Como, Colorado. Photographed by Otto Westerman in 1904.

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