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And the West is History: Engine 315 and Joy Cabin at Brookside Park – 1963

Locomotive 315 was built in 1895 for the Florence and Cripple Creek Railroad and acquired by the Denver & Rio Grande in 1917. The 315 worked out of Alamosa (1919), Chama (early 1920s), Salida, Gunnison and Montrose. It was used by the Rio Grande Southern Railroad when its engines were under repair. It worked on the Ouray branch of the Denver & Rio Grande Western Railroad in the 1930s. After serving as a switch engine in Durango during World War II, it was retired and set to be scrapped along with 10 other engines in 1949. Local businessman Jackson Clark, along with the Durango Rotary Club and the city of Durango, approached the railroad to save it. They ended up leasing it and putting it on static display at Brookside Park in 1950. This engine appeared in two movies, “Colorado Territory,” a year before retirement, and then in 1955 in “Around the World in 80 Days.” Because it was inoperable, it was pushed by a narrow gauge diesel locomotive that was disguised as a baggage car for the movie. In 1968, the D&RGW donated it to the Durango Chamber of Commerce and it remained at Brookside until it was moved to Santa Rita Park in 1986. A local nonprofit, the Durango Railroad Historical Society, was organized in the late 1990s and the engine was restored to running condition by 2007. It is presently in Chama, New Mexico, but is slated to possibly return to Durango and/or Silverton in 2025. –Ed Horvat for Animas Museum, edhorvat@animasmuseum (Catalog Number: 88.20.108 from the La Plata County Historical Society Photo Collections)