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Southwest Life Health And the West is History Community Travel

And the West is History: Railroad Engine at Eureka – circa 1925

The boxcar in this photo clearly has D&RGW written on it, but the engine pulling it was probably part of the Silverton Northern Railroad. The line operated between Silverton and the mining community of Eureka 8 miles away. It was at Eureka that the Baker Party found placer gold in 1860 providing the impetus for the development of the Upper Animas Mining District. By 1875, Eureka had a post office, and in 1896 was connected to Silverton by rail. The two businesses with legible signs in this photo advertise pool halls in adjacent buildings. This picture was taken in the middle of Prohibition. Near-beer and sodas were the only legal drinks, but bootleg liquor might have been available sometimes (for a price). Pool halls occupied former saloons and became popular gathering places for men. This was important in a town where most of the male population were miners who needed a place to socialize. With the closing of the nearby Sunnyside Mill in 1938, the town was mostly abandoned by 1939. – Ed Horvat for Animas Museum, edhorvat@animasmuseum.org (Courtesy of La Plata County Historical Society)