This photo documents the last stock-hauling run of the Rio Grande Southern Railroad through Mancos in March 1951. The railroad had struggled almost from the time it was constructed. It ran between Ridgway and Durango. Otto Mears founded the railroad in 1889. It arrived in Mancos in 1891 with the depot in this picture built in 1896. Unfortunately for the railroad, the Silver Panic of 1893 took away most of its ore-hauling business from the mines around Rico, Ophir and Telluride. Mears lost control in 1895, selling it to the Denver & Rio Grande. It operated through the first half of the century hauling some ore, stock, passengers and mail but was never on stable financial footing. By the 1950s, it couldn’t sustain operations and petitioned the Interstate Commerce Commission for abandonment in 1952. On March 21, 1953, the last train of any kind made its final run on the line.
Ed Horvat for Animas Museum, email@example.com