In 1944, an abandoned dining car from the old Otto Mears’ Silverton Northern Railroad was moved from Silverton to the corner of 22nd Street and Main Avenue in Durango and became the Chief Diner. Named the “Chief” because the owners wanted to be the “chief” restaurant in town, the restaurant enjoyed great success for almost 40 years. It finally closed in the early 1980s. Here, that dining car section is loaded on to a flatbed trailer for its removal to private property up Junction Creek Road in December 1981. It was said to later be moved to the area of Breen, though its exact location, if it still exists, is not generally known. The iconic chief sign that welcomed patrons is now located in downtown Durango, but not without controversy. Its caricature depiction of a Native American has been criticized as racially insensitive.
Ed Horvat for Animas Museum, firstname.lastname@example.org