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senger through the Gore Canyon. The following October, like a bolt from the blue sky, came the financial panic which, starting in Wall Street, reverberated across the continent and shook the business world to its foundation.
Then, and then only, did Moffat suspend building operations on his line. Having in his care the management of a great bank which carried the deposits of the people to the amount of almost twenty million dollars, it was too great a risk to keep on in the face of the financial whirlwind. The news of the work being stopped had hardly reached the public before there was given a demonstration of what loyalty to one's city and state may accomplish when mixed with the alloy of self-interest. A number of wealthy friends came together and money to the amount of several millions was pledged immediately to complete the Moffat Line to Steamboat Springs.
In January, 1903, he had started the laying of parallel rails out of Denver, headed straight for the towering summit of the Rocky Mountains, bleak, snow-capped, scarred by avalanche and torrent and up to that time unconquered. Tunnels were hewn through solid granite, great chasms were spanned, seemingly impossible rock walls were hewn out, the Great Divide was surmounted at the highest point in the world for a standard gauge railroad, Middle Park was crossed, Gore Canyon, a titanic gash through a mountain range, was fashioned into a roadbed, and on Dec. 13, 1908, the rails were laid into Steamboat Springs, the first span of the journey toward Salt Lake.
The trip over the Moffat Road is the grandest scenic trip in the world. Here is the very acme of scenic grandeur, the very limit of the sublime in nature. Every phase of natural conditions, from the summer heat of the plains to the region of everlasting snows, from the verdure-clad valleys to the barren mountain tops far above the timber line, from the undulating foothills to the most abrupt and awe-inspiring cliffs and canons — all may be encountered within a few hours by a trip over this wonderful railroad.
At present the line passes over a great shoulder which projects from the main body of the mountain. From Tolland up over this shoulder is a climb of nearly three thousand feet, up a grade of four per cent, or nearly two hundred feet up for every mile traveled. Railroad men call this climb the "Giant's Ladder." On the face of the mountain the track rises in three terraces, one above the other, and the last is so high that it seems to one in the valley below an impossible task for the locomotive to drag the train up to it. When the last climb is completed the train winds over the shoulder, and there rising up to a sheer height of a thousand feet is a great cliff, and out on the jutting edge is a ragged hole through the face of the wall. This tunnel, because daylight shows through it, is called the "Needle's Eye." Like a great scar the way of the roadbed can be traced up the side of the cliff where it goes through the tunnel.
The track that disappears in the "Needle's Eye" comes out on a great shelf that hangs a thousand feet above Yankee Doodle Lake, a beautiful circular piece of water imprisoned almost on the crest of the Great Divide. At this point the road is 11,660 feet above sea level, and almost seven thousand feet above Denver. This is the highest point ever reached by a standard gauge railway, in a region of perpetual snow, mountain peaks, and seemingly on the roof of the world.
From Corona, the name of the station on the crest of Great Divide, a thousand feet above timber line, the road begins winding its way down the western slope through rugged canons. At one point the track makes a great loop and passes under itself by means of a tunnel. From the top of the world the road soon drops into the cavernous depths of Gore Canyon. In this canon the waters of the river are plunging, seething and boiling, churned to frothy whiteness in their wild rush down the narrow, boulder-choked channel and over rocky falls. Above the river on either side of the canon the walls rise to terrific heights. Five hundred, a thousand, two thousand feet, up go the mighty walls, their lower face rent and gashed by the awful force of the dynamite which was used by the ton to carve a way for the Iron Horse.
It is fairly terrifying to see, hundreds and thousands of feet above, great masses of rock weighing hundreds of tons so delicately balanced on the jutting shoulders of the canon that the jarring of the train, it would seem, might bring any one of a thousand great boulders crashing down upon the track. For six miles the steel rails wind and twist through these cavernous depths, at times alarmingly near the brink. But at these seemingly dangerous points the track leads into a tunnel only to come out on a more roomy shelf. It is claimed that before this road was built through Gore Canon no man ever went through it except in extreme cold weather, when it was possible to clamber through over the masses of ice which gorged the canon. Places along the route were so inaccessible that members of the engineering corps were lowered hundreds of feet by ropes to plant their instruments on points of vantage where it was possible to locate the line.
The road then winds its way over the great reverse curves of Conger Mesa into Rock Creek Canyon, along cliffs, through tunnels, across a great bridge, one hundred and twenty-five feet high and four hundred feet long, where the line leaps from the hanging walls of Rock Creek Canon across to a shelf that runs under a great hill, the top of which is the mouth of a volcano called the Crater. When the line was being built the giant steam shovels loaded long trains of flat cars with the black cinders which for thousands of years, since they were shot out of the crater, have lain a black mass on the mountain sides. Winding around the base of the crater the line plunges on into the depths and shadows of the Algeria Canon, until at last the line springs into the open with a whole world of country before it.
Three of Mr. Moffat's other railway projects were instituted to give an outlet to the product of three of Colorado's mining camps — Leadville, Creede and Cripple Creek — and two of them, like the "Moffat Road," were built with his own capital. From his first railroad enterprise, the pioneer line of Colorado, to his last, Mr. Moffat's aim has been to develop the state which has been his home since he reached his majority. He has observed riches lying dormant because their isolation prevented their being brought to life, and then he has removed the spell that kept them in a state of quiescence.
The Moffat Road will benefit not a few, but the toiling millions of men who will build their homes in the country which he has opened. They will be showered with the blessings for which he has willingly sacrificed an old age of peace and comfort to years of hard work and carking care.
What will be the wonders of growth and development of that country of ten thousand square miles west of the Great Divide are something only the coming years can tell. Certain it is that since the rails of the Northern Pacific Road were pushed westward nineteen hundred miles from Lake Superior to that country lying along the shores of Puget Sound, no country possessing such a store of natural wealth as this has been opened up and made accessible to all who would enter.
By BRADFORD RHODES
|ANKS register and regulate the productive wealth of the country and aid immeasurably in its rapid and proper distribution. There is hardly a phase of trade or production that is not represented by the banks. By the perfection of their machinery they make capital and credit available for instant and universal service to mankind. The chief function of a bank — almost its sole legitimate function — is to aid in the production and distribution of the staple commodities of life. Those who may be disposed to think that this is not an exalted work to do should reflect that the sustenance of mankind must precede endeavors to elevate and ennoble the race.
Speaking more definitely of the attractions of a banking career, it may be stated generally that the young man who secures employment in a bank has an exceptional opportunity of at least making a good start in business. Whatever may be said in regard to laying up treasure on earth, it ought to be one of the first aims of every young man to get on an independent, self-supporting basis. Only by doing so can he be assured of being able to be of the highest service to his fellows. He who has not learned how to help himself can hardly hope to be of much assistance to others.
The acquisition of wealth is not the chief end of banking, but those engaged in this calling, both by their associations and training, have unusual opportunities of acquir
1 From "Careers for the Coming Men." Copyright, 1904, by the Saalfield Company.