Railroad Car 211

Car 211 departed for restoration on August 17th, 2022
June 2023 view of Car 211 restoration

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History of Car 211

The town of Lake City was incorporated in 1874, a year after the Brunot Treaty with the Ute Indians represented by Chief Ouray. Lake City’s population exploded as silver and gold were discovered and mines sprung up throughout the county. Ore transportation from the mines was paramount to the success of those operations. In 1889, the Denver & Rio Grande Western Railroad (D&RGW) completed the 36-mile Lake City branch up the Lake Fork of the Gunnison River from Sapinero to Lake City. The railroad line transported U.S. Mail, ore, freight, and passengers in the early years but ore movements diminished following the repeal of the Sherman Silver Purchase Act in 1893 which devalued the price of silver. With this, fewer people and freight came to Lake City and it was necessary for the railroad to optimize cars. Although originally constructed in 1881 as a narrow-gauge passenger coach, in 1900, Car 211 was converted to a combined passenger/freight car. It operated on the Lake City Branch in the early 1900s as Lake City began promoting tourism and continued in service until 1933.