In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, the advent of rail transportation made Americans much more mobile.  They were able to move away from home towns, visit friends and relatives in distant places, commute from one town to another for work, and travel around the country just for fun.

Funicular (or "incline") railways were a special form of rail travel that allowed people to easily ascend mountainsides and enjoy the views from the heights.  A funicular is a hybrid between a train and an elevator, used to carry passengers and freight up and down hillsides. Like a train, it has cars that run on rails. Like an elevator, it uses a cable to pull the cars up the hill. A funicular has a pair of cars that run in opposite directions, so the one going down helps pull the one going up.

Eventually funiculars as well as other forms of rail transportation were displaced by cars, buses, and trucks.  While a few funiculars remain in service in the United States, most were gone by about 1930.

For a brief period between 1912 and about 1920, Golden Colorado, a small town about 15 miles west of Denver, had two funicular railways--one on Lookout Mountain on the city's west side and one on South Table Mountain on the city's east side.  Both railways had the misfortune to be built just as automobiles and roads were about to explode in popularity, and neither proved to be a commercial success.  Nonetheless, the scars left on the mountainsides a century later still intrigue and inspire people--including the author of this book.

Barb Warden has lived on the slopes of South Table Mountain for about half of her life.  Curiosity about the funiculars finally led her to research them through antique postcards, historic photos, and old newspaper accounts.  The resulting tale of the rise and fall of Golden's funiculars is told through this book: The Funiculars of Golden Colorado.

 


Click here
to listen
!

Listen to the author discuss her book on Radio Golden!

 

Copyright - Barb Warden