One of many wide spots the railroad built on its way to the gold fields of Denver. Originally this railroad stop was called Box Elder, the name of the creek nearby and the stage station that had been there. The place was renamed to honor a railroad employee.
Watkins did not incorporate until the 21st century then it only lasted a short time. Couple years later it dissolved the corporation and went back to being a wide spot with a Post Office. The little town didn’t grow much. It was a travelers stop on old Highway 40. There were gas stations, coffee shops, truck stops and motels along with a few stores and shops. Today most of that is gone. Over by the Interstate is the truck stop/gas station. Rest of the businesses have been shuttered up and some vacant lots. There is a small general store and motel that hangs on and the saloon does a booming business.
At its peak the town boasted over 200 souls living there, toady it is maybe 50. In 1870, the population was reported at 70 hardy being living there. No longer does the train stop there. The occasional semi hauls grain from the elevators. People whiz through on their way to the general aviation airport to the southeast. Otherwise it a pretty sleepy town that is on the outskirts of Denver’s urban blight.
The suburb of Aurora has stretched its city limits out to absorb the once railroad stop. The urban sponge has soaked up lots of little stops like this as Denver’s tentacles stretched out. Mesa, Sable, Schulyer, Roydale and others are now but noted in the books of early railroad construction.
Stretching along the ribbon of iron rails had been numerous railroad stops. Few became towns, most became memories and forgotten.
on the north edge of town is the old school house, now a private residence. A quite reminder of when Watkins had hopes and dreams of growing. The few people remain have life of some tranquility. Most of the city noise is to the west. The urban housing developments are creeping closed year by year. Soon It will be a sign post on the railroad and exit sign on the Interstate of what was once a prosperous wide spot on the highway.