Big Bend is one of those places that sits over there, way off the highway but the railroad went there in the early 1900’s. It was at the end of a stub branch, no through trains, a dead end. To lay tracks like that, Big Bend must have been a very prosperous village at one time. Today it is a spot on a country road marked by not much of anything.
There is an abandoned store and garage that rest next to the road, nearby are some other empty structures and the forsaken grain elevator.
I found a local history book and it talks about the railroad that the farmers were building. Sugar beets was a big business back then and small processing plants were popping up along these little towns and the railroad was a good way to serve the sugar plants. The Ark Valley RR was formed to serve these villages. It stretched from the Kansas border to Rocky Ford on the north side of the Arkansas Valley in southern Colorado. Along this right of way were bunches of little stops, some became towns, most were industrial sidings for the train operations.
The valley was fertile and all types of crops could be grown. Various canning plants opened to process vegetables, a pickle factory and other truck crops.
The little railroad thrived on the ag business of the valley. Eventually the AT&SF Railway acquired the rail line. It had been an original investor and soon owner of the whistle stop rail line.
When the sugar beet market failed, it marked the beginning of the end for many of these small towns. Then farming changed and the little growers were leaving, again another changed in the valley. In the mid 1960’s the railroad abandoned the line and soon the rails were pulled up. Left behind were these little stops, most now dwindled down to ghost town status. As farming continues to consolidate many more of these little bugs shrink into the land.
after looking at a railroad time table I have a bunch of little ghosts to go looking for. A few I have posted on before, such as Hasty Colorado, Lubbers, McClave but there a few dozen more to go looking for. It will be a kick for there are none of the old roads any more and lots of the ROW has been plowed over. It will be to that corner, down the road a piece, curve over there and a left turn to the buildings over there…. maybe.
There will be lots of neat old buildings to see, ruts to dodge or bounce over but always something new around the bend.
Abandoned chicken farm……. no…. not the chicken ranch.