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La Jara
Toltec Gorge
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osier town view 1995 tlhprn.jpg (54193 bytes)
Osier town view 1995


osier view to toltec 1995 tlhprn.jpg (84957 bytes)
View to Toltec Gorge 1995


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Osier, CO
Elevation 9,637 feet.
Denver 318 miles.

Near the headwaters of the Los Pinos basin a small railroad town that was eventually called Osier began to sprout. The Rio de Los Pinos starts carving through the old volcanic rock in the area. A massive canyon quickly develops just west of Osier and leads into the monumental Toltec Gorge a few miles downstream.

In 1884 the Osier hillside was known as Jenkins Gardens. Enterprising Jenkins had a homestead here, operated the toll road, acted as postmaster and owned a restaurant and saloon. At one time there were several hundred residents living in Osier. 



Early railroad buildings at Osier included a Depot, Section House, Bunk house, Water Tank and Coaling Platform. Most of the railroad structures are still there, but the rest of the town has disappeared.  The Cumbres & Toltec railroad maintains the area today.

A covered turntable operated at one time. It was similar to the one at Cumbres Pass. The turntables were covered to keep them operational in the snowy winters. The turntable at Osier was constructed around 1888 and was a 50' diameter Keystone.  There were a series of structures attached to the turntable near the Depot. At times helper engines were stored there.  

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Osier rail yard c1990



The Osier Depot is very small, about 16x24. This station had fine wood beaded interior boards.  The south view shows evidence of remodeling that included restrooms and drinking fountains. The original wood floor was removed, the foundation back filled and a concrete floor installed.  



This Section House has the same basic shape as the one at Cumbres Pass. There were two additions to the Osier Section House. One was an addition on the southeast that contained two more full size rooms. The other addition included the kitchen and what was probably one extra room. A large front porch was added on the track side.   



The original water tank at Osier was constructed in 1880. Old photos show that the existing tank was constructed west of the original in about 1918. This water tank is fed by a spring that supplied the water to the whole site for some time.



One inexpensive way to store coal was to use a flat elevated platform. The platform was raised up on heavy timbers to avoid shoveling coal from ground level into the high locomotive tenders. When an engine or other equipment needed coal it was pulled up to the platform and the back breaking chore of shoveling the coal from the platform to the equipment began. The platform at  appears to have been built in 1880 along with the log bunk house.  



New additions to the Osier site include the Main Dining Hall built in 1979. The dining hall is a two-story structure with serving area, eating area and restrooms at the track level. The lower level holds the main kitchen, gift shop, additional eating areas and food storage facilities. The new structure has been a welcome addition during unpleasant and cold weather. You can order lunch from the dining facility or bring your own. There are picnic tables outside for sun worshipers. 

The Osier loop was recently completed in 1994. It is another major addition to the site. The loop allows the engine to turn around on trains such as the moon-light special. Without the loop the engineer had to back a single train to Cumbres for a return trip to Chama. Under normal operations a single engine travels one direction from Chama to Antonito.   




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