Midland Tunnels

This photo by William Henry Jackson shows the north Midland Tunnel with a Midland train coming out of it. 

The photo is around 1890-95. The most interesting aspect of the photo is the road crossing the Rio Grande tracks and the bridge across the river.

The road is the old Leonhardy Cutoff  which was 14 miles from Chubb Park to Buena Vista.

This road was built by George Leonhardy, as a short line to  South Park in 1872.  It was abandoned after the railroads came down Trout Creek.

George Leonhardy bought the 160-acre ranch from Frank Mayol in 1875 which is where the town of Riverside was then located. He had a brand recorded in 1879. 

When the new Chaffee County was established in 1879, Leonhardy was named the county clerk. 

He also was the postmaster at the town in 1877 and in 1883. He developed more land with timber which he sold to the  mines for timbering and he also made charcoal for the kilns in Leadville.

Riverside became a small town because the Rio Grande had a line and a switch there. 

The railroad built a good depot, section house, bunkhouse and a wooden water tank there.

As there were several families present and a busy economy thriving from lumbering, placer mining and ranching, a school was established there.

This ranch is in the Norma Sandoval family now. The old post office building is still located here.

The Midland Tunnels are going to be preserved and stabilized in the coming year.

For more information on the heritage behind the history of Buena Vista, visit facebook.com/bvheritage.heritage

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