Thursday, March 11, 2010

The Great Northern Through Trinidad

From "History of the Big Bend Country."


The Big Bend Chief tells an interesting tale of the discovery of the Great Northern route down Crab Creek by the Urquhart Brothers, the well known stockmen. President James J. Hill had surveyors out trying to locate an eligible route down to the Columbia river, but the grades were all steep. The Urquhart Brothers, who were watching with decided interest the movements of the company, became acquainted with the difficulty experienced by Mr. Hill. Mr. Donald Urquhart, therefore, wrote the Napoleonic railroader a personal letter agreeing to find him a route devoid of "toboggan slides." At first nothing was heard from Mr. Hill, but one evening, some weeks later, a party drove up to Mr. Urquhart's home and desired to remain over night. The following morning they stated that their errand was to find the route of which Mr. Urquhart had written to Mr. Hill. Accordingly Donald hitched up a team and after a month or two spent in running surveys proved the correctness of his statement made in the letter. The engineer, who made the survey met the party at Rock Island and could hardly believe the evidence of the field notes. More especially was he hard to convince as he had made several investments along the northern route for himself and friends with almost a certainty that the road would be constructed along that survey. The only error made by Mr. Urquhart was at Trinidad, where the loop is not made to avoid crossing the canyon at that point. He still maintains that the canyon can be bridged with safety. Within a year from the time that the letter was written to Mr. Hill the whistle of the locomotive might have been heard in the Crab creek valley.

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