View single post by Keith Pashina
 Posted: Thu Apr 8th, 2021 02:47 am
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Keith Pashina


Joined: Sun Nov 4th, 2012
Location: Minneapolis, Minnesota USA
Posts: 798
Greg, those are some interesting questions about the Gilpin Tram "Roundhouse"
(they called it that, even though it was more like a rectangular barn).

First, about the water tank in the roof - there is really nothing known about it,
other than a newspaper mention of it that Dan Abbott found in his research.

Where in the roof was it?  How were the locos watered?
I have never seen a photo of it.

Perhaps, since it was high in the roof,
simple piping and hoses could have been used, but that is my speculation.

Second, about the interior,
there is only speculation as to what was on the first and second floors.
There is no floor plan, interior photos, etc.

There may be some hints of what was there, however, in some of the photos. 

In the photo above when looking in the left-hand stall door,
there is some light discoloration seen.

Assuming this is not a flaw on the camera's negative,
maybe we are looking at doors or windows on the back wall?
So, maybe the interior was not excessively cluttered with "stuff". 

Another well-known photo shows the left side of the enginehouse,
the one with the mainline trestle next to it.
The bottom level door seems to show another window on the back wall.

My assumptions, and that is all they are,
was that since this building started out as a horse barn,
there must have been two levels.

The building is set onto sloping, rocky ground,
so it would have been a lot of work to excavate the lower level into the rock,
and maybe it was only a partial lower level.

If you go back to the 531st Post in this Thread (March 21, 2020),
you can see my model build of the enginehouse,
and my speculations on how the interior may have looked.

My friend Lind Wickersham built an On2 model of the GT enginehouse,
and also with a full interior.

His interior is different from mine,
but he based his model on what he interpreted from the photos, too.

So, if you are building a model of the GT enginehouse,
I would say do whatever looks right to you, as long as it seems plausible.

This is an enlargement of a well-known photo,
that may be of similar vintage as the previous photo.

The stacks and vents on the roof may give some clues as to what was inside.
We know there were some level of repairs and maintenance inside,
so there was some machinery inside.

I think the stacks centered over the stalls were likely smoke vents for the locos.
The stacks differ because the stalls were constructed at different times.

There was a stove for heating inside the enginehouse.

We know this because there is an 1888 newspaper story,
describing how someone was thawing dynamite on the stove one wintry day,
and the inevitable happened!  No one was killed,
but the newspaper said the enginehouse was "shook up". I'll bet it was!

And there is a C&S "Authority to Purchase" document
(copied from the Colorado Railroad Museum Collection) dated September 29, 1911,
giving authorization for purchase of "one SH 16" lathe" and one "SH drill press",
and installing them in the "Gilpin Shop at Black Hawk."

What are the other stacks? 
We don't know for sure, but my guesses are:

  • Brick chimney is lower left hand corner of roof: a stove, or maybe a small forge.
  • Tallest metal stack: my guess is a boiler stack.
  • Perhaps for a boiler to power a steam engine to power a belt drive.
  • I think there probably was a boiler as there was a whistle in front of the big stack.

The enginehouse was also modern back in the day.
There are newspaper references describing there was a phone in the enginehouse by 1890.
Maybe this suggests there was an office, too!

That's all for now.



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