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Pullman in Colorado

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George Pullman’s dream of building passenger cars for railroads prompted him to seek financing during the Pike’s Peak Gold Rush of 1859. He had formed a partnership with New York Senator Benjamin C. Field, a friend from Albion, New York, to make it happen. When Field ended their partnership to continue his political career, Pullman set his sights on the West.

After Pullman arrived in Central City, Colorado, he quickly realized that any real money to be made during the gold rush would be made by those who supplied the miners with goods and services. He decided to provide these services to the miners and formed a partnership, Lyon, Pullman & Company, with James E. Lyon. Their company hauled freight for the miners and operated a rock crushing mill.

Senator Benjamin C. Field’s brother Spafford C. Field obtained the Central City land of James Snow by trading five yokes of oxen and a $400 wagon for it. Spafford C. Field sold the land to Lyon, Pullman & Company. They purchased an additional 1,600 acres surrounding Snow’s former land. Pullman and Lyon then founded Cold Spring Ranch, a well-known base camp for the miners.

Cold Spring Ranch, also known as “Pullman’s Switch”, provided sleeping quarters where weary gold miners could rest. Campgrounds were also available. Supplies could be purchased there. Food and drink were available. Fresh teams of animals could be switched for exhausted teams so miners could journey through the mountain passes.

Four years after he arrived in Colorado, Pullman achieved his financial goals. He was ready to turn his dream into reality. He dissolved his partnership with James E. Lyon and left Cold Spring Ranch. He returned to Chicago in April, 1863.

To be continued…

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