The Niwot Depot
Built in 1873
The Colorado Central Railroad laid tracks from Boulder City to Niwot to Longmont and north to Cheyenne, Wyoming in 1873. This set of tracks connected with the Intercontinental Railroad which meant there would be more timely delivery of products to and from markets and moving people across the country. Before the railroad, letters were carried by pony express so communications via the railroad would be a more timely delivery. The delivery of mail was a big function of the railroad in Niwot. The mail bags would be tossed from the moving train onto the platform if the train did not nee to stop to unload passengers or cargo. When the train did not have reason to stop in Niwot, the out-going mail was hooked by an apparatus to grab the mail bag from a pole.
George W. Wilson was the first agent when the Depot opened in 1873. Will T. Wilson, son of George Wilson, served as station agent and telegrapher in 1912. Will was usually found in the Depot telegraph and ticket office. Will’s wife, Delia Wilson, was often found near a station platform wagon that she might have loaded with containers of fresh milk, eggs and produce destined for market, and often passenger’s luggage.
At the Depot there were side rails that branched from the primary tracks. Train cars could be stored or unloaded before the next train might be scheduled to hook them up. The side tracks facilitated livestock and products that can take time to unload. New residents might use a train box car to load their household goods when relocating to the Niwot area. That closed box car could remain on a side track for a few weeks while the family located available housing.
In 1916, a set of side tracks were installed on the east side of the main tracks, a little north of the Depot. A ramp was constructed for farmers’ horses to pull wagons of sugar beets to the top of the ramp to a flat area. This was directly above an available train car that was open on top with enclosed sides. From the platform, farmers could drop one side of their wagon down and the sugar beets would fall into the waiting open top car.
Niwot was considered a railroad town until 1932 when trains no longer stopped for passengers, freight, or delivery of the mail. The passenger side of the Depot was removed in 1943 and the entire Depot was gone in 1958 per Don Spangler.