The Road

The Road
The Railroad
Red Mountain City
Congress Mine
Silver Ledge


   The Road - Million Dollar Highway - US550
      Click on images below to enlarge, BACK to return here   

      The road that parallels the western boundary of the Addie S Cabin and Mineral Claim as it heads south from Red Mountain
         Pass is one of the most scenic and avalanche prone in the country.  Known today as US 550 and as The Million Dollar
         Highway, it is part of the San Juan Scenic Skyway.   

         Patented Mining Claims Plat Map                                                                   1972 Topo Map

                                                                                   1904 Topo Map

         March 24, 1883.  FREE WAGON ROAD. Work to Begin Monday Next Without Fail.  And the Road Will Be Completed
         Before May First.
  Arrangements were completed this week for the building of a free wagon road from Sweetville to Red Mountain
         City, a distance of one and a half miles.  Sufficient money has been raised to build a first-class road to this point at once, and Mr.
         John Seymour has been employed to survey the route, which he will do day after tomorrow (Monday) the 26th.  A contract for
         grading will immediately be let to the lowest bidder, the same to be completed within twenty-five days from date of contract. 
         Therefore we may with certainty count on a free wagon road to our city by May 1st at farthest.  This will give us an importance as
         a business centre which will be felt throughout the District.  It will make this the point for breaking bulk for the ore-shipping mines
         of Marshall Basin, Silveride Basin, and all the adjacent territory of that rich section, as well as our own Yankee Girl, Congress,
         Senate, Salem, etc.  It will also make this the general supply point for the entire District, and the wholesale point for Rogerville,
         Hudson and Park towns.  A wagon road can be kept open this far up the entire year, and there is no danger of snow-slides below
         Red Mountain City.  Thus it will be seen we possess advantages which no town across the summit ever can possess, and if the
         improbability of the road being extended beyond Red Mountain City is ever overcome, it will be impossible to keep such extensions
         free from snow more than four months in the year.

         Until the above described attempt by the owners of the Congress to build a dirt road from Red Mountain Pass as far as 
         Chattanooga, only rough pack trails existed in the area and no road existed between Chattanooga and Silverton.  They did not
         meet their schedule but the rough road between Red Mountain City and the base of the grade was completed in June 1883.  It did
         not, however, quite reach either Red Mountain Pass or Chattanooga.  It was not until December, 1884, that the road opened
         between Silverton and Red Mountain Pass (and thus on to Ouray).  Otto Mears completed the alignment and grading of the road
         with a future railroad in mind.  The twenty-two miles of road from Ouray to Silverton was reputed to have cost about two hundred
         thousand dollars. The first stage came through from Ouray to Silverton in June 1885.  Today it is part of the seventy miles of road
         from Ouray to Durango we know as the Million Dollar Highway.  The dirt road was upgraded for automobile traffic and re-aligned in
         some locations between 1921 and 1924.  By 1938 the only unpaved portion was from Rockwood to Ouray. By 1954 the only
         sections not paved were over Molas Divide and Red Mountain Pass. Red Mountain Pass was paved by 1955 and Molas Divide by
         1957.  The average daily traffic over the road at Red Mountain Pass in the year 2000 was 2610.

         Highway heading north from Silverton, Mineral Creek to left, Chattanooga in center, and grade above the Chattanooga Loop beyond. 
         Addie S and Red Mountain Pass are just to right of where road disappears.

         Chattanooga, at base of highway before it climbs to the Addie S and Red Mountain Pass.  The sole current residence is to the left
         of the road and the sole remaining loading building from the Silver Ledge Mill is on the right of the road.

         Chattanooga Loop of highway.  Note parallel
         railroad right-of-way above road.


         Click on image to start slow loading, aerial movie clip
         of the cabin and highway 550.



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