Sunday, January 16, 2011

Kirkland, Colorado

Just east of Union Reservoir and a little south of Liberty,  you'll find the place shown on many maps as Kirkland.  It was a sugar beet dump (like Jessum) and the first stop away from Longmont on the Great Western Railway.  Starting in late September, local farmers in the early 1900's would carry their crop by horse-drawn wagons and later with trucks, to Kirkland where the beets would be filtered, weighed, tested, and transported by rail car to the Longmont sugar factory. 

Portion of the Great Western Railway, 1925
A 1916 GW Railway timetable in Kenneth Jessen's book "Built to Haul Sugar Beets" (1984) shows Kirkland being 4.8 miles from Longmont which was about an 18-minute ride on the train.   

Kirkland is displayed prominently on another map partially showing the GW, Union Pacific, and Denver, Laramie, and Northwestern Railways:

A USGS map from 1968 shows Kirkland, too:

Kirkland is east of Longmont, circled in red

And a zoomed-in view:

And finally Google, consistent with the other maps, shows Kirkland near the intersection of Weld Count Roads (WCR) 5 and 28.  The diagonal line is the GW railroad.  

I've not been able to find out who Kirkland was named after.  

Today in the area there are no labeled signs indicating that anything here was ever named Kirkland.  There are some hints about where Kirkland was actually located, probably obvious to an experienced railfan.  

These pictures were taken on WCR 5 looking north. If you look at the Google Map above, this is at the bottom of the triangle formed by WCR's 5 and 28, and the railroad.   You can see the railroad branching off to the NE and the modern silo's in the background provide the likely location of Kirkland.

Here's the silo's from WCR 28 looking southwest along the tracks.  This is the likely actual location of the Kirkwood beet dump and railroad stop that Google still knows about today.

At this little spot in Weld County, once their beets were accepted by the sugar company representative, the area beet farmers would no doubt breathe a sigh of relief.  Their long season was done and they were due to be paid cash for their crop, hopefully having been spared throughout the year from drought, hail, and pests.

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