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railroad tycoon  David  H.  Moffat
[1839-1911]

Colorado banker & railroad tycoon David H. Moffat [1839-1911] formal portrait, seated in a chair (circa 1890?)          short profile

rail lines

Moffat Tunnel

other businesses

works about David H. Moffat

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"I'll build it." — David H. Moffat

          B I O
          t e x t
          h e r e

David Halliday Moffat (July 22, 1839 – March 18, 1911) was an American financier and industrialist.

David Moffat entry at Wikipedia
search books on keywords 'david moffat' at Amazon

Moffat's Railroad Companies
A group of Denver, Colorado businessmen that included banker David Moffat founded the Denver Pacific Railway in 1867 to connect with the Transcontinental Railroad in Wyoming; the line was absorbed into the Union Pacific Railroad in 1880. A similar group founded the narrow-gauge Denver, South Park & Pacific Railroad in 1872, to connect to the gold & silver mines south and west of Denver; the company went bankrupt in 1889 and was reorganized as the Denver, Leadville & Gunnison Railway, which was merged into the Colorado & Southern Railway [1890-1981] in 1898. Moffat oo-founded the Denver & New Orleans Railroad in 1881, which was also merged into the Colorado & Southern Railway in 1898. Moffat was elected to the board of the Denver & Rio Grande Railway [1870-1918] in 1885, then elected president in 1887; worried bondholders forced him to resign in 1891. Moffat and various others founded the Denver Tramway Corp. [1886-1971] streetcar system, the Manitou & Pike's Peak Cog Railway [1889-present], and the Florence and Cripple Creek Railroad [1893-1916]. Moffat and others founded the Denver, Northwestern and Pacific Railway in 1902, with plans to build a tunnel under the Continental Divide. Moffat died in 1911; the DNW&P foundered in 1912 and was reformed as the Denver and Salt Lake Railroad [1912-1947]. The 6.2-mile-long Moffat Tunnel was completed in February 1928, cutting the rail route to Salt Lake City by 33 miles (of mostly four-percent grade). The D&SL merged with the Denver & Rio Grande Western Railroad in 1947, giving D&RGW control of the Moffat Tunnel.

Denver Pacific Railway & Telegraph Company [1867-1880]
After the official route of the national Transcontinental Railroad bypassed Colorado and crossed Wyoming instead, Colorado's Territorial Governor John Evans, banker David Moffat, and others formed the Denver Pacific Railway & Telegraph Company in November 1867. The 100-mile route from Denver, Colorado to meet the Union Pacific at Cheyenne, Wyoming was constructed from May 1868 to June 1870; the first locomotive that steamed into Denver had been christened 'David H. Moffat'; the route was absorbed into the Union Pacific along with the Kansas Pacific in 1880.
no official website • Denver Pacific entry at Wikipedia


Denver, South Park & Pacific Railroad [1872-89]
Constructed as a narrow gauge route from Denver to South Platte, Buffalo Creek, Bailey, Garo, Fairplay & Alta (spur), Trout Creek Pass, Buena Vista
(spur), to Pitkin & Gunnison - a distance of 208 miles; branches ran 30-ish miles to Leadville and another for 7 miles to Morrison. Went bankrupt in 1889
and reorganized as the Denver, Leadville & Gunnison Railway; DL&G was merged into the Colorado & Southern Railway in 1898.

no official website • DSP&PRR entry at Wikipedia

The Denver, South Park & Pacific Historical Society [est. 1999?] based in Buena Vista, Colorado

Denver South Park and Pacific book by M.C. Poor  "Denver, South Park and Pacific" [orig 1949, rev 1976] by M.C. Poor
The original 1949 edition was followed by a Pictorial Supplement in 1959 by R.H. Kindig,
E.J. Haley & M.C. Poor; the paperbound Supplement was abridged

Rocky Mountain Railroad Club 11x8¾ hardcover [1976] out of print/used
Rocky Mountain Railroad Club Memorial Edition hardcover [1976] out of print/used

Denver and New Orleans Railroad Company [1881-1890]
Founded in 1881 by David Moffat, Gov. John Evans, and others; completed to Pueblo, Colorado in July 1882; extended as the Denver, Texas and Fort Worth Railroad to build south from Pueblo, Colorado; linked with FW&DC at the New Mexico-Texas border in 1888; consolidated with the Colorado Central Railroad and the Cheyenne & Northern Railway to form the Union Pacific, Denver and Gulf Railroad in 1890; separated when Union Pacific went bankrupt in 1893; merged with the Denver, Leadville and Gunnison Railway and other lines into the Colorado and Southern Railway in 1898. (C&S was bought by Chicago, Burlington & Quincy in 1908; all narrow-gauge operations were closed by 1943; the C&S ran independently until 1981.)
no official website • entry at Wikipedia

Denver & New Orleans In the Shadow of the Rockies book by James R. Jensen  "Denver & New Orleans: In The Shadow of The Rockies"
[1997] by James R. 'Jim' Jensen

Sundance Publns hardcover [1997] out of print/used

'Boulder Valley Railroad' [circa 1884]
Text reference in 1918 to Moffat becoming treasurer and then 'personally building the extension from Boulder south to the Marshall coal banks';
was not the Denver, Boulder & Western Railroad [1883-1920]; rail line became D&RGW by 1890 and was abandoned in 1955.

early-style Denver & Rio Grande Railroad herald
Denver & Rio Grande Railway
Moffat was elected to the board of D&RG in 1885, then elected president in 1887. He oversaw construction of new track from Glenwood to Grand Junction, then standard-gauged the route from Pueblo to Grand Junction, and also built the Tennessee Pass Tunnel. Problems with the economy and bondholders' lack of faith in management caused Moffat to resign in 1891.


Denver Tramway Corp. [1886-1971]
Public transportation system of 3-foot 6-inch gauge founded by David Moffat, Gov. Evans, and others in 1886; streetcar operations ceased in 1950, replaced by electric and gas buses. Company sold out to the City & County of Denver in 1971; Denver Metro Transit was absorbed by creation of the Regional Transit District in 1974. The Denver Tramway Heritage Society [] is restoring some of the trolley cars, and operates across the river from Downtown Denver
as the Platte Valley Trolley on weekends, May to October.


Denver, Leadville & Gunnison Railway [1889-1898]
The bankrupt narrow-gauge Denver, South Park & Pacific RR [1872-89] was reorganized as the Denver, Leadville & Gunnison
Railway in 1889; DL&G was merged into the Colorado & Southern Railway in 1898.

logo of the Manitou & Pike's Peak Cog Railway [est. 1891]
Manitou & Pike's Peak Cog Railway [est. 1889 - still operating]
The Manitou and Pike's Peak Railway was founded in 1889 by David Moffat and mattress tycoon Zalmon G. Simmons [1828-1910] and completed to the top
of Pike's Peak in 1891. Cog-powered equipment runs up 8.9 miles (14.3 km) of sixteen-percent grade from base in Manitou Springs [elev. 6,412]
near Colorado Springs, Colorado to the summit at 14,110 feet (4,301 meters); operates daily from early April to mid-November;
limited/weekend schedule from mid-November to early April

official website • Wikipedia

Cog Wheel Route book by Claude & Margaret Wiatrowski  "Cog Wheel Route: The Manitou & Pikes Peak Railway" [1991]
by Claude & Margaret Wiatrowski

Mountain Automation Corp. pb [4/92] out of print/used
Mountain Automation Corp. Centennial Edition 5¾x8½ pb [12/91] out of print/used

Rio Grande Gunnison Railway Company [1892-1908]
Moffat proposed a rail line thru the Rio Grande Canyon from Wagon Wheel Gap to the silver boom town of Creede (where Moffat owned mining properties); when the D&RG declined to partner with Moffat, he built it with his own money. Silver shipments declined but were replaced by shipments of lead and zinc;
the line was quite profitable, and Moffat sold it to the D&RG at a large profit, probably in 1908. The route is currently operated by the gasoline motorcar
tourist line Denver and Rio Grande Railroad [est. 2000], which is based in South Fork.

color logo of the Florence & Cripple Creek Railroad 'The Gold Belt Line'
Florence and Cripple Creek Railroad Co. [1893-1916]
The 3-foot narrow gauge Florence & Cripple Creek Railroad was built in 1893 by David Moffat and others; at first profitable, the company struggled for years due to competition when standard-gauge lines built into the area from Colorado Springs; merged with other railroads under the holding company Cripple Creek Central around 1900; went out of business after a series of devastating floods in 1914 & 1915 destroyed much of the track. Sister commuter line Golden Circle Railroad operated locally for a few years more.
no official website • entry at Wikipedia

Florence & Cripple Creek Railroad / Forty Miles To Fortune book by Allan C. Lewis  
"Florence & Cripple Creek Railroad: Forty Miles To Fortune"
[2002] by Allan C. Lewis

Sundance Publns 9x6½ hardcover [8/00] out of print/used

Denver, Northwestern and Pacific Railroad [1902-1912]
The Denver, Northwestern & Pacific was founded in 1902 by David Moffat and others, with plans to build a tunnel under the Continental Divide.
Moffat died in 1911; the DNW&P foundered in 1912 and was reorganized as the Denver & Salt Lake Railroad (see below).

Western Yesterdays - Moffat's Hill Men book by Forest Crossen  "Western Yesterdays, Volume X: David Moffat's Hill Men" [1976]
by Forest Crossen

Robinson Press 8x5 pb [1976] out of print/used
Stories from men who worked for the DN&P (later the D&SL) railroad that capture the individual voices of engineers, brakemen, and conductors, allowing them to tell of wrestling the trains over 30 miles of some of the most difficult terrain in the country; 89 pages with map and b&w photos
Denver, Northwestern and Pacific Railroad book by P.R. Griswold  "David Moffat's Denver, Northwestern and Pacific: The Moffat Road" [1995]
by P.R. Griswold

A companion to Griswold's "Denver and Salt Lake Railroad" book {below}
Rocky Mountain RR Club 10¾x8¼ hardcover [6/95] out of print/used
Mister Moffat's Road historical novel by Stan Moore  "Mister Moffat's Road" historical novel [2014] by Stan Moore
Historical Colorado events of 1902 to 1904 are supplemented by tales from author's family and by fictional characters and elements of daily life • official booksite
Kindle Edition from Adit & Stope [11/2014] for $9.99
Adit & Stope 8½x5½ pb [9/2014] for $15.77
Adit & Stope pb [9/2014] out of print/used
watch half-hour interview on Bloomfield Channel local TV [27:45] online at YouTube
Mister Moffat's Hill historical novel by Stan Moore  "Mister Moffat's Hill" sequel historical novel [2017] by Stan Moore  4/2017
Historical Colorado events of 1903 to 1906 are supplemented by tales from author's family and by fictional characters and elements of daily life
Kindle Edition from Adit & Stope [4/2017] for $12.99
Adit & Stope 8½x5½ pb [9/2014] for $15.77
Adit & Stope pb [9/2014] out of print/used

Moffat Tunnel Route herald [1928-47] of the Denver & Salt Lake Railway         logo for Denver & Salt Lake Railway Historical Society [est. 1998]        logo for Rollins Pass Restoration Assn. [est. 1983]
Denver and Salt Lake Railway [1913-1947
Founded as the Denver, North Western & Pacific Railway in 1902 by David Moffat and others, with plans to build a tunnel under the Continental Divide. Moffat died in 1911; the DNW&P foundered in 1912 and was reformed as the Denver & Salt Lake Railroad (reporting mark D&SL), then renamed the Denver and Salt Lake Rail-way in 1926. The 6.2-mile-long Moffat Tunnel was begun in 1923 and completed in February 1928, cutting the rail route to Salt Lake City by 33 miles (of four-percent grade). The D&RGW merged with D&SL in 1947, thereby gaining control of the Moffat Tunnel; that merger ended use of the D&SL name. Most of the D&SL trackage is in use today by Union Pacific.
no official website • Wikipedia

Rollins Pass Restoration Assn. [est. 1983] based in Longmont, Colorado
Denver & Salt Lake Railway Historical Society [est. 1998] based in Estes Park, Colorado

Rails That Climb / History of the Moffat Road book by Edward Taylor Bollinger  "Rails That Climb: A Narrative History of The Moffat Road" [orig 1950, rev 1971 & 1979]
by Edward T. Bollinger & Frederick Bauer, Edited by William C. Jones

Colorado Railroad Museum 11¼x9 hardcover [12/79] out of print/many used
Swallow Press 11¼x9 hardcover [1962] out of print/many used
Ohio Univ Press hardcover [1981] out of print/used
Swallow Press hardcover [1971] out of print/used
Sage Books 9x6½ hardcover [1971] out of print/used
Sage Books hardcover [1971] out of print/used

Denver, Northwestern and Pacific Railroad book by P.R. Griswold  "David Moffat's Denver, Northwestern and Pacific: The Moffat Road" [1995]
by P.R. Griswold

A companion to Griswold's "Denver and Salt Lake Railroad" book {below}
Rocky Mountain RR Club 10¾x8¼ hardcover [6/95] out of print/used
Denver and Salt Lake Railroad book by P.R. Griswold  "The Denver and Salt Lake Railroad, 1913-1926" [1996]
by P.R. Griswold

A companion to Griswold's prior "Denver, Northwestern & Pacific" book
Rocky Mountain RR Club 11x8¾ hardcover [6/96] out of print/used
The Moffat Line book by John A. Sells  "The Moffat Line: David Moffat's Railroad Over & Under The Continental Divide" [2011] by John A. Sells
Kindle Edition from iUniverse [9/2011] for $9.99
iUniverse Publng 9x6 pb [9/2011] for $12.56
iUniverse Publng 9x6 hardcover [9/2011] for $21.56
The Moffat Road DVD, Part 1  "The Moffat Road, Part 1: Denver to East Portal" [2013]
1 hour 48-minute documentary by 7idea Prodns, filmed Aug-Oct 2012
widescreen color Blu-ray available [3/2013] for $27.95 at Train Video Depot
widescreen color DVD available [3/2013] for $27.95 at Train Video Depot
watch official trailer [2:20] at YouTube
The Moffat Road DVD, Part 2  "The Moffat Road, Part 2: Winter Park to Glenwood Springs" [2013]
2 hour 16-minute documentary by 7idea Prodns, filmed Aug-Oct 2012
widescreen color Blu-ray available [3/2013] for $27.95 at Train Video Depot
widescreen color DVD available [3/2013] for $27.95 at Train Video Depot
watch official trailer [2:58] at YouTube

http://www.amazon.com/Otto-Perrys-Moffat-Route/dp/B0009H685A/
http://www.amazon.com/Winter-Moffat-Route-Highball-Productions/dp/B0033PZX1A/
http://www.amazon.com/Moffat-Rio-Grande-Southern-Colorado/dp/1884831052/


The Moffat Tunnel
Although David Moffat did not live to see the building of the Moffat Tunnel in Colorado, the construction followed his original design and was named after him by the grateful owners. The Alpine Tunnel on the narrow-gauge Denver, South Park & Pacific was closed in 1910 because it became unsafe. Denver businessmen needed better access to Utah and Salt Lake City, preferably by standard-gauge railroad; Denver pulled strings and formed the Moffat Tunnel Improvement District (to issue bonds) in April 1922; construction began in 1923. Two tunnels were built, the smaller one bringing water to Denver and the other as a single-track rail line. The tunnels are located between Rollinsville in Gilpin County (on the east) and Winter Park in Grand County, Colorado (on the west). The apex inside the tunnel is at 9,239 feet (2,816 meters) elevation. The project was paid for with four bond issues; the final construction cost was $15.6M; the bonds were paid off in 1983 at a total cost of $24M. The heavy traffic is almost all freight, especially coal; Amtrak's California Zephyr passes along the Moffat Route and thru the Moffat Tunnel on its daily journey from Chicago to Denver to Salt Lake City and California.
Moffat Tunnel entry at Wikipedia

Moffat Tunnel section on Tom Holtman's "Ghost Depot" multimedia website

"The Moffat Tunnel of Colorado: An Epic of Empire - in Two Volumes" [1927]
by Edgar Carlisle McMechen, Introduction by LeRoy R. Hafen, State Historical Society of Colorado
Moffat Tunnel Commission 9x6½ hardcover [1927] out of print/scarce
Moffat Tunnel Commission leatherbound hardcover [1927] out of print/rare

The Moffat Tunnel, A Railfan's Perspective book by Allan G. Clarke  "The Moffat Tunnel: A Railfan's Perspective" [2002]
by Allan G. Clarke

Flagstop Railbooks spiral-bound [2002] out of print/very scarce
Moffat Tunnel Brief History book by Charles Albi  "The Moffat Tunnel: A Brief History" [1978]
by Charles Albi & Kenton Forest

Colorado Railroad Museum pb [8/2002] out of print/many used
Colorado Railroad Museum pb [1978] out of print/used

west portal of the Moffat Tunnel with a steam locomotive and a crowd of people, circa 1927         U.S. Forest Service map of the Moffat Tunnel area showing the prior Rollins Pass route         east portal of the Moffat Tunnel with a modern Union Pacific freight locomotive
click on each of the three images to see a larger view {in a new window}

Other Businesses

Partner with C.C. Woolworth in a books & paper goods store in Downtown Denver, circa 1860.

Moffat was hired to be cashier of the new Bank of Nebraska in Omaha, circa 1861; at the end of four years he closed the bank,
paid bank's indebtedness in full, and divided the surplus among the stockholders.

Served as adjutant general during the administration of Territorial Governor John Evans (1862-65).

The First National Bank of Denver was chartered in April, 1865; Moffat was named cashier in 1867, elected president in 1880.

Elected Territorial Treasurer in 1872; but removed in 1874, did not serve full four years.

Moffat and Walter S. Cheesman merged several companies to form the Denver Union Water Company in 1894, which became Denver Water in 1918.


Business Partners
B.F. Allen, capitalist of Des Moines, Iowa
William Byers [1831-1903], founder of the Rocky Mountain News [1859-2009]
mining partner Jerome B. Chaffee
John Evans [1814-97], Colorado Territorial Governor 1862-65
mining partner H.A.W. Tabor
C.C. {Calvin Colton} Woolworth of Omaha, Nebraska

Works About David H. Moffat

text of 1918 bio article about David Moffat on the U.S. GenWeb website

The Giant's Ladder book by Harold Boner  "The Giant's Ladder" [1962]
by Harold A. Boner

Kalmbach Publng hardcover [1962] out of print/used

Movies, Plays, Other Media
[ haven't found any yet ] **

Family & Friends
David Halliday Moffat was born 22 July 1839 in Washingtonville, New York and died 18 March 1911 while on business in New York City.

wife Frances A. 'Fanny' Buckhout Moffat [1843-1926]
married in Saratoga County, New York in December, 1861
self-published a book of poetry? in 1913

daughter Marcia Alley Moffat McClurg [1863-?] - married 1889
son-in-law James A. McClurg [?-1909]
granddaughter Francis Moffat 'Cubby' McClurg [1892-?]

L i n k s
David Moffat entry at Wikipedia
David H. Moffat was inducted into the Colorado Business Hall of Fame in 1992
English-language list of archived Moffat biographical material (on Cyrillic website}
http://www.colorado.gov/dpa/doit/archives/moffat/
Moffat Library of Washingtonville at www.moffatlibrary.org


here on the David H. Moffat [1839-1911] Page at Spirit of America Bookstore

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