The railroad is an integral part of Longmont’s history, as with much of the United States. The sound of freight trains pierce the air throughout the day. Much has been made of plans to expand and revitalize commuter trains running from Denver to Fort Collins in recent memory.
The train depot at First Avenue and Main Street has stood for the majority of Longmont’s 150 year history, originally the Burlington Railroad Station and now a stop for Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railroad, or BNSF.
The postcard above, dated from 1913, shows a train clearing snow from in front of the Burlington Railroad Station.
“This photo was taken looking towards First and Main Street,” said Erik Mason, curator of history at the Longmont Museum. “The stone depot visible behind the train is still there today, but everything else around it has changed. In 1913, Longmont ended at First Avenue, and the total population of the town was only about 5,000.”
“The snowstorm of December 4-5, 1913 ranks as the worst in Colorado history by most accounts,” Mason said. “Because the train was the primary means for both goods and people to travel in and out of Longmont, clearing the tracks as quickly as possible was essential, so the sight of this snowplow on December 8 must have been a huge relief to the people of Longmont. The huge rotary plow at the front of the train was able to cut through the up to four feet of snow on the track, with the aid of the two locomotives behind it.”
The area has undergone significant change since 1913. The Longmont turkey plant at Second Avenue and Main Street was built in 1951 and eventually closed in 2011. The plant was torn down in 2014 and replaced with the South Main Street apartment complex.