Postcard showing the High Bridge (Devil's Gate Viaduct) over Clear Creek and the narrow gauge railroad tracks on the Georgetown Loop. In 1871, construction started on a narrow-gauge railroad up Clear Creek Canyon to serve the mining camps, and this line was completed to Georgetown in 1877. The Georgetown, Breckenridge and Leadville Railroad was incorporated in 1881 to build a western extension over Loveland Pass. However, the grade between Georgetown and Silver Plume was too steep for a conventional rail line. George Blickensderfer solved the problem by designing the Georgetown Loop, a series of loops and a spiral that lengthened the trackage from Georgetown to Silver Plume from 2.1 to 4.47 miles and cut the maximum grade to just 3.5 percent. The Georgetown Loop was completed in 1884, and transported supplies to the mining towns and ore to the smelters below. Because of its remarkable engineering and spectacular scenery the Loop became a popular tourist attraction.
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