Ho For The Gunnison!
"If I get through it will be a triumph-
but I must try at least and try I shall."
John W. Gunnison, 1853
1853 Gunnison Railroad Expedition
In 1853 Capt. John W. Gunnison (1812-1853) led a survey party through the Central Rockies to find a possible route for the proposed transcontinental railroad. After he easily crossed Cochetopa Pass, Gunnison reached this vicinity in September and encountered the 2,500-foot gorge of the Black Canyon. Despite the breathtakingly sheer walls, the roar of the white water, and the canyon's perpetual darkness, the survey party attempted to cross the abyss. But as the wagons were lowered by rope, two of them somersaulted and became, according to an observer, "true invalids." All this convinced Gunnison that building a railroad through these canyons was impossible.
The town of Gunnison dates to 1874, when Sylvester Richardson built a cluster of cabins on the Gunnison River. His settlement, however, languished until the 1879-1880 silver rush. The cry "Ho for the Gunnison!" transformed a forgotten shanty town into a wide-awake camp of over 2,000 residents.
[Photo captions, clockwise from top left, read]
• Black Canyon of the Gunnison
• Capt. John W. Gunnison
• [Map of] Capt. John Gunnison's route as he traveled west through the Colorado Rockies into the deserts of Utah. There, near Sevier Lake, Gunnison and seven of his men were killed by Utes.
• Colorado's "white gold"
• Tomichi Avenue and Pine Street, Gunnison, 1860s. Pine Street School is visible in background.
Erected 1996 by Colorado Historical Society and Colorado Dept of Transportation.
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Environment • Exploration • Industry & Commerce • Settlements & Settlers.
Location. 38° 32.675′ N, 106° 55.271′ W. Marker is in Gunnison, Colorado, in Gunnison County. Marker is on Tomichi Avenue (U.S.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Gunnison Country (here, next to this marker); Two Great Trains (here, next to this marker); King Coal (here, next to this marker); The World's Largest Collegiate Emblem! (a few steps from this marker); Bruce-Frew American Legion Post No. 54 Hut and History (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); Middle East [Desert Storm] War Memorial (about 500 feet away); Vietnam War Memorial (about 500 feet away); POW/MIA Memorial (about 500 feet away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Gunnison.
Also see . . .
1. Black Canyon - Explorers: 1853-Gunnison Expedition. (Submitted on October 26, 2020, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania.)
2. John W. Gunnison (Colorado Encyclopedia). (Submitted on October 26, 2020, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania.)
3. The Valley of Opportunity: A History of West-Central Colorado, Chapter IV, Mining Frontier. (Submitted on October 26, 2020, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania.)
Credits. This page was last revised on October 26, 2020. It was originally submitted on October 26, 2020, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania. This page has been viewed 51 times since then. Photos: 1, 2. submitted on October 26, 2020, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania.