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Collection on Otto Mears

 Collection
Identifier: B216
Otto Mears (1840-1931) was an entrepreneurial businessman who built railroads and was essential to the development of Southwestern Colorado. The son of an English father and Russian mother, he immigrated to the United States after being orphaned at an early age. After making it all the way to California he was placed in a boardinghouse at eleven years old when relatives could not be found to care for him. After serving in the Civil War he moved to Colorado where he began to build his empire. Poncha Pass was the first toll road he built and he continued building toll roads and railroads earning him the moniker "Pathfinder of the San Juan Mountains." Mears befriended Chief Ouray, a leader of the Utes, and learned to speak Ute. He helped negotiate the Brunot Treaty of 1873. In 1880 he was elected to the Colorado State Legislature. He was also a longtime member of Temple Emanuel in Denver, CO. Collection contains an encapsulated and matted Rocky Mountain Empire Magazine page, 1948, sheet music "The Ballad of Otto Mears," photocopies of ''Western States Jewish Historical Quarterly," correspondence from Kankakee Federal Savings, and newspaper clippings from London Jewish Chronicle 1979. A visitor's brochure to the Colorado State Capitol. Also an Otto Mears silver filigree railroad pass for the Rio Grande Southern and Silverton railroads.

Dates

  • Other: 1892, 1948-1980

Creator

Extent

2.5 Linear Feet (In legal document box and flat box 25 x 21 x 3 inches)

Biographical / Historical

Otto Mears (1840-1931) was an entrepreneurial businessman who built railroads and was essential to the development of Southwestern Colorado. The son of an English father and Russian mother, he immigrated to the United States after being orphaned at an early age. After making it all the way to California he was placed in a boardinghouse at eleven years old when relatives could not be found to care for him. After serving in the Civil War he moved to Colorado where he began to build his empire. Poncha Pass was the first toll road he built and he continued building toll roads and railroads earning him the moniker "Pathfinder of the San Juan Mountains." Mears befriended Chief Ouray, a leader of the Utes, and learned to speak Ute. He helped negotiate the Brunot Treaty of 1873. In 1880 he was elected to the Colorado State Legislature. He was also a longtime member of Temple Emanuel in Denver, CO.

Repository Details

Part of the Special Collections and Archives Repository

Contact:
2150 East Evans Avenue
Denver CO 80208
(303) 871-3428