The Silverton Depot bombing, the 416 Fire, and the symbolism of the Train

On a pleasant, late summer’s day in Silverton, Colorado, San Juan County Sheriff Virgil Mason and local business owner Otto … More

Wildfires, steam trains, and tension

Passengers stepping off the old steam train in Silverton during the 1950s or ’60s would have been greeted by a gaudy, chaotic scene, part Western movie set, part third-world Medina. A truck kicks up dust on Blair Street, a loudspeaker affixed to the top blaring out advertisements. A giant cowboy cutout juts up from the facade of the Bent Elbow bar and restaurant where a white-hatted guy shoots a black-hatted guy off the balcony, the latter’s dying words a list of the lunch specials at the Bent. Effie Andreatta’s dog runs by, its fur painted—yes, painted—with an advertisement for the San Juan Cafe. And then a scuffle—this one real—as a merchant punches his competitor in the head.