The Signs and Monuments of the Berthoud Pass Summit

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1 The Signs and Monuments of the Berthoud Pass Summit The section called History of the Berthoud Pass Buildings shows how old photos help us date the buildings and activities in the photos. The same can be said about the signs at the Summit, along with the location of the Memorial. One of the earliest photos showing a sign is on the west side of the Pass. It was taken by Harry Mellon Rhoads and is dated This photo is from the Denver Public Library Western History Collection. This would have been before the construction of the auto road. The sign reads Continental Divide, Berthoud Pass, Elevation 11,330 ft. It is a fun observation to watch how the elevation of Berthoud Pass changes in the various signs. The next two photos are also from the Denver Public Library collection and are of the Berthoud Pass Inn. The first photo was taken by Harry H. Lake and is dated between 1920 and The top sign that the woman is reading says, 60 miles to Denver Bureau of Public Roads. The bottom sign reads: Top of Berthoud Pass Elevation 11,206 Feet The second photograph does not list who took the photo but it is dated 1931? The sign over the gas pump reads Berthoud Pass Inn and Powerine Gas. The sign above is also shown in this photo. Signs and Monuments of the Berthoud Pass Summit (PAW 2012) 1

2 The Berthoud Pass Memorial Monument was erected in This photo, again from the Denver Public Library, is taken by Harry Mellon Rhoads. Notes with the photo date it as being taken between 1930 and The author does not know when the wooden signs were added and removed. They read Continental Divide Berthoud Pass Elev. 11,314ft. Pacific Ocean Watershed and Atlantic Ocean Watershed The beautiful stone monument that would so often represent the Pass was erected in 1929 by the State Historical Society of Colorado. The Plaque reads: This memorial is the Property of the State of Colorado Berthoud Pass Across Continental Divide between South Platte and Colorado River drainage Altitude 11,314 Ft. Discovered by Captain E. L. Berthoud Colorado Pioneer May 12, 1861 Surveyed by Berthoud and Jim Bridger July, Toll road opened Improved highway opened Erected by The State Historical Society of Colorado From The Mrs. J. N. Hall Foundation and by the State Highway Department and the United States Forest Service 1929 Signs and Monuments of the Berthoud Pass Summit (PAW 2012) 2

3 These two U. S. Forest Service photos are dated 1946 and show a sign that would have been on the west side of the Pass. Ben Dugan in his book, Images of America Berthoud Pass, 1 states that the U.S. Forest Service (USFS) added their wooden part of the Monument in the 1950 s. With the addition of the USFS wooden sign, the monument was now 9 4 wide and to the top of the stone monument it was 9 7 high. The USFS add an elevation to their sign of 11,307. The monument was located a safe distance off from the highway with enough room for a car, truck, or bus to park. It was where visitors would stop their car, jump out, and ask a complete stranger to take their photo. They were at the Top of the World. Tour Buses would stop, and the whole bus would unload, each passenger would have their turn and their photo, and then 1 Dugan, Ben M. Images of America: Berthoud Pass Arcadia Publishing 2011 Page 82 Signs and Monuments of the Berthoud Pass Summit (PAW 2012) 3

4 back into the bus and off they would go. The monument was located so that the photo s background was the Colorado Mines Peak. Once, the author noticed a group of older well-dressed men out in front of the monument standing in a circle. As she watched, the men began to play a game using three steel balls. When she got closer and she had more nerve, she asked the men what they were doing. She was told they were from France and they were hoping to set a world record for playing the game Boules at the highest elevation. The USFS photo above of the monument is dated January The Monument in the Summer of 2005 Signs and Monuments of the Berthoud Pass Summit (PAW 2012) 4

5 These two photos are of the Monument before it was moved to its new location but after the Lodge was removed. Signs and Monuments of the Berthoud Pass Summit (PAW 2012) 5

6 The monument has now been moved by the U. S. Forest Service to an area next to the restrooms. The Kiosk, which is now blank, should be finished in the Summer of 2012.In a conversation (December 14, 2011) with the Clear Creek District Ranger, Dan Lovato, he said that a contract has been let to finish the interpretative area on the Pass. It will provide information for the Continental Divide Trail. The sign in the bottom left is for the current trailhead on the west side of U. S. Highway 40. Signs and Monuments of the Berthoud Pass Summit (PAW 2012) 6

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