- A train filled with people was headed down the track
- Rounding a curve, the engineer saw an alarming sight. The track was obstructed with rocks and boulders
- Too late to stop in time, the engineer ordered his fireman to jump while he stayed and rode the brakes, in an attempt to spare his passengers
- While the train was slowed enough to prevent certain doom, the engine still struck the obstruction, mortally wounding the engineer
- Dying in his fireman's arms, the engineer's final words were, "Tell my wife I died thinking of her."
|Westall Monument, photo by Milly Roeder
The next year after Westall's death, the DSP&P was absorbed in the 1899 merger creating the Colorado & Southern. That same year, the monument was placed along the right of way near the spot of the derailed engine. For the next century, it stood, surviving not only the C&S, but the Burlington, BN and all the people who ever knew Westall. The monument itself, according to the 14 year-old article, was in peril of falling into the river.
Enter a group of students, the National Junior Honor Society from West Jefferson Middle School in Conifer. Over the past year and a half, they've been planning and working to restore the monument. Notably, the way they're going about it seems to be working. They've involved a number of folks, like Denver Water's Neil Sperandeo, and historic groups, including Colorado Preservation Inc. and the Denver South Park & Pacific Historic Society. As of this month, work has progressed to the point that they have a new site picked out and could use some grant money to restore the monument to its new location. Those interested in getting involved or donating to the project should e-mail Mr. Frank Reetz of West Jefferson Middle School.
All this cooperation and learning is happening because of history, preservation, and adults who are willing to get involved. Certainly, a lot of good is coming out of the tragic death of an engineer.◊