Monday, June 26, 2017

First Tunnel Through the Continental Divide

Welcome back to another blog from the Key Room!

Today’s trip around our museum doesn’t involve an actually key but rather another piece of history that is on prominent display. If you have ever visited our Key Room, I am sure you have seen the stone sitting on the table with a big metal key in it. Did you know that it is a significant piece of Colorado history?

Hole to the Alva B. Adams Tunnel
This inconspicuous stone slab with a hole in it was part of the first tunneling project through the Continental Divide, which created the Alva B. Adams Tunnel in the 1940s. The tunnel re-directed parts the Colorado River and other rivers to provide water to the Eastern Slope. The tunnel, which is 13.1 miles long, is part of the Colorado-Big Thompson Project that spans 250 miles to bring water from the Western Slope of the divide to the Eastern Slope.

      Construction of Adams Tunnel

Construction of the Adams Tunnel

Accompanying the stone was a tag explaining the story behind the hole:

For Gordon Mace—Baldpate Inn
            First Hole to Through the Continental Divide
           When there was 35 feet left to drill in the 13 mile Alva B. Adams Tunnel a pilot hole was drilled to find the distance between the two drilling crews. Since all other holes were shot and this one is not it is a part of the first hole through the Continental Divide.
                                -Presented by George W. and Lee Parker

The tunnel was completed in 1944 when the two tunnels were connected by dynamite blasts. Next time you stop by the Key Room, check out the humble stone slab in the middle of the room and realize that you are witnessing a piece of Colorado history.

Written By:
Brett Meyer
Museum Curator, Baldpate Inn