The History of Granby and Grand County…The Roads In
As a result of Williams’ excursions, Swiss engineer Edward L. Berthoud, established a wagon road to Middle Park known as Berthoud Pass in 1861. The barely passable road was rebuilt in 1874. Mail service over the pass began in 1875 and in 1876 a regular stage coach run was started by the Colorado Stage Company.
Boulder (Rollins) Pass was first traversed by wheel in 1862 by Company D of the First Colorado Calvary on their way to meet Simeon Whiteley, Agent to the Grand River Utes, at Hot Sulphur Springs. In 1873, J. Q. A. Rollins would transform this high mountain crossing into the Rollins and Middle Park wagon road and charge a $2.50 per wagon passage fee. The pass eventually failed as a wagon road and wouldn’t contribute much more to Middle Park history until the railroad came to the area.
The only other significant road into Grand County in the 1800’s came from the gold mining town of Breckenridge down the Blue River to the Grand (Colorado) River.
The motor car made its debut in Grand County in 1913 and the first motorcyclist appeared in Kremmling. Also the first recorded vehicle accident occurred in the same year in which the Denver owned vehicle “turned a summersault” on its way to McCoy. The Trough road from Blue River to the State Bridge was created in 1913 through the Gore Canyon south-east of Kremmling.
In 1915 Rocky Mountain National Park was established through the effort of Enos Mills. Fall River Road was constructed during the 1920’s bringing thousands of tourists to the Middle Park area. The automobile had surpassed the horse as the main mode of travel in Grand County. The Berthoud Pass of US Highway 40 that we are familiar with today was opened to travel in the summer of 1923. The construction required fifty thousand pounds of T.N.T. “Certain of the blasts were such that the steam shovels sustained visible damage.”
The highway through Byers Canyon was commissioned in the winter of 1924 and subsidized by $175,000 in Federal funds. The first auto made the somewhat treacherous passage through the canyon in mid-May, 1927 which at the lower end required passage over a rickety bridge at the Doloff Ranch. The steel bridge of today was opened for use in August, 1928.