Mary Peace FinleyAward-winning author of books for young people
THE MIDNIGHT RIDE OF BLACKWELL STATION closely follows the true story of the "booming" of Lamar, Colorado. At midnight on May 22, 1886, Santa Fe Railroad Engine #345 pulled into Blackwell Station with empty flatcars and work cars filled with men. The workers, hired for $10, dinner, a dance, and all the beer and whiskey they wanted when the work was done, loaded the two-story station onto the flatcars then walked three or four miles holding the load to keep it from falling off. The workers unloaded the station on a side rail, reconnected the telegraph lines, and by the second day, land sales had begun. In the first day of sales, $45,000 worth of lots were sold.Raephy McDowell and her family lived above the station. Her mother Emily was the station master and telegrapher. Her father John was the foreman of the ranch belonging to cattleman A. R. Black that surrounded the station. Amos Black, Captain Cooper, and all others named in the story were actual people. Their personalities, conversations, and the details of the roles they played in the events are creations of the author, but the events actually happened.
Newspaper Headlines It was a black day for A. R.--Station stolen for dinner and a danceYOUTHFUL LAMAR WINS COUNTY SEAT FIGHTSanta Fe assists Lamar's beginningEngine No. 345 Whisked Blackwell Station to Lamar Lamar Colorado and "The Purloined Depot of Blackwell"