Eastern Mojave Vegetation Vidler Tunnel, Summit County, Colorado.


See also: Vidler Mine.

See also: Vidler Collection System.

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The Vidler tunnel which is being driven under Argentine Pass through the main Continental Divide by the Transcontinental Transportation & Mining Company, is to serve a three-fold purpose, viz., (1) vein development at depth, (2) cheap transportation of company ores, and (3) a railroad thoroughfare whereby the ore tonnage of Summit, Park and Lake, as well as Clear Creek, counties may be more expeditiously and cheaply delivered to custom smelting plants at Denver and Pueblo. In its utilization for the latter purpose this bore appears to offer the possibility of the establishment of a most important traffic route, the distance from Leadville being thereby shortened with present railroad connections by nearly 100 miles. It is probable that the Argentine Central railroad line, which now terminates at Waldorf (a distance by rail about 9 miles from Silver Plume), will utilize the Vidler transcontinental bore in tapping the Argentine, Pennsylvania and Montezuma sections of Summit county and making connection with the South Park branch of the Colorado & Southern railroad at or near Dillon. The Vidler tunnel on completion will have a length of nearly 7,500 feet and a maximum depth of 2,400 feet. It has already been driven 1,200 feet from the Clear Creek county side, and on the readiness of the enlarged power plant under installation, whereby air will be piped over Argentine Pass, it is planned to prosecute rapid driving from the Summit county side. The tunnel has, in its progress, intersected several veins of pay milling ore, for the treatment of which the company has under erection an experimental milling plant on most improved metallurgical lines. The Transcontinental Company owns a compact tract of about 600 acres, through the center of which the tunnel is coursing (Anonymous, 1906).

The Vidler tunnel is in Mount Edwards, a short distance north of Argentine Pass and about 5 miles east-northeast of Montezuma. It was originally intended to be a railroad tunnel and serve a proposed narrow-gage railroad extending from Silver Plume to Dillon. Work was started on the tunnel in 1901, and for a time headings were driven from both the east and west portals. The west portal was abandoned after the face had been carried about 700 feet, but in spite of repeated changes in ownership and reorganizations, the eastern section of the tunnel was gradually advanced until in 1911 it had a length of 5,118 feet. No work is known to have been done since that time, however, and the breasts of the east and west sections are reported to be separated by about 1,700 feet. The altitude of both portals is about 11,650 feet. The east half of the tunnel trends S. 70 47' W., and the west half N. 58 17' E. The tunnel was not accesible at any time during the writer's visits, but some information was found in reports by G. W. Schneider, J. W. Astley, and Herbert Strickland, quoted in a prospectus of the Argentine Tunnel Railway Co. The eastern section of the tunnel is reported to cut veins at 227, 330, 380, 500, 885, 1956, and 2,175 feet from the portal. Most of the veins were small and contained only quartz and pyrite, but three carried lead-zinc ore. Galena and sphalerite containing 12 ounces or less of silver to the ton and very little gold were found in the veins cut at 227, 265, and 885 feet, but only the last vein, known as the Flossie or Red Light, was strong enough to encourage much development. This vein strikes N. 33 E. and dips about 85 NW. It carried galena and sphalerite in a quartz gangue, and the ore-bearing part of the vein ranged from 1 to 18 inches in width, averaging about 6 inches. Some ore was stoped in this vein both north and south of the main crosscut tunnel. No production figures have been found, but the property has never been an important producer (Lovering, 1935).

The Vidler Tunnel is not mentioned by Lovering and Goddard (1950).

Rees Vidler bought the Horseshoe Tunnel (a.k.a. Good Luck Tunnel) in 1902, intending to extend the tunnel under the continental divide to connect the railroads at Silver Plume and Keystone. Financing to complete the tunnel was never found, and the mining claims overlaying the Vidler tunnel reverted to Clear Creek and Summit counties due to unpaid taxes. In 1952, Herbert Young began buying the claims in the Vidler Claims Group, all but one of which were purchased for back taxes. In 1956 the Vidler Tunnel was presented as an alternative for a highway tunnel under the continental divide, but was rejected because the grade was too great for automobile traffic. Young then purchased an option on water rights located above the confluence of Soda Creek and the Snake River. In 1967 financing was found and in 1968 the 1.4 mile long tunnel was completed. The first water flowed through the tunnel in 1969, and the collection system, which diverts water above an elevation of 11,000 feet, was completed in 1970. The tunnel is decreed for 31.5 cubic feet per second (Winchester, 2001).

The Vidler Tunnel and collection system was purchased by the City of Golden in 2000 for $1,000,000.00 (Golden, City of, 2000).

Elevation: 11763ft, 0m.

Articles that refer to this location:


Literature Referring To This Location:

  • Anonymous. 1906. Development and Transportation Tunnel Enterprises in the Argentine District, Colorado. Mining Reporter. LIV(23):570-573.
  • City of Golden. 2000. A Resolution of the Golden City Council Approving a Water Purchase Agreement with Vidler Water Company. Resolution No. 1136. {TAS-pdf} Date retrieved: 1 July 2018: http://ordinances.cityofgolden.net/media/W1siZiIsIjIwMTQvMDUvMDUvMTQvNTIvNDYvMjMzLzExMzZyZXNfd2F0ZXJfcHVyY2guX2Fncm1udF93X1ZpZGxlci5wZGYiXV0/1c10d00c/1136res%20water%20purch.%20agrmnt%20w_Vidler.pdf
  • Lovering, T. S. 1935. Geology and Ore Deposits of the Montezume Quadrangle, Colorado. Professional Paper 178. Washington, D. C.: United States Geological Survey, 1935. {TAS-pdf} Date retrieved: 1 July 2016: https://pubs.usgs.gov/pp/0178/report.pdf
  • Lovering, T. S., and E. N. Goddard. 1950. Geology and ore deposits of the Front Range. Professional Paper 223. Washington, D. C.: United States Geological Survey, 1950. {TAS-pdf} Date retrieved: 1 July 2018: https://pubs.er.usgs.gov/publication/pp223
  • Stambaugh, Will. 2007. 2007 Vidler Tunnel Repairs: Flossie Vein Collapse Area and East Portal Rebuild. (http://www.cityofgolden.net/media/2007%20Vidler%20Tunnel%20Repairs.pdf, accessed 13 November 2014.)
  • Winchester, John N., P.E. 2001. A Historical View: Transmountain Diversion Development in Colorado. Proceedings 2001 USCID Water Management.
No collections made at this location.
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Date and time this article was prepared:5:07:52 PM, 4/7/2024.