CAKYON CITY, in Colorado, has one of the most remarkable driveways in the world. For certain features there is none other which can be compared with this magnificent drive, so unique is the whole affair. The Sky-Line Drive as it is appropriately named, lies along the very crest of a long and lofty limestone ridge that rises from 800 to 1,000 feet above the surrounding plain on both sides. These limestone ridges are a characteristic feature of the region, and are called hog-backs This particular hogback extends west and north of Canyon City, its top forming a long sky-line, and making the horizon in that direction. Travelers traversing this remarkable Sky-Line Road may l:e seen many miles away-boldly silhouetted against the sky. The remarkably clear atmosphere of the Colorado country renders it possible to secure the smallest details-even glimpses of the sky between the spoke of the wheels, and under the horses. This famous “Sky-Line Drive” affords a most magnificent view. Canyon City !ies clear cut, far below the traveler, and one may look down upon it, as if looking on a colossal relief map, and almost as if poised above it in an airship. The drive is about 35 feet wide, on an average, and it winds to and fro, and sweeps gently up and down on the narrow crest for about four miles. For the greater part of this distance the travelers are more than 900 feet above the city and the surrounding plains, to which. on both sides, the walls of the “hog-back” drop almost perpendicularly. The beauty of the panoramic view on the other side -beyond Canyon City-is magnificent. Here valley and winding river, foot hills and mountains, have combined to form a marvelous scene filled with loveliness and grandeur. The drive was constructed by convict labor; that made it possihle to carry out such an extensive im- provement. All the credit for the construction of the road properly belongs to John Cleghorn, warden of the Colorado State's Prison. John Cleghorn, ever busy minded and far seeing, conceived the idea of making of this rocky, impenetrable, and dangerous ridge, a driveway. Going to Canyon City, he laid the matter before the more pUblic-spirited citizens of that place. Of course, he had the convicts-"boys” he called them, and the labor would be furnished free to the people; but it took money to pay for the necessary powder, tools, etc., and Mr. Cleghorn could not furnish any money. In less than forty-eight hours the necessary finances were provided, and Cleghorn put large gangs of convict laborers at work immediately. It took a long time to “hew out” the road. Many problems were encountered, but the work was finally completed. To-day there stands a large monument on the highest point of tile road on which are carved the simple words: “John Cleghorn; Sky-Line Drive.” This great roadway is a public highway-absolutely ' free to all-pedestrians. equestrians, and every kind of vehicle. including automobiles. The driveway is one of the leading attractions of Colorado, and Its accomplishment besides adding to the grand total of road improvements in the west, serves as a rich example of how means, hardly thought existing, may be used to carry out a large and a successful undertaking.
This article was originally published with the title "The “Sky-Line Drive”" in Scientific American 105, 21, 443-444 (November 1911)