The story of the Grand Canyon rail line was created in 1869 when railroad builder Samuel T. Parsons began digging a tunnel from his home near the Ohio River to his factory in Kansas City.
Parsons planned to build a railroad that would connect the valley to the Rocky Mountains, and then to the Pacific Ocean.
The idea came to him through his wife, Margaret, who wanted to get away from the boring machines that she worked in as a domestic servant.
Parsons hired a team of skilled carpenters to build the tunnel under the Ohio river, and it was designed to take up about three miles of railroad tracks.
Parsons hoped to open the railway by 1882.
Parsons envisioned the line as an avenue for commerce, a major gateway for travelers, and an opportunity to get fresh air.
Parsons had envisioned it as an extension of the Erie Canal and an extension to California.
However, he had no idea that the railroad would be so complicated to build.
In fact, when he proposed to build it, he was surprised to learn that the track had to be nearly three miles long, and had to travel over four miles of dirt roads.
It was a big undertaking, so Parsons had to negotiate with the local railroad officials to get them to agree to the size of the tunnel.
Parsons also had to persuade local landowners and builders to agree on how to build his plan.
Parsons ultimately hired a large team of engineers, and when the work was done, he and his family were thrilled to have a place to live.
The Grand Canyon was a major commercial and industrial area, and the rail line became a major artery for the region.
It also served as a major tourist attraction.
In 1875, Parsons sold his company, Parsons Oil & Steam Works, and began a new career as a real estate developer.
Parsons bought land in the Colorado River Valley and developed the railroad into a large business.
In order to build more of the line, Parsons built two new tunnels in 1884 and 1885.
He also purchased the Grand River and built a new railroad bridge over the Ohio.
Parsons and his brother-in-law built a second tunnel in 1892 to connect the Colorado and San Juan rivers.
The tunnels were so wide that the bridge could only support four cars.
Parsons, however, was able to widen them to accommodate cars.
The two new lines were built to meet the demand for cars that were growing, and were used as a transportation system between Colorado and California.
Parsons used the tunnels to transport coal, lumber, and timber.
In 1893, Parsons, his brother, and two other men died in a car crash on the line.
They were driving from Kansas City to Portland, Oregon, when a car struck a pole on the side of the road and crushed them.
Parsons was buried in the grave of his brother.
His body was then transported to the Great Salt Lake Valley Cemetery.
His brother was buried next to him.
After Parsons died, his wife Margaret was forced to sell her property in the area to pay for the funeral.
Parsons donated the property to the Grand Valley National Park, and in 1908, he died at the age of 88.
A few years later, a group of railroad enthusiasts from the region gathered at the Grand Lake Valley Historical Society to commemorate his life.
They donated more than $500,000 for a park dedicated to his legacy.