The Significance of Setting on Rollins Pass


by B. Travis Wright, MPS

President of the Board of Directors, Grand County Historical Association

The Grand County Historical Association and nationally acclaimed artist Karen Vance have teamed up to raffle Vance’s latest masterpiece, “The Trestle on Rollins Pass,” with the proceeds of the raffle benefitting the GCHA. Tickets are $25 each (5 for $100 or 30 for $500) and are available at Grand County Historical Association museums, with more information online at

The achievements made on Rollins Pass are unique to Grand County and neighboring counties, the state, and the American story. The “Denver, Northwestern and Pacific Railway Hill Route Historic District” as well as the “Rollinsville and Middle Park Wagon Road” are both listed on the National Register of Historic Places as well as the State Register of Historic Properties. To be listed in the National Register, a property must not only be shown to be significant, but also must have integrity. There are seven qualities that comprise integrity—for Rollins Pass, the significance is primarily comprised of setting, feeling, and location. The railroad and its smartly dressed ridership knew these factors were important, too. Period advertisements from 1905 mentioned, “The Greatest One-Day Scenic Trip in the World” and touched on setting, feeling, and location—sometimes in a single paragraph, “Here is found the forest primeval in all its grandeur. Nature in her wildest aspect greets the traveler over The Moffat Road. …[T]he sightseer views Nature in her original beauty unmarred by the onward march of civilization and progress.” These components of significance were not only captured in photographs, writings, and scribbled on the back of postcards but also these elements were—and still are—central to the reason the lands and mountains encompassing Rollins Pass magnetize many generations of visitors.

Karen Vance’s painting accurately depicts the significance and setting of this area on Rollins Pass: undulating terrain, a mixture of new and old growth pine, abundant wildflowers, scenic viewsheds, a timberline trestle, peach and apricot colored soils on steeper slopes—finished with billowy clouds and piercing blue skies.

The only setting change needed is a place of prominence in your home to display Karen Vance’s masterpiece should you win the raffle. Tickets are still available and the drawing will be held on December 1, 2020 at 6pm. Visit or call one of our museums today to purchase tickets before this chance of a lifetime becomes history!

Photo caption: The setting of Rollins Pass, B. Travis Wright (Part 107)