Sites of Trinidad on the Santa Fe Trail Mountain Branch

April 25, 2020 – 11:43 pm

2. Spanish Peaks

The Spanish Peaks are west-northwest of Trinidad. They can be seen from great distances along the Mountain branch, and they served as landmarks for trail travelers. According to Indian legend, rain was created on these Spanish Peaks in order to nurture the lands and produce a paradise on earth.

5. Morley Church

Located 10 miles south of Trinidad off Exit 6 on 1-25. Morley Church is located at a former mining camp, in operation from 1907 until 1956. The remains of the adobe walls of the St. Aloysius Church along with building foundations from Morley, the once-thriving mining camp, still can be seen today. The mountain slopes just north of the Raton Pass were bustling with activity in the early 1900s. Even on the coldest of mornings, sounds of miners were clearly heard echoing through the hills. Mule teams stood shuddering on the outskirts, as men geared up for a long day in the mine. Morley Mine was known for its clean, easily mined coal. Mule teams were hitched to long rail cars and they hauled coal even from the deepest cavities. With the prosperity of the community there became a need for a church and the community raised enough money to build it nearby on a high peak. John D. Rockefeller, owner of Colorado Fuel and Iron Company, was moved by the miner's efforts and contributed to the project. Total funds raised were , 300. The front faced east and as the sun arose over the mountains, rays would glisten through the belfry hollow. The men and women of the camp completed St. Aloysius Church in 1917. Its old mission style architecture was constructed of cement blocks covered in earthen stucco. Literally a labor of love, the miners and their families took great pride in the church, dedicating it to St. Aloysius. In 1950 the Morley mine began to phase out operations when costs of coal removal made operations there no longer economically feasible. By 1956 St. Aloysius Church, most of the homes and businesses stood abandoned. Although the camp is just a memory, the face of St. Aloysius has not missed one day of standing and smiling to the rising sun.


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