Toll House

I once lived for a short while in Ouray, Colorado … and an even shorter stay in Silverton (both in the winter!).

I find the stretch of US550 between Ouray and Silverton to be fascinating for many reasons; one of my favorite places is the overlook at Bear Creek falls.

US550 was originally a toll road and the cleft in the rocks at the falls was an ideal spot for a toll station – there was absolutely no reasonable way to go around. Not many unreasonable ways either.

This picture caught my eye. Unfortunately, it’s not dated.

But in looking for other views, I found this:

which was probably taken from roughly this same point. The slanted gash in the rock mid-picture is a giveaway – some things don’t change much over time.

As far as I’m able to tell, the toll house was about where the orangish patch lies just above the bridge railing. Hard to tell; this area’s been worked over several times – the bridge is lower down and the road is at a slightly different angle to the falls.


I took the liberty of fictionalizing my rendition by incorporating this picture:


On the the Project page:

Toll House

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Toll House

The 2nd in my Rolling Garage Sale (RGS) effort was inspired by two old photos of the toll road between Ouray and Silverton Colorado – now US550.

This one is one of a collection of “not-quite-done”, however, that delay is due to experiments in 3D printing.

Here’s a before and after view of the area.

There’s a popular pull-off from which the now photo was taken. The falls form huge ice falls in the winter. A fair number of ice climbers are on the falls face in winter. Looking closely at the road cut and large blockish rock under the bridge, the toll house would have been several feet higher than the present road right about where the far side of the modern bridge connects to the rock.

Photo 1 – The Toll House
Undated to my knowledge – pictures suggest at least two buildings; this is the one I wish to model

Note the A-frame bridge seems the same but the toll houses are different

Bear Creek Falls is one of my favored places in the San Juans.


Picture #2
Somewhere on the same road but not Bear Creek Falls

So I thought to combine them …

These two pictures show the current state. The major work to be done is on the left side – cropped out of the picture (white plaster cloth) … because I had a multi-tasking space issue that needed sorting out.

I pulled a thread on a sweater …

Needs some details and touch up and she’s good to go.


I got got distracted a bit with other things – including getting the 3D figures worked out but I can finally close the book on this project.

Not many changes but a few tweaks … and the diorama is done.

Or maybe better put – I’m done. Been working on it since late winter at least.


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