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Westall Monument

Westall Monument

A class project during the 2011-12 school year became a collaborative learning project to rehabilitate and preserve a monument placed in 1899.

Train engineer Billy Westall slowed a train in danger of derailing, saving nearly 450 passengers at the expense of his own life in 1898. A monument honoring this heroic act was placed a year later, overlooking the North Fork of the South Platte River. The river undercut the ground below the monument over the years, leading it to be nominated for the 2012 Colorado’s Most Endangered Places List.

A team of West Jeff Middle students, advised by English teacher Frank Reetz, formed a partnership with Colorado Preservation, Inc., Denver Water, and the Anschutz Foundation to preserve the monument. Over the next two years, the group surveyed the site, cleaned up weeds and debris, and raised funds to have the monument moved to a more stable location along with replacing a plaque about the event. The monument was moved on December 9, 2013, and rededicated on April 18, 2014.

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