In 1878, the Otto Mears toll road crossed over Marshall Pass
into the Tomichi Valley at the spot that Marshalltown or
Sargents would later develop. Marshalltown was laid out in
1880 because the Denver and Rio Grande Railroad was coming.
Joseph Sargent had a ranch at the foot of Marshall Pass.
When people began to settle there, he was made Postmaster.
A few years later, Marshalltown was renamed Sargents.
In July of 1881, the Denver and Rio Grande Railroad
reached Sargents on its way to Gunnison. Then Sargents really
started to grow. It is believed that at one time there were 50
businesses and eight saloons there. Sargents was a railroad
town. There was a roundhouse and turntable, a depot, and
a water tank. There were also cattle pens and a coaling chute.
Area ranchers drove their cattle there to be loaded on railcars
and shipped by train over Marshall Pass to points beyond.
Mining in nearby Whitepine, Northstar, and the upper
Tomichi Valley produced tons of ore needing to be shipped
out of the valley. The ore was hauled by teams and wagons
to Sargents, loaded on railcars, and shipped east. Sargents
housed “helper engines” which were hooked on to the loaded
trains to help pull them to the top of Marshall Pass. There
were once lumber companies there cutting railroad ties and
lumber for building. There were always ranches there and
that is about all that still remains today. As the demand for
the railroad declined, so did Sargents. When the railroad was
taken out in the 1950s, Sargents all but disappeared.
Sargents is known as one of the coldest spots in the
Tomichi Valley. Temperatures of -30 to -40 are not uncommon
and almost expected every winter. The Sargents School House
is on the Colorado Historic Register and owned by the Upper
Tomichi Historical and Community Association. The old Denver
and Rio Grande water tank is still standing on its original
site and has been recently purchased by the Upper Tomichi
Historical and Community Association. Preservation of the
water tank is planned.
Sargents still has a post office. There is a combination
bar/café/gas station/store with cabins and a towing and
repair service. There are about 25 to 30 full-time residents
and upwards of 50 seasonal property owners.